Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. iPhone XS: what is the big differences?


Samsung has announced the Galaxy S10, a new flagship smartphone that competes with the iPhone XS. Below, you will find out what are the most important differences for you, so that you know on which points Samsung and Apple challenge each other.

People who want a Samsung Galaxy S10 will initially compare with other Android top devices such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. But if we look at the most sold and best-loved smartphones, no one can get around Apple’s iPhone. That is why a comparison between the Galaxy S10 and iPhone XS is in order. A side note here is that the developments in the field of smartphones go fast and that Apple’s iPhone has been on the market for six months already. We will have to wait another six months to see the successor of the current XS.

Samsung has released several models: the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e. These correspond to the Apple assortment as follows: the S10e is the budget model, comparable to the iPhone XR, while the S10 and S10 Plus are comparable to the XS and XS Max.


Both devices have as large a screen as possible at the front. Samsung has opted for an Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED screen with a round hole at the top right of the front camera (hence the O). It is a 6.1-inch screen (Quad-HD), slightly larger than the 5.8-inch of the iPhone XS. Because the camera is on the right you will have to take that into account when taking selfies.

Apple’s smartphone has a notch because of the extra sensors needed for facial recognition. That notch is in the middle and takes up more space. It is a matter of taste to what extent you find this disturbing. The hole of the Samsung looks more modern. The S10 has a fairly long 19: 9 aspect ratio.

In terms of screen sizes, Samsung’s line-up is more logical: the cheapest S10e also has the smallest screen with 5.8-inch, the S10 sits with 6.1-inch in between and the S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch screen. They can display 16 million colors and have a maximum brightness of up to 1200 nits (with Apple: a maximum of 625 nits). You can play HDR10 + movies and videos on it.


For both devices, the design has not changed so much compared to the predecessors. The S10 has narrow bezels at the front and rounded corners, but that had the S9 as well. You can choose from the colors black, white, blue and green. The larger S10 Plus is also available in a black and white ceramic version. The S10e will also be available in canary yellow. The iPhone XS is available as standard in space grey, gold, and silver.

In the back of the Galaxy S10, you will find no less than three cameras, which are concealed in a square plane. The back of the iPhone XS looks better in that respect. The front camera at Samsung is hidden in a hole so no notch can be seen.

The S10 feels light in hand, compared to the iPhone. With a weight of 157 grams, Samsung’s flagship is 20 grams lighter than the XS. This has to do with the fact that Apple has opted for a heavier steel edge. The thickness is about the same: 7.8mm for the Samsung and 7.7mm for the XS.


Android devices often have more impressive specs, although this is not always reflected in better performance. Because camera quality is experienced quite subjective, we stick to the specs. The Galaxy S10 has three cameras at the rear: a 12-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel zoom camera, and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle. All three are provided with optical image stabilization. At the front, you will find a double 10-megapixel camera for face recognition, but because of this only works with 2D at Samsung, it is less advanced than the 3D Face Recognition (Apple).

The cameras of the S10 can switch between an aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4, you can make HDR10 + videos with them and there are special settings for pets and other situations. Apple contrasts Smart HDR, allowing the camera to deal better with light and dark differences. The S10 also performs well in moderate light conditions.

Hardware and specs

Samsung has an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, made by Qualcomm. This works as the name implies with sound waves. With the S10e, Samsung opted for a cheaper, capacitive fingerprint scanner on the side. The ultrasonic variant should work in all weather conditions. Apple’s iPhone no longer has a finger scanner but relies entirely on face recognition.


As far as storage is concerned, you can get in with 64GB at Apple and with Samsung at 128GB storage. Samsung also has an advantage in terms of expansion and upgrade possibilities: you can store up to 1 TB of storage at the ceramic S10 Plus and can be expanded with the memory card to a maximum of 512 GB. With the iPhone XS, 512GB of internal storage is the maximum. Of course, more storage means that the price is a lot higher. That applies to both brands.

The S10 has an 8-nanometer Exynos 9820 chipset in some countries and a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 in other regions. There is 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM. The devices are optimized for the Unity Game Engine and prepared for Wi-Fi 6. Apple’s hardware is incomparable because everything is made in-house and closely matched. It, therefore, makes more sense to look at the actual performance of the A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine than to the specs.


The Galaxy S10 has a 3.400 mAh battery and works with fast wireless charging. All models are equipped with Wireless PowerShare so that you can charge any Qi-capable device. This also applies to the newly announced Galaxy Buds. There are rumors that the iPhone will also offer this, but that is not yet certain. It is certainly not yet on the current aircraft.


In terms of software, Samsung has opted for Android 9 Pie, with its own shell. This has been given a new name: One UI. Samsung has added some extras as usual, such as Bixby Routines for commonly used actions and Dolby Atmos for gaming. Samsung also promises that apps will start faster.

On the iPhone XS, you will, of course, find iOS 12, with its own services such as Siri, FaceTime, iMessage Apple Pay, where available. The software will also be the deciding factor for many people: in terms of specs, the Galaxy S10 models are promising, but if you are used to using iOS it is getting used to switching to a different operating system, especially if there is still a skin with all kinds of extras around it. But then you can also be tempted by smartphones that Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and Xiaomi release. Whether it pleases in daily use is very personal.

A big advantage of Apple is that you are guaranteed regular updates over the next 5 years. With Samsung, support sometimes lasts only two years and it takes some time before future versions such as Android Q and Android R become available.


Pre-orders for the Galaxy S10 starting on February 21 and hitting the shelves March 8. Price is a topic that Apple fans are very busy lately. Although the devices have a very long useful life, they also have a high second-hand value. However, it is clear to many people the iPhone is getting expensive. The Samsung Galaxy S10 starting price is set to $899 (128GB) – $1149 (512GB) while the iPhone XS is $999 for 64GB. And Samsung throws a free set of Galaxy Buds during the pre-order.

Samsung Galaxy S10

iPhone XS
Display size, resolution6.1-inch AMOLED; 3,040×1,440-pixels5.8-inch Super Retina OLED; 2,436×1,125 pixels
Pixel density550ppi458ppi
Dimensions (inches)5.9 x 2.77 x 0.31 in.5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 in.
Dimensions (millimeters)149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm
Weight (ounces, grams)5.53 oz.; 157g6.2 oz.; 177g
Mobile softwareAndroid 9.0 with Samsung One UIiOS 12
Camera16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)Dual 12-megapixel
Front-facing camera10-megapixel7-megapixel with Face ID
Video capture4K4K
ProcessorOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855Apple A12 Bionic
Storage128GB, 512GB64GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM8GBNot disclosed
Expandable storageUp to 512GBNone
Battery3,400mAhNot disclosed, but Apple claims it will last 30 min. longer than iPhone X
Fingerprint sensorIn-screenNone (Face ID)
Headphone jackYesNo
Special featuresWireless PowerShare; hole punch screen notch; water resistant (IP68); Fast Wireless Charging 2.0Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging; Face ID; Memoji
Price off-contract (USD)$900$999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB), $1,349 (512GB)

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