It’s always worth taking stock when mobile giants Apple and Samsung release new phones. But how do you separate two premium, flagship handsets which excel in all departments? It’s a tough call but we’ll do our best.
Lining up the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S10 side by side, we’ve compared everything that matters, from the screen to the battery life to the cameras. Read on to find out how they both scored and what our ultimate verdict is.
The phones at a glance
Samsung Galaxy S10
Android v9.0 (Pie)
143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm, 177g
157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm
5.8 inches, 1125 x 2436 pixels, OLED
6.1 inches, 1440 x 3040 pixels, AMOLED Infinity Display
Hexa core , quad-core
Snapdragon 855; Octa-Core, 64-bit
12 MP + 12 MP; 10 x Digital Zoom, 2 x Optical Zoom, Auto Flash, Face detection, Touch to focus
12 MP (standard) 12MP, f/1.5
12 MP (telephoto), f/2.4,
16MP (ultrawide), f/2.2
Gold, Silver, Space Grey
Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green and Prism Blue
£799 and £999
iPhone XS: A new iPhone doesn’t always mean radical design changes, but the iPhone X did arrive with a much-needed upgrade. It’s no bad thing then that its successor, the iPhone XS, looks exactly the same. Sleek, stylish with a noticeable reduction in bezel size (as is fast becoming the norm) - this is very much the modern flagship smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy S10: With its pin-hole camera at the top right-hand corner of the screen, and a near bezel-less, edge-to-edge display, Samsung has done a great job in differentiating the S10 from its predecessor. Elegant, simple, yet maintaining the look and feel of a premium handset.
Both these phones look the business. It’s a tie.
iPhone XS: The XS’s 5.8in OLED display offers a super-sharp display, with ultra-high pixel density that support Dolby Vision and HDR10, making for a super clear picture, and stunning colour.
Samsung Galaxy S10: With its appealing curved edges and super AMOLED display, the Galaxy S10’s 6.1-inch screen is a visual treat. Throw in HDR10+ support, widescreen 19:9 aspect ratio and a QHD+ resolution and you can see why some are calling it the best ever smartphone display.
The Galaxy S10 by a nose.
Processors and performance
iPhone XS: Compared to earlier models, Apple made some significant improvements on performance and battery for the XS, largely due to the A12 bionic chip with its 4-core GPU, 6-core CPU and neural design. But what does this actually mean? It means that the XS is the fastest and most powerful iPhone to date.
Samsung Galaxy S10: The S10 boasts a super-powerful Qualcomm 855 Snapdragon processor with enough clout to support embedded fingerprint sensors. An “all-day” battery, 8GB of RAM and next generation Wi-Fi 6 mean you’re assured of a very speedy handset.
The Galaxy S10 is fast, but the iPhone XS is faster still.
Interface and software
iPhone XS: Running on IOS 12, the XS makes the most of system improvements across the board. In terms of speed, existing iPhone users will certainly notice the difference, whether you’re launching apps and animations or have an eye on overall responsiveness. Though you won’t see too many changes to the iPhone interface - bar some refreshed notifications - as most of the enhancements are going on beneath its enticing exterior.
Samsung Galaxy S10: You’re unlikely to experience too many performance issues with the S10 either. Samsung’s One UI software (on top of Android 9 Pie) means even the most demanding apps are well handled. While Bixby (personal voice assistant) will still irritate some users, as it’s only capable of dealing with simple queries, the S10 is helpfully customisable and its AI tech makes great use of screen space.
Both phones perform extremely well when handling demanding apps and multitasking - a dead heat.
iPhone XS: The iPhone XS’s real icing on the cake is its camera unit, with a rear dual-camera and a new, super-powerful 7MP sensor on the front giving you high picture quality and photos a pro would be pleased with.
Samsung Galaxy S10: A triple-lens camera offering from the S10 means you get two 12-megapixel cameras - one with dual aperture - and one 16-megapixel snapper with an ultra-wide lens. Throw in the ability to capture 4k video through its front and rear lens and you’ve got an impressive camera setup.
Ultimately, you’ll be happy snapping away with either of these phones, but the S10 edges it with its excellent three-lens system - particularly in low light!
iPhone XS: Look away now... unfortunately one of the key areas the XS loses its shine is on its 2,658mAh battery. A single charge should get you about eight hours of web browsing, but more punishing activity will reduce this considerably.
Samsung Galaxy S10: While bigger isn’t necessarily better, the S10’s 3,400mAh battery notably outperforms the iPhone XS, particularly in conjunction with Fast Wireless Charging 2.0.
The S10’s bigger and more effective battery wins out.
Apple vs Samsung: the head-to-head of our times! Melodrama aside, it’s always difficult to separate these two mobile behemoths and their flashy, classy handsets - and the fact is most users would be happy pocketing either phone. But considering its impressive One UI software, stunning display, bigger battery and lower price, we’re handing the plaudits to the Samsung Galaxy S10.