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iPhone Xs Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+



4 minute read

With two of the leading flagship smartphones on the market side by side, competition is fierce. Looking at tech specs, features and performance from a hands-on perspective, which one is the better contender? Read on to find out.

iPhone Xs Max VS Samsung Galaxy S9+


When it comes to design, Apple always do an incredible job; they’re probably king of aesthetics. The curved corners on the Xs Max look really good and the phone generally feels good in the hand too, thanks to the glass body. Samsung also do well in the design department, so there’s no denying that the S9+ is a beautiful looking phone and the display on both devices adds to their good looks.


The Galaxy S9+ features a beautiful 6.2” Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity display (2960 x 1440 resolution). That’s quite a mouthful when you say it but it’s an incredible screen and definitely one of the best on the market. The bezel-less edge-to-edge screen makes such a big difference.

If you’re a fan of large screens then you’ll love the Xs Max because it boasts a ginormous 6.5” Super Retina OLED display, which is the largest screen on an iPhone so far. It has a resolution of 2688 x 1242 and makes doing anything on the iPhone a pleasant experience. It’s definitely the best feature of the Xs Max and I’d choose it over the S9+, for the display alone.


Both smartphones rock a Dual 12MP camera (telephoto and wide-angle) but the S9+ has to win this round for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the S9+ features dual aperture so you can toggle from f/1.5 to f/2.4. There’s no range in between but the quality is very exceptional and super impressive; colours really pop and the pictures comes out so sharp and so crisp. While the iPhone Xs Max might allow the aperture to be changed from anywhere between f/1.4 and f16 with its Advanced Portrait mode with Depth control feature, which is really cool by the way, this only works in Portrait mode. Had it been an option in normal camera mode, it would have got my vote.

Aperture aside, the S9+ has a Pro mode that offers way more control over the camera than other smartphones on the market. Furthermore, the S9+ has Super Slow-Mo, which records slow motion video at 960fps. It’s more than cool but the only downside is that it only records at 720p (standard HD). Imagine if it was able to record Super Slow-mo in 4K. That would be so incredible but overall the S9+ has the better camera.

AR Emoji vs. Memoji

Everyone loves an emoji right? After all, they liven up conversations and they’re just fine. Samsung took the first step in allowing you to emoji-fy yourself with AR Emoji but the results were just rather creepy I found. I didn’t think it looked anything like me. Apple came in later with their own twist and called it Memoji, because what’s the market without competition? Even though they may have copied Samsung, they did it much better. I think it’s more realistic and looks better overall.


The iPhone Xs Max boasts a 3,174mAh battery while the S9+ is powered by a 3,500mAh battery, so it’s bigger. But it was worth doing a battery test for both to see just how long they’d last and the S9+ lasted just under 10 hours in my test and the iPhone Xs Max lasted just over 8.5 hours.

The results make total sense though, since the display on the Xs Max is larger and the difference between the two was no more than an hour.

Which smartphone is better?

Both the iPhone Xs Max and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ are fantastic smartphones and it’s not an easy decision to choose between the two. If the software is a key factor then it’d be easy to pick the one for you. Are you team iOS or team Android? If it’s more about the features then it’s a tough choice because they’re both really good in their own right.

The iPhone Xs Max has a stunning large display with a brilliant camera and the S9+ also has the same but offers more, such as Super Slow-Mo and Pro mode built into the camera app. So, for that the S9+ has to win as it ticks more boxes than the Xs Max. Saying that, the iPhone would not be a bad choice and it certainly wouldn’t disappoint.

Which one would you pick? Samsung Galaxy S9+ or iPhone Xs Max

Written by shadylady

Sadia produces tech reviews, tech tips & tutorial videos at XALIRATE.