When the Mountain View-headquartered technology company Google launched the original Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones exactly a year ago, it was met with high critical applaud but with reportedly below mediocre sales figures — the search giant did not actually published its sales figures.
Google already knew and made a much-needed approach to the Android ecosystem that was influenced by master plans and tactics of its stiff rivals including Apple and/or Microsoft: manufacturing a hardware at the same time as the software, then both the hardware and software can work more seamlessly and fluidly together for a best user experience.
The first-generation Pixel phone did this strangely well, but it still felt like a little of a stage for the company in terms of the consumer electronics as it attempted to include itself and make a footprints inside the premium flagship smartphone market.
Enter the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which was officially unveiled on Wednesday, October 4th, during the firm’s special media event to launch its yearly hardware refreshed. The company has had the time to improve and enhance its hardware and software for the second-generation Pixel handsets and it appears, but how does the Google Pixel 2 XL stack up against Apple’s premium flagship iPhone X model as well as versus the Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30?
I’m one of the lucky few people who has used both smartphones at their respective launching events, although I have only spent about 30-50 minutes with each handset. Here’s how the four flagship smartphones — Google Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X vs LG V30 vs Galaxy Note 8 — compare with each other based on my brief exploration and hands-on with them.
The first thing everyone will notice when looking at these larger flagship smartphones is the screen display.
The Google Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X vs LG V30 vs Galaxy Note 8 have gorgeously beautiful screen displays and are almost bezel-less. The Apple iPhone X is equipped with a 5.8-inch display with a 2436 x 1125 resolution with 82.9% screen-to-body ratio, while the Google Pixel 2 XL has a slightly larger 6-inch display with a resolution of 2880 x 1440 pixels and 76.4% screen-to-body ratio. The LG V30 has the same screen display size and resolution as well as pixel density as to the Pixel 2 XL. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has an even larger display of 6.3-inches with 2960 x 1440 resolution and 521 ppi pixel density.
In short, all four devices’ screens look stunning, but the iPhone X, Note 8 and V30 supports HDR despite more ppi pixel density being equipped into Google’s Pixel 2 XL. The iPhone X also supports True Tone Display that’s missing to the others.
Holding these flagship phones, the iPhone X feel a little more sleek in the hand and most particularly when using it single-handed because of the glass at both panels. However, the Pixel 2 XL is a massive leap forward for the search company and feels premium in the hand, too, most certainly compared to its smaller sib Pixel 2 and last year’s iterations. The Galaxy Note 8 is a huge phablet but feels sleep because of its 18:9 aspect ratio.
What’s makes the 18:9 aspect ratio on a smartphone unique is the wider than usual display area it offers, as the width is exactly twice the height as compared to 16:9 aspect ratio of a smartphone. It only means that the screen display will not crop any part of the video to accommodate it to the 16:9 aspect ratio and will fill-in the entire display to provide a better video viewing and more immersive experience.
On camera department, the Google Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X vs LG V30 vs Galaxy Note 8 have similarities, too, with each technology company ramping on their own camera software and algorithms to pull ahead. The iPhone X has a pair of 12-megapixel back cameras (one for the optical zoom and the other one is for Portrait and Lighting Mode) and 7-megapixel camera on the front, while the Note 8 also have dual 12MP cameras one with 2X optical zoom and the other one takes charge in Love Focus and wide angle. As for LG V30, it include dual 16MP and 13MP on the back and 5MP on the front.
The Pixel 2 XL has a single 12.2-megapixel rear and 8-megapixel front cameras. Google put a couple of sensors side-by-side inside its Pixel 2 XL cameras, however, so it can capture a version of Live Focus or Portrait Mode on both its front and back shooters using “math,” Google claimed.
Testing the camera on all devices, All of them shot quickly and seemed to handle the lighting condition in their respective demo rooms just pretty fine, but it is hard to complete compare Google Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X vs LG V30 vs Galaxy Note 8 without taking them out into the outside world. Google’s single- camera sensor Portrait Mode was quite impressive in good lighting conditions, but may still need a little refinement for low-light condition. Google, Apple, LG and Samsung are all saying that the camera on their respective flagship device are carefully calibrated for accurate augmented reality (AR) use, and with the addition of optical and video stabilization.
The Google Pixel 2 XL has fewer storage room in its highest storage capacity offering (it comes in 64GB and 128GB configuration only, whereas the iPhone X id offering 64GB and 256GB). Both smartphones does not supports expandable storage. The LG V30 are currently available with 64GB and 128GB storage only, but the South Korean manufacturer included an SD card slot that supports up to 256GB of additional external storage. But the real winner in terms of storage in this showdown is the Galaxy Note 8 as this handset is available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB of storage configuration plus it supports up to 256GB of additional memory via micro-SD card slot.
