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October 5, 2017

Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?

by John_A

What is the difference between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL?

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Google’s latest phones are here, and it’s clear the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are aimed at very different kinds of users. Like the original Pixel phones, Google has worked with manufacturers with very specific hardware goals in mind. This means things like the camera and processor are identical, but if you’re going to choose between these two phones it is important to know what makes each one special.

Here’s a quick look at how these two Pixel phones are going to grab your attention.

Lets talk about these bezels

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You don’t have to stare at these phones for terribly long to see there’s a significant design difference on the front of these phones. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have stereo front-facing speakers, which means these phones are already going to be a little taller than your average phone in the same general size, but the Pixel 2 clearly looks different from the Pixel 2 XL from the front.

This is cool, but show me the specs!

The big bezels on the top and bottom of the Pixel 2 wrap up its 5-inch 1080p display, and there’s no denying it looks a little chunky compared to the 6-inch 2880×1440 display on the Pixel 2 XL. Ultimately in comes down to aspect ratio. The Pixel 2 has a traditional “cinematic” aspect ratio (16:9) that makes sure video fills the screen without stretching or black bars, while the “fullscreen” aspect ratio (18:9) of the Pixel 2 XL makes the phone feel like it’s nothing but display in your hand when playing games or taking photos.

Bezels and resolution aren’t the only differences here. The Pixel 2 XL also has a noticeably increased pixel density and color depth. That taller display clocks in at 538ppi with 100% DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut, while the Pixel 2 display is only 441ppi with 93% DCI-P3. This is a complicated way of saying the Pixel 2 XL is going to be a much better experience in the Daydream View headset for those interested in VR experiences, but it also means the pixel 2 XL display will be generally sharper in some situations.

Size doesn’t mean power

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The larger display and higher resolution on the Pixel 2 XL means it’s going to consume quite a bit more power than the Pixel 2, which is to be expected. Both of these phones are running the Snapdragon 835 processor with 4GB of RAM, so the Pixel 2 XL is going to have to work a little hard to display a lot of the same things. Because it is also a larger phone, there’s a larger battery inside.

The 2700mAh battery in the Pixel 2 should be more than enough to get you through a day of use, but the 3520mAh battery in the Pixel 2 XL is dramatically larger. In fact, its 220mAh greater capacity than the battery in the equally large LG V30, which is good news for anyone who needs a phone that lasts more than a standard day.

Despite this difference in battery capacity, both Pixels have an 18W USB-C PD charger in the box capable of providing up to seven hours of use with 15 minutes connected to power. The numbers on the page may be substantially different, but it’s clear Google expects Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL owners to have similar battery life expectations.

Which one should you buy?

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There’s no right or wrong answer here. If you’re a fan of the display that fills the phone and you want a big battery, you go with the Pixel 2 XL. If you prefer a smaller form factor and you’d like your videos to fill the screen without stretching, you go with the Pixel 2. Either way, you’re going to get quality front-facing speakers and a killer camera to complete an already excellent Android Oreo software experience.

Which one are you going to pick up?

Where to buy the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Google Pixel 2 + Pixel 2 XL are official
  • Google Pixel 2 specs
  • Our 2016 Pixel reviews
  • Join our Pixel 2 forums

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