Has Apple lost their X-factor?

Levi Hencke, defending the most valuable company in the world, Apple

Ah, the age-old debate: Apple versus Android — or, in this case, Samsung. It’s never been a hard choice. On the one hand, you have the lawless, fragmented, half-baked ecosystem that are Samsung Galaxy phones. On the other, you have the perfect meld of flawless industrial design and smart, forward-thinking software: the iPhone, by Apple.

There’s simply never been a compelling reason to buy Samsung’s flagship smartphones over Apple’s. There isn’t a big price advantage, if one at all. They offer very little advantage in technical specifications; the camera, processor, and memory are all inferior to those of iPhones. The defining feature of Samsung phones — their oversaturated and overly-bright displays — lack the color accuracy of iPhone displays.

iPhones, on the other hand, are built better. They are more durable, have better cameras, faster processors, more accurate screens and make more efficient use of memory. They will always be updated with the latest iOS — something that Android users can’t say about their phones.

On a basic level too, Apple outdoes Samsung. The two companies have fundamentally different structures on which they build their phones; Apple develops the entire phone — software and all. Samsung, however, is only free to develop the hardware — the software is then ported in from Google’s developers. This gives Apple the advantage in that they’re able to develop software that is purpose-built for their phones and which leverages every bit of their power. Additionally, this makes it quite easy for Apple to push constant updates to all of their phones.

The software that runs on Samsung phones — Android — is inferior as well; the operating system is convoluted and complex to the point of being unusable. It slows at the simplest tasks. Its only advantage over iOS is the way that it handles notifications; grouping by app is a fantastic idea.

In summary, then, the choice between Apple and Samsung is a choice between the most streamlined and complete meld of hardware and software that the tech world has ever seen — the iPhone — and a mish-mash conglomeration of inferior hardware and outdated, slow and inferior software.

Ryx Zan, defending the foreign challenger, South Korean Samsung

The question of whether you should choose an Apple or Samsung phone is easy to answer. On one hand, you have the restricting, unimaginitive, uniform and fragile device that comes from Apple. Alternatively, you have the sleek, inventive, powerful and customizable device that comes from Samsung.

Let’s compare the most recent phones released by the two companies: Apple’s iPhone X and Samsung’s Note 8.

I think it should be clarified that Apple’s iPhone X’s OLED display is made by Samsung, their competitor. However, even with the same display, the Note 8’s 6.3-inch screen is larger and has brighter colors.

Apple also states that the iPhone X is “all-display,” but in reality it is not; there’s that annoying black notch at the top, which makes streaming videos awkward unless you change the video display settings. Samsung doesn’t have that notch, so you can binge-watch shows without disturbance.

You know what else is disappointing about Apple’s recent devices? There’s no headphone jack. Though this is a good way to increase airpod sales, it still leaves most iPhone users unsatisfied. With Samsung’s devices, you don’t have to worry about losing your expensive airpods, stick with regular earbuds.

The iPhone X and the Note 8 both contain dual twelve-megapixel cameras. However, when taking portraits, only the Note 8 can take both a portrait and a wide photo at once. In addition, Note 8’s camera is flat on the back of the phone and doesn’t cause the phone to wobble without a case when its lying on a flat surface.

Samsung also triumphs when it comes to multitasking since all of its devices, since 2014, have split-screen: the ability to easily use two apps at once.

Apple finally incorporated wireless charging into their new device this year, but that’s still two years later than Samsung, which has had wireless charging on all devices dating back to the Note 5. Samsung is also the only company out of the two that currently sells wireless charging docks.

Phones aren’t the only area in which Samsung sweeps the floor, as the company is much bigger than Apple.

According to Business Insider, as of February 2017, Apple has stores spread across nineteen countries; Samsung occupies more than four times that number.

As a bigger company that has much more experience, Samsung very clearly surpasses Apple both in the world of technology and design, and the world of business and marketing. When faced with the choice between an iPhone or a Samsung device, the obvious choice is Samsung. Their devices have the same features plus some more, which perform better than those of Apple, for the same price.

Illustration by Ryx Zan