The new Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ have an array of impressive-sounding specs. But do they have what it takes to compete with Apple’s premium iPhone X?
The table below shows how the three phones compare on key specs:
|Apple iPhone X||Samsung Galaxy S9||Samsung Galaxy S9+|
(h x w x d, mm)
|144 x 71 x 8||148 x 69 x 8||158 x 74 x 9|
|Rear camera||Dual 12Mp||12Mp||Dual 12Mp|
Keep reading to find out the key things you need to know about each phone. You’ll need to click on the links for our fully tested iPhone X review, as well as our expert first impressions of the S9 and S9+.
Short on time? Here’s our video comparing the three flagship phones:
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Samsung Galaxy S9: what you need to know
The Samsung Galaxy S9 follows last year’s S8. The question is: have enough improvements been made to warrant buying the latest model?
Like the S8, the S9 has a 5.8-inch display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. This means it’s just more than twice as long as it is wide, to help make it easier to use with one hand. Samsung also says it’s reduced the bezels surrounding the display to create a more immersive design – but they’re not that much smaller.
It has a 12Mp rear camera and an 8Mp front camera, the same as the S8 – but Samsung says it has improved image quality. The S9 takes 12 photos when you take one, then quickly combines them to give you the best possible image. The S8 takes three, so we’d hope the S9 gives you better snaps.
You can have some fun with Augmented Reality Emoji, also known as AR Emoji, by creating your own personalised emoji with the front-facing camera. We had a lot of fun creating our own life-like Sim characters, which you can send to friends and family through a variety of messaging apps.
Tempted by the latest Samsung flagship? Make sure you check out our full Samsung Galaxy S9 first look review before you consider buying it.
Samsung Galaxy S9+: what you need to know
The S9+ has all the features of the S9, as well as a few extra things to tempt you to spend an extra £130.
Following in the footsteps of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the S8+ has dual rear cameras. Both are 12Mp, but one is a telephoto lens while the other is wide-angle. This means you shouldn’t notice a drop in quality when you’re zooming, for some nice and clear close-ups.
Both the S9 and S9+ can capture 960 frames per second for super slow-motion videos. You should expect incredibly detailed slow-motion shots, which you’ll be proud to share on social media.
One of the criticisms of last year’s S8 and S8+ was that the fingerprint sensor was placed next to the cameras, and it was therefore too easy to accidentally smudge the camera lens. To address this, Samsung has moved the fingerprint sensor on the S9 and S9+ beneath the rear camera system, which should make it easier to reach.
Is this enormous smartphone worth £869? Read our Samsung Galaxy S9+ first look review to find out what we think.
Apple iPhone X: what you need to know
The iPhone X is Apple’s most expensive smartphone in its pricey line-up.
It has a huge 5.8-inch display that takes up almost the entirety of the front panel, but there’s no missing the notch at the top, which holds the front-facing camera and the earpiece speaker, and – some think – also taints the design of the display.
Face ID is one of its key features. This means you unlock the phone via face recognition rather than with a fingerprint sensor. Indeed, the iPhone X doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor, as Apple removed the home button.
Like the S9+, the iPhone X has two 12Mp rear camera lenses: one is telephoto, while the other is wide-angle. Again, this means you should expect very detailed close-up shots.
You can use Portrait Mode when taking photos with the iPhone X. This draws focus to your subject by blurring out the background, which can lead to some delightfully artistic shots.
Ignoring the grand claims, the iPhone X has to offer decent battery life and take good photos whatever the lighting conditions to earn our recommendation. Check out our fully tested iPhone X review to find out whether it earns our stamp of approval.
Our pick of the best mobile phones
While Samsung and Apple are the most-owned smartphone brands in the UK, they’re certainly not the only options to choose from.
We test smartphones from all the key brands, which include Apple and Samsung, but also models from Motorola, Huawei, LG, Sony and more. And we’ll let you in on a secret: some of them are brilliant Best Buy models.
You can find excellent smartphones for less money from smaller brands, but you need to do your homework. Make a blind decision, and you could end up with a phone you hate.
We’ve done all the hard work for you. For a quick view of our favourite mobile phones from our tests – including our cheapest Best Buy – head to our top 5 smartphones of 2018.