Do we have a good one for you today – the new Google Pixel takes on the new OnePlus 3T. Does the OnePlus 3T have what it takes to compete up against Google's newest Pixel line of phones, specifically the Google Pixel? The Pixel uses a polished glass and metal approach while the OnePlus 3T uses an all-metal approach. Both devices are rock solid in their build with the Google Pixel probably claiming the edge in looks – OnePlus has always used excellent materials, but are very conservative in their design. Let's look at just what these two devices have in common, if anything, and then we will take a closer look at each one in hopes that we can determine a winner of this comparison.
The Google Pixel and the OnePlus 3T do have a few things in common. These similarities do not have anything to do with physical size or the size of the display – however; the displays do share an FHD resolution and AMOLED technology. Both devices use a Snapdragon 821 processor and an Adreno 530 GPU for graphics – one of the main reasons for OnePlus' new model. The base memory in the Pixel is 32GB and the base memory in the OnePlus 3T is 64GB. They both have a 128GB option, but neither has a means to expand their internal memory. Both have excellent camera areas but go about achieving those results in a different way. They both are equipped with a non-removable battery with rapid charge features. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and Type-C reversible port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a thoughtful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Google wants an Android ecosystem, and they are flexing their muscles by having more control over the building of hardware and software together, allowing Google to get their ecosystem going faster. The basic Google ecosystem would consist of a Pixel/XL smartphone with Google Assistant built-in, and a few other Google products were already announced. For instance, you can use your Google Pixel phone and its Google Assistant to issue orders to your Google Home device, and that, in turn, can control your HDTV with a Chromecast Ultra attached. IoT (Internet of Things) is taking off in our homes, and Google Assistant can take on a new workload as it adjusts 'things' in your house. The new Pixel smartphones incorporate polished glass and metal as their backing and offer a great feel in your hand. Let's see how this newly designed Pixel with its polished glass and metal construction holds up to the new OnePlus 3T.
One of the differences between the Pixel and XL are the displays. The Google Pixel sports a 5.0-inch AMOLED display with only a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a respectable 441 pixels-per-inch (PPI) thanks to the size of the screen. The Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch QHD display by comparison. While it is only an FHD display, it is an AMOLED display that should 'pop' with contrasts. It is using the newest 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor – a revised example of the Snapdragon v820, that Qualcomm claims will give it 10-percent faster processing over the original v820. It comes with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHZ and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz and uses an Adreno 530 for serious graphic needs and packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and either 32GB or 128GB of the faster UFS 2.0 memory with no means to expand. It uses a 2770mAh non-removable battery for power and has rapid charge capabilities.
Google never 'focused' on a higher quality camera on their Nexus products until its Nexus 6 model. The excellence continued and improved on the Nexus 6P, and now it really shows on their Pixel models. The specs do not seem that impressive with only a 12.3MP sensor for their primary camera even after adding an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), and laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash, and no OIS – yet when DxOMark tested the Pixel camera, it received a score of 89 – the highest received for a smartphone camera to date. There is an excellent 8MP front-facing camera (FFC) that comes with a f/2.0 aperture, a 1.4µm pixel size, and 1080p recording. This combination should offer great social media selfies and video chatting.
There is a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that will allow you to unlock your device or to authorize mobile payments, including Android Pay. While the OnePlus 3T does not have any protection from dust or water, the Pixel does have at least an IP53 certification rating for splash and dust resistance. The Pixel will be running Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box and continue to receive the fastest updates from Google. It also works on all major US networks. The Google Pixel measures in at 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5mm and weighs in at 143 grams. It comes in Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue (limited edition color) and the 32GB Google Pixel will cost you about $650.
OnePlus released two phones this year, skipping their usual one-a-year routine. The results of the newest OnePlus 3T have many people scratching their heads and asking themselves why. The OnePlus 3 and the OnePlus 3T are identical except for the new Gunmetal variant, a slightly faster processor, a larger battery, a better primary camera, and changes in storage. Otherwise, between the two devices, you cannot tell the difference – it is certainly an improvement. However, did OnePlus want to beat the holiday crowd rather than wait until the spring? So we are looking at an all-metal device that is indeed built with quality, but how does it hold up to the new Google Pixel?
You may notice that we did not say anything about a QHD display, but the OnePlus 3T does sport the OnePlus 3's new 5.5-inch FHD Optic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 401 PPI. The new AMOLED display offers much better color contrasts than the old LCD panel, so that is a plus in our book. OnePlus reached out to Qualcomm for their Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor for their OP3 – however, OnePlus upped the ante on the OnePlus 3T to a Snapdragon 821 with the same sized dual-core clocked at 1.6GHz and another at 2.15GHz and running an Adreno 530 GPU to provide excellent graphics. OnePlus then packed in a full 6GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of the faster UFS 2.0 non-expandable internal storage, although you can now order 128GB of internal memory.
OnePlus worked hard to upgrade the camera area on the original OP3 and carried it over to the OnePlus 3T by using a new 16MP sensor, with fast PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus), LED Flash, a large f/2.0 aperture, OIS for extra stability. The FFC camera increased from 8MP to 16MP with a f/2.0 aperture for better social selfies and video chatting. The OnePlus 3T continues to use a non-removable battery – up from 3000mAh to 3400mAh in size that includes their rapid charge they call Dash Charge that will give you up to a 60-percent charge in only 30 minutes.
The OnePlus 3T – and the OnePlus 3 – finally includes both a fingerprint sensor and NFC chip allowing the device to make mobile, or Android Pay purchases possible with a swipe of your finger. It runs mostly stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out-of-the-box with OnePlus' OS called OxygenOS on top with the promise of Nougat to come. The OnePlus 3T measures 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm and weigh in at 158 grams. It will cost you about $450 USD for the 6GB/64GB model. There is a choice of Gunmetal now, and Soft Gold is to come out in December.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
Even though it costs $200 more, I am going with the Google Pixel as the winner of this comparison. I know there are many OnePlus fans out there calling me a Pixel-fan (which I am not) because they think of bottom-line only while I must look at the entire picture.
For that $200, you have a chance to operate on any carrier in the US. You get the same processor, the highest rated camera, slight water resistance, Google Assistant, Android 7.1 Nougat, and the fastest upgrades possible.
The OnePlus 3T is a solid device, and it comes with more standard memory at 64GB and more DDR4 RAM at 6GB versus 4GB in the Google Pixel – will you notice the extra RAM…probably not? It does have a larger battery, but with quick charge, even that is becoming a moot point.
The Google Pixel is the full-featured of these two devices, though not by much – but close enough to make it the winner. If you are on AT&T or T-Mobile and want to save some money, the OnePlus 3T should treat you right.