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Samsung's Note 9 versus iPhone X: battle of the US$1,000 phones

[HONG KONG] Samsung Electronics Co unveiled the Galaxy Note 9 in New York on Thursday, the latest iteration of a series of devices that ushered in the "phablet", which are between the size of a phone and tablet. Samsung is banking on a larger screen and more high-end specifications as it goes head-to-head with the iPhone X before Apple Inc introduces new devices ahead of the holiday shopping season.

With both starting at about US$1,000, how do the Note and iPhone X compare?

Size and weight

When put side-by-side, there is a clear difference between the Galaxy Note 9 and iPhone X. Samsung's device measures 6.4 inches (about 16.3 cm), while the iPhone X is only 5.8 inches (about 14.7 cm) - much shorter and slimmer. The Note 9 is also heavier at 201 grammes, compared with 174 grammes for Apple's device. But with the upcoming release of new models, Apple could take the size battle to the next level with plans for its biggest iPhone yet, a model featuring a screen close to 6.5 inches, Bloomberg News reported in February.

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Appearance and display

Samsung's new devices are housed in an aluminium frame and come in four colours: ocean blue, lavender purple, midnight black and metallic copper. For the iPhone X's stainless steel frame, it's a choice between silver and space gray. While both have minimised the bezels to maximise the area given over to the display, Samsung has space at the top for its front camera and ear-piece. Apple has the so-called notch to house those features, a design that drew sarcasm and criticism when the iPhone X was unveiled last year. The display on the Note 9 is slightly sharper than the iPhone X at around 516 pixels per inch versus 458 pixels on the iPhone X.

Price, memory & RAM

While the base model of both phones starts at about US$1,000, Samsung offers a version that costs as much as US$1,250, or about US$100 above the iPhone X's upper limit. Storage for the Note 9 starts at 128 gigabytes, with a slot to add more with a MicroSD card, while Apple starts with 64 gigabytes. When it comes to RAM, Samsung is offering at least 6 gigabytes, double the iPhone X.

S Pen

Samsung has been touting the advantages of its S Pen, a Bluetooth-enabled stylus that lets users remotely control the Note 9's camera and switch between slides in a presentation. It'll also allow more accurate writing and drawing on the screen, compared to using your figures on an iPhone X. With software updates, there might be more applications for the S pen in the future. The Apple Pencil was designed exclusively for the iPad Pro, not the company's handsets.

Camera

Smartphone cameras have moved beyond the early tussle over which offered the most megapixels to look at the overall picture-taking functions, such as sensors and software, there is still consumer interest in those specifications. Both the Note 9 and iPhone X have 12 megapixel rear-facing cameras while on the front, Samsung offers 8 megapixels compared with Apple's 7. Samsung says its dual aperture adapts to different lighting scenarios and can perform better in a low-light environment and its flagship also recognises what's in screen to optimise colour settings and detect flawed photos. Apple's camera touts precise facial mapping and depth-sensing.

Battery

While Samsung's 4,000 mAh battery is much larger than the 2,716 mAh of the iPhone X, capacity is not the only thing to consider. The Note 9's bigger screen needs more juice to power it while other factors include the operating system and power management tools.

Security

Note 9 provides a range of security options, including iris and fingerprint scanners as well as facial recognition while the iPhone X relies on its Face ID feature, which analyses 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of a user's face.

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