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OnePlus 5T vs Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL: Is the new OnePlus phone a Google beater?

The new OnePlus 5T is a good sight cheaper than the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, yet sports similar premium specs and a camera to rival the Pixel’s best-in-class snapper. Here’s how these phones stack up, so you know whether Google’s handset is worth that extra cash.

The OnePlus 5T is about to hit the UK, serving up impressive features and top-end specs at a seriously enticing asking price. This mobile launch comes just a month after Google unveiled its latest flagship mobiles, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which are also premium devices – although in the Pixel’s case, you’ll need to stump up some serious cash to get your hands on one.

So what’s the difference between the OnePlus 5T, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL and should you save your money?

OnePlus 5T vs Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL: Design

When it comes to look and feel, the OnePlus 5T and Pixel 2 XL aren’t too different. Both of these blowers boast a near edge-to-edge display that fills the front, which helps to make them just about manageable despite their massive 6-inch panels. You get a metal backing on both handsets too, although the Pixel breaks up that matte surfacing with a bit of gloss up top.

Of course, if you want a mobile that’s reasonably compact and easy to handle, the Pixel 2 is your best bet. This 5-inch handset is smaller and lighter, with a similar finish to the XL model. However, the screen is also more boxed in, with quite thick bezels.

Google’s smartphones have an advantage with their water resistant IP67 finish, something lacking on the OnePlus. If you want to take snaps at the pool or browse Netflix in the bath, the Pixels are your only choice.

OnePlus 5T vs Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL: Screen and media

OLED screens are served up by all three of these phones, for strong contrast levels. That said, the Pixel 2 and Google’s XL version aren’t as vibrant as expected, offering more realistic colour reproduction instead.

You get a sharp image from each of these handsets, so high-def movies are packed with detail and photos look pleasingly crisp. The Pixel 2 sports the same Full HD resolution as the OnePlus 5T, which means super-fine visuals thanks to the smaller screen size. Meanwhile the Pixel 2 XL delivers an even sharper 2880×1440 pixel resolution. Both the larger Pixel phone and the OnePlus handset have an 18:9 aspect ratio, which is better suited to viewing movies (as there’s less letterboxing).

Sadly the Pixel 2 XL disappoints with its P-OLED panel. Whites are murky and viewing angles awful, with a strange blue tint ruining the visuals as you tilt the screen. And while it’s supposed to support HDR content, we’re struggling to find any services that support it.

Of these three phones, only the OnePlus 5T offers a 3.5mm headphone jack – although Google includes a dongle in the box for its Pixel handsets. You get Bluetooth 5.0 support for wireless pairs.

If you want to carry around your music and movies rather than stream on the go, the good news is that you get a minimum of 64GB of space with these devices. You can also upgrade to 128GB, for a bit of extra cash. However, none of these mobiles allow you to expand that storage with a microSD memory card.

OnePlus 5T vs Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL: Features

Android Oreo is the OS of choice on these handsets. This understandably appears in a vanilla, untouched state on the Pixel phones, being Google hardware and all. OnePlus hasn’t tampered too much with Android either, although its own OxygenOS overlay adds some bonus customisation and other new features.

From the Shelf shortcuts to easier one-handed use and other gesture support, most of these new features are genuinely worthwhile. You can read more about OnePlus’ changes in our OnePlus 5 tips and tricks guide.

All of these mobiles offer a fingerprint sensor for secure unlocking also. In each case, this is housed on the rear end of the device. The OnePlus 5T goes one step further however with its Face Unlock feature, which is very similar to the iPhone X’s FaceID. By capturing a 3D model of your features, you can get into your device simply by raising it up to your mug.

OnePlus 5T vs Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL: Performance and battery life

If you demand premium performance, you’ll be well served by any of these mobiles. They all sport Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 835 chipset, which shows nary a stutter as you blast through apps and games. You get 4GB of RAM backing that up with the Pixel handsets, and a choice of 6 or 8GB of memory with the OnePlus.

As for battery life, the Pixel 2 XL beats its smaller sibling. While the Pixel 2 generally offers just over a day of use per charge, that XL version can last up to two days, even with plenty of usage.

The OnePlus 5T sports a slightly smaller battery than the Pixel 2 XL and based on earlier OnePlus models, we’re expecting to get between a day to a day and a half of use per charge. However, the Dash Charge tech is a serious rival to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, found on the Pixels, offering enough juice from just ten minutes at the plug to get you through a lengthy and hectic commute.

OnePlus 5T vs Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL: Cameras

The Pixel phones both sport the same excellent 12-megapixel rear camera, with an f/1.8 aperture lens for solid low light shots. You can shoot up to 4K resolution video with impressive image stabilisation, while photos look great in almost any conditions.

Check out our in-depth Pixel 2 camera review for samples and analysis.

The OnePlus 5T should prove hot competition for those Pixel blowers when it comes to the optics, however. You get the same capable dual lens camera tech from the OnePlus 5, except that this time the secondary lens boasts a bigger f/1.7 aperture. Here’s hoping low light shots are therefore even better – helped along by improved software designed to reduce noise.

As before you can shoot up to 4K Ultra HD resolution video too. That’s with solid image stabilisation at that higher resolution too.

You can bag the OnePlus 5T exclusively from O2 here in the UK, from £38 per month on contract or £449 without contract. Check out the O2 OnePlus 5T page for details and to grab yours now.

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