Apple iPhone X vs Samsung Galaxy S8: the weigh-in

Can Apple out-premium the world's finest flagship phone?

Did you catch the announcement of the new smartphone that's nearly all glorious, OLED screen on the front and packed with the latest and greatest tech inside – and a bulging price point to match?

No, it's not the Samsung Galaxy S8, or even the Galaxy Note 8 at that. It's the Apple iPhone X, and sure, it might seem familiar to anyone that's been following Samsung's flagship phone moves this year. The iPhone X gives Apple's handset a dazzling redesign with a crisp, beautiful new screen that dominates the face of the phone, along with many other strong perks.

Right now, however, the Galaxy S8 is our favourite smartphone in the world, and it does so at a price that's RM1000 less than the iPhone X. Can Apple's rebuilt, 10th-anniversary handset really shake up our smartphone standings?

Here's how this showdown looks so far based on the specs.

Design: Both are beauties

No, the iPhone X and Galaxy S8 are not identical – but they're a lot closer than the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8 were.

The iPhone X follows the trend of the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 in that it's almost all screen on the front. The curved Galaxy S8 screen barely has any bezel along the sides, while the top and bottom have slim black bars – and it looks pretty seamless. It's glass on the back, as well, and the whole thing just pops. It's fabulous.

Apple's solution is to have screen stretch to all four sides, but then have a little notch in the display up top, with that space housing the front and infrared cameras, the microphone, and sensors. It's a bit odd, but the nearly-all-screen face is also very striking. And it too has glass on the back now, returning to the iPhone 4s days of yore.

We're quite taken with the Galaxy S8, but the iPhone X looks mighty fine as well. Until we spend ample time actually holding the iPhone X and getting used to its shape, we're calling this category a draw.

Likely Winner: Draw

Screen: Extra large, extra beautiful

The iPhone X rocks a 5.8in, taller-than-normal OLED screen with HDR support… and so too does the Galaxy S8. Like two peas in a pod here, right?

Well, almost: the iPhone X screen is flat, while the Galaxy S8 screen curves on the left and right sides. Also, the Galaxy S8 has a resolution bump, coming in at 2960x1440 (571 pixels per inch) while the iPhone X resolution is lower at 2436x1125 (458ppi).

The iPhone X screen should look excellent, and it should certainly be crisper and more vivid than the outdated iPhone 7 display. But it's really only a smidge sharper than 1080p resolution, while the Galaxy S8 is up in Quad HD territory.

Samsung's screens are the gold standard for smartphones, and have been over the last couple years now. But Apple's recent True Tone screens for iPad have likewise been fantastic, and the iPhone X pairs that True Tone tech (which adjusts colours for ambient light) with an OLED screen and incredible promised contrast. It's also a 3D Touch screen, although we imagine there are few folks out there who are truly swayed by such a feature.

The iPhone X might fall short on pixel density, but it really could come out ahead in other respects. It'll be hard to top Samsung's offering here, but we're excited to see how Apple's latest offering stacks up. Until we can really pit them head to head, we're calling this one a draw.

Likely Winner: Draw

Camera: Sharp shooters

Two cameras are better than one, right? Well, not always – but the iPhone X's additional back camera, continuing the trend of last year's iPhone 7 Plus, will bring some handy extras.

The iPhone X has a pair of 12-megapixel shooters on the back: one wide angle (f/1.8), the other telephoto (f/2.4) – both with optical image stabilisation – and the pairing of the two let you dig into some optical zoom, as well as take snazzy Portrait shots. The new Portrait Lighting feature also lets you adjust the kind of lighting seen on those shots, which looks really neat.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S8 has just one 12MP back camera (f/1.7), and it's quite excellent. Thanks to a load of software enhancements, it's even better than the Galaxy S7's camera, and it pumps out crisp, colorful shots on the regular. However, it's not our favourite smartphone camera right now, loosening Samsung's once-enviable grip on that category.

Will the iPhone X leapfrog the Galaxy S8 in terms of everyday camera quality? We'll have to wait for our review testing to find out, but we think there's a good chance it can edge out a win here.

Likely Winner: Draw

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