Rematch: iPhone XS versus Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for 'Fortnite' gaming

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2018
About two weeks ago, AppleInsider compared the iPhone X to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 while playing Fortnite, but some complained putting a just-released phone against last year's model. With the release of the iPhone XS and XS Max, is there as much of a difference between the flagship models of both companies as last time?



iPhone XS Max Fortnite gameplay

Before playing Fortnite, the iPhone XS Max was charged to maximum battery capacity, and brightness was set to 100 percent as well, with auto-brightness disabled. Do Not Disturb is on, Bluetooth is off, and there's no apps open in the background that could influence the result.

An obviously change from the last comparison is the screen, which is absolutely huge compared to the iPhone X and XS. It's hard to appreciate it without getting hold of an iPhone XS Max and actually using the device. Coming from the iPhone 8 Plus, this screen is so much larger and much more immersive. It's pretty hard to explain just how different it is.




Getting off the bus the first time, the game was incredibly smooth, with no dropped frames at all. In the previous test, a couple of dropped frames were spotted each time I got off the bus on the iPhone X and Note 9.

One thing I instantly noticed is that the speakers sound so clear and crisp. It's almost like you can hear everyone around you and know precisely where they're at.




Gameplay is surprisingly smooth and, even while playing on a mobile device, it's actually a great gaming experience, with no dropped frames and minimal lag. The UI and controls are very easy to use due to the larger screen, much easier on than on the iPhone X which had a pretty cramped UI, causing me to sometimes accidentally press buttons.

Another difference is the notch seems smaller when compared to the massive screen size, so it doesn't get in your way nearly as much as the iPhone X and XS notches.




After around 45 minutes of gameplay, the iPhone XS Max ended with 87 percent battery life, pretty impressive for running at 100 percent brightness for that long. Throughout the whole gaming session, I did not notice any dropped frames at all on the iPhone XS.

This is probably the best mobile gaming experience you can get.


Fortnite on Galaxy Note 9

The story is the same on the Note 9, starting with a full battery, maximum brightness, and auto-brightness off. Again, there are no background apps open, and Bluetooth is off.

One thing that's interesting is that the Note 9's display is actually technically smaller, measuring 6.4 inches compared to 6.5 inches on the iPhone XS Max. However, the notch isn't counted in the measurements, so technically the Note 9 has more screen real estate.




The Note 9's speakers are quite a bit quieter than the iPhone XS Max, sounding a bit dull and flat. The speakers on the XS Max sound so loud, crisp, and clear, the Note 9 just doesn't compare.

Getting off the bus for the first time, we instantly noticed some dropped frames, whereas the iPhone XS Max didn't experience any. The screen also looks quite a bit blue, and that's probably due to the fact that the iPhone XS Max has True Tone technology, which adjusts for ambient light to make the display look paper white, all the time.

During gameplay, we saw even more dropped frames. The Wi-Fi connection is exactly the same, so it's not due to internet connectivity. It's probably because the Note 9's processor and GPU just don't perform as well as the XS Max's new A12 Bionic chip.




While playing, I found myself trying to turn up the speakers louder, but they were already completely maxed out. I also noticed that the iPhone XS Max's display seems to be a little bit brighter than the Note 9.

After around 45 minutes of total playtime on the Note 9, the battery was at 83 percent. A little bit lower than the iPhone XS Max, but still very similar in battery life.


Fortnite gaming performance while Screen Recording

We then turned on screen recording on the Note 9 to see how well it would perform. After a match, it seemed to play fairly fine, but we still experienced dropped frames.

We did the same on the iPhone XS Max and gameplay was just as smooth as before, however, we ran into a small issue.

While recording, the volume dropped significantly, so low that it was hard to hear the footsteps of nearby players. We're not sure if this is a bug that'll get fixed soon, but it was definitely bothersome.

Which phone is better for Fortnite gaming?

After a couple of long gaming sessions on both the iPhone XS Max and Galaxy Note 9, here's our conclusion.




First off, I want to say that the massive display on the iPhone XS Max gives the most immersive gaming experience you can ever get on an iPhone.

The display seems to be a little bit brighter than the Note 9, which actually seemed brighter than the iPhone X in our previous test. It's also a little bit larger than the Note 9's display, so it's a bit more immersive.

However, the colors on the Note 9 are more saturated, which is nice if you prefer that. The iPhone XS Max's display seems more natural, while also very colorful. True Tone is definitely a plus in my book, since I can't stand when displays look obviously too blue when in a tungsten-lit room.




Performance-wise, the iPhone XS Max was basically perfect at all times. We didn't observe any dropped frames, so we're extremely impressed with it. The Note 9 experienced dropped frames various times throughout our gaming sessions, so the XS Max wins here for sure.

