Since the disappointing launch of the iPhone 7 in 2016, the world has been waiting for what badysts called a "supercycle" in 2017, where Apple was ready to launch a litany of new products, including a new and emblematic redesigned iPhone.
That happened more or less, with Apple launching the iPhone X (and also the iPhone 8, for some reason), new MacBooks, iPads, Macs, watches and televisions with great media fanfare. And although there were legitimate claims on many of the devices (computers do not have ports, iPads are definitely not computers, watches are niche products), Apple had an excellent year, returning to revenue growth and selling some 216 million iPhones in the process.
But the iPhone X, which Apple has referred to as "the future" of the iPhone, did not feel particularly futuristic when I tried it. It was expensive, had a very bad operating system and forced me to change the way I used smartphones for years without a particularly good reason. It has some positives – the big, crisp screen and the really excellent cameraman – but despite all the fuss of the phone, it did not look like a device that was ahead of the competition, like Apple phones. They have been so clearly in the past. In fact, I found the two flagship devices that Samsung launched this year, the Galaxy S8 and the Note 8, much more convincing.
Here is a quick summary of what made the Note 8 stand out where the iPhone X did not:  It still has a "start button" (although there is no physical button). The Note 8 has a mbadive screen that occupies most of the front of the phone, like the iPhone X, but Samsung still maintains a start button on the screen that is in the same place where the start button has been on all your devices. This is probably due in part to the design of Android, but Apple's replacement of its start button with awkward slides continues to frustrate nearly a month in owning the iPhone X. Samsung's device still has a mbadive screen, and does not force its users to change their behavior.
It still has a headphone jack, although it is water resistant. One of Apple's arguments for removing the headphone jack when it launched the iPhone 7 was that it made it easier to make the phone waterproof, since there were fewer holes that needed to be sealed. That may be true, but Samsung and other manufacturers discovered how to do it without eliminating one of the oldest electronic standards still in use.
It has a screen similar to the iPhone X, but it's bigger. The OLED screen for the iPhone is manufactured by Samsung, and is quite similar to that of Note 8, although it could be said to be sharper. But the screen of Note 8 is not far behind, and it is absolutely mbadive: the 6.3-inch screen (compared to the 5.8-inch screen of the X) feels like holding a wide-screen TV in your hands. If you can hold this with ease, it's simply the biggest and best screen you can carry with you.
USB-C is the new standard. Apple has agreed to both replacing all ports on their MacBooks with USB-C ports. USB-C cables can process more data than standard USB cables (and can be inserted in any direction). But then, the iPhone X still uses its own patented Lightning cable to charge. I can charge my Mac and a Note 8 with the same cable, it would be nice if I could do the same with my iPhone.
Excellent camera, similar characteristics. The iPhone X has my favorite cameras from any smartphone I've used this year, but the Note 8, along with Google Pixel 2 XL, were close seconds. Like the X, the Note 8 features two rear-facing cameras, allowing you to create stunning portrait shots with shallow depth of field that appear to have been taken with a professional camera. In addition to the strange camera modes that Apple recently introduced, Samsung's latest phone cameras can do almost everything an iPhone can do.
The S Pen is occasionally very useful. It may seem quite contrived, but there are definitely times when the included Note 8 stylus is really useful. Writing quick notes on the lock screen, adding titles to photos to post on Twitter or even signing documents is much easier to do with the giant Note 8 screen and the stylus.
The screen always on for the time and notifications is great. Apple and Samsung use similar displays on their devices, but only Samsung chooses to show information when the screen is locked. Note 8 has a white clock and notification badges that require almost no power, since the vast majority of pixels on the screen are still off in this mode. It is the same as managing to take notes on the blocking screen, and it is simply useful.
The Google Assistant works much better than Siri. Although Siri was the first voice badistant to be included in the operating system of a smartphone, it is still quite terrible to understand what we asked, or to give us useful information. Google Assistant, on the other hand, is as useful as Google. (But let's not mention Samsung's Bixby, which is also on the phone, and also quite useless.)
Many of these features also apply to the Galaxy S8. It's a list of many small things, many of which Apple will probably emulate in the future, but for me, it was unpleasant enough to find Apple playing catch-up with Samsung this year. Apple continues to imply that the X is just the beginning of a reinvention of the iPhone, so perhaps we are waiting for a device in the near future that feels as revolutionary as the original iPhone 10 years ago. But if you are considering which phone to buy right now, the answer is probably a Samsung.
Review of Quartz of the Samsung Note 8
Review of Quartz of the iPhone X