Our Opinion

The Apple iPhone XS Max 64GB is a significantly better phone, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (6GB RAM, 128GB) is significantly better value for money. Which phone should you buy? Depends on how much you want to spend!

Apple iPhone XS Max 64GB  Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (6GB RAM, 128GB) 
Apple iPhone XS Max Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Buy Now Buy Buy
Excellence Score
92.8
87.5
Value for Money Score
53.4
64.0
Price ₹ 102,381 onwards ₹ 58,890 onwards
Launch Date (India) Sep, 2018 Aug, 2018
Expected Launch Date N/A N/A
Smartphone OS Apple iOS 12Expected update to next Apple iOS version Android 8.1 OreoExpected update to 9.0 Pie
Touchscreen Yes (Capacitive) Yes (Capacitive)
Screen Size 6.5 inches 6.4 inches
Screen Resolution 1242x2688 pixels (~ 456 pixels per inch) 1440x2960 pixels (~ 514 pixels per inch)
Tall Aspect Ratio / Minimal Bezels Yes Yes
Scratch Resistant Display Yes Yes, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Display Features OLED, Super Retina HD Display, HDR Display, True Tone Display, Wide Colour Display (P3), 3D Touch, Fingerprint-resistant Oleophobic Coating, Support for Display of Multiple Languages and Characters Simultaneously, 120Hz touch-sensing Super AMOLED, HDR10 Compliant, 3D Touch (Home Button Only), Always-on Display, Infinity Display
Full Physical QWERTY Keypad
Processor 2.49 GHz 2.7 GHz
Processor Type Hexa Core Octa Core
Processor Name Apple A12 BionicRanked #1 in Mobile Processor Benchmarks Exynos 9810 OctaRanked #4 in Mobile Processor Benchmarks
GPU Apple GPU (4-core graphics) Mali-G72 MP18
RAM 4 GB 6 GB
3G Yes Yes
4G Yes Yes
VoLTE Yes Yes
WiFi Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Connecting Port Lightning USB-C
Primary Camera 12MP + 12MP 12MP + 12MP
Camera Auto-Focus Yes Yes
Camera Flash Yes Yes
HD Video Recording Yes (4K) Yes (4K)
Other Camera Features Wide-angle: F/1.8 Aperture, Telephoto: F/2.4 Aperture, 2x Optical Zoom, Digital Zoom up to 10x, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control, Portrait Lighting, Dual Optical Image Stabilisation, 6P lens, Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync, Panorama (up to 63MP), Sapphire Crystal lens cover, Backside illumination sensor, Hybrid IR filter, Autofocus with Focus Pixels, Tap to focus with Focus Pixels, HDR, Live Photos, Local tone mapping, Red-eye Correction, Exposure control, Auto Image Stabilisation, Burst mode, Timer mode, Geo-tagging, 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Full HD Video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps, HD Video recording at 30 fps, Slo-mo Video for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps, Time-lapse video, Continuous Autofocus video, Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video, Playback zoom, Video geotagging, Stereo recording 12MP (Wide): F/1.5-2.4 Aperture; 1/2.55" Sensor Size; 1.4µm Pixel Size; 26mm Focal Length, 12MP (Telephoto): F/2.4 Aperture; 1/3.6" Sensor Size; 1.0um Pixel Size; 52mm Focal Length, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) in both Cameras, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), 2x Optical Zoom, Dual-LED (Dual Tone) Flash, Geo-tagging, Simultaneous 4K Video and 9MP Image Recording, Touch Focus, Continuous Autofocus, Face/Smile Detection, Auto HDR, Video HDR, Dual-video Recording; Live Focus, Pro mode, Panorama, Slow Motion, Hyperlapse, Food mode
Secondary Camera 7.0MP 8.0MP
Secondary Camera Features F/2.2 Aperture, Portrait mode with bokeh and Depth Control, Portrait Lighting, Animoji and Memoji, Full HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR, Cinematic video stabilisation (1080p and 720p), Live Photos, Retina Flash, Backside illumination sensor, Auto image stabilisation, Burst mode, Exposure control, Timer mode F/1.7 Aperture, Autofocus, 1/3.6" Sensor Size, 1.22 µm Pixel Size, 25mm Focal Length, Full HD Video Recording, Dual Video Call, Auto HDR
