Apple iPhone vs Samsung Galaxy for Travel?

I’d been debating changing from an iPhone to a Galaxy for a long time. A loooong time.

I’ve been a loyal iPhone consumer since they came out (29 June 2007). I had an iPod before they hit mainstream England after working at summer camp in the US that summer. But, I just feel like since good old Steve Jobs left this world Apple hadn’t really done much in terms of innovation. The battery didn’t last, there was nothing new and exciting, and the camera on the Samsung Galaxy was being touted as the best thing ever.

– Taken on the Samsung s9. I’m pretty hungover in Tallinn and the selfie camera lens made me look ok. Impressed already? 

So since I cracked my iPhone screen by dropping it, and then an unfortunate incident in the pub led to it being destroyed, I took Three up on their offer for bloggers to try out their new phones. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to trial a different phone while I waited for the insurance claim to come through.

Also, just to note, I’ve used Three for about six years now. I’ve always been happy with the service, but it’s their Feel at Home scheme that’s drawn me in. You can use your phone package – minutes, messages and data – in 71 destinations. Perfect for travellers.

So, not really knowing what I was doing, I ordered the Samsung Galaxy S9 to try out. Here’s a quick review on what I thought on the most important points, compared to my iPhone 6S.

The camera

One of the main reasons I wanted a new phone, up there with the battery power, was the camera. I took the Samsung Galaxy S9 out for a spin as soon as I got it, down to the beach in Southsea. Honestly, I was sold as soon as I used it for the first time.

– Me and Monica from TheTravelHack on the selfie camera in Finland, as good as a DSLR I think? 

There’s a Pro camera where you can adjust the White Balance and F Stop to suit you. There’s a special camera where you can either focus on the fore or background and one especially for food. Also, there’s the selfie camera that softens the background and brings you out to add more depth to your image. Loved this function and came up with images like the below.

As I say, I was totally sold on the phone – just for the camera – until…

– This is the pic I’m talking about below, it looked SO much better on the 10. 

I was on a blogger trip to Finland and one of the other ladies showed me her iPhone 10. We took the same photo and compared the results and as much as I’d loved the Galaxy camera up until then, I realised my love was totally fickle and I quickly retreated back to the iPhone. The Galaxy was too sharp, too fake. I wish I had these two pics to show you but it was like the Galaxy was trying too hard. The iPhone 10 image was much more natural, yet still had the professional look of the Samsung.

During the month I had the Samsung I took some great pics (if I do say so myself) and it even replaced my Olympus PEN as my camera of choice, but after seeing the iPhone 10 in action, iPhone for the win here.


The interface

Ask anyone what they like about Android over iPhone, and I have, even the technician in the Apple shop who used an Android, and the fact it’s ‘so customisable’ is usually cited in their top 5, along with battery power (see below). Although when I dug deeper I’m not too sure what ‘so customisable’ meant. I think they mean it’s easier to delete apps, to make your phone look how you want and to set your own way to open and unlock (face recognition etc, rather than a code).

You’re able to add widgets you want to the homescreen on the Samsung Galaxy, whereas on the iPhone you’re stuck to the confines of their homescreen design. You can also layer apps, and have a few open at a time.

I tried the face recognition thing though and it never worked, and you have this on newer editions of the iPhone anyway.

I can’t really see why I would want to layer the apps, and I found the fact you could quite confusing. I like to just have one thing on my screen at a time on my phone. I can see that people like to add widgets but in the month I had the Samsung it wasn’t really something I felt the need to do. Great that the option is there though. I don’t see the need for these options, but great that they’re there, and so…

ROUND TWO WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S9

  • 215.8 million iPhones sold in 2017
  • 1.244 billion Android smartphones sold in 2017    –


– Group selfie cam, kinda softens our faces.
I like. 

You can add memory to an Android phone, iPhones are stuck with the memory they’re sold with and some of this is taken up by apps and information you can’t delete (eg. Stocks and Shares). I’m totally on board with Samsun on this. Being able to use a memory card in your phone, and transfer data so easily to your computer, is amazing.


Battery power

I definitely noticed the battery on the Galaxy waning in the month I had it. I know that it’s just wear, but it seemed like quite a short time for it to be noticeable. Having had the Galaxy for a month I don’t believe people’s statements that it’s so much better than the iPhone. With my use on a press trip (a lot of Instagram Stories etc), it still needed charging at least once, if not twice, a day.

You can replace the battery very easily in the Samsung S9 though, and you can use any cable to charge, although the one it came with works faster.

Apple phones are well known for having a crappy battery. The every day wear and tear is so bad you can take your phone to any Apple store and they’ll replace any ones out of warranty for £25.

It’s difficult to compare a battery I had for a month (not sure of previous owners) with one I’ve had a year without doing some sort of ridiculous scientific test, but the fact that Apple knows the battery is a problem, and that everyone moans about it, means that Samsung wins the battery battle.

ROUND FOUR WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S9

The feel

I definitely enjoyed the bulky feeling of the Samsung Galaxy S9. Going back to my iPhone after all that time felt like a step back, but it was, because my iPhone is a 6S.

When I held the iPhone 10, or have been in the Three store to look at the 8 and 8 plus for a fondle, they feel more beastly and trustworthy. I don’t think there’s a winner here, but it shows I’m definitely ready for an upgrade. And I think I’d be ok with a bigger phone.


The cost

iphone vs samsung

iphone vs samsung

iphone vs samsung

iphone vs samsung

I feel like people talk about how much better value Androids, and Samsungs, are, than the iPhone, but as you can see from the above the latest Samsung is the same price as the iPhone 8 plus, the last but one most recent.

But, yes, the newest Samsung model is cheaper, so they win this round.

ROUND SIX WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S9

In conclusion

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to use the Samsung Galaxy 9 for an extended time. To conclude, concisely, I loved the camera. I got some great shots and actually filmed the entire video below on the camera, which I think is better than some of the ones I’ve filmed on my Olympus PEN ePL7. The sound quality was good too.

As I say, I would’ve been sold but it was just seeing that photo that the blogger took on the trip that’s made me think twice and research it more. A few times, the Galaxy would show me ads for random things while I was trying to send my Whatsapps. Not cool. Whatsapp is my safe space from ads and things I don’t want to see.

– Ooo, nice pic on the Samsung eh? 

Despite Samsung winning 4/5 of the challenges above, I just missed the intuitive use of the iPhone. It could be me, as a 10+-year Apple products user, but it just makes sense where things are on the iPhone. Sometimes with the Galaxy I didn’t even know which way round it went when I pulled it out of my handbag. I think if you want to change operating systems you’ve got to go all in and learn how to use it to its best.

This test has proven to me that I’m an iPhone devotee through and through. And this afternoon I’m definitely going to see about upgrading early to the iPhone 10 or X. I need that camera in my life.

Hope this helps you decide on whether to make the change or not.
I’m sticking with my iPhone, for now. 

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iphone vs samsung galaxy

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