It is a mandatory ritual for the tech companies to unveil their premium flagships each year. While every year we see tons of smartphones being launched, the ones we await with sparkly eyes are from the arguable leaders – Google, Apple, and Samsung.
Currently, all three tech giants have released their respective flagships — the Pixel 3 series, the iPhone XS series, and the Galaxy S10 series (Galaxy Note 10 is yet to arrive though). These smartphones are more than competent to be considered at the very moment of me writing this article, even if it has been months since their launch.
Let’s put the three smartphones under fire:
Design and Looks
This is one department which has confused me to bits as I liked all three smartphones in some way or the other.
Starting with the Pixel 3, the device’s size and the weight was a happy element — I mean, a smartphone that fits your palm is a blessing. The lightweight made the usage easy and further increased the device’s accessibility.
With the usual volume rocker, the power on/off button, the USB Type-C port, the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a single rear snapper, and the dual-toned design of the Pixel family, the appreciable thing of the smartphone is the presence of the two speakers at the top and the bottom. Even though the design isn’t refreshing, it is still a good-looking and cute device to own.
Coming to the iPhone XS, the smartphone takes its design ethos from the iPhone X, and it is indeed difficult to differentiate between both smartphones. With a medium weight and the notch (which at least I love), the smartphone is the epitome of premium. It feels easy on the hands and is comfortable to operate.
Aesthetics-wise, there is a vertical dual camera set up at the back, volume buttons and the alert slider at the left, and the power on/off button at the right. The bottom part has a speaker grille and the Apple-proprietary charging port, while the top part is left bare.
The third contestant is the Galaxy S10+, and the device made me go gaga over the design. With the punch-hole display, the lightweight, the three rear cameras, the color variants, I love everything about its looks. For many, when it comes to good looks, iPhone XS vs Galaxy S10+ is the only comparison we look for.
The device has a power button on the right and a volume rocker and Bixby button on the left. While the speaker grille, the 3.5mm audio jack (thankfully!), the USB Type-C port is placed at the bottom part, the SIM tray lies on the top portion of the smartphone.
However, one thing that pissed me off was the power button placement as it is too high to reach, even though I have long hands.
To conclude, in the design department in this comparison to find out the best smartphone of 2019, the winner for me is the Galaxy S10+ bringing in all the freshness we need as of now.
However, in terms of comfort, the Pixel 3 is a clear winner given its perfect size and weight.
Winner: Galaxy S10+
Which One Has The Best Display?
Starting with the Pixel 3, it has a 5.5-inch Full HD+ 18:9 display and has many helpful features such as ambient display, Night Light, and options to choose the color of the screen. With decent color production and brightness, the Pixel 3 gives a fierce competition to its competitors in the ring.
Additionally, the Pixel 3 has the Active Edge gesture which allows users to activate Google Assistant by squeezing the bottom edges of the smartphone.
The iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch Super Retina HD display with a resolution of 2,436 x 1,125 pixels and is no less than any other smartphone on the market. There is crispness, the app icons pop up well, and the True Tone feature (to adapt the display according to the surroundings) is an added delight. While it has the Night Shift feature, it doesn’t support an ambient display.
The Galaxy S10+ spans 6.4-inch and comes with a screen resolution of 1,440 x 3,040 pixels. Based on an HDR 10+ Dynamic OLED display panel, the smartphone produces sharp and vivid colors. With the ability to switch between various display modes, the display comes with the Always-On display option, Night mode, and the ability to hide the notch; the display is eye-pleasing – something we can expect from Samsung.
Furthermore, the punch-hole further adds to the display. However, I would have liked it more if it was placed on the left side instead of the right side.
While all three smartphones come with OLED panels and it was difficult to find the difference, the one which was realistic and appealing is the Galaxy S10+, and I am not surprised.
Winner: Galaxy S10+
The Best Camera Setup
The Pixel 3 (12.2MP), the iPhone XS (12MP each) and the Galaxy S10 Plus (12MP, 16MP, 12MP) come with single, dual, and triple rear cameras, respectively. The front cameras stand at 8MP+8MP (Pixel 3), 7MP (iPhone XS), and 10MP+8MP (Galaxy S10 Plus).
On paper, each smartphone has camera features making anyone keen to try; the Pixel 3 has an AI-based Portrait mode, the Galaxy S10+ has wide, and ultra wide-angle lens and the iPhone XS has Portrait mode with various modes, and this makes it even more challenging to differentiate between the three smartphones.
When I started using the Pixel 3, my hopes were pretty high as I had heard a lot about it — and it indeed produces rich and eye-popping colors. One thing which mesmerized me was the natural color production and how well it can capture details without over-processing the images.
The selfies came out pretty good as well with more details being captured and here is where the iPhone XS falls short.
When I headed out to collect the camera samples, the iPhone XS’s accuracy and intricate details impressed me. Me being an iPhone enthusiast, I was impressed to pieces given it ticked out all my requirements for a camera. Furthermore, the front camera experience was amazing too.
