We compare Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, set to launch later in August, with three other premium mobiles to be released at the end of 2017. Are Google’s own-brand Pixel XL 2, Apple’s much-anticipated iPhone 7S Plus and the desirable new LG V30 handset strong rivals to the newest Note?
Let’s face it, Samsung hasn’t even launched the Galaxy Note 8 yet and we already know that it’s going to be one of the very best smartphones of 2017. This mighty 6.3-inch handset has almost fully leaked in terms of specs and features and pretty much nothing else out there comes close.
So what about the other big phones that are yet to be released? Apple, LG and Google all have huge premium mobiles waiting in the wings, in the form of the iPhone 7S Plus, Pixel XL 2 and V30. These upcoming devices also sport the very best specs, desirable features and enticing camera tech, to give the Note 8 a serious run for its money.
How does the Note 8 compare with these rival phones, and which is likely to be best for you? Here’s our full comparison review, based on all of the leaks we’ve seen so far.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Google Pixel XL 2 vs iPhone 7S Plus vs LG V30: Specs
|Phone||iPhone 7S Plus||Pixel XL 2||LG V30||Note 8|
|Screen size||5.5-inches||6-inches, 2:1||6-inches, 2:1||6.3-inches, 2:1|
|Screen resolution||Full HD||Quad HD+||Quad HD+||Quad HD+|
|Other security?||Facial recognition||TBC||TBC||Iris scanner|
|Processor||Apple A11||Snapdragon 836||Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895|
|Storage||From 64GB||From 128GB||From 64GB||From 64GB|
|Rear camera||Dual 12/12MP||12MP||Dual 13MP (f/1.6?)||Dual 12/12MP|
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Google Pixel XL 2 vs iPhone 7S Plus vs LG V30: Design
All four of these upcoming phones sport a very different design, with something to suit pretty much any tastes. As long as you like it big, that is.
LG has stuck with a G6-style metal frame for the V30, which should be constructed from 6000 Series aluminium for a rugged finish. This looks very similar to the G6 flagship from leaked images, complete with very narrow bezels surrounding the screen and a rather chunky finish to fit in all of the components.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 offers even smaller bezels, with the edge-to-edge screen actually wrapping around the corners of the handset. Like the V30, this smartphone looks rather familiar. That’s because to all intents and purposes, the new Note is a slightly enlarged version of the Galaxy S8+, complete with the same glass backing and metal rim. The effect is absolutely gorgeous and means this mobile should be surprisingly easy to handle, despite that enormous 6.3-inch screen.
Meanwhile the Pixel XL 2 and iPhone 7S Plus look very similar to their previous incarnations as well. You can expect that same unique blend of metal and glass on the Pixel’s back end, while Apple’s latest mega-iPhone looks almost exactly the same as the iPhone 7 Plus, with that trademark all-metal frame.
One notable change in the iPhone 7S Plus and Note 8 is the fingerprint sensor, which is now built into the screen itself. A tap of your print to the surface and you’ll be straight into your desktops, while the scanner also works for payment authorisation via Apple or Samsung Pay. The LG V30 and Pixel XL 2 use a rear-mounted scanner instead.
Google is expected to introduce water resistance to the Pixel XL 2, to bring it in line with the other phones in this comparison. That means any of these handsets can be rocked in the bath or shower, with no worry about invading water.
Which phone is our favourite?
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 once again seems to sport the most attractive design around. That said, none of the phones in this comparison have really stretched themselves in terms of look and feel, with some nostalgic constructions on offer.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Google Pixel XL 2 vs iPhone 7S Plus vs LG V30: Screen and media
When it comes to the screen tech, you get a mighty display no matter which phone you favour. Apple’s new iPhone sports the most ‘compact’ panel here at 5.5-inches, while both the LG V30 and Google’s Pixel XL 2 offer a seriously spacious 6-inch screen. Even those handsets are dwarfed by the 6.3-inch viewer on the Galaxy Note 8, however.
The Pixel XL 2, V30 and iPhone 7S Plus all sport an AMOLED screen if rumours are to be believed. In Apple’s case this is quite surprising, as the Cupertino company has stuck quite religiously with IPS panels in the past. Of course, while a switch to OLED is almost inevitable in the future, we’re not entirely sure if this will happen with the iPhone 7S Plus. This may be a case of a rumour too far.
In true Samsung style, you’ll find a Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy Note 8. This should offer even more vibrant and vivid images when viewing photos and video, although all four phones are likely to offer slick visuals.
However, only the Galaxy Note 8 and the LG V30 appear to offer HDR support, while the Note 8 also beats its rivals for resolution. Samsung’s mighty mobile will pump out 4K images, which makes it particularly well suited to VR experiences (more on this later). So far, only Sony has produced 4K-ready handsets (the latest being the brilliant Xperia XZ Premium).
You can expect a ‘stretched’ 2:1 aspect ratio on all of these phones except for the iPhone 7S Plus. That means a more pronounced letterboxing effect when watching widescreen movies on Apple’s upcoming device.
Previously the V10 and V20 sported a secondary display, offering shortcuts to favourite apps, notifications feedback and so on. However, the LG V30 appears to use just a single screen, with a ‘floating toolbar’ affixed to the top of your desktops to perform a similar function. This will likely be an always-on section of the panel too, to offer info when the phone is hibernating. That always-on functionality is something we’re also expecting from the Note 8.