The speakers on the XS Max are so much louder, more crisp, and more clear, with the difference instantly noticeable when I switched from the Note 9 to the iPhone. Apple has certainly done a great job with the speakers on the XS Max.




While screen recording, the Note 9 seems to perform at a similar level, but still suffered from dropped frames. However, the speakers were totally fine, unlike the iPhone XS Max which saw reduced volumes while screen recording.

When we compared the iPhone X to the Note 9, it was a draw, despite the Note 9 being a newer device.

This time, we've got to give the win to the iPhone XS Max. It is definitely the phone to get if you want to play Fortnite, both for performance and the massive Super Retina display.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,643member
    I wish that reviewers would get over the love of "saturated" colors, and since they won't, the solution might be for Apple to provide color settings for individual apps such that the default is color accurate, with the user being able to edit it to their hearts content.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    And this is why a new device, of the same size, needs to be compared to a new device.
    StrangeDaystmayRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 25
    melgross said:
    And this is why a new device, of the same size, needs to be compared to a new device.
    "Need" is a strong word. This is not a laboratory experiment; it's comparing popular consumer devices, which is always fun even were I to grab my Mapple devices from various generations and put them through their paces. The articles note the differences in hardware and release date, so it's not disingenuous to compare them.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    melgross said:
    And this is why a new device, of the same size, needs to be compared to a new device.
    "Need" is a strong word. This is not a laboratory experiment; it's comparing popular consumer devices, which is always fun even were I to grab my Mapple devices from various generations and put them through their paces. The articles note the differences in hardware and release date, so it's not disingenuous to compare them.
    Need is correct. What’s the point of comparing a new device that just became available to a device that will be discontinued in few weeks? Precisely since these two devices aren’t comparable in size? It’s disingenuous because many people don’t get the distinction. They’ll read that, and then forget it, only remembering which device was “best”. 
    d_2tmaymagman1979claire1radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 25
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,940member
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    And this is why a new device, of the same size, needs to be compared to a new device.
    "Need" is a strong word. This is not a laboratory experiment; it's comparing popular consumer devices, which is always fun even were I to grab my Mapple devices from various generations and put them through their paces. The articles note the differences in hardware and release date, so it's not disingenuous to compare them.
    Need is correct. What’s the point of comparing a new device that just became available to a device that will be discontinued in few weeks? Precisely since these two devices aren’t comparable in size? It’s disingenuous because many people don’t get the distinction. They’ll read that, and then forget it, only remembering which device was “best”. 
    The “mine is better than yours” mentality is what drives comparisons. And of course no matter what the conclusion is it will be challenged by the “losing” side. I don't even see the fun in such comparisons because of the negativity and motivation to claim victory over some one or some thing. And techies the worst offenders of all, many times more strident than the gear-heads, the audiophiles, the camera buffs, you name it. The ones who wake up every morning hoping to find that Apple has disappeared or the ones who said they were going to go piss on his grave the day Steve Jobs died. The ones who despise Samsung and Google. 
    edited September 2018 williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 25
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,285member
    lkrupp said:
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    And this is why a new device, of the same size, needs to be compared to a new device.
    "Need" is a strong word. This is not a laboratory experiment; it's comparing popular consumer devices, which is always fun even were I to grab my Mapple devices from various generations and put them through their paces. The articles note the differences in hardware and release date, so it's not disingenuous to compare them.
    Need is correct. What’s the point of comparing a new device that just became available to a device that will be discontinued in few weeks? Precisely since these two devices aren’t comparable in size? It’s disingenuous because many people don’t get the distinction. They’ll read that, and then forget it, only remembering which device was “best”. 
    The “mine is better than yours” mentality is what drives comparisons. And of course no matter what the conclusion is it will be challenged by the “losing” side. I don't even see the fun in such comparisons because of the negativity and motivation to claim victory over some one or some thing. And techies the worst offenders of all, many times more strident than the gear-heads, the audiophiles, the camera buffs, you name it. The ones who wake up every morning hoping to find that Apple has disappeared or the ones who said they were going to go piss on his grave the day Steve Jobs died. The ones who despise Samsung and Google. 
    Exactly. This is not unlike all the camera comparisons - rarely does one blow the other out of the water. Usually both have strengths and flaws but are ultimately perfectly fine devices. While it’s interesting to see the performance comparison, in the end, most people are not getting their phone to play fortnite. Rather they are phone that they can also use to play fortnite.

    As far as comparing the Note 9 to the X vs the Xs, you can also take the argument that when they made the comparison the compared the best options available from both companies. For me, I’m not playing Fortnite, so I’m more interested in what will be a competent replacement when my 6s gives out, and the Xr appears to more than fit the bill.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 25
    So glad to see this. 

