Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL: Which Google phone should you buy?

Google made a point of saying it wouldn't reserve extra features for the more expensive model in its line-up during its recent Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL launch event. It was taking a swipe at Apple, which reserves its dual-camera for the iPhone 8 Plus while the iPhone 8 still has a single-lens camera, but actually it's not entirely true: there are some differences between Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

Let's outline what are the differences to help you make a decision on which Google phone to buy. For more in-depth reading see our Pixel 2 review and Pixel 2 XL review.

What's the difference between Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL?

1. Price and availability

Most obviously, there is a huge difference in price between the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. 

The Pixel 2 costs £629 with 64GB of storage, and £729 with 128GB. The Google Pixel 2 XL costs £799 with 64GB storage, and £899 for 128GB.

If you're buying it on an EE contract (EE is the exclusive network partner at launch) the Pixel 2 is £9.99 on a £47.99/month 4GEE Max plan, which offers unlimited minutes and texts, and 8GB data. The same plan costs £57.99 per month for the Google Pixel 2 XL.

Google Pixel 2 XL

As well as costing you more, you'll be waiting longer if you plump for the XL version. The Pixel 2 is available to pre-order now via Google or EE and goes on sale on 19 October. The Pixel 2 XL is also available to pre-order now via Google or EE and goes on sale on 15 November.

Those who pre-order from Google or EE before 2 November for the Pixel 2, or 14 November for the Pixel 2 XL, will get a free Google Home Mini.

2. Colours

Both phones come in Just Black, but while the Pixel 2 XL is also available in Black & White, the Pixel 2 comes in plain white (Clearly White) and Kinda Blue.

Google Pixel 2

3. Display

This is the big one. Google talked of a gorgeous high-res FullVision display. It is gorgeous, and it is high-resolution, but the 18:9 pOLED display is only on the Pixel 2 XL.

Google's new Pixel 2 XL has a 6in plastic OLED screen with a Quad-HD+ resolution of 2880x1440 pixels. It has an aspect ratio of 18:9, just like that seen on recent Samsung and LG flagships.

Google Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 still has a great screen, but it's a smaller AMOLED panel that measures 5in on the diagonal and has a full-HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. This has a very sharp pixel density of 441ppi, but it's not the 538ppi of the Pixel 2 XL.

The Pixel 2 has an aspect ratio of 16:9, which is the standard for Android phones. The result is a phone that looks good, but does not have the same futuristic appeal of the larger Pixel 2 XL.

Google Pixel 2

Both phones support the new always-on display and feature tough Gorilla Glass 5.

4. Size and weight

If the screen is bigger on the Pixel 2 XL, it follows that the body is going to be larger too. This is certainly the case, although the minimal screen bezels means perhaps not as much as you might expect.

Both phones are roughly the same thickness - there's just 0.1mm in it with 7.8mm on the Pixel 2 and 7.9mm on the Pixel 2 XL. But the Pixel 2 XL is a little taller and wider at 76.7x157.9mm against 69.7x145.7mm

It's also heavier, weighing in at 175g while the Pixel 2 is just 143g.

Google Pixel 2 XL

5. Battery capacity

So why the extra weight? Obviously some of this is due to the larger body and screen, but Google also packs in a higher-capacity battery.

Despite this, Google suggests the pair have similar battery life. That's because the screen is the primary power drain in a flagship smartphone, and it's bigger on the Pixel 2 XL.

So while the Pixel 2 has a 2700mAh battery and the Pixel 2 XL a 3520mAh battery, both offer all-day battery life. 

They each support fast-charging, meaning you'll be able to get around 7 hours of usage from a 15-minute charge.

Google Pixel 2

Summary

  Google Pixel 2 Google Pixel 2 XL
Price £629 (64GB), £729 (128GB) £799 (64GB), £899 (128GB)
Availability 19 October 15 November
Colours Just Black, Clearly White, Kinda Blue Just Black, Black & White
Display 5in full-HD (1920x1080, 441ppi) AMOLED, 16:9 aspect ratio 6in Quad-HD+ (2880x1440, 538ppi) pOLED, 18:9 aspect ratio
Dimensions 69.7x7.8x145.7mm 76.7x7.9x157.9mm
Weight 143g 175g
Battery 2700mAh 3520mAh

Google Pixel 2: Specs

  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 5in AMOLED Full HD display 1080x1920
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64/128GB storage
  • 12Mp rear camera
  • 8Mp front camera
  • Dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • GPS
  • 2700mAh battery
  • USB-C charging port
  • Fast Charging support
  • IP67 waterproof
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 5in AMOLED Full HD display 1080x1920
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64/128GB storage
  • 12Mp rear camera
  • 8Mp front camera
  • Dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • GPS
  • 2700mAh battery
  • USB-C charging port
  • Fast Charging support
  • IP67 waterproof

OUR VERDICT

It all boils down to the screen and your budget here. Pixel 2 XL is £170 more expensive than the Pixel 2, and all you really get in return for your money is a bigger and better screen. It looks amazing, but do you really need it - and can you afford it?

If you can live without the FullVision display, the Pixel 2 is not only cheaper but more compact than the 2 XL. If you're looking for a smaller phone then this is the one to go for, but if you demand the very best in tech your only option is the Pixel 2 XL.

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