In Depth

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. iPhone XS and Google Pixel 3: which is king?

The battle for top spot in the smartphone world hots up as the new Galaxy flagship device is unveiled

Samsung is turning up the heat on the competition in the race to be crowned king of the smartphones after unveiling its new Galaxy S10 line-up. 

The new handset, due to go on sale on 9 March, is the South Korean tech giant’s answer to Apple’s new iPhone XS range, which arrived last September, and Google’s popular Pixel phones. 

With all three companies launching multiple versions of the same product, such as the larger iPhone XS Max and cheaper Galaxy S10e, we’ll be comparing the flagship device from each tech company. These are the standard iPhone XS, Galaxy S10 and Google Pixel 3.

Here’s how the rivals compare:  

Prices

It will come as little surprise to learn that the iPhone XS is the most expensive of the bunch. An entry-level 64GB model starts at £999, which rises to £1,149 for the 256GB version and £1,349 for the 512GB phone. All models are available in either space grey, silver or gold. 

Next comes the £799 Galaxy S10, which offers buyers double the storage of the entry-level iPhone XS. Pay an extra £200 and the phone’s storage capacity jumps from 128GB to 512GB. Three colour options are available: prism white, prism black and prism green. 

The Pixel 3, meanwhile, is the cheapest at £739. However, the base-spec phone comes with 64GB of storage, while 128GB models cost an extra £100 - £40 more than the equivalent Galaxy S10. Like its rivals, there are three colours to choose from: just black, clearly white and not pink. 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S10

Displays

The screen resolution for each phone is as follows:

  • iPhone XS: 5.8in OLED, 2,436x1,125
  • Galaxy S10: 6.1in AMOLED Infinity-O, 3,040x1,440
  • Pixel 3: 5.5in AMOLED, 2,160x1,080

Samsung released its all-new Infinity-O display on the Galaxy S10, which covers most of the phone’s front panel except for a small cutout for the camera. The mobile is also the first of its kind to be HDR10+ certified, allowing for the screen to display “better detail and a fuller range of colour”, says Android Central

Not only does the Galaxy S10 have a brighter display than the iPhone XS, it also does away with the “notch”, a small indent at the top of the screen housing the phone’s sensors and cameras, that appears on Apple’s phone, notes Apple Insider

And while Digital Trends says the display on the Pixel 3 “isn’t bad at all”, Google’s phone is simply “not on the same level as the Samsung”.

Winner: Galaxy S10

Specs
iPhone XS Max

Apple

The Galaxy S10 comes with Samsung’s new Exynos 9820 processor, while devices sold in the US will be fitted with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855.

Samsung’s handset is equipped with 8GB of RAM, double that of the iPhone XS and Pixel 3. It also sports a larger battery: 3,400mAh to Google’s 2,915mAh. Apple doesn’t disclose the capacity of its batteries, but tech site NoteBookCheck believes the phone has a 2,658mAh pack.

The Pixel 3 has a slightly older Qualcomm 845 processor and its battery performance is often an issue, says Digital Trends.

Although the Galaxy S10 has the edge on paper, it’s Apple’s handset that comes out on top here. 

Performance tests put Samsung’s Exynos 9820 processor behind Apple’s A12 Bionic “in most cases”, although the difference between the two chips is “only slight”, says Trusted Reviews.

Apple’s iOS operating system is also well known for its power efficiency, as is the A12 Bionic chip, meaning it should be a match for the Galaxy S10 on charge despite the XS sporting a smaller battery pack.

Winner: iPhone XS

Cameras
Pixel 3

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Once again, the Galaxy S10 appears to be the winner on paper. It is the only device with three rear-facing cameras, which consist of a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel wide-angle version and a 12-megapixel zoom, notes CNet

That configuration edges the twin-camera 12-megapixel system on the iPhone XS and 12.2-megapixel single-lens set-up on the Pixel 3, the site adds. 

However, the Pixel 3 has a trick up its sleeve that helps it compete with the more complex systems found on its rivals. 

Google employs artificial intelligence (AI) to “hugely boost” the dynamic range of an image without making the picture “flat-looking”, says Wired. Images also burst with colour, but they never look unnatural and “oversaturated”.

“The Pixel 3’s photos are hard to beat for their sheer contrast and richness of colour,” the site adds. 

Apple’s “only real trump card” over its rivals is the quality of its video recorder, which offers the “best-looking footage in the business”, says Trusted Reviews. 

But overall, the Pixel 3 seems to edge ahead of the iPhone XS. The Galaxy S10 is also a strong contender at first glance, but reviewers are waiting for the product to go on sale before giving their final verdict on the mobile’s camera.

Winner: Pixel 3 (for now)

Verdict

With the arrival of the Galaxy S10, the rivalry at the very top of the smartphone race won’t be cooling off anytime soon. 

Digital Trends argues that the Galaxy S10’s “ultra high-resolution display” and “power” make it “the phone to buy” for tech lovers. 

The Pixel 3’s camera punches well above its weight and the iPhone delivers a user experience that few have been able to match. 

But given that buyers get more storage and gadgetry for their money with the Galaxy S10, Samsung’s latest flagship handset seems to retake the king of the smartphones crown, Trusted Reviews concludes. 

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