The Galaxy S10+, with huge camera numbers (five in total) banks high in the camera department. While the images and videos (it offers front 4K videos!) came out well, and it proved to be an amazing device for the amount of area it could capture with the help of wide and ultra wide-angle lens, I was slightly disappointed. The images were way too exposed and processed which made the subject lose its original appearance. Additionally, the front camera performed above average, but the selfies were over-exposed as well.
The Bokeh effect on the three smartphones (Portrait on iPhone XS and Pixel 3 and Live Focus on the Galaxy S10 Plus) proved amazing. However, the iPhone XS balanced out the effect and proved better than the Pixel 3 and the Galaxy S10+. Among others, for the Night mode and the Slo-mo on all devices, the former department had Pixel 3 as the winner, and the latter had the Galaxy S10 Plus.
While I expected the Pixel 3 to give out outstanding performance and the Galaxy S10 Plus was also on my list, I wasn’t that impressed in comparison with the iPhone XS.
You can check all the camera samples over here.
Nonetheless, the Pixel 3, the Galaxy S10 Plus and the iPhone XS perform brilliantly in some areas and oddly in this comparison review of the smartphones of 2019. Therefore, coming out with a winner becomes subjective.
Winner: All of them
Performance and Spec Sheet
The Pixel 3, the Galaxy S10+ and the iPhone XS are high-end, well-specced smartphones and I have the below-mentioned spec sheet to prove that.
Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS vs Galaxy S10+ Spec Sheet Comparison
|Google Pixel 3
|5.5-inch FHD+ OLED
|5.8-inch Super Retina HD
|6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED
|2436 x 1125
|1440 x 2960
|Android 9 Pie
|Android 9 Pie
|64GB, 256GB, 512GB
|128GB, 512GB, 1TB
|12MP, 12MP (wide)
|Wide-angle 12MP, telephoto 12MP, ultra-wide 16MP
|10MP, 8MP RGB depth camera
|Snapdragon 845 (2.5GHz and 1.6GHz, octa-core)
|Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner
|Starting Price (Current)
Day-to-day usage performance
In terms of daily tasks such as using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or WhatsApp, all the smartphones have done well somewhere or the other. Given the impressive specifics of the smartphones, to judge them based on performance was hard. However, out of the Pixel 3 (with an outdated processor), the iPhone XS, and the Galaxy S10 Plus, the one from Apple had the edge over the others.
Whether it was numerous apps in the background or scrolling through a smartphone, the iPhone XS was an easy-breezy device to use.
In terms of battery life, while all three of them came with the ability to run through more than a day upon mid-to-heavy usage, the Galaxy S10 Plus outperformed them with more fuel consumption capability in a shorter period of time.
Video streaming (on various popular platforms) has been decent too, wherein the Galaxy S10 Plus took the lead and presented to us vividly produced videos. Among other things, the sound quality along with the gameplay was good with the iPhone doing pretty well in the department.
For the OS, while the Pixel 3 and the Galaxy S10 Plus have been found to run Android 9.0 Pie (the latter is topped with Samsung OneUI), the iPhone XS runs iOS 12, and to decide on the best UI is subjective. While Stock Android had its perks and Samsung’s OneUI wasn’t a bad deal as well, my inclination is towards the iOS 12 which calls for real smooth usage.
As for biometrics, all three smartphones support different ones; the Galaxy S10 Plus has an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner, the iPhone XS has a 3D Face Unlock, and the Pixel 3 has a rear-mounted fingerprint. Although not all of them lagged, the Galaxy S10 Plus (with its ultrasonic fingerprint scanning) aced in the department.
To declare a winner in terms of the performance was not a cakewalk. However, for me, the iPhone XS won.
Winner: iPhone XS
Value For Money
Talking about the price of the best smartphones of 2019, the Pixel 3 starts at Rs 56,999 (64GB) and Rs 65,999 (128GB), the Galaxy S10 Plus is priced at Rs 73,900 (8GB/128GB), Rs 91,900 (8GB/512GB), and Rs 1,17,900 (12GB/1TB), and the iPhone XS retails at Rs 99,900 (64GB), Rs 1,14,900 (256GB), and Rs 1,24,500 (512GB).
The Pixel 3 falls in the decently-priced category. Hence, it is an excellent deal for the price tag it comes with.
Winner: Pixel 3
The Ultimate Winner: Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS vs Galaxy S10+
The current flagships have given head-to-head competition to each other, with different USPs making each one of them stand out.
To choose from Pixel 3, or the iPhone XS or the Galaxy S10 Plus depends on users’ needs and what OS makes them comfortable. If I go by my personal choice, the iPhone XS is the one for me even though the price tag burns a hole in my pocket.
However, considering the ranking above, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus leads in most departments — thus, it wins the challenge.