Do we have a great one for you today – the Google Pixel 2 XL takes on the LG V30. These two 6-inch powerhouses battle it out to see just which one deserves the victory in our specification comparison. Does the single-camera Pixel 2 XL have a chance of winning against the dual cameras on the LG V30? When Google dropped the Nexus line in favor of the Pixel, it was stepping up to play with the ‘big boys’ – Samsung, LG, and Apple – and the Pixel’s prices reflect that jump. Google's Nexus devices were known for its ‘no frills’ approach but the new Pixel models, while not flashy, are a solid entry point into the flagship segment. The LG ‘V’ series is the company's premium lineup and yearly refinements have made it even better. The LG V30 is definitely the better ‘looker’ of this group, but does it have enough muscle to compete with Google’s latest offering? The devices do share many of the same internal parts and specs, but the overall feel of them is quite different. Let’s take a look to see just what these two handsets have in common and then we will take a closer look at each one of them.
The Pixel 2 XL and LG V30 share a 6-inch P-OLED display with a QHD resolution, an 18:9 ratio, some sort of a notification display, and Gorilla Glass 5 for protection. They use the same Snapdragon 835 processor and Adreno 540 GPU. Both devices pack 4GB of RAM and a base of 64GB of internal memory. They both use a large, non-removable battery that offers fast charging capabilities. They are also rather similar in physical size, with the Pixel 2 XL being a bit larger all around and weighing in 17 grams heavier. Both have some sort of dust and water resistance, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, Google Assistant, NFC, Android Pay, and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.
Please take a careful look at the detailed specifications comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great Android devices stack up against each another. After that, we will look at each handset in more detail 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 Pixel 2 XL
Google upgraded its Pixel device in almost every aspect and turned a good device in a great one. The Pixel 2 lineup is designed – and priced – to compete with the top flagship smartphones, including the Galaxy ‘S’ lineup, as well as the new Apple-made iPhones. In this comparison, we are looking at the bezel-less Pixel 2 XL model which obviously isn't entirely bezel-free. There are very small bezels on the left and right sides with larger top and bottom bezels, which give it a modern look when compared to the large bezels found on the Pixel 2. The Pixel 2 XL uses a P-OLED display with the new 18:9 aspect ratio that has taken over many 2017 models. Because it is a Pixel, it gets the advantage of Android 8.0 and incorporates an Active Edge that lets the user launch Google Assistant without a voice command. Google Lens is another feature that can identify details about photos – what kind of a flower you're looking at, when the movie from some poster is playing near you, etc. Pricing needs to be taken into account in this comparison – you are looking at $849 with the standard 64GB and for 128GB of non-expandable memory, it will cost you $949. Verizon is once again the exclusive dealer of the Pixel 2 phones, although you can still buy them unlocked to work on any U.S. carrier.
Google increased the display on the Pixel 2 XL to a 6-inch P-OLED QHD module with a resolution of 2880 by 1440 pixels and a density of 538ppi. Google followed Samsung and LG by giving it an 18:9 aspect ratio and added the Always-On display feature for notifications. By not having to turn on the main display for notifications, the Always-On feature saves battery life and makes it quicker to see your notifications – then you can decide if you want to wake-up the device for further details. Both Pixel 2 models use the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor clocked at 2.35GHz, paired with an Adreno 540 GPU for contemporary graphics rendering. The Pixel 2 XL has no expandable memory but there are two variations of it - one packs 64GB and another has 128GB of flash storage. Both models use 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM.
Before the Pixel line, Google never seemed to care about picture quality, but all of that changed with the original Pixels claiming the number one rated camera in the world. The Pixel 2 models have added improvements in this regard, including the camera software, although it needs a little more work for manual mode. Google has not jumped on the dual-camera bandwagon, so the Pixel models use a single camera with a 12-megapixel sensor, an aperture of f/1.8, both EIS and OIS, laser autofocus and PDAF, and a dual-tone flash. The front-facing camera uses an 8-megapixel sensor with a fixed focus and an f/2.4 aperture. Google included a large 3,520mAh battery that will certainly last you throughout the day, and when you do need to charge it, fast charging is available.
The Google Pixel 2 XL did well in our review – its biggest drawbacks are pricing, the lack of expandable memory, and no 3.5mm headphone jack. Another consideration when you go to purchase a Google Pixel 2 is availability, as Google is known for running out of stock. It is the best on the market for consistency in point-and-shoot photography. The Pixel 2 XL then adds Camera Lens, the Active Edge feature, and Google Assistant. There is no Hi-Res Audio but it does have stereo speakers on the front. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack, but a dongle is included in the box. Google finally added some water resistance this year, but only IP67, not the IP68 that other flagships are using. The Pixel 2 XL is running Android 8.0 (Oreo) out of the box and will receive the fastest Android updates out of all other non-Google Android devices out there. The Pixel 2 XL measures 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm and weighs in at 175 grams. It is available in two colors – Just Black and Black & White. The Pixel 2 XL will cost about $849 with 64GB of RAM and $949 with 128GB of RAM and is available from the Google Store, Best Buy and as a carrier exclusive of Verizon who will allow you to make monthly payments.