Missing in action is the 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7S Plus and Google’s Pixel XL 2. This might also be slashed from the V30 and Note 8, although leaks point to them being retained for now.
Which phone is our favourite?
The Note 8 appears to take this round as well, thanks to its 4K HDR display. No doubt you'll get full support for Bluetooth 5, Hi-Res Audio and other media features too.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Google Pixel XL 2 vs iPhone 7S Plus vs LG V30: Features and OS
Apple’s iPhone 7S Plus of course stands out from its rivals in many ways, although one of the biggest differences is the software running on it. Apple’s own iOS 11 comes pre-installed and it’s certainly a great operating system, with a fresh new look and feel for this model.
That said, the Android OS offered by the other handsets in this comparison review offers greater customisation and full control over your apps. It’s also open source, which means access to a greater number of apps - although the downside is greater vulnerability to viruses and malware.
If you’re interested in getting involved with virtual reality experiences, the Android phones here will definitely appease. Both the Pixel XL 2 and the LG V30 will support Google’s DayDream platform out of the box, while the Galaxy Note 8 comes packing full Gear VR functionality (Samsung’s own virtual reality offering). Of course, the Note’s glorious 4K display, which is also the most spacious panel here, will provide the best viewing tool for your VR gaming sessions.
Creative users will be drawn immediately to the Galaxy handset. That S-Pen stylus offers precision input and control, something the other phones here are lacking. Plus, it can be used even when the Note 8’s screen is wet. Impressive stuff indeed.
You get some form of smart assistant support on all four handsets here, although Samsung’s Bixby is one of the more intriguing, with its conversational design and impressive understanding. Apple has also worked hard to improve its Siri assistant, with more multi-lingual functionality and better cross-app support.
As for storage, you’ll get a minimum of 64GB of space for your files and media, regardless of your choice of smartphone. Of course, the Pixel and iPhone are expected to snub microSD support, so you’re stuck with whatever’s left on your device. Meanwhile LG and Samsung’s handsets both take memory cards.
Which phone is our favourite?
Although Gear VR now has a strong rival in DayDream, the Note 8 once again is our pick thanks to the brilliant S Pen stylus and the intriguing Bixby AI.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Google Pixel XL 2 vs iPhone 7S Plus vs LG V30: Performance and battery tech
If you’re after a powerhouse device that can blast through intensive VR games and other memory-hungry apps, then look no further. These four mobiles will be some of the strongest performers in 2017, thanks to their premium platforms.
The Android handsets here pack a minimum Snapdragon 835 chipset, which boasts incredible power, impressive energy efficiency and some strong feature support. You can expect swift download speeds if your network’s up to it (up to 1Gbps theoretical supported), plus some awesome mobile VR experiences in the future.
Google’s new Pixel XL 2 phone is also said to bump up the specs to the fresh new Snapdragon 836 instead. This will apparently deliver a ten percent performance boost, as well as make further improvements to battery drain.
Speaking of batteries, we still don’t know what size of cell to expect from the LG and Google phones here. However, the Note 8 and the iPhone 7S Plus will pack in a 3000mAh and 2900mAh battery respectively. Here’s hoping they deliver a full day of life.
All four phones will also support some form of quick charging. The Note 8 will offer Samsung’s own Adaptive Fast Charging, while the Pixel XL 2 and V30 use Qualcomm’s own Quick Charge (perhaps even version 4.0 for the Google handset).
Which phone is our favourite?
For once, the Note 8 isn't a clear winner. Google's Pixel XL 2 and the iPhone 7S Plus could offer even slicker performance.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Google Pixel XL 2 vs iPhone 7S Plus vs LG V30: Cameras
Apple, Google, LG and Samsung are all known for slapping top-end camera tech on their smartphones. In fact, we actually pitted the new Galaxy S8 shooter against the Pixel XL and iPhone 7 Plus optics in this premium camera phone comparison, with all three phones performing admirably across our range of tests. Likewise, the LG G6 camera offered a very unique experience, thanks to its wide-angle secondary lens.
We therefore have high expectations when it comes to the optics on these four new smartphones. So far it looks like three of the handsets will offer dual-lens tech, proving a first for the Galaxy Note range. Only the Pixel XL 2 is expected to arrive with a single lens shooter.
Of course, two lenses can offer a number of benefits, depending on how they’re used. For instance, the LG V30 and iPhone 7S Plus will likely offer a wide-angle lens to capture a broad scene, in addition to a ‘zoom’ lens for more detailed photos. If the two lenses work together, they can produce crisp images with improved depth-of-field when compared with single lens snappers.
Still, the Pixel XL 2 will no doubt impress despite its lack of a secondary lens. Check back soon for our in-depth camera reviews of all of these phones.
Which phone is our favourite?
This is too tough to call at this stage. Any of these phones could take the crown as the smartphone snapper king of 2017. Only time will truly tell.
You can pre-order the Galaxy Note 8 from O2, with a wide selection of tariffs and up to 50GB data allowance. Some of the contracts are viable for the Yearly Upgrade Programme and you can enjoy other benefits, including daily offers with O2 Priority.