Pixel 3 XL vs iPhone XS Max vs Galaxy Note 9 vs OnePlus 6: Flagship faceoff

Note 9 has a stylus, QHD+ screen, bigger battery, and more storage than the Pixel 3 XL at the same price.


Now that we have officially seen the Pixel 3 and 3 XL (stress on the word officially) it is time to pull out a quick comparison of the devices with some of its nearest competitors. Now for the purpose of this comparison, we shall be considering only the Pixel 3 XL which starts at Rs 83,000.

 Pixel 3 XL vs iPhone XS Max vs Galaxy Note 9 vs OnePlus 6: Flagship faceoff

The Pixel 3 XL features a gorgeous 6.3-inch OLED display. Image: Tech2

But first, a small glance first at what exactly the Pixel 3 XL is offering us. The phone has a 6.3-inch OLED display with a ginormous notch on the front that houses the earpiece and dual front-facing cameras, wherein one is an 8 MP wide camera sensor with f/2.3 aperture and another is a normal 8 MP sensor.

On the back, there is a single camera unit with a 12.2 MP  sensor with 1.4 µm pixels along with an f/1.8 aperture. The Pixel 3 XL retains the stereo speakers from the Pixel 2 XL and introduces wireless charging.

While this is good, the specs leave much to be desired. The flagship Snapdragon 845 chip powering the phone is underclocked by 200 MHz, RAM is limited to 4 GB (though we may not need more on the Pixel) and storage is limited to a miserly 64 GB and 128 GB option. There's also no headphone jack or microSD expansion slot.

We have chosen the iPhone XS Max, Note 9 and the Galaxy S9 as competitors to the Pixel 3 XL due to similar pricing. The OnePlus 6 has also been thrown into the mix for the heck of it, and to demonstrate the incredible value that phone still offers.

Here's how the devices stack up.

Smartphone Pixel 3 XL Note 9 Samsung S9+ iPhone XS Max OnePlus 6
Display Size (inch) 6.3 6.59 6.2 6.5 6.28
Resolution (pixels) TBC 1440 x 2960 1440 x 2960 1242 x 2688 1080 x 2280
Pixel Density (PPI) 523 516 529 458 402
Display Type AMOLED Super AMOLED Super AMOLED OLED AMOLED
Dimensions(mm) 158 x 76.7 x 7.9 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8
Weight (gm) 184 204 189 208 177
Dual SIM TBC Yes Yes (Variant) Yes, e-SIM Yes
SIM Type Nano-SIM, eSIM (TBC) Nano-SIM Nano-SIM Nano-SIM Nano-SIM
Connectivity Types GSM / HSPA / LTE/ VoLTE GSM / HSPA / LTE/ VoLTE GSM / HSPA / LTE/ VoLTE LTE, SCDMA, CDMA EV-DO Rev. A, UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA, GSM/EDGE GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE / VoLTE
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Exynos 9810 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Exynos 9810 A12 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
CPU Cores Octa-core Octa-core, Octa-core Octa-core, Octa-core Hexa-core Octa-core
CPU Clock Speed (GHz) 4x2.8 GHz Kryo 385 & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 385 4x Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.7 & 4x Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7 and 4x Mongoose M3 @ 2.8 & 4x Cortex A55 @ 1.7 4x Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.7 & 4x Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7 and 4x Mongoose M3 @ 2.8 & 4x Cortex A55 @ 1.7 Hexa-core 4 x efficiency cores + 2 Performance cores 4x2.8 GHz Kryo 385 & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 385
GPU Adreno 630 Adreno 630, Mali G72 MP18 Adreno 630, Mali G72 MP18 Apple GPU Adreno 630
RAM 4 GB 6,8 GB 4,6 GB 4 GB 6,8 GB
Ruggedness IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68 Splash Proof
On-Board Memory 64, 128 GB 128, 512 GB 64, 128, 256 GB 64, 256, 512 GB 64 GB, 128, 256 GB
Expandable Memory No Yes, up to 512 GB Yes, up to 512 GB No No
Sensors Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer Iris scanner, fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Heart-rate, SpO2 Iris scanner, fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Heart-rate, SpO2 Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Primary Camera 12.2 MP, f/1.8  12 MP, f/1.5-2.4; 12 MP, f/2.4 12MP, f/1.5-2.4, 12 MP f/2.4 52 mm 12 MP, ƒ/1.8; 12 MP, f/2.4 16 MP, f/1.7; 20 MP , f/1.7
Optical Image Stabilization Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Camera Array Single Camera Dual Camera Dual Camera Dual Camera Dual Camera
Autofocus System Phase detection autofocus Phase detection autofocus Phase detection autofocus Phase detection autofocus Phase detection autofocus
Secondary Camera 8 MP, f/1.8; 8 MP, f/2.2 8 MP, f/1.7 8MP, f/1.7 7 MP, f/2.2 16 MP, f/2.0
Video Capture 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720p@240fps, 1080p@30fps 2160p@60fps, 1080p@240fps, 720p@960fps 720p @ 960 fps, 1080p @ 240 fps, 2160p @ 60fps, HDR 2160p@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps 2160p@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@480fps
Flash Dual-LED Dual-LED Dual-LED Quad-LED Dual-LED
OS Version Android 9.0 Pie Android 8.1 Oreo Android 8.1 Oreo iOS 12 Android 8.1 Oreo
AI (Smart Assistant) Google Assistant Bixby Bixby Siri Google Assistant
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ax
Bluetooth v5.0, A2DP, LE v5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX v5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX v5.0 v5.0
NFC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Infrared No No No No No
Fingerprint Scanner No Yes Yes No Yes
3.5 mm jack No Yes Yes No Yes
Radio No Yes, FM Radio Yes, FM Radio No No
USB Type Type-C Reversible connector Type-C Reversible connector Type-C Reversible connector Reversible connector Type-C Reversible connector
USB Standard USB 3.1 USB 3.1 USB 3.1 Lightning USB 2.0
Battery (mAh) 3,430 4,000 3,500 3,174 3,520
Fast charging Yes  Yes Yes Yes Yes
Colors Clearly White, Just Black, Not Pink Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple Space Grey, Silver. Gold Midnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk White, Amber Red
Prices in India Rs 83,000 Starting Rs 62,300 Starting Rs 57,900 Starting Rs 1,09,900 Starting Rs 34,999

