iPhone 8 Plus vs Galaxy Note 8: Why Samsung Wins

The Galaxy Note 8 has all the makings of the ultimate big-screen phone, with its gorgeous 6.3-inch screen, S Pen and new dual cameras. But the iPhone 8 Plus is a formidable phablet, too, offering Apple’s powerful new A11 Bionic processor, improved dual cameras and (finally) wireless charging.

Starting at $930, the Note 8 is significantly more expensive than the $799 iPhone 8 Plus. But is the iPhone the better choice? We’re here to crown a winner.

Editors’ Note: The $999 iPhone X is coming soon, and we’ll be doing a separate face-off between that phone and the Note 8 when it arrives.

iPhone 8 Plus vs Note 8: Specs Compared

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Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 8 PlusGalaxy Note 8
Price$799, $949$930-$960
CPUA11 BionicSnapdragon 835
Storage64GB, 256GB64GB
microSDNoneup to 256GB
Display5.5 inches (1920 x 1080) LCD6.3 inches (2960 x 1440) OLED
Rear CamerasDual 12-MP cameras (wide angle: f/1.8; telephoto: f/2.8)Dual 12-MP (wide angle: f/1.7; telephoto: f/2.4)
Front Camera7-MP (f/2.2)8-MP (f/1.7)
Video4K at 60 fps; slo-mo: 1080p at 240 fps4K at 30 fps; slo-mo: 720p at 240 fps
Battery Life11:1611:11
Dimensions 6.2 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches6.4 x 2.9 x 0.34 inches
Weight7.13 ounces6.9 ounces

*Not official: Based on reports


This round is no contest. Just look at these two phones. While the iPhone is essentially a refreshed version of what came last year, complete with chunky bezels, the Note 8 is one of the sexiest phones you can buy. It’s Infinity Display stretches nearly edge to edge, and it curves as it meets the side.

The iPhone 8 Plus is just a flat slab, but it is designed to be durable, as Apple claims that this is the most durable glass ever put on a phone. Both phones are water resistant, but the iPhone 8 Plus is noticeably wider and heavier (3.1 inches across and 7.13 ounces versus 2.9 inches and 6.9 ounces).

I do give Apple credit for offering three color options (Silver, Gold and Space Gray), while Samsung offers just two (Midnight Black and Orchid Gray).

Winner: Galaxy Note 8


There’s a reason Apple is moving to OLED for the iPhone X. Don’t get me wrong, the 1080p LCD screen on the iPhone 8 Plus is bright and fairly colorful, and it offers a wide color gamut. In addition, new True Tone technology automatically adjust the white balance of the screen to make reading easier on the eyes in various conditions.

The Super AMOLED screen on the Note 8 is not just sharper (2960 x 1440), it renders more of the sRGB color gamut. We’re talking about the difference between 204 percent and 122.5 percent for the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone’s display was slightly more color accurate with a Delta-E rating of 0.25, compared to 0.5 for the Note 8, but both readings are great.

OLED has other advantages, too, such as deeper blacks and wider viewing angles.

Winner: Galaxy Note 8


The iPhone 8 Plus sprints past the Note 8 in this round, thanks to its new A11 Bionic processor. Thanks to this high-powered, 6-core chip, Apple’s handset trounced Samsung’s Snapdragon octa-core 835 chip in both synthetic benchmarks and a demanding real-world test.

On Geekbench 4, which measures overall performance, the iPhone 8 scored 10,170, compared to the Note 8’s 6,564. It was a similar story on 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, which measures graphics might. The iPhone 8 Plus hit 64,412, blowing away the Note 8’s 39,834.

MORE: Best Smartphones on the Market Now

Last but not least, we exported a 2-minute 4K video with the same transitions and effects on the iPhone 8 Plus and Note 8. The iPhone took just 42 seconds, compared with just over 3 minutes for the Samsung.

Winner: iPhone 8 Plus


We have a much more in-depth camera face-off for you to check out, but based on our comparisons it looks like the iPhone 8’s dual cameras outperform the Note 8’s. We observed better contrast and more vivid colors in the iPhone’s shots, while some images looking a bit washed out on the Note 8.

Nevertheless, the Note 8’s cameras are very fast and quite capable, capturing sharper images in some cases and more detail in shadows in other cases. In addition, the Note 8 lets you adjust the intensity of its blur effect for portraits (Samsung calls it Live Focus) both before and after you shoot. You can’t do that on the iPhone 8 Plus, but you can edit its Live Photos and add special effects to them in iOS 11.

Winner: iPhone 8 Plus

MORE: iPhone 8 Plus vs. Galaxy Note 8 Camera Face-Off: Apple Has the Edge

Special Features

Samsung is known for its special features, and the Note 8 is no exception. This phone features an S Pen that lets you take up to 100 pages of notes using a screen-off memo feature, and you can pin them to the always-on display (another feature the iPhone 8 Plus lacks).

In addition, the Note 8 gives you three different ways to unlock the device, including a fingerprint sensor (though it’s on the back), iris scanning and facial recognition. With the iPhone 8 Plus, you get just Touch ID up front.

Another great feature for the Note 8 is App Pair, which lets you open two apps side by side with a single tap. The iPhone 8 Plus lacks this kind of multitasking.

The iPhone 8 Plus does have some special features of its own, including support for a new wave of augmented reality apps. There’s everything from IKEA for placing virtual furniture in your room and an app that lets you learn about the heart with a 3D human standing right in front of you, to 3D strategy games like The Machines. The Note 8 will eventually get compelling AR apps via Google’s ARCore technology, but they’re not here yet.

Winner: Galaxy Note 8

Battery Life

This round is basically a wash, as both phones turned in great endurance. On the Tom’s Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over LTE, the Note 8 lasted a very good 11 hours and 11 minutes. That’s just 5 minutes shorter than the iPhone 8 Plus. In fact, both phablets made our list of longest lasting phones, well surpassing the 9:40 average.


At anywhere from $930 to $960, the Note 8 costs at least $130 more than the iPhone 8 Plus, which starts at $799. In fact, you could get the iPhone 8 Plus with 256GB of internal memory for $949, which is in the same ballpark as the Note 8 with just 64GB of storage.

Samsung doesn’t offer a 256GB option. To be fair, you could get a 256GB card for the Note 8, but those run $129 to $149 extra.

Winner: iPhone 8 Plus

Overall Winner: Galaxy Note 8

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 8 PlusGalaxy Note 8
DesignRow 1 - Cell 1
DisplayRow 2 - Cell 1
PerformanceRow 3 - Cell 2
CamerasRow 4 - Cell 2
Special FeaturesRow 5 - Cell 1
Battery Life
ValueRow 7 - Cell 2

If you look at our scorecard, the iPhone 8 Plus and Note 8 are technically tied at four rounds apiece with 3 wins each and 1 draw. But between these two big-screen phones, the Note 8 eeks out the victory because of its better design, crisper and more colorful display and more useful special features like the S Pen and split-screen multitasking.

The iPhone 8 Plus also deserves your attention, though, because it offers superior dual cameras and considerably faster performance for less money. You can’t lose with either phablet, but we give a very slight edge to the Note 8 in this contest.

Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.