We have another Google Pixel 2 XL matchup as it takes on the Sony Xperia XZ1. Here we have two smartphones that have a loyal following – many will buy no other brand – and that can be a good thing or simply a stubborn misconception. The two devices could not be further apart in the looks department – the Pixel 2 XL is more modern with its slim bezels and 18:9 display ratio, while the Xperia XZ1 looks like a device from 2015 with its rectangle design and large bezels. Both devices take their camera areas very seriously, although the Pixel 2 XL will win the final battle. The Xperia XZ1 is one of the few non-Google devices released with Android 8.0 Oreo. Does the extra price of the Pixel 2 XL - $849 vs $700 – make it less of a bargain or are you getting that much more for your money. Which one of these devices has what it takes to win this comparison? These questions and more are what we hope to answer with this comparison. Before we look at each individual device, let’s take a look at what they have in common.
The Pixel 2 XL and Xperia XZ1 do not have much in common. When it comes to displays, the only thing each share is Gorilla Glass 5 for protection of the screen. When it comes to the technical specs inside the devices, we see they use the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and Adreno 540 GPU. They both have 4GB of DDR4 RAM and both have 64GB of internal memory, but only the Xperia XZ1 is expandable – if you want more memory in the Pixel 2 XL, you must purchase the 128GB model. Both use a single primary camera, but different megapixels. Both have non-removable batteries with a fast charge option and both have stereo speakers. The Pixel 2 XL and the Xperia XZ1 enjoy Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, dust and water resistance – IP67 on the Pixel and IP68 on the XZ1 – a fingerprint sensor (disabled on the XZ1), and Android 8.0 Oreo.
Please take a careful look at the detailed specifications comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great Android flagships stack up against each other on paper. 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 overall specs and the execution of design and functions.
Google Pixel 2 XL
Google took a huge chance dropping their Nexus line of products and pumping it up with Pixel, and now Pixel 2. Google decided they wanted to compete with Apple and needed to increase quality all around, which also included increasing the price of their products. The Pixel 2 XL is a top-of-the line device that can hold its own with almost any Samsung, LG, and even Apple phone on the market. It is truly the pinnacle of Google’s design and software with its top of the line technology and Android 8.0 Oreo. DxOMark once again rates the camera number one, and while it lacks expandable memory, Google provides you with unlimited cloud storage. Google has also followed the iPhone and some other high-end devices by eliminating the 3.5mm headphone jack. Google added Active Edge and Google Lens as well as an improved Google Assistant.
The Google Pixel 2 XL has the newest 18:9 ratio display with small bezels – making it competitive against the likes of Samsung and LG – but no curved edges. It uses a 6-inch P-OLED QHD display with a resolution of 2880 x 1440 pixels, giving it a density of about 538 pixels-per-inch (PPI). The new 18:9 ratio gives the user a better entertainment experience as well as two perfect squares for dual-window multitasking. Google also included the Always-On display to make it easier on the battery and for the user to check notifications without having to open their device.
Following the other flagships in 2017, the Pixel 2 XL uses the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor with one quad-core clocked at 1.9GHz and another quad-core clocked at 2.35GHz. Qualcomm pairs this up with the Adreno 540 GPU for outstanding graphics for either graphic intense movies or a video game. The Pixel 2 XL comes with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a base of 64GB of non-expandable internal memory. For an additional $100, you can purchase the 128GB model.
Nexus devices could take pictures and quality was not a driving concern. However, when they switched to the Pixel lineup, they developed the best camera in the mobile industry, according to DxOMark’s listing. The Pixel 2 models added a few improvements and have once again reached the top spot this year as well. The primary camera is 12-megapixel with an aperture of f/1.8, both PDAF and laser autofocus, EIS and OIS for stabilization, and a dual-tone LED flash. The FFC is 8-megapixel, an aperture of f/2.4, with fixed focus. The Pixel 2 XL has a large battery at 3,520mAh that will get you through an entire day and offers fast charging.
