As I watched Samsung unveil the Galaxy Note 8 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City on Wednesday, I couldn’t help but think about the upcoming iPhone 8. But it wasn’t the similarities that caught my attention—the barely-there bezels, thin frame, virtual home button, glass back, dual camera—but rather the stark differences between the two.

The Note 8 and iPhone 8 will both be marketed as do-everything phones, the latest culmination of technology and design that puts tremendous power in your pocket and lets you seamlessly switch between work and play. You’ll see commercials that tout the various capabilities of the camera, the design of the screen, and the numerous new things your phone can do.

But only one of those phones will be a true productivity device, and it won’t be the iPhone 8.

Display dominance

Earlier this year, Samsung introduced the category of the so-called “super” phablet with the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+. But it’s not just the size that makes it super. For the first time, Samsung adopted an 18.5:9 ratio (essentially 2:1), making the phone easier to hold and subtly increasing the vertical viewing area (and thus cutting down on how much we need to scroll).

Samsung Note8Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The display on the Note 8 is 18.5:9, which lets you comfortably run two apps side by side.

It’s not unlike how Apple moved from a 3:2 ratio to a 16:9 one with the iPhone 5. It wasn’t a dramatic change in screen size but it made a huge difference in the way we used our apps. The 16:9 ratio sparked a whole new generation of apps, changing how information was presented on the screen and making our apps richer and more powerful.

By comparison to the 6.3-inch Note 8, the rumored 5.8-inch iPhone 8 will seem small, but the ratio will make it look downright antiquated. It’s not just that the Note 8 packs a bigger package that’s as easy to hold as a far smaller handset, the size and ratio makes it better to work with two apps at once, a feature that isn’t even available on the iPhone yet. Multi-window support is so great on an 18:9 screen that Samsung even lets you create shortcuts on the Note 8 that automatically launch two apps at the same time. It’s a level of a productivity that just isn’t possible on the iPhone, and I don’t see the iPhone 8 changing that.

S Pen power

The whole reason for the Note’s existence is productivity. Year after year it’s reliably been Samsung’s largest-screened device and the only one that has a slot for the S Pen—Samsung’s stylus—right on the bottom of the device.

Samsung Note8Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The S Pen is the Note 8’s greatest advantage.

Apple fans like to scoff at the smartphone stylus like Steve Jobs did, but the Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro has shown us just how useful it can be. The S Pen’s best use is for screen-off memos, which let you write, save, and edit notes without needing to turn on the screen, but there are all sorts of uses for it. It’s the main thing that separates the Note 8 from the Galaxy S8+ (and the rest of the premium Android phablets), and its inclusion truly puts it in a class by itself.

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