De­sign

Each of these phones needs to look the part in or­der to get our at­ten­tion

T3 - - State Of The Art -

The iPhone’s stain­less steel and glass body feels par­tic­u­larly lux­u­ri­ous

First of all, let’s talk screens. They’re what you im­me­di­ately see when you pick up a phone, and ev­ery­thing else seems pe­riph­eral to the bit your eyes are glued to. All three of our fea­tured phones have screen di­ag­o­nals in ex­cess of six inches – 6.5-inches for the iPhone XS Max, and 6.4-inches for the An­droids. Only the large of hand could con­sider these suit­able for one-handed use.

All of the phones sport an OLED screen, with vi­brant colours and su­per-rich con­trast. The screen den­sity is 458ppi on the iPhone XS Max, 538ppi for the Mate 20 Pro, and 516ppi for the Note9 – ac­tual res­o­lu­tions sit above Full HD, but any­thing dis­played on these screens is go­ing to look beau­ti­ful, with Dolby Vi­sion HDR sup­port and a wider colour range on the iPhone putting it just in the lead.

Else­where, each phone is nicely made, but the iPhone’s stain­less steel and glass body feels par­tic­u­larly lux­u­ri­ous. Only the Sam­sung sports a head­phone socket, but each of these phones are de­signed with stereo speak­ers, though they’re nec­es­sar­ily tiny.

As phone speak­ers go, how­ever, those in the XS Max are ex­cel­lent, with de­cent left/ right sepa­ra­tion. The An­droid of­fer­ings pair fare a lit­tle less well, with im­prove­ments over ear­lier mod­els in terms of bass and loud­ness, but noth­ing that would make us use them for any­thing other than phone speaker duty.

Se­cu­rity is catered for by Ap­ple’s im­proved Face ID on the iPhone XS Max, which now en­ables the ad­di­tion of a se­cond face, and by fin­ger­print read­ers on the An­droid phones. The Mate 20 Pro has a fu­tur­is­tic in-screen reader, which is com­pletely in­vis­i­ble, at least once you’ve got other fin­ger­marks on the screen. There’s a form of face un­lock too, which works well but doesn’t have the level of bio­met­ric ac­cu­racy as found on the XS Max.

Sam­sung has stuck with a rear fin­ger­print reader for the Note9, po­si­tioned below the cam­era. That’s ab­so­lutely fine, but it poses no com­pe­ti­tion to the cool­ness of Huawei’s ap­proach. Again, face un­lock­ing is pro­vided.

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