Apple set the bar for high-priced smartphones last year with the iPhone X starting at $999. This year's Samsung Galaxy Note 9 pushed that by 99 cents to a starting price of $999.99, followed soon after by Apple's even higher priced iPhone XS Max starting at $1,099. If you want either of these new smartphones, prepare to put down more than $1,000 or else finance it through the manufacturer or your local carrier to spread the pain out over two years.
The iPhone Xs Max and Galaxy Note 9 are both extremely powerful smartphones with today's highest specifications, advanced dual rear cameras, battery life that will last you at least a day, and a size that pushes the limits and requires two hands to comfortably navigate. While they may look similar on paper, they each have a slightly different focus too and you may come to prefer one over the other like I have.
Also: iPhone XS Max review: The iPhone's future is big and bright
Specifications don't provide the complete picture regarding the capabilities of a smartphone, but they are useful for comparison purposes and to provide you with an indication on what each manufacturer is providing.
|Feature||Apple iPhone XS Max||Samsung Galaxy Note 9|
|Display size||6.5 inches||6.4 inches|
|Dimensions||157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm||161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm|
|Weight||208 grams||201 grams|
|Internal storage||64/256/512 GB||128/512 GB|
|Battery capacity||3174 mAh||4000 mAh|
|3.5mm headset jack||No||Yes|
|Dual rear cameras||Yes, both 12 megapixel||Yes, both 12 megapixel|
|Other||FaceID, dual SIM||S Pen, FM radio, ANT+, heart rate sensor, iris sensor|
|Assistant||Siri||Bixby and Google Assistant|
Both devices are great for business with large displays, excellent cameras, long battery life, and secure lock options. They also both have an IP68 dust and water resistant rating with a vast case and accessory market ready to outfit and protect your new expensive smartphone.
Due to my role here at ZDNet to test out and write about various smartphones, I currently own both of these flagship smartphones and both are being paid via monthly payment plans. I'm on the Samsung Galaxy Upgrade program for the Note 9 and using T-Mobile Jump On Demand for the Apple iPhone XS Max. However, most people will only choose one of these devices so let's look a bit closer at what makes each different from the other to see if there is one that fits your needs better.
If I did have to choose just one, then it would be the Galaxy Note 9 as you can see below.
Also: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review: Big battery and superb S Pen experience power productivity
My 10 best smartphones list will be updated as soon as we see what LG, Google, and Huawei have to announce in the next couple of weeks. Until then, the Galaxy Note 9 lives at the top of that list and it is going to take something special to knock it from that spot.
The Galaxy Note 9 has been in my hands now for more than a month. Here are features of the Note 9 that make it a compelling choice for business:
For the first time in many years, I kept the iPhone X in hand and in use for an entire year. The iPhone usually bores me after a few months and I move on to the next shiny Android phone, but the iPhone X kept me excited for many months. After a week using the iPhone XS Max, I'm not sure if it is staying or if I am sticking with the compact, pocket-friendly iPhone X.
The iPhone XS Max is a great technological improvement over the iPhone X, as clearly stated by Jason in his full review. Here are some reasons to choose the iPhone XS Max over the Note 9:
If you prefer a particular operating system over the other, then it's a clear choice which is best for you. However, you may be like my coworker and willing to switch your entire ecosystem to get the feature you like. It's really not difficult to switch between the platforms today with most everything syncing to cloud accounts. Which device do you prefer?
Apple vs Samsung phones: We compare the Galaxy S series and the iPhone XS
Should you buy the latest Apple or Samsung device? And which size? This guide breaks down the factors that matter most to business buyers and consumers alike.
Six months with Apple Watch 3: I'm sold
I hadn't worn a watch for 20 years when I bought an Apple Watch Series 3 six months ago. Now I wear it every day. Here's why -- and what I don't like.
iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9: We compare the big phones
Apple and Samsung recently released large flagship smartphones priced at $1,000+. They are close to the same size and have the latest specs, but there are also some significant differences that will lead you to one over the other for your business needs.
Will there be an October Apple event? Signs point to yes
Once again, David Gewirtz puts on his mystical prognostication hat (okay, fine, he launches Excel) to delve into Apple announcement history. Will we see new Macs, iPads, and whatnot in October? There's a pretty good chance, and we'll even tell you what dates to write in your calendar.