    For too long long the only comparisons were of a brand new Samsung versus a year old iPhone. 

    Then when the new iPhone would come out, reviewers would not be jumping to compare citing the age difference of the platforms -but it’s ok to do it when the iPhone has an uphill battle...

    And even then sometimes the samsung wasn’t the winner. 

    But apples to apples, we see what the real deal is. 

    Thanks for doing this. 

    I held out with a 4 year old iPhone 6 plus. 

    Time for an upgrade. 
    magman1979claire1watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 25
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,537member
    The thought of comparing graphics performance of an iPhone to an Android phone is a joke.  "Arguably" - and I mean that with quotes - Samsung's specs appear better on paper than the iPhone... yet the iPhone runs everything better, faster, smoother on what is technically less specs.

    It's silly.  Fandroids and Samdroids of course will fabricate any excuse for failure that is Android to suit their narrative.  
    claire1macpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 25
    BoogaBoogaBoogaBooga Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Isn't Fortnite still in beta version for Android? Also, what about a comparison when "performance mode" is on with the Note 9?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 25
    claire1claire1 Posts: 497unconfirmed, member
    if the knockoffs are so good like the android slaves claim how come this is the only knockoff iPhone that can run Fortnite in beta?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    lkrupp said:
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    And this is why a new device, of the same size, needs to be compared to a new device.
    "Need" is a strong word. This is not a laboratory experiment; it's comparing popular consumer devices, which is always fun even were I to grab my Mapple devices from various generations and put them through their paces. The articles note the differences in hardware and release date, so it's not disingenuous to compare them.
    Need is correct. What’s the point of comparing a new device that just became available to a device that will be discontinued in few weeks? Precisely since these two devices aren’t comparable in size? It’s disingenuous because many people don’t get the distinction. They’ll read that, and then forget it, only remembering which device was “best”. 
    The “mine is better than yours” mentality is what drives comparisons. And of course no matter what the conclusion is it will be challenged by the “losing” side. I don't even see the fun in such comparisons because of the negativity and motivation to claim victory over some one or some thing. And techies the worst offenders of all, many times more strident than the gear-heads, the audiophiles, the camera buffs, you name it. The ones who wake up every morning hoping to find that Apple has disappeared or the ones who said they were going to go piss on his grave the day Steve Jobs died. The ones who despise Samsung and Google. 
    It’s the way people are. Look at sports. We hear that it doesn’t matter who wins, but well, yeah, it does. Otherwise no one would watch sports, as it’s all about the win.

    winning and losing is part of the human condition, whether we like it or not. That’s why sites do testing, and that why we can download test apps ourselves. We WANT to know.

