iPhone XS vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Comparison: Which is Better for You?

This time around, Samsung has taken a very different approach with its Galaxy Note 10 series. The lineup now comprises of two handsets: the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+. While the Note 10+ takes on the iPhone XS Max, the Note 10 competes with the iPhone XS since it plays heavily on the value proposition. So how good is the Galaxy Note 10 when compared to the iPhone XS? Find out in this comparison.

The Galaxy Note 10 is a ‘budget’ Note from Samsung in many ways. It makes a number of sacrifices to reach its lower price point which goes against what the Note line stands for. The way it has been priced though, the Galaxy Note 10 will take on the iPhone XS and after September, the iPhone 11. Until the latter launches though, here’s how the Note 10 compares to the iPhone XS.

iPhone XS vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Comparison

Design

iPhone Xs Max

With a design language that’s similar to the iPhone X from 2017, the iPhone XS is not going to win any awards for its looks. However, the use of stainless steel chassis gives the phone a very premium in-hand feel. The Galaxy Note 10 also feels equally premium, though it features an aluminum chassis.

The Note 10 does lack a notch since it has a centered hole-punch selfie camera. The notch on the iPhone XS is not really distracting, though many users might not like it. Both phones feature IP68 certification and support wireless charging.

The Galaxy Note 10 comes with an S-Pen as well which is IP68 certified as well. If you are a creative person, you will appreciate the S Pen for your work. It now has Air motion which allows you to control many aspects of the phone via simple motion gestures. This has been made possible by including 6-axis gyroscope and accelerometer inside the S Pen.

Display

  • iPhone XS – 5.8-inch True Tone OLED, 2688 x 1242 pixels (458ppi), 3D Touch, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 3D Touch
  • Galaxy Note 10 – 6.3-inch curved Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED, 2280 x 1080 pixels (401ppi), HDR10, Dynamic AMOLED

The Galaxy Note 10 comes with a bigger 6.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED display when compared to the 5.8-inch OLED display of the iPhone XS. However, its the latter which has a higher resolution display. While the Note 10 comes with a pixel density of 401ppi, the iPhone XS comes with a higher 458ppi density.

Both phones have excellent OLED panels but it is the Galaxy Note 10 which has an edge in terms of brightness and contrast.

Chipset

  • iPhone XS – 7nm A12 Bionic chipset
  • Galaxy Note 10 – 7nm Snapdragon 855 or 8nm Exynos 9825

Depending on where you live, the Galaxy Note 10 comes with either a 7nm Snapdragon 855 or Samsung’s own Exynos 9825 chipset. The Galaxy S10 was also powered by the Snapdragon 855 and it is currently the best chipset available for Android devices. There’s a newer Snapdragon 855+ that was recently unveiled by Qualcomm but it is just an overclocked version of the regular chip.

As for the Exynos 9825, it is an updated version of Samsung’s Exynos 9820 found on the international variants of the Galaxy S10. It is based on the 7nm EUV fabrication process from Samsung which should make it more efficient than the 8nm Exynos 9820.

While both these chips are impressive, they are not as powerful as the A12 Bionic chip found inside the iPhone XS. Apple’s chip team has been leading the charge from a performance and efficiency viewpoint and even the best chip for Android devices is at least a generation or two behind the A12 Bionic in terms of performance.

RAM & Storage

  • iPhone XS– 4GB RAM | 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Galaxy Note 10 – 8GB RAM | 128GB, 256GB

The Note 10 is not as packed as its bigger sibling in this regard. Yet, it is miles ahead of the iPhone XS in this regard. While the iPhone comes with 4GB RAM, the Galaxy Note 10 has double the amount at 8GB.

Similarly, in storage, while the iPhone XS ships with 64GB of base storage, the Galaxy Note 10 comes with 128GB of storage. The Note 10 does top out at 256GB of storage while the iPhone XS can be had with as much as 512GB of storage. Unlike the bigger Note 10+, the regular Note 10 lacks a microSD card slot.

Apple really needs to step up in the storage department and ensure that the iPhone 11 ships with at least 128GB of base storage.

Camera

  • iPhone XS – Dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.8 and f/2.4 aperture, 1.4um pixel pitch, OIS for both sensors, Smart HDR, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control
  • Galaxy Note 10 – Triple-camera setup, 12MP camera with variable f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture, 1.4um pitch pixel, OIS; 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle shooter; 12MP f/2.1 telephoto sensor with OIS, 2x optical zoom, Auto HDR, Super Speed Dual Pixel, Live Focus with adjustable bokeh effect

It is a close contest between the two phones when it comes to image quality. The Note 10 might have a superior camera hardware on paper but the photos it takes are not noticeably better than the iPhone XS Max. It does offer more flexibility thanks to its 16MP ultra-wide angle shooter. It also has a dedicated Night mode which the iPhone lacks.

The telephoto sensor on the Galaxy Note 10 is also superior thanks to its wider f/2.1 aperture. This will come in particularly handy in low-light scenario where the iPhone XS tends to rely on its primary 12MP camera instead of the telephoto shooter.

The Galaxy Note 10 has a superior selfie camera on paper. It features a 10MP f/2.2 shooter with Dual Pixel focus. The iPhone XS Max has a 7MP TrueDepth camera. The problem with the selfie camera on the Note 10+ is that it takes very soft and highly processed selfies. The iPhone XS Max also does this but the effect is not as pronounced.

iPhone Xs iPhone Xs Max Best Features 9

Biometrics

  • iPhone XS Max – Face ID
  • Galaxy Note 10+ – In-display fingerprint scanner, Face unlock

The iPhone XS comes with a specialized TrueDepth camera system at the front for Face ID. While Face ID is generally reliable, its reliability is nowhere as close to Touch ID.

On the Galaxy Note 10, Samsung uses the front 10MP camera for face unlock. This is complemented by the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner. While Samsung offers more choice, its solutions are not as secure as Face ID. Both face unlock and the under-display fingerprint scanner on the Note 10 can be fooled relatively easily.

Connectivity

  • iPhone XS– Dual SIM/eSIM, Gigabit LTE, Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, NFC with reader mode
  • Galaxy Note 10 – Dual SIM, Cat 20. LTE (2Gbps), Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, NFC

Another area where the Galaxy Note 10 absolutely crushes the iPhone XS. It has a faster LTE and Wi-Fi modem which means better LTE speeds. The iPhone XS pales in comparison with its gigabit LTE modem.

Surprisingly though, the Galaxy Note 10 does lack a headphone jack. Samsung had mocked Apple for killing the headphone jack with the iPhone 7 so it is ironic to see the company follow suit after a few years.

Battery

  • iPhone XS – 3,174mAh, USB-C fast charging, fast wired charging, 7.5W wireless charging
  • Galaxy Note 10 – 3500mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging

The Note 10 not only features a bigger battery, but it also supports faster wired and wireless charging speeds. With a lower resolution OLED panel, the Note 10 should also end up offering better battery life than the iPhone XS in daily use.

Price

The Galaxy Note 10 starts at $949, while the iPhone XS starts from $999. From a value perspective, the Note 10 just offers so much more when compared to the iPhone XS.


The Galaxy Note 10 makes more sense than the iPhone XS from a value viewpoint. However, the biggest difference between the two is their OS and ecosystem. iOS, App Store, and iPhone’s tight integration with other Apple products make it a no-brainer for many. What about you? Will you prefer the Galaxy Note over the iPhone XS?

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