How the Galaxy Note 8 stacks up against iPhone 8 and iPhone 7

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Galaxy Note 8
Bigger and better than ever before.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung today delivered its new Galaxy Note 8, and it’s bigger and better than ever.

With a stunning 6.3-inch Infinity Display, incredible new features, and the best smartphone specifications available right now, it’s going to prove to be tough competition for Samsung biggest rivals.

So how does the Galaxy Note 8 stack up against iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and the upcoming iPhone 8? Find out right here.

Samsung had to raise the bar with the Note 8, not only to make life difficult for Apple, but also to help fans forget about last year’s huge Galaxy Note 7 debacle. That’s great for long-time Galaxy users, who get the best of everything Samsung has to offer with this upgrade.

The Note 8 combines the Galaxy S8’s spectacular design with an even larger Infinity Display, Samsung’s first dual camera module, an improved S Pen, and features like iris scanning, facial recognition, and wireless charging. Can the iPhone compete?

Galaxy Note 8 vs. iPhone 8

Of course, iPhone 8 hasn’t been confirmed yet, so we’re basing this comparison on what we’ve learned about the device from recent leaks. We’ve also thrown in the iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S8 series so you can see how they all stack up at a glance.

Note 8 vs. iPhone chart
Click to enlarge.
Table: Cult of Mac

Power

In many ways, the Note 8 is just a larger Galaxy S8. It’s powered by the same processor and offers the same 64GB of internal storage as standard, but you get 6GB of RAM as opposed to 4GB for a smoother experience when browsing the web, multitasking, and snapping photos.

The Snapdragon 835 is the most powerful chip available to Android devices today. It’s produced using a cutting-edge 10-nanometer manufacturing process, which means its tiny transistors are placed ever so slightly closer together.

This makes the chip faster and more efficient than its predecessors. In comparison, Apple built its A10 Fusion chip for the iPhone 7 using a 14-nanometer process, but it is expected to upgrade to a 10-nanometer process for the iPhone 8’s A11 chip.

The A11 probably won’t look quite as impressive on paper — Apple’s chips never do — but that doesn’t mean anything. Despite fewer cores and slower clock speeds, the iPhone has been outpacing its fastest Android-powered rivals in benchmarks and speed tests for years.

Early benchmarks for the Note 8 suggest Samsung still hasn’t found a way to beat the iPhone 7 Plus in performance, and the gap will only get wider when iPhone 8 lands. That doesn’t mean the Note 8 is slow, however. You probably won’t get better performance from another Android phone.

Storage

One area where the Note 8 has a clear advantage is in storage. It offers 64GB of space as standard, and in certain markets, Samsung will offer models with up to 256GB of storage. What’s more, you can expand that thanks to the Note 8’s microSD card slot.

In comparison, iPhone 7 offers just 32GB of storage as standard, with the option to upgrade to 128GB and 256GB models for $100 and $200 respectively. There’s no microSD card slot, either, so you’ll have to live with the storage option you chose until you upgrade.

Rumor has it that iPhone 8 will be much more generous with its storage space, however. Apple is expected to offer the device in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB models, which means the vast majority of us won’t have to worry about regularly deleting precious memories ever again.

Cameras

The Note 8 is Samsung’s first smartphone with dual rear-facing cameras. Like the iPhone 7 Plus, it boasts one wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens for neat portrait effects and optical zoom — and Samsung has taken this one step further.

Unlike the iPhone, the Note 8 lets you adjust depth of field in real-time and after shooting a photo, so if your image isn’t quite perfect, you can tweak it. You can also zoom in and out of photos after they’ve been taken, whereas the iPhone only saves one option.

Samsung also claims the Note 8 is the world’s first phone that offers optical image stabilization with both rear-facing cameras, so the images and videos you take will be steadier and sharper, while low-light performance will be improved.

Both the Note 8’s shooters are 12-megapixel, like the iPhone 7 Plus’, and as you would expect from a modern smartphone, they’re capable of shooting super-sharp 4K videos.

