If you’re committed to getting an Android phone as your next handset then the Pixel 3 XL and OnePlus 6 are two very solid options that share a lot of similar features and specs.
They run the same processor, have iPhone X-style notches and boast crisp OLED panels. But which one is best?
If you have cash burning a hole in your pocket right now, which one should you opt for? As ever, we’re here to help.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs OnePlus 6: A Full Comparison – Specs, Design & Camera Technology
Here are 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
Here are the specs for the OnePlus 6:
- Display: 6.28 inch 1080 x 2280 pixel AMOLED at 402ppi
- Dimensions: 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm
- Weight: 177 grams
- Storage: 64, 128 or 256GB
- Memory 6GB (64GB model), 8GB (all other models)
- Processors: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- Front camera: 16 MP
- Rear camera: 16 MP + 20 MP
- Battery: 3300 mAh
- Color options: Midnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk White, Amber Red
Both phones run the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, so you’ll see very similar levels of performance from both devices. However, the OnePlus has more RAM – twice as much if you purchase the 128 or 256GB editions – and that could have an impact if you’re running lots of intensive apps in tandem.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs OnePlus 6: Display & Design
The screen size on both phones is near-identical, and both phones have OLED screens so you’ll be guaranteed to have bright colours, decent contrast and convincing blacks. There are some key differences, however; both phones have a notch, but the one on the Pixel 3 XL is massive and actually ruins the screen a little in our opinion. On the plus side, the Pixel 3 XL has superior resolution, with its QHD+ screen beating the OnePlus 6’s 1080p panel. Unless you’ve got your nose right up against the screen then you probably won’t notice the difference, but Google’s phone will have the sharper display of the two.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs OnePlus 6: Battery
There’s precious little difference between these two devices in terms of battery capacity, with the Pixel 3 XL’s 3430mAh cell just outclassing the OnePlus 6’s 3300mAh battery. As you might imagine, that means very little; that additional 100mAh makes very little impact in direct tests and both phones have very similar staying power. They also both come with fast charging technology but only Google’s phone has wireless charging.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs OnePlus 6: Cameras
There’s a clear winner here, and that’s not to say that the OnePlus 6 has a bad camera setup – it’s actually really good, but it’s up against what is perhaps the best smartphone camera of 2018. Google has clearly invested a lot of time in making sure its Pixel line continues to be the ‘best in show’ when it comes to photography, and the Pixel 3 XL totally smokes the competition, despite only having a single camera.
Thanks to the inclusion of a dedicated ‘Visual Core’, the camera in the Pixel 3 XL is equipped with all kinds of AI smarts which not only make your images better than ever, but even go as far as taking snaps before you’ve pushed the button and then selecting the best looking one. The phone is also capable of amazing ‘bokeh’ effects which are achieved using AI rather than a second camera for depth sensing.
The dual camera setup on the OnePlus 6 is excellent too, but when compared to that of the Pixel 3 XL, there really is no contest.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs OnePlus 6: Verdict & Cost
This is where things get interesting. Sure, there’s no much between these two phones on paper, but the OnePlus 6 starts at just £469 for the 64GB / 6GB model, which makes it significantly cheaper than the £869 starting price for the Pixel 3 XL. When you consider these two phones are, in terms of specs, almost identical, that £400 gulf is quite hard to fathom. OnePlus traditionally prices its handsets below the cost of its rivals but being able to pick up a device for almost half the price of a Pixel 3 XL is quite a steal.
It’s therefore hard for us to recommend Google’s phone in this case, despite the better camera and screen (and the promise of ‘pure’ Android). However, you might want to hold off rushing out and buying a OnePlus 6 right away; the OnePlus 6T is due to be unveiled at the end of this month and will provide an iterative update on the handset that may be worth waiting for.
Damien McFerran has been covering phones and mobile technology for well over a decade. An Android specialist, as well as an expert reviewer of phones, Damien is one of the best technology journalists working today. He is also editorial director over at the excellent Nintendo Life.