Samsung is out with the Galaxy Note 10 series to take on the upcoming iPhone 11. But until the iPhone 11 launches, the Galaxy Note 10 series will take on Apple’s existing iPhone XS series. This time around, Samsung has launched the Galaxy Note 10+ — a true ‘Note’ in many ways — to take on the likes of the iPhone XS Max. If you are wondering what separates these two phones, read our comparison below.
The Galaxy Note 10+ is an evolution of the Galaxy Note 9 from last year. It is based on the Galaxy S10 from earlier this year, with a few key improvements and Note-touch. If you want a true note-taking device, the Galaxy Note 10+ is superior to the iPhone XS Max in many ways. But the latter pulls ahead when one sees the entire ecosystem. Read below to see which phone is better.
iPhone XS Max vs Galaxy Note 10+ Comparison
The iPhone XS Max has the same design language as the iPhone X from 2017. The phone is not going to win any awards when it comes to its design especially with that notch at the front. However, when it comes to build quality, the iPhone XS feels really premium thanks to its stainless steel chassis.
The Galaxy Note 10+ is a big device and it feels even bigger due to its squarish edges. With Gorilla Glass panels at the front and rear and an aluminum chassis, the Note 10+ feels are premium to hold as the iPhone XS Max. It also looks the part from the front thanks to its centered hole-punch camera and massive display surrounded by minimal bezels.
The phone is also available in some new colors and finish which make it look very attractive. In comparison, the iPhone XS Max is available in the same old boring Silver, Space Gray, and Gold colors.
The Note 10+ and iPhone XS Max are both IP68 certified. The former also comes with an S-Pen which many users might appreciate. The S Pen 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 stylus.
- iPhone XS Max – 6.5-inch True Tone OLED, 2688 x 1242 pixels (458 ppi), 3D Touch, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 3D Touch
- Galaxy Note 10+ – 6.8-inch curved Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED, 1440 x 3040 pixels (550ppi), HDR10, Dynamic AMOLED
Both phones come with AMOLED displays that are a visual treat to look at. However, the newer Dynamic AMOLED panel on the Galaxy Note 10+ features a higher brightness level and resolution which make it my pick between the two. When the iPhone XS Max launched, its display was awarded by DisplayMate as the best smartphone display. Six months later, Samsung managed to up the ante with the Dynamic AMOLED panel on the Galaxy S10 series. The Galaxy Note 10+ uses a newer generation Dynamic AMOLED panel which is even better than the one found on the S10.
- iPhone XS Max – 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 Max. 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 Max– 4GB RAM | 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
- Galaxy Note 10+ – 12GB RAM | 256GB, 512GB, microSD card slot
This is an area where the Note 10+ absolutely obliterates the iPhone XS Max. The Note 10+ has 3x more RAM than the iPhone XS Max which makes it a multitasking beast. It also ships with 256GB of base storage, while the iPhone XS Max starts with 64GB of storage.
There’s also a microSD card slot on the Note 10+ allowing one to increase the storage on the device down the line for cheap.
Apple really needs to increase the base storage for its iPhone X lineup especially since they have a starting price tag of $999.
- iPhone XS Max – 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+ – Quad-camera setup, Primary 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, ToF sensor, Auto HDR, Super Speed Dual Pixel, Live Focus with adjustable bokeh effect
More cameras are not necessarily better which is the case here. The Galaxy Note 10+ comes with a quad-camera setup while the iPhone XS Max features a dual-camera setup. Both phones offer great image quality and it is a closely contested battle between the two phones. Where the Galaxy Note 10+ does take the lead is in terms of versatility. The 16MP ultra-wide angle camera lets one take photos with a completely different perspective. It also has a better 2x telephoto sensor and a dedicated Night mode for capturing usable photos in low-light scenarios.
The Galaxy Note 10+ also 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 Max – Face ID
- Galaxy Note 10+ – In-display fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
The iPhone XS Max 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.
- iPhone XS Max– 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, 3.5mm headphone jack
Another area where the Galaxy Note 10+ absolutely crushes the iPhone XS Max. It has a faster LTE and Wi-Fi modem, and more. The iPhone XS Max just pales in comparison with its gigabit LTE modem.
Both phones do lack a headphone jack, though Samsung at least bundles an adapter along with USB-C earphones with the device.
- iPhone XS Max – 3,174mAh, USB-C fast charging, fast wired charging, 7.5W wireless charging
- Galaxy Note 10+ – 4,300mAh, 45W fast charging, 15W wireless charging
The Galaxy Note 10+ comes with a bigger display that is complemented by an equally bigger battery. With a 4300mAh battery, the Galaxy Note 10+ has more than enough juice in the tank to last a day of heavy use.
The iPhone XS Max also has enough juice to last through a day but that’s about it. If you use the phone heavily, you might have to charge it once in the evening to make it through the day.
The Galaxy Note 10+ comes with 45W wired fast charging support. So, even if you are in a rush, you can charge the phone for a few minutes and be rest assured that it will last for a few more hours easily. Samsung only bundles a 25W charger with the Note 10+, though that is still noticeably faster than the 5W charger which Apple bundles with the iPhone. The less talked about the charging times of the iPhone XS Max, the better. With a 5W charger, the phone takes over 3 hours to go from 0-100% which is ridiculous in this day and age.
Both phones also come with wireless charging but once again, the Galaxy Note 10+ is better since it has 15W wireless charging. The iPhone XS Max caps out at 7.5W.
We are looking at very expensive phones here. Both phoens are priced at $1,099. However, form a value perspective, the Galaxy Note 10+ has an edge thanks to attractive pre-order bundles from Samsung/carriers.
What are your thoughts on the Galaxy Note 10+? Will you buy it over the iPhone XS Max for the superior hardware it offers? Drop a comment and let us know!