iPhone X vs. Pixel 2 XL; Which Should You Choose?
Every year when the holiday season rolls around we have a surplus of new gadgets and gizmos released into the market for us to consider purchasing. New phones are not exempt from this stigma, and this year has some true heavyweights to choose from. Apple released the iPhone X on November 3rd, meanwhile Google put out its Pixel 2 XL on October 19th. There’s been a lot of buzz about these phones, and a lot of once loyal iPhone users are considering switching to the quality product that Google has put out. Making the choice on which phone you want is not an easy one, and considering the average American is using their phone constantly for everyday life it’s not a choice that should be taken lightly either. There are pros and cons to each, and the unique features, upgrades, and new technologies can be a bit overwhelming. I took a look into each of these new phones, and compared the pros and cons of each of them.
Price: iPhone X – $999; Pixel 2 XL – $849
No need to explain this figure. The price you pay is the price you pay. Versions of the phones with more storage will cost more. It is worth noting however, that even though the iPhone X is over $1000 it has been rated as the most fragile iPhone to date (don’t worry Apple, I have at least one princess too). It failed the drop test conducted by CNET on the first drop and there have been widespread reports of the phone being dropped and broken already. It costs over $250 to fix your broken iPhone X so, um, try not to drop it if you buy it…
Operating system: iPhone X – iOS 11; Pixel 2 XL – Android 8.0 Oreo
The iOS 11 is the same thing you’ve been using if you’ve been using if you’re an iPhone user. If you liked it before you’ll like it now. The Oreo, however, is new and exciting. The interface has changed so that is easier for newcomers to pick up and start using. For example the settings have been reorganized so it is easier to navigate, with more specific settings being located in deeper menus. The notifications shade has been divided into 3 sections; notifications for ongoing processes, notifications from your apps, and notifications on things you might have missed (like traffic updates and weather). Apps also have notification dots now, and you can also turn a specific app’s notifications off for a desired amount of time. This organization of all the notifications you receive throughout the day is very well done. Personally, I think comfortability with the operating system is the biggest reason it’s hard to switch to a different brand of phone. Our iPhone users in the office wince at the idea of leaving their precious iMessges behind. However, some Pixel features make a compelling case on why you should.
Display size: iPhone X – 5.8 inches (2436 x 1125); Pixel 2 XL – 6 inches (2880 x 1440)
The iPhone X has a 5.8 inch screen with a resolution of 2436×1125 pixels, and now has an OLED touch screen, which is very nice. While the range of colors for the X is slightly less to that of the Pixel 2 XL, its hues are sharper in comparison, making up for the slight shortcoming. The Pixel 2 XL screen is 6 inches, and is at 2880 x 1440 pixels, so it is bigger and sharper. Both these screens have a blue tint to them when looked at from a certain angle, but this is easy to look past. What is not easy to look past is the surplus of Pixel screen issues we’ve been hearing about. Recently Google released an update to fix an OLED burn-in issue the Pixel was having, and now a new update is being created to fix the unresponsive edges some people are reporting at the edges of their touchscreens. The Pixel may be new and exciting, but Apple has been making quality phones for years, so we can trust that their product will be relatively free of issues like the Pixel is experiencing.
Central processing unit: iPhone X – A11 Bionic; Pixel 2 XL – SnapDragon 835
Both these phones are fast, there’s no denying that. The SnapDragon 835 will be able to handle almost anything you through at it, and can handle games of almost any size. Some may be disappointed that the A11 Bionic is the same processer that is used in the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. With that extra money you’re paying some may have wanted a little more juice. The A11, however, is extremely fast. Much faster than the SnapDragon, even. The A11 scored a 10221 on Geekbench multicore ratings, while SnapDragon scored a 6765 (A10, the predecessor to A11, scored a 5486). You won’t be disappointed with the speed of either phone, but if processing power is your most important feature, the X may be the phone for you.
Storage: iPhone X – 64GB or 256GB; Pixel 2 XL – 64GB or 128GB
Depending on the price you pay the iPhone X comes with 64GB or 256GB of storage, and has 3GB of RAM. This is a small upgrade from the 2GB of RAM that was available on prior iPhones. The Pixel 2 XL has either 64GB or 128GB of storage, or 4GB of RAM. The previous model also had 4GB of RAM. So while you can potentially have more storage with the iPhone X there is more RAM in the Pixel.
