The complete verdict of Samsung Galaxy S10 vs iPhone XS. Which flagship mobile should you buy? iPhone XS vs Galaxy S10. The new Samsung Galaxy S10 can now be purchased from all good retailers on the phone. After the slightly lacklustre Galaxy S9, it’s a stunning return to form for Samsung. But the comparison that most people are going to make is with Samsung’s biggest rival, Apple’s latest effort. So between the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the iPhone XS, which is the best phone?
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The complete verdict of Samsung Galaxy S10 vs iPhone XS
Both phones in the middle of their three-strong flagship families occupy the same position smack bang. Both will be among the most popular phones sold over the next six months or so, and both will be extremely influential in countless smaller rivals ‘ designs and spec sheets. But how do these two phones compare beyond that? More importantly, what are you supposed to buy?
Samsung Galaxy S10 vs iPhone XS – Specifications and features
As far as smartphone performance is concerned, Apple has long had an edge, and the iPhone XS shows it is as sharp as ever. The first 7 nm chip on the market was the A12 Bionic SoC, pipping the Kirin 980 in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
Following shipping six months later than the iPhone XS, the Galaxy S10’s custom Exynos 9820 uses a slightly larger and less efficient 8 nm production standard. American and Chinese Galaxy S10 owners are getting the 7 nm Snapdragon 855, but we’re dealing with the global model exclusively here.
In our own benchmark tests, on the CPU-intensive Geekbench 4, the iPhone XS and its A12 chip outperform both the Galaxy S10 and its Exynos 9820 in single-core and multi-core performance. The iPhone is also the overall winner of our 3D Mark test, measuring the performance of a phone’s GPU. Samsung pips the effort of Apple on the more general benchmark test of AnTuTu, however.
Benchmark results: They are close to each other, but the iPhone is on top
Benchmarks aside, these are two real-world usage blazingly fast phones. It’s worth noting that the Galaxy S10 is packaging a meaty 8 GB RAM–literally doubling the iPhone XS’s. Of course, iOS is traditionally a much more memory-efficient OS than Android, so this spec difference’s practical repercussions are minimal.
While we’re talking about memory capabilities, the Galaxy S10 offers either 128 GB or 512 GB, while Apple provides 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB. Added to the fact that Samsung alone offers microSD expansion, the fact that the baseline offer is lower is likely to give the Galaxy S10 the edge on storage.
The iPhone XS’ 2436 x 1125 OLED 5.8-inch display remains one of the most balanced, colour-precise displays on the market. We called it “maybe the best smartphone screen out there right now” at the time of its release.
However, times change, and the Samsung Galaxy S10 display may have retrieved that tentative title. This Super AMOLED display is larger than the iPhone XS equivalent (6.1 inches) and sharper (3040 x 1440). Although in general use it doesn’t get as bright, the Galaxy S10 screen can crank up when it’s needed, while it also gets closer to the ideal 6500 K colour temperature than its rival Apple.
When it comes to biometric authentication, these two smartphone titans differ quite dramatically. While Apple has been stuck with improving its iPhone XS Face ID system, Samsung has taken a different tack.
While the in-display fingerprint sensor of the Galaxy S10 is the best we have encountered (with the courtesy of ultrasonic technology), it is still slower and less reliable than the best capacitive sensors available. Meanwhile, to the extent that it is superfluous, its own facial recognition system is much less secure than that of Apple. This is an iPhone XS win.
However, in this ding-dong battle, Samsung returns in the form of reverse wireless charging with a solid jab. Both phones support regular wireless charging, but you can charge other Qi-equipped devices only with the Galaxy S10.
Talking about batteries, the 3400mAh unit of the Galaxy S10 dwarfs the equivalent of the 2658mAh of the iPhone XS. In practice, these are both one-day phones, which means that at the end of a day of frequent use, you won’t have much juice left. However, in terms of media consumption, which seems to hit the Galaxy S10’s battery harder, we’d give the edge to the iPhone XS.
See and feel Samsung Galaxy S10 vs iPhone XS
Both Apple and Samsung have had a tremendous influence on the design of smartphones. However, it’s Samsung’s turn to innovate for this particular generation of phones, and Apple’s turn to look a little stuffy. The iPhone X has been the most powerful phone in recent years, but the iPhone XS is almost a carbon copy. It’s the same sandwich of glass, the same chunky display notch – even the same basic dimensions.
On the other hand, Samsung has stepped up stuff with the Galaxy S10. Its display fills the body more than ever (88.3 percent of the front surface area) with the courtesy of receding bezels and a distinctive display of Infinity-O, not to mention the curved edges of the mark.
Speaking of Infinity-O, the ‘ hole-punch ‘ notch of the Galaxy S10 certainly looks more beautiful than the ugly black bar of the iPhone XS, although it poses just as many practical problems in terms of media playback and compatibility with the app. However, the Galaxy S10 sneaks into the lead in the hand. It’s only a little taller than the iPhone XS, and about the same width and thickness, despite its larger display.
Probably the biggest win here for Samsung is its weight, or rather its lack. Despite packing in a larger battery, the S10 is a stunning 20 g lighter than its rival. Actually, XS. Interestingly, for very different functions, both phones pack additional hardware buttons that you don’t tend to see much elsewhere. The iPhone packs its signature silence switch, which we can’t figure out why we don’t see more of (there are some suggestions for OnePlus).
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S10 features the Bixby button that serves as a pointless shortcut to the half-baked assistant of Samsung. At least it has the virtue that this time around you can assign it to a third-party app as a secondary function.
Both phones are incredibly beautiful glass and metal affairs that sit comfortably in the pocket and hand. Both also have water and dust resistance IP68 ratings. But the real wow factor here is the Galaxy S10.
How good are these pictures?
The Galaxy S10 is better than the iPhone XS when it comes to the photographic offerings of these two flagships. Literally, quiet.
Compared to Apple’s dual-camera effort, Samsung went with a triple-camera setup. This doesn’t mean that the overall results are of course 50 percent better than the iPhone XS –the Pixel 3 single-camera beats both of them – but it does mean that the Galaxy S10 can take ultra-wide shots as well as regular and telephoto shots.
Another attractive feature of the S10 is its main camera’s variable f/1.5-f/2.4 aperture. This contributes to the powerful (but far from class-leading) low-light performance of the Galaxy S10.
Calling an outright winner between these two phone cameras is difficult. With a smarter and more reliable auto-HDR mode, the iPhone may take more balanced and better-exposed pictures in everyday conditions. But the Galaxy S10 is a more versatile camera than the iPhone XS simply can not follow.
How much are they going to cost?
Apple’s latest iPhone XS launched a starting price of £ 999 for the 64 GB model at the end of September 2018, £ 1.149 for the 256 GB model, and a substantial £ 1.349 for the top 512 GB model.
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 is not exactly what, by comparison, you’d call affordable, but it’s a good cheaper chunk. Prices for the 128 GB SKU start at £ 799, with the top 512 GB model setting you back £ 999. Yes, that’s exactly the same price as the 64 GB iPhone XS entry-level.
To some extent, the scores we gave these two phones can be ignored. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is the best available Android phone, while the iPhone XS is the best available phone (taking out of the equation’ plus’ models).
But if we stack both phones against each other coldly and impartially, the Galaxy S10 simply has more to offer. It is the market’s most beautiful smartphone, it has a superior display, more standard storage, and a more flexible camera. And all that for a much lower price to ask.