Apple iPhone X vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Which is best?

Can Apple out-premium Samsung finest flagship phone?

Did you see 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.

However, going into Apple's announcement, the Galaxy S8 was our favourite smartphone in the world, and it did it at a starting price that was S$500 less than the iPhone X. Now that the iPhone X is out, did Apple's rebuilt, 10th-anniversary handset really shake up our smartphone standings?

Here's how the battle played out, category by category.

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. Ultimately, we think the Galaxy S8 has the slight edge here, not only because of the notch but also due to how the curved screen makes it look like there's almost no bezel along the sides. The iPhone X is a beauty, though.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8

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). And the iPhone has that notch, of course, which trims off a slight bit of screen real estate at the top.

Still, the iPhone X's screen looks excellent - it's significantly more vivid than the LCD screens of previous models (including the iPhone 8). And truth be told, Apple's panel was made by Samsung! While the Galaxy S8 has an advantage on resolution, it's hardly noticeable in everyday usage. They're both brilliant displays. And the iPhone gets a hair brighter than the S8, too.

Apple's screen has a couple of unique perks, too. It's a True Tone screen, which means the colours adjust automatically based on your ambient lighting, which helps keep things very natural-looking throughout. And it's also a 3D Touch screen, bringing some pressure sensitivity to apps, games, and the UI, even if that's not the most critical of additions.

Both sides have slight edges here, but ultimately they're both among the best screens you'll find on a smartphone today. And for that, we have to call it a draw.

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, brings 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 is really neat when it works well. That's not all the time, but to be fair, it's still in beta.

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. We'd put it just behind phones like the Google Pixel 2 XL and HTC U11.

We haven't had a chance to do an updated smartphone shootout to really put the results head to head, but both of these phones are fantastic shooters and among the best on the market today. You can't go wrong either way here.

Winner: Draw

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