Internal Memory 64 GB 128 GB
Expandable Memory Slot up to 256 GB
Contacts Storage Unlimited Unlimited
SMS Storage Unlimited Unlimited
Music Player Yes Yes
FM Radio
Dual SIM GSM+GSM GSM+GSM (Hybrid SIM slot)
Thickness 7.7 mm 8.8 mm
Weight 177 gm 201 gm
Audio Output Lightning 3.5mm jack
Water Resistant Yes, IP68 Rated (up to 2m for 30 mins) Yes, IP68 Rated (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)
Battery Capacity 3174 mAh 4000 mAh
Battery Standby N/A N/A
Battery Standby (3G) N/A N/A
Battery Talktime 25.00 hrs N/A
Battery Talktime (3G) N/A N/A
Fast Charging Yes Yes, Quick Charge 2.0
Other Battery Parameters Internet Usage Time: upto 13 hrs, Video Playback Time (wireless): upto 15 hrs, Audio Playback Time (wireless): upto 65 hrs N/A
Fingerprint sensor Yes
Other Features Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified); Wireless Charging (works with Qi chargers); Siri; Fast Battery Charging: Upto 50% Charge in 30 mins, IP68 Rated; NFC; TV Out; Lightning Connector; Stereo Speakers; Noise Filtration; Supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 Content; AirPlay Mirroring; Photos and Video out to Apple TV (2nd generation or later); Video Mirroring and Video Out Support; AirDrop; AirPlay; AirPrint; Control Centre; Handoff; HomeKit; iCloud; iCloud Keychain; Multitasking; Night Shift; Notification Centre; Siri; Spotlight Search; iMovie; Pages; Keynote; Numbers; iTunes U; GarageBand; Apple TV Remote; iTunes Remote; Music Memos, Siri Shortcuts, Measure Scratch Resistant (Corning Gorilla Glass 5) Back Panel; S-Pen; Samsung Desktop Experience (DeX); Wireless Charging; Bixby Assistant; Edge Gestures; Live Messages; NFC; TV Out; ANT+ Support; Miracast; Google Cast; Stereo Speakers; Noise Filtration; Samsung Pay
2-minute Review [Positives]
  • Continues the gorgeous, premium design language of last year's iPhone X
  • Ditching the home button and moving to a face-based login was a bold move from Apple last year - and its mostly ended up working (with just a bit of a learning curve for previous iPhone users), and thus allowed modern iPhones to go nearly all-screen - the new iPhones this year continue the trend
  • There is now even better water and dust resistance - these iPhones can stay water-safe an extra meter under water, up to 2 meters of immersion for up to 30 minutes (last year's iPhones already survived up to 1 meter) - this phone, according to Apple, will also better handle salt water, chlorinated water and various liquid spills
  • Face ID is now faster than before
  • The display is fantastic, and even slightly better than the already great one on the iPhone x - the new display looks subtly brighter and richer at maximum brightness
  • On the iPhone XS Max series, the display is also much larger, providing an even better experience for watching videos and browsing
  • Apple also claims to have used even more durable, scratch-resistant glass, than on the iPhone X
  • The new iOS 12 brings a number of new features like group notifications and most importantly makes deep performance improvements - Apple is known for regularly tuning its software to perform optimally with the hardware - overall, this as refined and polished a software experience on a smartphone as you can hope for
  • One of the best things about iPhones of course is that you are pretty much guaranteed updates for many years to come (even the best Android phones top out at about 3 years), so as long as you take care of your phone physically, the longevity factor here is really high!
