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Apple iPhone vs Samsung Galaxy mobile phones

By Oli McKean

iPhone 8 or Galaxy S9? Find out which flagship mobile phone is best, and how the older models you can still buy stack up.

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Apple and Samsung are the titans of the smartphone world, but which is the best brand to go for? Here, we explore the battery life, camera quality and overall score of their key models.

If you're looking for a high-end mobile phone, chances are you're considering the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S8 or the Apple iPhone 8 and 7. Both brands produce phones that are at the very expensive end of the market. The 64GB S9 costs £739 if you buy it outright, while the 64GB iPhone 8 costs around £699.

The S9 has a huge 5.8-inch edge-to-edge display, whereas the iPhone 8 is a more palm-friendly 4.7 inches. They both feature 12Mp rear-facing cameras, but our lab tests show that one phone performs better than the other - including far better battery life.

You can see reviews of the latest Samsung and Apple handsets lower on the page, but if you're still unsure of which model suits you best you can take our quiz to help you decide.

Just want to read full Samsung and Apple reviews? Head to all of our Samsung mobile phone reviews and Apple iPhone reviews now.

Apple iPhones vs Samsung Galaxy S smartphones

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Which? score %
Reviewed Sep 2018
Battery:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Camera:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen quality:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
6.4
Rear camera (megapixels):
12
Headphone socket:
3.5mm

Tied for first place as our highest scoring smartphone, this is a formidable entry to Samsung’s catalogue. It offers excellent battery performance that allows over 32 hours of call time and superb cameras. The clear downfall is the daunting price tag, but if you’re looking for top quality and maximised screen size, it may be a forgivable decision.

Samsung Galaxy S9

Which? score %
Reviewed Mar 2018
Battery:
Member exclusive4 out of 5
Camera:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen quality:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
5.8
Rear camera (megapixels):
12
Headphone socket:
3.5mm

Samsung's new Galaxy S9, its latest high-end flagship smartphone, looks very similar to last year's Galaxy S8, but the manufacturer says that improvements have been made across the board. Are these changes enough to warrant spending more on the new model - or will last year's handset serve you just as well? And can it beat the iPhone 8?

Samsung Galaxy S8

Which? score %
Reviewed May 2017
Battery:
Member exclusive4 out of 5
Camera:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen quality:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
5.8
Rear camera (megapixels):
12
Headphone socket:
3.5mm

The Samsung Galaxy S8 was the most-talked-about mobile phone of 2017 with its 'infinity' display, upgraded cameras and Bixby voice assistant that set tongues wagging. But did it really live up to the hype, and is it still a viable option against newer Apple and Android rivals?

Apple iPhone 8

Which? score %
Reviewed Oct 2017
Battery:
Member exclusive3 out of 5
Camera:
Member exclusive4 out of 5
Screen quality:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
4.7
Rear camera (megapixels):
12
Headphone socket:
Lightning

Is the new iPhone 8 really worth the hefty price tag? It has a glass rear for wireless charging and Apple promises better photos and videos. Before taking the plunge and spending a fortune, be sure to consult our results to make sure you're making a wise decision.

Apple iPhone XS Max

Which? score %
Reviewed Oct 2018
Battery:
Member exclusive3 out of 5
Camera:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen quality:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
6.5
Rear camera (megapixels):
12
Headphone socket:
Lightning

Though it’s not a major update in many ways, some might consider this one of Apple’s most desirable handsets. It offers a stunning screen and exceptional camera, though does have some issues with battery life, and for some the sheer size of the device may be too much to handle.

Apple iPhone XS

Which? score %
Reviewed Oct 2018
Battery:
Member exclusive3 out of 5
Camera:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen quality:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
5.8
Rear camera (megapixels):
12
Headphone socket:
Lightning

One of the highest scoring iPhones we’ve ever tested. As expected from the price tag, it has brilliant features including a super fast processor great video quality. Unfortunately, the battery life on this iPhone model (and many others) doesn’t compete with the latest Samsung Galaxy S releases.

Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of November 2018

How we rate iPhone and Samsung smartphones

Each and every mobile phone that passes through our test labs is subjected to the same set of tough lab tests. This enables us to compare them side-by-side and tell you which are worthy of your money. You can use our test results to avoid slow phones that can't take decent photos, and instead spend your money on a good-quality model that won't constantly need recharging.

We examine everything, including processor speed, screen and camera quality, battery life and call quality.

Our tests are unique. For example, when testing how quick each phone is, we don't just use the industry-standard speed tests, but we also rate what it's like in everyday use. Our testers assess whether the phone is sluggish when swiping through menus and how quickly it opens web pages. All of these factors enable us to generate our star ratings and give each and every phone a score.

We know a thing or two about mobiles phones after testing over 100 of them. Head to our mobile phone reviews to find the perfect model for you.

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