We’re expecting the iPhone 8 to offer dual rear-facing cameras, too — but we don’t know much about their specifications for now. It’s likely they’ll be very similar to the iPhone 7 Plus’ cameras, but with slight improvements in performance.

Features

As always, Samsung has packed every feature it can into the Note 8, and it’s likely buyers won’t use half of them. But there are some terrific ones most people will take advantage of, and many of them cannot be found on iPhone — at least not right now.

Those include iris scanning, facial recognition, wireless charging, USB-C connectivity, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, DeX compatibility, and, as mentioned earlier, expandable storage. Samsung is still clinging onto the 3.5mm headphone jack, too.

None of these things are offered by iPhone 7, though that has its own advantages — like 3D Touch and Apple Pay. However, we expect some of them to be adopted by iPhone 8. The rumor mill has promised we’ll finally get wireless charging, while Bluetooth 5.0 seems inevitable.

What’s more, iPhone 8 is expected to bring advanced facial recognition that’s at least two years ahead of anything else. Reliable sources claim it can identify faces in a millionth of a second with incredible accuracy, even when it’s dark.

Software

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Galaxy Note 8 and the iPhone is software. One runs Android, the other iOS — and no matter how good Samsung’s latest might look, it’s never going to be the right phone for a long-time Apple user with no interest in switching.

This is the first thing you should consider when comparing these devices, then. Both platforms offer advantages and disadvantages, and most consumers harbor a preference. Very few like to switch it up every year.

Samsung overhauled its software for the Galaxy S8 to make it cleaner and more user-friendly, and it’s even better with the Note 8. But iOS came into the world clean and simple, and remains that way. Nothing is more user-friendly.

It’s up to you to decide which one wins here.

Apple will catch up

Right now, it looks like Samsung is way ahead of Apple — and most others — in the smartphone market. You won’t find a phone that’s prettier and more feature-packed than the latest handsets in the Galaxy lineup. But wait a month.

iPhone 8 will be a special upgrade. It will make up for the disappointing iterations we’ve seen over the past two years, and it will make Apple’s ecosystem exciting again. It will likely be the biggest iPhone launch since the very first.

Don’t spend your hard-earned cash on switching to Samsung just yet. Wait for iPhone 8 to make its debut this September, then see if you’re still convinced Samsung is ahead of the pack.

  • Chris

    So it’s not only Samsung comparing their brand spanking new phone to a phone that’s almost one year old, you’re at it too! And you’re comparing it to the iPhone 8 which isn’t even out yet. Good job…

    • Arnoud van Houwelingen

      exactly it is pointless .. why not do this comparison after the iPhone 8 is released .. for crying out loud we don’t even know if the new iPhone will be called the Iphone 8!!

      • Chris

        Sarcasm or not? You know that hard to determine over text?

        And “iPhone 8” was just placeholder text.

      • Arnoud van Houwelingen

        no it was not sarcasm .. i am just agreeing with what you said Chris!

      • Chris

        Sorry. Cheers

  • 5723alex .

    The Note 8 is competing vs the S8 Plus, LG V30, Pixel XL2, OnePlus 5… and the like. Not vs any iPhone.

    • Daniel Bechara

      What??? after steve jobs no iphone has been innovated

  • Andrew York

    I’m ready for an iPhone Dex experience and have wanted one a long time.

  • Stephen Bradley

    I think it’s weird that every time a big Android OEM release a new phone, there’s all this talk about how it’s an iPhone competitor. It isn’t. Because it run Android.

    I like Android, a lot. Just…a lot less than I like iOS (most days). I’m not switching from iOS to Android, because Samsung released a phone that’s incrementally better in some way (and undoubtably incrementally worse in some other way) than my iPhone.

    Neither is anyone else, not in any numbers that matter.

    Until that Samsung can run iOS, it isn’t an iPhone competitor to most people. Maybe people getting their first phone? But then, it’s pricey for Johnnies first phone, isn’t it?