Google Pixel 2 XL vs Google Pixel 3 XL – What’s The Difference?

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Google introduced its updates to its Pixel line of smartphones this week. The new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are Google’s 2018 flagships, out just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

To be sure, the Pixel 3 series are the best phones Google has ever made. We’ve already taken a look at how the Pixel 3 compared to the Pixel 2. But how does the phablet Pixel 3 XL compare to last year’s Pixel 2 XL? Let’s take a look to find out.

Google Pixel 2 XL vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Specs

Here are the specs for the Google Pixel 2 XL:

  • Display: Fullscreen 6in display, QHD+ pOLED at 538ppi
  • Dimensions: 157.9mm x 76.7 mm x 7.9 mm
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB
  • Memory: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
  • Processors: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Front camera: 8 MP, 1080p video
  • Rear camera: 12.2 MP, Optical + electronic image stabilization, 4K video
  • Battery: 3520 mAh
  • Colors: Just Black, Black & White

And here’s the specs for the Google Pixel 3 XL:

  • Display: Fullscreen 6.3in display, QHD+ flexible OLED at 523ppi
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 76.7 mm x 7.9 mm
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB
  • Memory: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
  • Processors: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Front camera: Dual-lens 8 MP, 1080p video
  • Rear camera: 12.2 MP, Optical + electronic image stabilization, 4K video
  • Battery: 3430 mAh
  • Colors: Just Black, Clearly White, Not Pink

As with their smaller siblings, from an internal spec perspective, the phones are pretty identical. Google didn’t boost the type or amount of RAM between generations. Both have 4GB LPDDR4x RAM. The storage options also stayed the same at 64GB or 128GB.

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What did change is that Google upped the processor from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. What’s that mean for you? The Pixel 3 XL should see about a 15-30% speed boost depending on your usage. It’s an improvement, but nothing to write home about.

Google Pixel 2 XL vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Display & Design

There is a very noticeable change in the design of Google’s latest XL, however. The Pixel 3 XL now features an iPhone X-like notch design. This means the screen Google can cram into the body, which is almost identical in size to the Pixel XL 2 is now 6.3in, versus the 6in Pixel 2 XL display. Annoyingly, however, is the fact that despite the display being larger in the Pixel 3 XL, it’s got a slightly less pixel density at 523ppi versus the Pixel 2 XL’s 538ppi.

Google Pixel 2 XL vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Battery

The Pixel 3 XL also has an inferior battery. It’s smaller at 3430 mHA than the Pixel 2 XL’s 3520 mAh. But keep in mind, it’s not smaller by much and you should expect the same amount of battery life from both phones thanks to software and hardware optimizations in the Pixel 3 XL.

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One place where the Pixel 3 XL clearly wins over the 2 XL is in wireless charging–the 3 XL features it, a first for a Google Pixel phone, whereas the 2 XL does not. In other words, if you want to be future-proof in the power department, you’ll want to upgrade to the Pixel 3 XL.

Google Pixel 2 XL vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Cameras

For all intents and purposes, Google left the rear camera pretty much the same in the Pixel 3 XL as in the Pixel 2 XL. The hardware is almost exactly the same: a 12.2 MP lens with optical + electronic image stabilization, that shoots 4K video. The Pixel 3 XL does feature some software improvements in the camera, but that doesn’t change the hardware specs.

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What has changed with the Pixel 3 XL is the front camera, which is now hidden in the notch. It now features two lenses instead of the one found in the Pixel 2 XL. While both the Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 3 XL features an 8 MP front camera that shoots 1080p video, the Pixel 3 XL adds another lens in the form of an 8MP wide-angle lens with a 97º field-of-view, compared to the 75º field of view for the normal portrait camera. This means you can squeeze more people into your selfies.

Google Pixel 2 XL vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Verdict & Cost


So should you upgrade to the Pixel 3 XL if you have a Pixel 2 XL already? My recommendation would be to only do it if you want the slightly bigger screen and wireless charging. Besides those features, there aren’t that many differences between the two models. And only do it if you don’t mind the notch.

As for price, Google should stop selling the Pixel 2 XL soon, but until then you can pick one up for £599 for the 64GB model and £699 for the 128GB model. That compares with the £869 price of the 6.3in Pixel 3 XL for the 64GB model and £969 for the 128GB model. The question is, is the £270 premium for the Pixel 3 XL worth it for you?

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