The Pixel 2 XL is available exclusively through Verizon, and offers everything an Android enthusiast could ask for. Its display has had some issue in the past, but it still offers a great viewing experience with dual front-facing speakers and an 18:9 aspect ratio. Combined with the cleanest build of Android 9 Pie around, the Pixel 2 XL is hard to resist.
Who should buy this phone?
Customers who value a clean software experience over all else. The Pixel 2 XL features Android in its purest form, with instant updates to the latest versions as they come. It also takes absolutely stunning photos, and its users receive unlimited storage in Google Photos to back up their shots without any loss in quality.
Is it a good time to buy this phone?
Not necessarily. As of August 2018, while the Pixel 2 XL is still a fantastic phone, the Pixel 3 XL is right around the corner. It hasn't been officially announced yet, but we pretty much already know everything about it.
Reasons to buy
- Stock Android with fast updates
- Excellent camera
- Front-facing speakers
- Unlimited original quality uploads to Google Photos
Reasons not to buy
- No wireless charging or headphone jack
- Display has had a number of problems
There are other great options at Verizon
Verizon was able to snag an exclusivity deal on the Pixel 2 XL, but that's not the only great phone it offers. Whether stock Android isn't your thing or you just want a little more from your hardware, you have plenty of other options to choose from to best suit your needs, whether you're after long battery life, modularity, or just saving money.
For as powerful as the Pixel 2 XL is, it's missing features like wireless charging and expandable storage. For a phone that does everything you want and more, look no further than the Galaxy S9+.
The Galaxy S9+ is beautiful and comfortable to hold, and Samsung's display tech is unrivaled. The cameras are pretty great, too — the S9+ is the first phone to feature dual apertures, allowing for optimal settings in different lighting conditions, along with a second rear camera, used for telephoto zoom.
So much room for activities!
If even the Galaxy S9+ feels a little lacking to you, the Galaxy Note 9 might be the perfect solution. It features the same design language as the S9+ with a slightly larger 6.4-inch display and an improved S Pen with wireless capabilities.
The Note 9 will cost you a pretty penny (actually, just a penny under $1000), but it's the most powerful phone Samsung has ever made, with one of the largest batteries to boot. It packs the same great pair of rear cameras found on the Galaxy S9+, and comes with a Snapdragon 845 and up to 512GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. If you have an insatiable desire for everything high-end, the Galaxy Note 9 is as good as it gets.
The modular phone
For the tinkerer.
Yes, the Moto Z3 is more or less the same as the Z3 Play we saw earlier this year, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. It features a nice 18:9 display, a clean build of Android with useful Motorola add-ons, and support for Moto Mods, which expand its capabilities with projectors, Polaroids, battery packs, and eventually support for Verizon's 5G network.
The Moto Z3 doesn't have as powerful a spec sheet as the Pixel 2 XL or Galaxy S9+, but its Moto Mods allow you to add new features at a whim, and the phone still offers a good experience on its own. Its dual cameras are decent for the price, and it's still powerful enough to handle most tasks with ease.
The video champ
A filmmaker's dream.
If you're passionate about videography, look no further than the LG V30. Its dual camera module takes stunning photos with options for wide angle or telephoto shots, and the camera app features an incredibly powerful array of video tools, including manual controls and even LOG video with LUTs.
The V30 looks equally great on paper. The Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM ensure top-notch performance, and it's still capable of microSD expandability. The V30 is a great tool for video professionals as well as an excellent and well-rounded phone, and LG's included quad DAC provides incredible audio quality when using headphones.
If you're one of the hundreds of millions of people on the nation's largest carrier, there's no shortage of great phones for you to choose from. The Galaxy S9+ is a Swiss army knife of a phone that can do just about anything, and the Note 9 is even more crammed full of features. On the other hand, the Moto Z3 has its own advantage with its modular approach, and the LG V30 is unbeatable in the video department.
Still, for hardcore Android enthusiasts like ourselves, the Pie-ified Pixel 2 XL is the way to go. On top of receiving instant software updates, there's simply no faster, smoother Android experience around, and even a year in, the cameras remain unrivaled. With the Pixel 3 XL right around the corner, it might be worth waiting, but if you need a phone right now, don't hesitate to snag the Pixel 2 XL.
Updated August 2018: This list has been revamped, with the Galaxy Note 9 finding a spot in the lineup.