Google’s officially announced its two new Pixel smartphones, and suffice it to say, they’re both impressive. Just like with last year’s Pixel phones, Google has gone out of its way to make sure that both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL share incredibly similar internal and external specs.
However, with its almost bezel-less 6-inch display, there’s no denying that the Google Pixel 2 XL is the more modernly designed of the two newly unveiled devices. So how does it stack up against some of the smartphone world’s heaviest hitters?
All things considered — and with very little hands-on time with the Pixel 2 XL — the phone stacks up nicely.
A modern design for a modern smartphone
Right off the bat, the first thing that anyone notices when they compare these four devices is the fact that they all feature some form of bezel-less display. That being said, it’s hard to compare the Pixel 2 XL’s, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8’s and the LG V30’s nearly bezel-less displays to the Apple iPhone X’s virtually bezel-less screen. Additionally, with its 6-inch display, the Google Pixel 2 XL is smaller than the 6.3-inch Note 8, larger than the 5.8-inch iPhone X, and the same size as the 6-inch V30. Ultimately, we’ll also need to spend a little bit more time with the Pixel 2 XL to really figure out how its screen compares to its fellow competitors.
Turn the phones over, and you’ll notice that the Pixel 2 XL is the odd duck out among its smartphone cousins. After all, the new Google phone is part of a growing minority of flagship devices without a dual-camera setup. However, it’s important to note that Google is banking on the Pixel 2 XL’s as the phone’s major differentiating factor. During the conference, Google even boasted about the Pixel 2 XL’s DxOMark score of 98 — compared to the Note 8’s 94, and the iPhone X’s and V30’s as-of-yet unknown scores.
Again, we’ll need to spend some more time with the Pixel 2 XL to determine how good that camera really is, but just like last year, the Pixel 2 XL’s photography capabilities are also going to be bolstered by deep Google Photos integration. This means unlimited storage, as well as artificial intelligence helping organize and keep track of every special moment.
On a quick note, you can tell that Google has finally brought its flagship devices into a modern age because the Pixel 2 XL is IP67 dust- and water-resistant. The LG V30 and Galaxy Note 8 are both IP68 certified, while the iPhone X is IP67 certified. It’s a small addition that might not seem like it matters, but it’s still an important feature to have on a smartphone — just in case.
What’s on the inside really counts
Just like almost every other premium-tier Android smartphone released so far this year, the Pixel 2 XL comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. It’s also got 4GB of RAM and a healthy 3,520mAh battery. Google says you can get a full day of use out of the Pixel 2 XL, but just like the screen and camera, we’ll have to spend some more time with the phone to test that claim. That being said, the Pixel 2 XL does have a larger battery than the Note 8 (3,300mAh), the V30 (3,300mAh) and the iPhone X (2,716mAh0>
Additionally, of these four devices, the Note 8 has the most RAM by far — 6GB compared to the V30’s 4GB, the Pixel 2 XL’s 4 GB and the iPhone X’s 3GB. Regardless, with a Snapdragon 835, as well as whatever optimizations to Android 8.0 Oreo that Google has made, there’s no doubt that the Pixel 2 XL will be a capable, powerful smartphone.
A sidenote for Freedom Mobile customers wondering about Band 66 LTE compatibility. Yes, the Pixel 2 XL is compatible with Band 66 LTE, and Freedom Mobile is even going to carry the phone in-stock, which means that the Pixel 2 XL will be optimized to work with the carrier’s LTE network.
There’s no denying that the Pixel 2 XL is a modernly designed smartphone, which sadly means that the phone no longer has a headphone jack. Google will be including a headphone dongle in the box, but the headphone jack will still be missed. The Pixel 2 XL joins the iPhone X in this missing feature — both the Note 8 and the V30 have a headphone jack.
As for one final interesting feature, the Pixel 2 XL comes with a squeeze-to-activate function dubbed ‘Active Edge.’ It’s like Edge Sense on the HTC U11, and Pixel 2 XL users can squeeze their devices to activate the Google Assistant. It’s not fully clear if Active Edge will be a customizable feature — of even if it’s going to be a useful feature — but it’s a small function that might prove to be worth it for some and worth ignoring for others.