    and so, if we’re going to get a comparison, it needs to be between two equal contenders. You don’t have a heavyweight box against a lightweight, or a 60 year old against a 20 year old.
    edited September 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 25
    BoogaBoogaBoogaBooga Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Not knocking Apple at all, I was with them since they released the original iPhone till the 4s. We all know, beta versions can mess with things or show frame drops (we can all admit this with PUBG either on PC or Xbox if you have played). For starters, Fortnite for iOS came out in April and when did it release for Android and the word of choice that developers love to use is "optimization" so there is about 4 months of optimization. Maybe at the time of test the Poco could have been driven by the amount of people were on the server at that time? Or on the other hand, since they are using custom MIUI 9.6 based on Android Oreo, there is the possibility they optimized it to run better just like how Apple has w/ iOS? There could be a lot of factors that can go into that, I would just like to see the test again with Note 9 running on performance mode & see if that changes anything.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Not knocking Apple at all, I was with them since they released the original iPhone till the 4s. We all know, beta versions can mess with things or show frame drops (we can all admit this with PUBG either on PC or Xbox if you have played). For starters, Fortnite for iOS came out in April and when did it release for Android and the word of choice that developers love to use is "optimization" so there is about 4 months of optimization. Maybe at the time of test the Poco could have been driven by the amount of people were on the server at that time? Or on the other hand, since they are using custom MIUI 9.6 based on Android Oreo, there is the possibility they optimized it to run better just like how Apple has w/ iOS? There could be a lot of factors that can go into that, I would just like to see the test again with Note 9 running on performance mode & see if that changes anything.
    The X did drop frames as reported, so I don’t think it mattered.
    claire1watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 25
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,030moderator
    lkrupp said:
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    And this is why a new device, of the same size, needs to be compared to a new device.
    "Need" is a strong word. This is not a laboratory experiment; it's comparing popular consumer devices, which is always fun even were I to grab my Mapple devices from various generations and put them through their paces. The articles note the differences in hardware and release date, so it's not disingenuous to compare them.
    Need is correct. What’s the point of comparing a new device that just became available to a device that will be discontinued in few weeks? Precisely since these two devices aren’t comparable in size? It’s disingenuous because many people don’t get the distinction. They’ll read that, and then forget it, only remembering which device was “best”. 
    The “mine is better than yours” mentality is what drives comparisons. And of course no matter what the conclusion is it will be challenged by the “losing” side. I don't even see the fun in such comparisons because of the negativity and motivation to claim victory over some one or some thing. And techies the worst offenders of all, many times more strident than the gear-heads, the audiophiles, the camera buffs, you name it. The ones who wake up every morning hoping to find that Apple has disappeared or the ones who said they were going to go piss on his grave the day Steve Jobs died. The ones who despise Samsung and Google. 
    Really?  Might be you’re projecting that “mine is better than yours” position onto others.  How about a “if I’m going to purchase a premium product, I’d like to know which performs best” mentality?  Isn’t that the more significant reason to do product comparisons?  
    king editor the gratewilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 25
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,030moderator
    Isn't Fortnite still in beta version for Android? Also, what about a comparison when "performance mode" is on with the Note 9?
    What’s the purpose of a performance mode?  Why wouldn’t the phone always provide its best performance?  The very question gives clue to the answer.  A specific ‘performance’ mode implies there exist compromises in the default mode, to prevent excessive energy draw, overheating, etc.  Wouldn’t it be better to build into the OS the capability to downclock or initiate other constraints based upon the expert knowledge of the engineering team that designed the device versus just handing an overheat/excessive-energy-draw mode to the end user to experiment with?  Just saying...
    king editor the gratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 25
    Isn't Fortnite still in beta version for Android? Also, what about a comparison when "performance mode" is on with the Note 9?
    Fortnite just has performance issue on iOS since the latest update so the excuse of beta on Android doesn’t fly. 
    https://9to5mac.com/2018/09/08/fortnite-ios-lag-fix/

    edited September 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 25
    claire1claire1 Posts: 497unconfirmed, member
    matrix077 said:
    Isn't Fortnite still in beta version for Android? Also, what about a comparison when "performance mode" is on with the Note 9?
    Fortnite just has performance issue on iOS since the latest update so the excuse of beta on Android doesn’t fly. 
    https://9to5mac.com/2018/09/08/fortnite-ios-lag-fix/

    I think he meant beta version as in, it cant run the full version yet due to optimization problems. 
  • Reply 18 of 25
    This is just another excuse for Vadim to play Fortnite again!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 25
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    And this is why a new device, of the same size, needs to be compared to a new device.
    "Need" is a strong word. This is not a laboratory experiment; it's comparing popular consumer devices, which is always fun even were I to grab my Mapple devices from various generations and put them through their paces. The articles note the differences in hardware and release date, so it's not disingenuous to compare them.
    Need is correct. What’s the point of comparing a new device that just became available to a device that will be discontinued in few weeks? Precisely since these two devices aren’t comparable in size? It’s disingenuous because many people don’t get the distinction. They’ll read that, and then forget it, only remembering which device was “best”. 
    I understand your viewpoint but do not concur; this is a tech-geek site, and rare would be the visitor to be caught unawares and only remember a "best designation." I also must retain my quibble with "need." They must not have needed to do the comparison you suggested, because they didn't and nothing bad happened. "Should" would be more accurate, though I would still be cantankerous and disagree.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    And this is why a new device, of the same size, needs to be compared to a new device.
    "Need" is a strong word. This is not a laboratory experiment; it's comparing popular consumer devices, which is always fun even were I to grab my Mapple devices from various generations and put them through their paces. The articles note the differences in hardware and release date, so it's not disingenuous to compare them.
    Need is correct. What’s the point of comparing a new device that just became available to a device that will be discontinued in few weeks? Precisely since these two devices aren’t comparable in size? It’s disingenuous because many people don’t get the distinction. They’ll read that, and then forget it, only remembering which device was “best”. 
    I understand your viewpoint but do not concur; this is a tech-geek site, and rare would be the visitor to be caught unawares and only remember a "best designation." I also must retain my quibble with "need." They must not have needed to do the comparison you suggested, because they didn't and nothing bad happened. "Should" would be more accurate, though I would still be cantankerous and disagree.
    It’s amazing how wrong that it. This is sort of a geek site, but not really. And people take what they want away from what they read. I’m always amazed at how screwed up someone’s post can be after reading an arrticle. A number of people have obviously not even read the article before posting, or have gone straight to the bottom conclusion.
    claire1
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