Cameras: iPhone X – Duel 12 MP rear camera, 7 MP front camera; Pixel 2 XL – 12 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
The cameras on these phones are getting AMAZING. It’s interesting to see how far technology has come in such a short period of time. The iPhone X Duel 12-megapixel rear camera is great in any scenario, with more vivid color and details being captured then in previous models. The camera has been improved so that it takes better pictures in low light areas, though it is not perfect as sometimes if there is a lot of movement it can have a hard time focusing. The X has a large leg up on the Pixel in that it has a 2x optical zoom in the rear camera, while the Pixel still uses a digital zoom. However, the popular opinion is that the Pixel 2 camera is better. The 12-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera are industry leaders in quality. The Pixel shoots in HDR+ automatically and stitches together multiple brief exposures to improve the photos details. The Portrait mode on the Pixel is also exceptional, maybe even too good if you’re on the ugly side like me. The 8MP front camera does a great job retouching a cleaning up faces lightly in Portrait mode and is great at identifying where the foreground ends and background begins, resulting in your face popping clearly from the picture. The iPhone falls behind in this aspect, the camera has a hard time figuring this out in Portrait mode and the result is the top of heads (about the middle of the forehead up) being less detailed. Group selfies are also a mess with the X. It is also worth noting that the Pixel will soon release an update that activates a chip in the upcoming weeks that allows you to take HDR+ pictures in third party apps like Snapchat or Instagram, which is very cool.
Charging and Battery life: iPhone X – 10h49m; Pixel 2 XL – 12h09m
The battery life for Pixel is longer than it is for the X. The X lasts around 10 hours and 49 minutes on average while the Pixel lass around 12 hours 9 minutes. Both are good enough to get you through the day, and will most likely last through the night if you forget to plug it in before bed. But the Pixel gives you more ease at mind. It has one of the longest battery lives on the market. However, the Pixel takes a little longer to charge. The X can reach 50% power in around half an hour, while the Pixel is closer to 45 minutes. The pixel slows down as it gets closer to 100% also, and complaints have come in that the phone takes a very long time to reach full battery. As for the methods on how the charge them; the Pixel uses a standard USB Type-C charger. With the iPhone X you can either use USB Lightning cable that comes with the phone or you can use a third party charging pad to charge your phone wirelessly. Despite some concerns, the phone charges just as fast as it would with the chord as it does on the wireless chargers.
Some other notes on the iPhone X
The iPhone X is one of the sleekest looking phones on the market. It is absolutely gorgeous to look at, and Apple has once again made an aesthetically pleasing phone. The phone is rated IP87 water proof, which means it can survive in the shower, but won’t fair too well submerged in a lake. The layout of the phone has changed, and will ABSOLUTELY take some getting used to, mostly because of the missing home button. The face unlock feature is very cool, and goes hand-in-hand with the popular Animoji feature, where your face syncs up to emoji’s that you can make talk (similar to Snapchats filters). The face recognition works well, and can’t be broken into using things like photos or masks. My 12 year old daughter was able to successfully bypass the face recognition feature on my current Android with a large picture of myself hanging in my office. So it’s safe to say whatever face recognition technology Apple is using is well ahead of its competitors. Your eyes must be open for it to work, so a nosy significant other can’t snoop through your messages while you sleep. The feature can be annoying in some scenarios though. The camera needs to look directly at your face, and in some scenarios it can be awkward or rude to do that (like at a movie or during a meeting. However it can be turned off it someone desires. As for the Animojis, while very cool and fun, don’t really bring much to the phone. It is more just a showcase of what the face recognition feature is capable of. I’m not saying I don’t like the Animojis, I’m just saying you shouldn’t base your decision off that feature.
Some other notes on the Pixel 2 XL
Like the iPhone X, the Pixel 2 XL is IP87 water proof. I found it funny that after an ad campaign last year that pushed the whole “we still have a headphone jack” pitch, Google got rid of the jack with this phone. So if the headphone jack was your reason for having a Pixel, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I personally have been reluctant to switch away from headphones, so I’m in the same boat as the rest of you old school people. However there is a lotto NOT be disappointed about with this phone. The “At A Glance” widget tells you about the traffic, the weather, time, and any upcoming appointments or deadlines. My favorite feature on the Pixel is the picture-in-picture feature that allows you to shrink a screen playing some sort of video, and navigate around your phone while the video plays in the corner of the screen. This is extremely useful when you want to change a song in the car while still looking at Google Maps for navigation. Google Lens allows you to take a picture of an object, then Google will tell you what that object is/more information about it. Unfortunately there have been mixed reviews about Google Lens and its ability to recognize objects. The last feature I want to mention Pixels ability to listen to the music playing in the area around you, identify the song, and tell you the name and artist at the bottom of the always-on display. The Pixel is able to do this because it is always listening, which, depending on your views about privacy, is good or bad.
At the end of the day, only you can decide which phone you think you’d like. Both these phones are great, and I’m sure won’t be a disappointment. The choice for which phone we want is getting harder and harder every year; could we see the end of the Apple monopoly over the phone industry ending soon? Only time will tell.