Phone Comparisons: Google Pixel XL vs OnePlus 3T

Introduction

Do we have a good one for you today – the new Google Pixel XL takes on the new OnePlus 3T. A few days ago we took a look at the Google Pixel and the OnePlus 3T, but we were wondering if the outcome would be any different with the upgraded Pixel XL. Like its smaller sibling, the Pixel XL uses a polished glass and metal backing that took users a while to get used to, but it is a style that tends to grow on you. The OnePlus 3T looks identical to its replacement – all metal and all business with nothing flashy about the 3T – we are not saying it doesn’t look nice. Both of these devices are solidly built and certainly can claim their spot as a flagship device.  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 XL and the OnePlus 3T do have a few things in common. For starters, the displays are an identical 5.5-inches, and they are both using the AMOLED technology – only their resolutions are different. This makes both devices almost identical in physical size with the slightly larger Pixel XL weighing in at 10 grams heavier. Both devices use a Snapdragon 821 processor and an Adreno 530 GPU for graphics – one of the main reasons that OnePlus upgraded to the revised model. The base memory in the Pixel XL is 32GB and the base memory in the OnePlus 3T is 64GB, although they both have a 128GB option, 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.

Specifications

Google Pixel XL

By now, most people know that the Nexus period has ended and is being taken over by a new Google Pixel era. This new era is where Google has its own ecosystem, much like Apple, where you purchase only Google products because they all work together. The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are the first smartphones to incorporate Goggle Assistant directly onto the device. From your Pixel XL, you can communicate directly with Google’s new Home products. Google is hoping that if you buy one device, you will want them all. For this comparison, we will be looking at how well the Google Pixel XL with its polished glass and metal construction holds up to the all-metal OnePlus 3T.

The Google Pixel XL sports a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with 531 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Google used the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHZ and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz and paired that to the powerful Adreno 530 GPU to handle those demanding graphics. It packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB or 128GB of the faster UFS memory, as there are no means to expand the built-in memory. Google did include a large 3,450mAh battery for power, and it has rapid charge capabilities.

It was nice to see Goggle included the same camera in both Pixel models. When we first looked at the specifications, they seemed quite modest – with only a 12.3MP sensor for the primary camera along with an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus (PDAF,) a dual-tone LED flash, and no OIS, instead opting to use EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization.) However, after DxOMark tested the camera, it was given an 89 – the highest rating yet for a smartphone camera. Google also included an 8MP front-facing camera (FFC) that comes with a f/2.0 aperture, a 1.4µm pixel size, and 1080p video support. This combination of specs offers up great selfies to share with your friends on social media as well as video chatting.

One of the criticisms of the new Google Pixels is that the price is rather high for what you get as they did not include a lot of ‘bells and whistles’ such as heart rate monitor or exercise app. You will find Google Assistant built in that will work with other Google products such as Google Home. Of course, you can make Android Pay and mobile payments. It will be running Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box and receive the fastest software updates. It is IP53 rated against dust and splashing water. The Pixel XL measures in at 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm and weighs in at 168 grams. There are three different colors available: Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue (a limited edition color.) The Pixel XL comes with either 32GB or 128GB of storage, and it will cost you about $770 for the 32GB model.

OnePlus 3T

The newest OnePlus 3T has many people scratching their heads and asking themselves why did OnePlus ‘upgrade’ their OP3 so soon. The OnePlus 3 and the OnePlus 3T are identical except for a subtle color change to Gunmetal, 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. The changes are certainly an improvement over the OP3 – who doesn’t want a larger battery or better camera. Maybe OnePlus wanted to beat the holiday sales rather than wait until the usual spring launch date. We are looking at an all-metal device that has great build quality, but how does it hold up to the new Google Pixel XL?

OnePlus is another company, like Sony, that keeps away from QHD displays and the OnePlus 3T does not deviate from the formula. It 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 and is a step in the right direction. OnePlus used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor for their OP3 – however, OnePlus even upped the stakes here on the OnePlus 3T to include a Snapdragon 821 with the same sized dual-core clocked at 1.6GHz and another at 2.15GHz and running an Adreno 530 GPU for 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 has done a great job upgrading the camera area on the original OP3 and now, again, on the new OnePlus 3T by using a new 16MP sensor, with fast PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus), LED Flash, a large f/2.0 aperture, and they threw in OIS for extra stability. The FFC camera increased from 8MP to an incredible 16MP with a f/2.0 aperture for terrific social selfies and video chatting. The OnePlus 3T has a non-removable battery that jumped up from 3,000mAh to 3,400mAh 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.

OnePlus must have decided that it is okay to include both a fingerprint sensor and NFC chip on their devices starting with the OnePlus 3 and thankfully, it carried over that philosophy to the OnePlus 3T. This allows the device to make mobile payments and Android Pay purchases 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 weighs 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

This decision was both easy, yet has a tough outcome – I am picking the OnePlus 3T as the winner of this comparison.

The easy part was picking the Google Pixel XL as the technically superior device in specifications – it has a QHD display, is IP53 certified, available for use on all major US carriers, is running Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, it will receive the fastest software updates, and it has Google Assistant.

The tough part was justifying the over $300 price difference. The biggest problem that faces the OP3T is that it only works on AT&T or T-Mobile. If you can look past that, we have the same processor and GPU, 2GB more DDR4 memory, and a larger 64GB base storage compared to the 32GB base storage on the Pixel XL. It has an excellent camera area, about the same size battery, OnePlus’ DashCharge for a 60-percent charge in only 30 minutes, and all for only $450 – too good a deal to pass up.

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About the Author
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Cory McNutt

Senior Staff Writer
Cory has written for Androidheadlines since 2013 and is a Senior Writer for the site. Cory has a background in Accounting and Finance and worked for the FBI in the past. From there he pursued his Masters in English Literature. Cory loves Android and Google related technology and specializes in Smartphone Comparisons on our site. Contact him at [email protected]
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