Apple iPhone 8 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S8+

As much as there is competition in smartphones, in the past couple of years we have seen two companies take over: Apple’s iPhones have become the default options for many and Samsung with its Galaxy has grown nearly synonymous with Android.

It’s only natural then to compare Apple’s newest iPhone 8 Plus against its rival, the Samsung Galaxy S8+. After all, both are big phones and both represent the finest from the two companies.

The S8+ is now cheaper as it’s been on the market for nearly half a year, but it’s not outdated by any means. It lacks the dual cameras of the iPhone, but matches it and outdoes it in other aspects. And while both are great phones, they are better at different things and we’re about to learn more about those differences right away.

Design

The iPhone 8 Plus feels like a slight update to an aging design, while the Galaxy looks sleeker, more modern.

Samsung has leaped forward with beautiful, sleek, futuristic glass and metal concoctions, and the Galaxy S8+ is just that: one stylish phone with an immersive display. Apple, you ask? Well, it actually seems to be lagging behind these days: the iPhone 8 Plus has a glass back which adds style points, but the huge bezel up front remind us that we are still looking at the same four-year old design.

There are a few footnotes to all of this. First is color: the iPhone ships in three colors, but while they might sound familiar, the actual tones are different than on earlier iPhones. The silver one looks downright white and very clean, the gold one is a new shade of gold that is a mix between rose gold and the old gold, and both mask fingerprints extremely well. The space grey one actually has a brownish tone and is not even close to the deep hue of say last year’s jet black or even matte black options (it’s the only one where you can see fingerprint smudges easily). The S8+? It ships in four colors: black, blue, silver and gray, and finger smudges are very noticeable on all of those models.

In practical terms, the glass on both is not slippery, but can definitely shatter when you drop the phones, so a case is strongly recommended (yes, a case also admittedly ruins a lot of the design effort that went into those phones…).

The other important thing is to fully understand just how big these phones are. Neither phone fits comfortably in a jeans pocket, but the iPhone is especially uncomfortable. The S8+ is narrower, while the iPhone 8 Plus is very wide and you have to use both of your hands most of the times with these phones.

Here are the actual physical sizes of both:

  • iPhone 8 Plus: 6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches
  • S8+: 6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

The iPhone weighs 7.13 ounces (202g) and is considerably heavier than the S8+ with its 6.10 oz (173g) of weight. We like a phone with a solid feeling in the hand, but if you are used to carrying your phone in your pants pockets, the extra weight of the iPhone adds to the inconvenience of having an already big phone, and can definitely be felt.

Considering they are so big, it is a bit annoying that Samsung continues to put the fingerprint scanner way out of reach and next the camera on the S8+. You get used to it, but it remains a daily inconvenience. In contrast, the front-placed iPhone 8 Plus finger scanner feels much more natural to use.

One last thing to know is that both phones are water-sealed (great news!): the iPhone carries an IP67 rating, while the S8+ has a higher, IP68 certification. What this means is that both are protected from dust ingress, and both can be submerged in water: the iPhone can withstand immersion in up to 3-feet deep water, while the IP68 S8+ can theoretically withstand up to 5-feet water depth, and both are guaranteed to survive in water for as long as 30 minutes.

Apple iPhone 8 PlusApple iPhone 8 Plus

6.24 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches
158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm
7.13 oz (202 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+Samsung Galaxy S8+

6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
6.10 oz (173 g)

Display

The S8+ has an immersive, bezel-less AMOLED display with punchy colors that pulls ahead. The iPhone has big bezels from the past, but colors also look great on it.

There are two things that make high-end phones stand out: one is the camera and the other is the display. And these two sure stand out, as they have two of the finest screens out there.

The S8+ sports a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display, while the iPhone 8 Plus features a 5.5-inch LCD. Both default to 1080p resolution, but you can set a higher, Quad HD resolution on the S8+ (this will result in theoretically better sharpness, but will also negatively affect the battery life).

The big difference here, however, is in the form of the screen. Samsung calls its screen the “Infinity Display” because it feels like it flows into the body of the phone and has almost no bezels. The screen-to-body ratio of the S8+ is a whopping 83%, while on the iPhone it is merely 67.5% because of those big bezels on the top and the bottom. This sets the two apart in a big way: the S8+ feels more immersive and it fits more content.

But it’s not just size: it’s the lively colors that impress the most with these two. The S8+ has different color modes where you can tweak its appearance, but the default Adaptive mode shows punchy, saturated colors, with great contrast and deep blacks. The iPhone 8 Plus also has very pleasing colors, but they do not quite reach the lush tones you see on the S8+. Blacks appear slightly more grayish and contrast is a bit lower, but everything also looks a bit better balanced, even if slightly toned down.

Then, the iPhone 8 Plus comes with one neat innovation: True Tone technology. True Tone will adapt the display’s white balance to ambient light, usually making your phone look slightly warmer indoors, for a more natural look. We like this small convenience.

Display measurements and quality

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