iPhone XS Max vs. Galaxy Note 9: They Both Want to Know What’s In Your Wallet September 24, 2018

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As the dust settles from all that new flagship phone buzz, for those of us in the “the bigger, the better” camp, you’re probably wondering which “plus-size” phone you should get, the Galaxy Note 9 or the iPhone XS Max? While you might think the choice is obvious, hang on a minute. After you start stacking these two powerhouses up against each other, you might find yourself on the receiving end of a plus-size surprise.


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 Body Language

First, the broad strokes: The Note 9 is slightly thicker and slightly taller, while the Max is slightly wider. They each almost weigh ½ lb. and are both definitely two-handed devices. Their displays are very comparable—6.4” for the Note 9 and 6.5” for the XS Max– however, on the Max we find the infamous iPhone notch, which pilfers some of the phone’s real estate. Both displays are incredible, though, utilizing the latest OLED technology (deep blacks, high contrast ratios, vibrant colors).

The Note 9 and XS Max are also both made with premium-quality materials: the Note 9’s got a solid metal frame with curved glass panels on the front and back. The Max has a stainless steel frame, also with glass panels fore and aft. Both models are IPX68 water and dust resistant, which basically means they can be dropped in a deeper commode than other models, for an hour and a half.



Not Just Another Pretty Face

Both mother ship phones come with extremely stunning resolution–  2960×1440 pixels for the Note 9, 2688×1242 pixels  for the Max. When you get into dimensions that high, it really doesn’t make a difference to the naked eye. In fact, you’d probably need to have them right next to each other and look very, very carefully to see any differences at all. Suffice it to say, both displays are as good as you’ll ever need.

The Max utilizes Apple’s 3D Touch, which is one of those features you either use or you don’t. The Samsung flagship, meanwhile, has managed to hang on to its Home button (which seems to have sustained the rest of the smartphone world up ‘til now).


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The Note 9 and the XS Max both also pack the latest and greatest muscle under the hood. Note 9 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, one of the fastest out there. The Max comes with the Apple A12 Bionic, which is supposed to be a significant improvement on the A11. As far as which is the “smokin’est,” this is something we’ll actually need to wait to see when the Max is delivered, but rest assured that both of these are among the fastest phones currently offered on the market. The XS Max’s out-of-the-box operating system is the iOS 12, while the Note 9 has the Android Oreo 8.1. For this, it’ll probably all boil down to personal preference, but rest assured, both are very, very strong systems.


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But Wait, There’s More

Now on to storage. This is an area where the Note 9 definitely has the advantage. Its base model comes with 128G, or you can upgrade to 512G. But, where it really kicks into overdrive is its Micro SD card slot where an additional 512G can be added– basically giving you the potential of a monster ONE TERABYTE smartphone, which is totally nuts. The iPhone XS Max base model comes with 64G as well as 256 or 512G models, but expandability on any of these models is not an option.


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Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t It

Moving on to the cameras, both the Galaxy Note 9 and the iPhone XS Max have rear dual-camera setups: a primary and a telephoto camera. The Note 9’s primary lens also has a dual-aperture feature (f/1.5 to f/2.4) and does really well with low-light images. The secondary lens on the Note 9 has a f/2.4 aperture and offers an optical zoom option. The XS Max telephoto camera also has optical zoom and a f/2.4 aperture, but the primary camera only has a single aperture at f/1.8. That said, both phones do have a Portrait mode where you can edit the background’s blur. Also, the Note 9’s front-facing camera has 8MP with f/1.7, while the XS Max’s front-facing camera has 7MP with f/2.2. Both front-facing cameras support the Portrait mode, too, however only the XS Max has the Portrait-mode blur adjustment like on the rear camera. Again, we won’t know if one phone’s camera system is superior to the other until we actually have the Max in hand.

When it comes to the video feature, both devices come with 4K at 60fps, but the Samsung Note 9 also added a Super Slo Mo 720p at 960fps.


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You Keep ‘a Knockin’, But You Can’t Come In

Regarding security, the XS Max has an improved version of its Face ID, probably the best smartphone facial recognition software on the market. The Note 9 also has a facial recognition program (albeit not as advanced), plus it has an iris scanner and a fingerprint sensor, all of which you could use if you wanted. So, basically, it’s a choice of the most advanced face recognition or three security options .

Both Samsung and Apple smartphones come with stereo speakers, however only the Note 9 comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, and although technology has moved on so we don’t have to have the jack anymore, it’s still a feature near and dear to many people’s hearts. Both smartphones also come with stereo audio recording.


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S Pen

The one feature that the Note has– which pretty much no other smartphone does– is the S Pen, a stylus that introduces some additional advanced features. This year’s model also comes with connectivity, so you can remotely operate the Note 9 with it, including using it as a clicker during presentations. Most folks probably won’t explore the full spectrum of the S Pen, but for you button-down types, this gizmo could be just the ticket.


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The Juice

Another welcome upgrade on the new Note 9 is its very large 4000mAh battery. The folks at Apple weren’t very specific about the XS Max’s battery size, only that the phone can run 1-1/2 hours longer than last year’s iPhone X– and if you’re like me, you hate story problems.

The Note 9 and the XS Max both support wireless charging and fast charging, although only the Note 9 actually comes with the charger. You’ll have to go out and get your own fast charger with the XS Max, which can be pretty pricey.


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And speaking of price, the Note 9’s base model w/128G comes in at $999 ($1,249 for the 512G). The XS Max’s base w/64G is $1,099 ($1,249 for the 256G and $1,449 for the 512G—and don’t forget the fast charger).

Chances are, you already feel strongly about either the Apple or Android format. Once thing’s for certain, you will definitely be happy with either one of these amazing, powerful phones. And whichever you choose, keep Hypercel bookmarked for all of your Galaxy Note 9 and iPhone XS Max accessories!



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