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iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL: Mega-mobile face-off

How does Google’s new Pixel 2 XL phone stack up against Apple’s super-premium iPhone X, and which of these mighty mobiles could be best for you? We compare two of the biggest and most expensive handsets of 2017, for specs, features and camera tech.

In November 2017, two of the biggest smartphones of the year will hit the UK. Biggest not just in terms of size (although they do sport displays around the 6-inch mark), but also desirability and sheer interest.

The first to launch was the iPhone X, a special ten-year anniversary edition handset revealed at Apple’s huge September event. This is the largest mobile that the Cupertino company has unveiled thus far, packing a revamped (and gorgeous) design as well as an HDR-ready screen.

Google has taken a similar approach for its own Pixel 2 XL smartphone, the bigger of its two new flagship devices which was revealed just three weeks later. The Pixel sports a similar shrunken bezel design as well as a gorgeous HDR display and premium specs to rival Apple’s own.

So which of these mega mobiles is going to be best for you when they hit stores at the table end of the year? Should you go Google or Apple, Android or iOS? Here’s our full comparison to help you decide.

iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL: Specs

Phone Apple iPhone X Google Pixel 2 XL
Screen size 5.8-inches 6-inches
Screen resolution 2436×1125 (458ppi) 2880×1440 (538ppi)
Water resistant? Yes Yes
Fingerprint sensor? No Yes
OS iOS 11 Android 8.0
Processor A11 Bionic Snapdragon 835
Memory 3GB 4GB
Storage 64/256GB 64/128GB
MicroSD? No No
Battery 2700mAh 3520mAh
Rear camera 12MP + 12MP telephoto 12.2MP
Front camera 7MP 8MP

iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL: Design

After a compact mobile that’ll slip into any pocket and be a cinch to use one-handed? Oops, this probably isn’t the comparison for you, then.

These handsets sport very similar dimensions and top the scales at roughly 175g. Those bulky frames are rather difficult to grip and operate with just one mitt, although both Apple and Google have done a solid job in keeping the chassis as slender as possible by trimming the bezels surrounding the displays.

While the iPhone X boasts a fresh new glass finish (an aid to the wireless charging), Google has gone for a part-metal, part-glass design. So far they both seem rugged enough, although we’d recommend slapping a case on just in case – after all, these blowers aren’t cheap. Both devices are thankfully water resistant, so you can give them a good dunking with no ill effects.

iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL: Screen and media

The iPhone and Pixel both offer an HDR-ready OLED display as well, which will certainly satisfy media lovers. You can expect the same deep blacks and realistic contrast from either of these smartphone screens, as well as a pleasingly wide colour gamut to really nail those tricky hues.

You will notice some differences between these panels, however. For instance, the Pixel 2 XL sports a screen that’s ever so slightly bigger, at 6-inches versus 5.8. There’s a small difference when it comes to aspect ratio too, with Google’s phone using a now-standard 18:9 ratio, while Apple’s handset offers a rather bizarre 812:375 ratio.

The Pixel phone also boasts stronger detail levels, with 538 pixels packed into every inch of screen space. In comparison, the iPhone X delivers 458 pixels-per-inch. Although the Pixel 2 XL wins in the resolution stakes, the naked eye won’t notice much difference at all – either of these mighty mobiles will do the job when it comes to HD movie streaming.

We’re personally swayed by Apple’s display all the same, as the Pixel 2 XL suffers from bizarre tinting issues.

The base model of these handsets serve up 64GB of storage space, although the iPhone X maxes out at 256GB while the Pixel only goes up to 128GB. Still, that’s plenty of room for a massive media collection, as well as plenty of apps. And neither device can be expanded using a microSD memory card.

Likewise, neither the Pixel nor the iPhone have a 3.5mm headphone jack. You’ll need to use a USB converter for your wired ‘phones, or upgrade to a fresh new Bluetooth set. Luckily Bluetooth 5 support is offered by both handsets.

iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL: Features and OS

Of course, one of the biggest differences between these two smartphones is the operating system that they run. Apple’s iOS 11 is stuffed inside the iPhone X, while Google’s own Android 8.0 can be found on the Pixel 2 XL.