As for cloud storage, the search titan is once again offering free unlimited photo and video storage in Google Drive for Pixel owners though.
In terms of other specs in the paper, the iPhone X reportedly has 3GB worth of RAM compared to the Google Pixel 2 XL’s and LG V30’s 4GB. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8, meanwhile, is equipped with 6GB of RAM, twice the memory of the iPhone X. The iPhone X is powered by A11 Bionic SoC processor. The A11 Bionic chipset has six-cores — two high-performance cores which are 25 percent faster than the A10 Fusion and four high-efficiency cores which are up to 70-percent faster than the energy-efficient cores in the previous model. As for the Android-running devices Note 8, LG V30 and Google Pixel 2 XL, all of which are powered by eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC processor. Samsung, however, is offering Exynos 8895 Octa-equipped Galaxy Note 8 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
The iPhone X has its flagship in-house built Face ID scanner security feature especially built to replace the Touch ID for unlocking the device and for Apple Pay, meanwhile the Galaxy Note 8 has its Iris Scanner. The LG V30 and Pixel 2 XL’s finger print scanner on the rear do the job.
The Google Pixel 2 XL has its AI-powered squeezable sides to activate Google Assistant dubbed as Active Edge which was first appeared on the HTC U11.
Both the iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL does not include the standard 3.mm audio jack port,but Google and Apple are providing adapters inside the box for those audiophiles who have an expensive wired headphones. The Pixel 2 XL has dual front-firing stereo speakers, which sounds nice to be honest, while the iPhone X has the added inductive wireless charging. The Galaxy Note 8 has an S-Pen stylus and the V30 features 32-bit Advanced Hi-Fi Quad DAC powered by ESS Technology’s SABRE ES9218P tech.
Google, Apple, LG and Samsung aren’t making specs sheet a subject matter anymore, however, as flagship smartphones components continues to become more similar on paper. What matters the most is how the software is designed to seamlessly work with hardware, tightly integrating and mixing for a better and more immersive experience.
The Google Pixel 2 XL continues to offer the most captivating Android ecosystem experience in the market. Other Android partners have to take a mobile operating system that they didn’t make and then customized it to their liking, and often adding their own UI skins, bloatware and other apps on the platform that potentially slows it down.
The Pixel XL 2, on the other side of the ecosystem, has its hardware designed and made by the same company that makes the Android operating system to get extra advantages and implement optimizations.
With that being said, this is is exactly how the Cupertino tech firm has handled iOS in the span of a decade. One of the iPhone’s strongest points is that its iOS software is designed for the hardware, meaning it works buttery smooth and as planed.
The iPhone X does have a modified iOS mobile software to address the lack of physical home button though, which takes a bit to get used to since a user now swipe up to go to the home screen or do a mulitasking.
As for Samsung and LG, both the South Korean electronics have long been partner of Google. LG and Samsung uses Android with their respective UI skin on the top on the Galaxy Note 8 and V30.
Apple’s new iPhone X does use the advanced depth-sensing True Depth Camera system for virtual face-tracking animojis to send to your recipients though. Meanwhile, the Pixel 2 XL is getting augmented reality virtual stickers that you can put into photographs and videos clips.
As for Google Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X vs LG V30 vs Galaxy Note 8 pricing and availability, first two flagships will be available next month. Bot the LG V30 and Galaxy Note 8 are already available for purchase. The Note 8 with 64GB storage is up for 929.99 and the v30 is available for $800. The Apple iPhone X will cost $999 for the 64GB model and $1,149 for the 256GB storage configuration with pre-orders starts on October 27 and release date on November 3.
The Google Pixel 2 XL will be available for $849 for the 64GB base model and and additional $100 to $949 for the 128GB with pre-orders now available and shipping in October 25.
I have only used all Google Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X vs LG V30 vs Galaxy Note 8 for a short period of time, so it’s indeed hard to make a conclusion who’s the real winner without spending an enough stretch of time with each device. However
So far, it appears the Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X vs LG V30 vs Galaxy Note 8 are four flagship, top-of-the-line premium smartphones that will without a doubt please their respective fanbases. With that being said, the Google Pixel 2 XL has always been a compelling, pure Android ecosystem immersive experience and now the Pixel 2 XL is making the best logic for iPhone and third-party Android phone users to switch yet.