Based on the information in the spec sheet, we can draw the following inference.

Display

The big ol' notch has massively downplayed the Pixel 3 XL's hand in the display department. The last year's Pixel 2 XL did not have the best track record with regards to the screen, however, we hope this year Google has made some improvements. Both the iPhone XS Max and the OnePlus 6 have notched displays (not as hideous as the Pixel 3 XL), so the crown has to go to the gorgeous Note 9 or the S9 Plus for their beautiful curved QHD+ Infinity AMOLED panel.

Performance

The Pixel 3 XL has an underclocked Snapdragon 845 chipset and the reason apparently is to conserve the battery of the device. The phone only has a 4 GB RAM variant and although the Pixel does offer the smoothest of Android experiences on any smartphone, the higher RAM versions on the OnePlus 6 and the Note 9 do give both the phones an edge. However, when it comes to raw processing power the iPhone XS Max and its A12 Bionic chipset absolutely wipe the floor with all other Android flagships. Until further testing is done, the iPhone XS Max is the winner here.

Camera

Looking at the presentation given by Google today, it would seem that the Pixel 3 XL would be retaining its crown as the best camera phone on the planet (tech2's opinion). Google has gone with the same single camera setup it had on the Pixel 2 XL and since it's a tried and tested winning formula, things should look good for the Pixel 3 XL. The Note 9 and the S9 Plus are no slouches either, but the OnePlus 6 understandably falls short of all these smartphones. In any case, a massive iPhone XS Max vs Pixel 3 XL camera shootout will be taking place soon and we shall let you know the winner then. For now, as per Google's keynote, it would seem that the Pixel 3 XL is the winner.

Battery

Now here, Note 9 looks to be taking the crown with its massive 4,000 mAh battery, but we have to remember that the phone has a QHD display which uses more power. The iPhone XS Max and the Pixel 3 XL both have FHD+ displays and therefore should last longer. In terms of charging speeds, however, no one can compete right now with OnePlus 6's dash charging feature. The jury is out on the battery part, but due to its bigger size, the Note 9 has the crown for now.

Conclusion

At this stage, it is too early to draw out any conclusions, but as of right now I feel that the Note 9 is offering the best value for money at its price range. The Note 9 has a stylus, a variable aperture lens, QHD+ screen, bigger battery, and more storage, and RAM, than the Pixel 3 XL at the same price. Is the camera going to be the deciding factor on the Google Pixel 3 XL? We shall see when the full review of the device comes out so stay tuned for that.

 

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