  • The iPhone XS Max is a performance monster - there is no other way of putting it - it still blows the best Android phones away - and the new A12 Bionic processor sets a new standard for performance, and for chip design
  • The most important gains from the crazy fast A12 Bionic are in AI, AR and graphics - AR apps for instance show better, smoother video and higher-resolution backgrounds (Apple says that's due to a greatly improved Neural Engine chip for machine learning and computer vision)
  • The cameras will blow you away, and are easily the best-in-class along with the Pixel 2
  • The dual rear cameras are markedly improved from the iPhone X delivering better photos in both dark and high-contrast environments (Apple calls this "Smart HDR") thanks to a new sensor and the new image processor on the A12 Bionic chip - in practice, this means photos look better whether shot on a nighttime street, in a dark bar or in bright sunlight - focus is faster, too - all these elements combine to produce an even better camera than the already great iPhone X - and the difference is significant enough to get serious photographers interested
  • There is also a new adjustable background depth feature in portrait mode, that allows you to tweak the bokeh level, giving you even more power over your photos
  • Portrait Lighting effects, which digitally remove the background and turn selfies into head shots, now look slightly less artificial
  • The iPhone XS Max's video recording quality might benefit even more from the phone's camera improvements than still photos - the added HDR (better auto contrast, as with the still photos) and extra stabilization will make even your more casual videos look more vibrant, even at 1080p and 30fps - and the microphones now record in stereo, too - very simply, the iPhone's video camera is the best video camera on any phone at this point
  • As with the iPhone X, the iPhone XS Max pumps out some solid stereo sound in landscape mode, but the XS takes it up a notch - they sound even better, crisp and loud - movies and games sound great, almost like listening on an iPad Pro
  • The battery easily lasts the work day, and gives you about an hour more than the iPhone XS - though it's still not world-beating by any definition
  • Better wireless charging than before - Apple says the phone's wireless charging coil has improved so there'll be fewer misses when you place it on a charge pad
  • Support for faster Gigabit LTE
  • Finally, the iPhones this year also add dual SIM support - this is done with a physical nano-SIM + eSIM combination (eSIMs are currently supported in India only on Airtel and Jio)
  • On the whole, the iPhone XS/Max series is pretty much an "S" iPhone series, an overall polish and refinement of the bold iPhone X - they're faster, with better camera hardware that will make everyday photography more professional-looking - for most iPhone X users this will be a skippable upgrade, but for everyone else, the iPhone XS and XS Max, are the very best iPhones (and arguably the best smartphones) you can get - that's of course if you can afford it - these are crazy good phones at crazy high prices!
  • And if you can afford the XS, you might as well give serious consideration to the XS Max too - the bigger screen is definitely an advantage for reading, gaming, watching videos, and typing
  • Big, stylish, premium, high-end phablet, mostly continuing the design from the previous Note series - Samsung continues to do an impressive job cramming a lot of screen into a reasonably manageable footprint
  • The new blue and purple paint jobs look excellent
  • The fingerprint sensor has now (thankfully) migrated from the side of the camera to underneath it, making it more intuitive to use
  • The new stylus (S-Pen) comes in vibrant color options, and now can be used as a (bluetooth) remote control for the phone - serving as a handy surrogate for those who don’t own a compatible smartwatch - for instance you could control your music player (single click plays/pauses a song, and a double-click extends the track), or you could use it as a shutter button in the camera app which could be a useful way to take a selfie without having to hold the phone at arms’ length
  • Absolutely gorgeous, vibrant, bright, big display - one of the best displays in a smartphone, period
  • Samsung's Android UI is one of the more refined Android UIs, and includes the (somewhat useful, but not always useful) Bixby AI assistant
  • Top-end, top-notch performance backed by flagship hardware - the Note 9 will steamroll through anything you throw at it
  • Excellent set of dual rear cameras - up there with the best of the lot, the Pixel 2 and the Galaxy S9 Plus - this time out, most of the camera improvements are on the software side of things - as has been the case for a lot of flagships this year - two features in particular stand out: Scene Optimizer (AI engine to pick the scene you are shooting and tweak settings accordingly) and Flaw Detection (AI engine to pick out and warn about blurry shots, people blinking in the picture etc)
  • Very good selfie camera too
  • Surprisingly loud and powerful stereo speakers - there's one on the bottom, and the earpiece doubles up as the second - all your music, games and videos will sound rich, crisp and clear without any distortion
  • Very good battery life - with a 4000mAh battery this time, you can now expect the phone to last a full day and night
  • Fast charging, and wireless charging support
  • On the whole, the Note continues to be Samsung's “innovation brand”, the uber-premium device that allows the company to push the limits of its mobile hardware, and at least for the time being, the Note remains one of the best methods for transporting a whole lot of screen around on your person - the big screen and stylus come together to walk the line between productivity and entertainment - it’s big, it’s bold, and it remains the phablet to beat