If you’re already invested in one or the other, in terms of app purchases and so on, then we’d recommend sticking. You’ll simply end up rebuying your content, which is costly and a serious pain. Otherwise, have a squint at our in-depth iOS 11 guide and Android Oreo guide to see which might be best for you. Either way, you’re getting a feature-packed slab of smart software, complete with thoughtful resource management, cloud storage, media stores and pretty much everything else you could need.

To see more on the software side, check out our iPhone tips and tricks guide and Pixel 2 XL tips and tricks guide.

Both mobiles offer their own on-board smart assistant too. Both Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant can be called into action using your voice alone, which is handy if your hands are otherwise occupied. They offer similar services too, including step-by-step navigation, web searches and so on.

The Pixel 2 XL boasts Google’s new Active Edge sensor, which can call up the Assistant with just a squeeze when needed. Apple’s iPhone X doesn’t have a pressure sensor although you do get the 3D Touch display tech, which can be used to perform alternative actions with a firm push.

Interested in virtual reality? Google’s Pixel 2 XL supports the excellent Daydream VR platform, which offers some solid games and 360-degree experiences, using just your phone. Apple’s iPhone X doesn’t have a similar VR platform although does now support AR apps, and can also turn you into a cartoon animal thing. Just because.

While the Pixel 2 XL still sports a fingerprint sensor on the rear, for quickly and securely unlocking your mobile, Apple has ditched the TouchID scanner for the iPhone X. In its place, the front-facing camera can scan your mug for verification. This is supposed to be a more secure method and just as responsive, even working when you’re wearing glasses or growing a bit of bumfluff on your chin.

iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL: Performance and battery

When it comes to performance, these are two of the most beastly blowers of 2017.

Apple has packed its self-designed A11 Bionic chipset inside the iPhone X, which can cope with the most demanding of tasks and fast-paced games with no signs of slowdown. Likewise, the Pixel 2 XL features Qualcomm’s mighty Snapdragon 835 platform, which also delivers premium performance no matter what you’re up to.

Whatever your pick, you shouldn’t need to upgrade because of stuttering and lag for quite some time.

The Pixel 2 XL offers well over a day of life per charge, thanks to its mighty 3520mAh battery. We’re yet to test out the battery life of the iPhone X, although we’re expecting similar results to the iPhone 8 Plus, which Apple’s internal tests seem to prove is the case. In other words, you can expect around 36 hours of play time per charge, thanks to the impressive efficiency of iOS and Apple’s A11 chipset.

Choosing Apple’s phone also brings the benefit of wireless charging, which is particularly good news if you also rock the Apple Watch and AirPods; these three devices can all be charged together on a single pad, once Apple finally launches its AirPower mat. You can also power back up at any restaurant or cafe that offers Qi charging pads.

Both the iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL support fast charging too, so you can get enough power to last the day with just half an hour or so at the plug.

iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL: Cameras

As for the camera tech, there’s quite a bit of difference between these two phones.

Apple has packed its very best camera to date into the iPhone X, which like the iPhone 8 Plus offers two lenses – a 12-megapixel wide-angle snapper and 12-megapixel telephoto lens. These are swapped between automatically, to capture the best possible quality photo. You get Optical Image Stabilisation on both lenses, to keep your memories blur-free, while you can shoot up to 4K resolution video at 60 frames-per-second, for impressively realistic results.

The Pixel 2 XL uses just a single 12-megapixel snapper, so you don’t get the same telephoto ability of the iPhone X. However, the excellent HDR+ mode means you’ll get glorious results in pretty much any conditions. You once again get OIS for sharp photo capture and video looks smoother when captured by the Pixel, although 4K resolution recording tops out at 30 frames-per-second.

Take a look at our Pixel 2 XL camera review for samples and analysis, while our iPhone X camera review is incoming.

The Pixel 2 XL also sports an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, while the iPhone X’s 7-megapixel snapper is just as strong at capturing selfie shots.

Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X: Video comparison

To see these two phones in action, check out our full video comparison below.

More Pixel comparisons

Check out our other Pixel phone comparisons by clicking the links below.

Pixel vs Pixel 2

Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL

Pixel 2 vs Galaxy S8

Pixel 2 vs OnePlus 5

Pixel XL 2 vs iPhone 8 Plus


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