Six months after its launch, the Pixel 2 XL continues to be one of the best phones available today. Its camera holds up to the best that Huawei and Samsung have to offer, and the software experience is unmatched.
OnePlus, meanwhile, has made a habit out of undercutting traditional flagships by several hundred dollars, and the same is true of the OnePlus 6. The phone features a glass back, a new 19:9 display with a cutout at the top for the front camera module, and a new imaging sensor for the rear camera.
The 64GB variant of the Pixel 2 XL retails for $849, or $320 more than the base model of the OnePlus 6 with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is available for $529. It's time to find out if the Pixel 2 XL warrants the premium.
OnePlus 6 vs. Google Pixel 2 XL: Specifications
|Category||OnePlus 6||Google Pixel 2 XL|
|Operating system||Android 8.1 Oreo|
|Android 8.1 Oreo|
|Display||6.28-inch AMOLED, 2280x1080 (19:9)|
Gorilla Glass 5
|6-inch pOLED, 2880x1440 (18:9)|
Gorilla Glass 5
|Chipset||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
4x2.80GHz Kryo 385 + 4x1.70 Kryo 385
|Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core|
4x2.35 Kryo 280 + 4x1.90GHz Kryo 280
|GPU||Adreno 630||Adreno 540|
|Storage||64GB/128GB/256GB (UFS 2.1)||64/128GB|
|Rear camera 1||16MP, 1.22μm, f/1.7|
Dual LED flash
|12.2MP, 1.4μm, f/1.8|
OIS, dual LED flash
|Rear camera 2||20MP, 1.0μm, f/1.7||None|
|Front camera||16MP, 1.0μm, f/2.0||8MP, 1.4μm, f/2.4|
Dash Charge (5V 4A)
|Water resistance||Splash resistant (no IP rating)||IP67 dust and water resistance|
|Audio||AptX HD, Dirac HD Sound, Dirac Power Sound||AptX HD, USB-C audio|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac , 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0|
USB-C (2.0), NFC
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
|Wi-Fi 802.11ac , 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0|
USB-C (3.1), NFC
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
|Network||LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12|
4xCA, 256QAM, DL Cat 16, UL Cat 13
|LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12|
4xCA, 256QAM, DL Cat 12, UL Cat 13
|157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm|
|Variants||Mirror Black, Midnight Black, Silk White||Just Black, Black & White|
What's the same
The OnePlus 6 has a slight edge when it comes to the specs thanks to the generous amount of RAM, but you won't notice any differences between either device in day-to-day usage. OnePlus devices, in general, are well-optimized, and the OnePlus 6 is no exception. The phone is just as fluid as the Pixel 2 XL, and you're not going to see any slowdowns whatsoever.
OnePlus has also done a remarkable job with OxygenOS in recent times, striking the ideal balance between customizability and a clean user interface. OxygenOS also picked up iPhone X-style gestures at the start of the year, and they're included out of the box on the OnePlus 6.
There's a stark difference between the two phones when it comes to the design side of things. OnePlus has switched to a glass back with the OnePlus 6, and Google offers a ceramic coating over a metal back with the Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 2 XL is the gripper of the two on account of that ceramic coating, and far less prone to fingerprints. The OnePlus 6 with its Gorilla Glass 5-encased back is a smudge magnet.
Things are different up front as well. The OnePlus 6 has a notch at the top of the display — designed to maximize screen real estate — and the Pixel 2 XL does not. The result is that the OnePlus 6 offers a larger display in a smaller body, but the net gain is offset by the fact that there's an unseemly cutout on the screen.
The Pixel 2 XL may not have a cutout, but its screen issues are well documented, so you're effectively making a compromise with either device. At least on the OnePlus 6, you can mask the cutout via the settings.
While the OnePlus 6 is resistant to the splash of water, it isn't certified for dust or water ingress. On the other hand, the Pixel 2 XL is IP67 rated, which means it's safe to use in a pool. The Pixel 2 XL also has stereo speakers at the front, and while the OnePlus 6 leverages Dirac's Power Sound to boost the volume from its single speaker, it isn't quite as loud or detailed as that of the Pixel 2 XL.
However, the OnePlus 6 does have a 3.5mm jack, giving it a distinct leg-up over the Pixel 2 XL in the audio department.
Which should you buy?
Like previous launches, OnePlus has managed to offer a device that delivers 90% of the same user experience as devices that cost several hundred dollars more. The OnePlus 6 builds on that by offering a more premium chassis, upgraded internals, and a 256GB storage option.
I'll delve into the battery and camera comparisons early next week, but from a value standpoint alone, there's a lot to like on the OnePlus 6. The phone will go up for sale starting May 22 in North America, and from May 21 in India.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.