2-minute Review [Negatives]
  • Headphone jack dongles are now no longer included in the retail package - which means you will have to rely on Apple's included lightning port earphones (or purchase wireless earphones)
  • No fast charger included in the retail box - Apple only includes a 5-watt basic Lightning iPhone charger in-box - a fast charger will need to be purchased separately
  • Of course, as is usually the case with all Note series phones, a lot of people might still find the size a bit too large, and unwieldy, for their taste - it's also fairly heavy - beyond the 200g mark
  • The company’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to the Note line means there are plenty of features that will probably never really make their way into your daily routine - the Note continues to be a phone that's best suited for the most hardcore users
  • Like always, one of the key things about whether you should buy the Note, should be if you see yourself using the stylus for handwritten notes, annotations, making drawings, and the likes - this is always a divided house - some people find it useful as a productivity device, and others not so much
Expert Reviews
  1. Has one very big trump card - the large 6.5" OLED screen - the largest screen ever on an iPhone
    gsmarena.com in-depth Read Review »
  2. The iPhone XS and XS Max are your best choice if you’re looking for a no-compromise smartphone experience (and money’s not an issue)
    phonearena.com in-depth Read Review »
  3. An evolution, not a revolution
    wired.com in-depth Read Review »
  4. The iPhone XS, and XS Max are solid updates to a winning formula
    theverge.com in-depth Read Review »
  5. The best iPhone ever...but given the ambitious pricing, only meant for a very select audience
    digit.in in-depth Read Review »
  6. Going for the gold - the monstrous performance and cameras will blow you away
    mashable.com in-depth Read Review »
  7. Greatest iPhone ever, but Android flagships are way ahead
    firstpost.com in-depth Read Review »
  8. Crazy good phones at crazy high prices
    indiatoday.in in-depth Read Review »
  9. cnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  10. engadget.com in-depth Read Review »
  11. techradar.com in-depth Read Review »
  12. forbes.com in-depth Read Review »
  13. independent.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  14. telegraph.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  15. bgr.in in-depth Read Review »
  16. androidauthority.com in-depth Read Review »
  17. indianexpress.com in-depth Read Review »
  18. economictimes.indiatimes.com in-depth Read Review »
  19. alphr.com in-depth Read Review »
  20. news18.com in-depth Read Review »
  21. expertreviews.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  22. tomsguide.com in-depth Read Review »
  23. thequint.com in-depth Read Review »
  24. zdnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  25. slashgear.com in-depth Read Review »
  26. t3.com in-depth Read Review »
  27. cnbc.com in-depth Read Review »
  28. gadgetsnow.com in-depth Read Review »
  29. techadvisor.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  30. arstechnica.com in-depth Read Review »
  31. techcrunch.com hands-on Read Review »
  32. digitaltrends.com hands-on Read Review »
  33. gizmodo.com hands-on Read Review »
  1. The most smartphone packed in a single device you can buy...If that's what you're after, the Galaxy Note9 is an easy recommendation
    gsmarena.com in-depth Read Review »
  2. One of the year's best phones
    cnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  3. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s too expensive for a lot of us. But it remains the phablet to beat.
    techcrunch.com in-depth Read Review »
  4. For the Note 9 to make sense, you need to want more than just “more,” you need to want the most
    theverge.com in-depth Read Review »
  5. An 'ALMOST' perfect flagship smartphone
    beebom.com in-depth Read Review »
  6. In a world full of nearly identical smartphones, the Galaxy Note 9 does stand out, and while it is expensive, you get what you pay for
    gadgets.ndtv.com in-depth Read Review »
  7. Compelling experience for consumers that want it all
    androidauthority.com in-depth Read Review »
  8. phonearena.com in-depth Read Review »
  9. engadget.com in-depth Read Review »
  10. techradar.com in-depth Read Review »
  11. forbes.com in-depth Read Review »
  12. digit.in in-depth Read Review »
  13. bgr.in in-depth Read Review »
  14. indianexpress.com in-depth Read Review »
  15. economictimes.indiatimes.com in-depth Read Review »
  16. alphr.com in-depth Read Review »
  17. news18.com in-depth Read Review »
  18. expertreviews.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  19. androidcentral.com in-depth Read Review »
  20. livemint.com in-depth Read Review »
  21. zdnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  22. slashgear.com in-depth Read Review »
  23. deccanchronicle.com in-depth Read Review »
  24. gadgetsnow.com in-depth Read Review »
  25. t3.com in-depth Read Review »
  26. indiatoday.in in-depth Read Review »
  27. bgr.com hands-on Read Review »
  28. mashable.com hands-on Read Review »
  29. digitaltrends.com hands-on Read Review »
  30. tomsguide.com hands-on Read Review »
  31. pocketnow.com hands-on Read Review »
  32. stuff.tv hands-on Read Review »
  33. pcworld.com hands-on Read Review »
  34. gizmodo.com hands-on Read Review »
User Reviews
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Official Website Official Website » Official Website »
Unofficial specs? N/A N/A
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