There are many readers that give LG a bad rap and would hardly buy an LG smartphone – the same company makes the Pixel 2 XL, by the way – but you have to give it credit when it comes to innovative ideas and taking chances. Take the LG G5 modular smartphone; while it was certainly not a commercial success, it was innovative. LG was one of the first to use dual cameras and four DACs for superior mobile sound. LG made a major design change with the new LG V30 by switching to an all-glass body, incorporated a non-removable battery, added an IP68 certification, and included wireless charging. LG also moved forward by tossing aside its old 16:9 LCD display technology for an 18:9 OLED display. This allows the V30 to have a larger display but a smaller footprint than the V20 and allows for two square multitasking windows. LG included the newest Snapdragon 835/Adreno 540 GPU and retained the Hi-Res audio circuitry for the V30 and the only thing it missed out on are stereo speakers.
LG Display has manufactured OLED displays for years, but this is the first time such offerings are adopted by a flagship device. LG experimented using the OLED display on its somewhat flexible G Flex device, but it never took off. The LG V30 now sports a 6-inch QHD P-OLED (18:9 ratio) display with a resolution of 2880 x 1440 that results in a pixel density of 538ppi. LG has dubbed its new display ‘FullVision’ and its module includes Dolby Vision and HDR 10 support. Rather than using a fixed secondary display like the LG V20, the LG V30 uses a ‘floating bar’ that can be moved or swept out of the way. The LG V30 packs a Snapdragon 835 processor clocked at 2.45GHz and an Adreno 540 GPU for stunning graphics. The V30 has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable memory.
LG’s ‘V’ series started its use of dual cameras and the V30 will not disappoint as it continues to use the same configuration along with a few improvements. The primary camera sports a 16-megapixel sensor, OIS, laser autofocus and PDAF, dual-tone LED flash, and a large f/1.6 aperture to help capture those low-light shots. The secondary camera is used for your wide-angle photos and does not have all of the specs of the primary camera. It uses a 13-megapixel sensor with a wide-angle 120-degree field and a slightly smaller aperture of f/1.9. The secondary camera is the same 5-megapixel unit used by the LG V20 but now includes facial recognition. A 3,300mAh non-removable battery that offers Quick Charge 3.0 and wireless charging powers the device.
Using a glass back on the V30 forced LG to opt for a non-removable battery, but it also allowed it to offer IP68 certification and wireless charging. The V30 still retains its MIL-STD-810G certification even with a glass back. The LG V30 continues its use of four DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters), an EQ with left/right balance controls, and B&O Play certifications. This combination offers great sound through headphones but begs the question – what happened to the dual stereo speakers? Other improvements include adding a larger display and switching to the P-OLED technology. The camera area improves all around and now adds facial recognition to go along with the V30’s voice recognition. The non-removable battery has a 3,300mAh capacity and will easily make it through a day on a single charge. The device measures 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.4mm and weighs in at 158 grams. The V30 comes in your choice of Cloud Silver or Moroccan Blue and ships with Android 7.1.2. The LG V30 will cost you approximately $840 outright.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
There will be cries that these devices should not be compared because they are designed for different audiences, that the Google Pixel 2 XL is for Android purists while the LG V30 is for multimedia gurus. Still, these are two flagship smartphones and they should definitely be comparable, especially when the Pixel 2 XL takes better photos.
If the Pixel 2 XL had memory expansion, Hi-Res audio, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, it would certainly be a (more) definitive choice between the two. However, we are still picking the Google Pixel 2 XL as the winner of this competition. It is a solid device, has a better camera, is running Android 8.0 Oreo, and will certainly receive the fastest updates for the next three years. As far as memory goes, 64GB is a great foundation, and along with the purchase of a Pixel, you get to use Google Drive free. Many people do not use headphones as they can easily connect to a vehicle, separate speaker, or use headphones for music or phone calls via Bluetooth, with the wireless technology now being advanced and accessible enough to allow such uses. The nearly bezel-less design gives the Pixel 2 XL an up-to-date look. Finally, it has a larger battery and stereo speakers to sweeten the deal.
The LG V30 is a very capable device that does have a 3.5mm headphone jack, wireless charging, expandable memory, a good camera, and Hi-Res Audio. However, with the picture-taking qualities of the Pixel 2 XL and the pure Android experience catering to fans of Google's mobile operating system, we have to go with the Pixel device as the winner of this comparison.