The Pixel 2 XL is an impressive smartphone – the main downsides are no memory expansion, no 3.5mm headphone jack, and the pricing is somewhat high. The device does lack Hi-Res audio, but does provide front facing stereo speakers. An improved Google Assistant comes on the Pixel 2 XL to compete against Siri. You can summon it with the Active Edge by squeezing the sides of the device. But other than summoning Google Assistant or quieting an incoming phone call, Active Edge is not as useful as it could be. Google did give the new Pixel 2’s IP67 dust and water resistance and a promise of three years’ worth of updates. 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 where you can purchase it with monthly payments.
Sony Xperia XZ1
One of the worst things about the Sony Xperia XZ1 is that it still looks like a typical Sony-designed smartphone. While most smartphone manufacturers are doing away with bezels and going with larger, edge-to-edge, QHD displays, Sony holds on to its rectangle look with large bezels on the top and bottom and smaller FHD displays. That’s not to imply the Xperia XZ1 is a bad-looking phone or that Sony does not make small improvements each year – you’re just not getting the latest look. Inside, the Xperia XZ1 does have the latest processor/GPU, a small battery with great battery life, stereo speakers, and a solid camera. It is also the first non-Google smartphone to run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, but they disable the fingerprint sensor in the US model. The U.S. model only works on AT&T and T-Mobile. Let’s see just how it compares to the new Google Pixel 2 XL.
The Xperia XZ1 sports Sony’s 5.2-inch Triluminos IPS LCD display and keeps the normal 16:9 aspect ratio. It is a Full HD display with a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution and a density of 424 PPI. Sony uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protecting the display, but metal for the back of the device. While it has a metal frame, there is some plastic at the top and bottom to help improve reception. Sony moved the antenna from the back to the sides, giving the overall appearance a more solid looking back. The Xperia XZ1 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor with a quad core clocked at 1.9GHz, another clocked at 2.35GHz, and an Adreno 540 GPU. It sports 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of expandable memory.
Sony has always been into producing some of the best camera lenses available and many different smartphone manufacturers use them. This expertise carries over to the Xperia XZ1, although the Pixel 2 XL is still rated higher in terms of its imaging capabilities. The Xperia XZ1’s primary camera is a 19-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, PDAF and laser autofocus, dual-LED flash, and EIS support. The FFC uses a large 13-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and a wide-angle lens with EIS. A 2,700mAh non-removable battery powers the device – rather small, but it is running on a very efficient OS and an efficient processor, in addition to having a small FHD display. The device incorporates Quick Charge 3.0 for fast charging and you should have no trouble getting through an entire day on a single charge.
While keeping the Sony retro look, they did make some updates to the body on the corners by rounding the edges to make the Android smartphone significantly more comfortable to hold. Rather than keeping the ‘piece-meal’ back with the antenna running through it, Sony moved the antenna to the sides of the XZ1 and this makes for a much better-looking device. The Xperia XZ1 comes with IP68 certification for water and dust resistance, stereo speakers, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC allowing you to use Android Pay – but not using the fingerprint sensor as Sony has turned the US version off. It is available in Black, Warm Silver, Venus Pink, and Moonlit Blue, depending on the market. It ships with Android 8.0 Oreo, measures 148 x 73.4 x 7.4mm in size, and weighs in at 155 grams, with prices starting at approximately $700.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
Both devices have the same heart and soul inside by using the same SD835/Adreno 540 combo, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of base internal memory. They both have stereo speakers, great single lens cameras, and both are running Android 8.0. Even with the extra $150 the Pixel 2 XL will cost, I am crowning it the winner of this comparison.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 is a solid device, but the $700 price tag seems a bit high for what you are getting in return. The display is still only a Full HD resolution, the fingerprint sensor is disabled for the US version, and it is limited to only AT&T or T-Mobile networks. Its biggest selling point is that it has expandable memory and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Other than that, you get big bezels, small display, and a camera that is not as good as the Pixel 2 XL’s.
The Pixel 2 XL gives you a larger, QHD, P-OLED display, with the Always-On technology. It fingerprint sensor works, it has Google Assistant built-in, an Active Edge feature, Google Lens, it will receive its updates much faster than the Xperia XZ1, and it works on every major carrier in the US. That is a lot of extra for $150 – money well spent.