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OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Which is best for me?

We compare the fresh new OnePlus 3T with Google’s mighty Pixel XL mobile phone, to see which of these 5.5-inch Android blower is best for you. What’s the difference in specs, camera features and performance, and is the Pixel XL phone worth the extra cash – or should you save your wallet and get the OnePlus 3T instead?

Google’s Pixel XL smartphone is basically the Android answer to Apple’s iPhone, in that it packs some seriously impressive specs – including a massive 5.5-inch Quad HD screen, the latest Snapdragon processor and a powerful 12-megapixel camera – for a crazy price.

To counter that hefty price tag, OnePlus’ latest flagship phone, the OnePlus 3T, also packs very strong specs but at almost half the cost. You can snaffle the OnePlus 3T here in the UK from just £399.

Here’s our full Pixel XL vs OnePlus 3T comparison review to help you decide which is best for you.

OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Specs at a glance

Phone OnePlus 3T Google Pixel XL
Screen size 5.5-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution Full HD 1920×1080 Quad HD 2560×1440
Weight 158g 168g
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Water resistant? No No
OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 7.1 Nougat
Processor Snapdragon 821 Snapdragon 821
Memory 6GB 4GB
Storage 64GB or 128GB 32/128GB
MicroSD? No No
Battery 3400mAh 3450mAh
Rear camera 16-megapixel 12-megapixel
Front camera 16-megapixel 8-megapixel
Price From £399 From £719

OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Design

Both of these 5.5-inch phones are proper hand-fillers and very similar in terms of size and weight. The Pixel XL is a bit chunkier and a wee bit taller thanks to its thick bezels above and below the screen, although it doesn’t have a jutting camera lens like the OnePlus 3T.

The OnePlus 3T sports a neat metallic finish that’s now available in two colours; gunmetal grey and ‘soft gold’ (only available in 64GB model). It’s pretty hardy, as is the Pixel XL, which boasts a funky glass and metal combo design. It’s almost as if someone stitched together the top half of the Honor 8 and the bottom half of the iPhone 6s, and it’s either gorgeous or gash depending on who you ask.

That glossy top half picks up grease marks like the Galaxy S7’s glass rear, but does a reasonable job of hiding them, while the metal section is pleasingly scratch-resistant.

Neither phone is water resistant, sadly, so don’t get them overly moist.

OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Screen and media

The Pixel XL’s screen is sharper thanks to its Quad HD resolution, but the OnePlus 3T is still a great media machine for enjoying your favourite show on the go with its crisp Full HD resolution. Squint at both panels up close and you’ll struggle to see any difference.

Both phones boast a strong maximum brightness and perfectly wide viewing angles, as well as vibrant colour reproduction for punchy, good-looking visuals. However, you get direct control over the warmth of the OnePlus 3T’s display, something not found on Google’s Pixel XL.. That’s particularly handy when you’re browsing late in bed, as you can activate the Night Mode to make things easier on the eye. 

Both phones offer up to 128GB of storage space, but no microSD memory card support.

OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: OS and features

Android 6.0.1 comes pre-installed on the OnePlus 3T, while the Pixel XL packs the very latest Android Nougat 7.1 OS. This adds a fair few cool new features, such as support for Google’s Daydream VR platform, and the helpful new Assistant AI – something that won’t come to the OnePlus 3T even when it’s updated to Nougat. Check out our full Android Nougat best features guide for more info.

The OnePlus 3T has some unique features of its own, in the shape of OnePlus’ Oxygen overlay. Check out our full tips and tricks guide for a closer look.

Both the Pixel XL and the OnePlus 3T have a fingerprint sensor, for quickly unlocking to your desktops. In both cases this is accurate and responsive, as you’d expect from a premium handset. However, the OnePlus 3T’s scanner is faster than the Pixel XL’s, by half a second roughly.

OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Performance and battery life

The original OnePlus 3 made us moist with its ridiculous benchmark scores, thanks to the powerful Snapdragon 820 processor and mighty 6GB of RAM packed inside. However, the OnePlus 3T goes a step further with the brand new Snapdragon 821 chipset, which is also found inside the Pixel XL.

Both phones are powerful enough to produce silky smooth performance, but the OnePlus wins out in this battle thanks to the extra memory. There’s not a world of difference, but the OnePlus 3T scores 164523 in AnTuTu, while the Pixel XL scores 145815.

We love how the OnePlus 3T delivers well over a day of use with each charge, while the excellent Dash Charge tech means that you can power up to full in almost an hour – or give yourself a day’s worth of play time from just 30 minutes at the plug. The Pixel XL’s battery life is also great, but the Quick Charge 3.0 charging tech isn’t as fast.

OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Cameras

The OnePlus 3T’s 16-megapixel camera is solid in every respect, from the user-friendly UI and reasonably quick shutter speed to the excellent detail levels of your photos. You can shoot up to 4K video and again detail levels are solid. Low light performance is strong and you get full manual controls if needed.

There’s also an excellent 16-megapixel Samsung sensor selfie cam, which again captures strong detail and works well in difficult lighting conditions. Check out our full OnePlus 3T camera review for samples and more.

The Pixel XL sports a 12-megapixel snapper boasting an HDR+ mode, to deal with those tricky lighting conditions. Like the OnePlus 3T, you get fantastic detail-packed photos almost every time, while the phase detection autofocus means your subject is kept pin-sharp at all times, with no shutter lag to speak of.

4K video recording is of course an option, and the results are excellent. Check out our full Google Pixel XL camera review for samples and more info.

OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Pricing and verdict

The Pixel XL may be great and all, but it’s also bloody expensive, starting at a wallet-smashing £719 for the 32GB model.

Meanwhile you can pick up the OnePlus 3T for just £399 for the 64GB model. For that price you get solid performance, a long-lasting fast-charging battery, gorgeous visuals and a respectable camera, while the latest version of Android is just around the corner.

So, if value for money is your main concern, the OnePlus 3T is your best bet by far.

OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Video

You can grab the OnePlus 3T exclusively on contract from O2, from £31 per month.


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