(Pocket-lint) - Google's Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are finally official, following months of leaks and speculation. The two devices bring pure Android software in a premium package, starting from £739 for the smaller device and £869 for the XL model.
They have a lot of competition in the Android flagship smartphone world though, from the excellent Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ to the brilliant and beautiful Huawei P20 Pro. So how do the Pixels compare?
Our separate feature compares the Pixel 3 and 3 XL to the Samsung devices, while here we are focusing on how they compare to Huawei's P20 Pro.
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Google Pixel vs Huawei design
- P20 Pro: 155 x 73.9 x 7.8mm, 180g
- Pixel 3 XL: 158 x 76.7 x 7.9mm, 184g
- Pixel 3: 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm, 148g
The Huawei P20 Pro is a fabulous-looking device, especially in the Twilight colour option. It features an almost all-screen front with a notch at the top and a fingerprint sensor in a slim bezels below the display, while a horizontally-aligned camera system is present on the glass rear.
There is a metal core sandwiched between the glass panels and the P20 Pro offers IP67 water and dust resistance. The P20 Pro is available in three colour options, has USB Type-C for charging and there is no headphone jack.
The Google Pixel 3 XL also opts for a notched display, and while it too offers a bezel at the bottom of the screen, there is a front-firing speaker within it rather than a fingerprint sensor, with the fingerprint sensor positioned on the rear instead. Like the P20 Pro, a combination of metal and glass makes up the design of the Pixels but the rear of Google's devices has two textures, with a small glossy panel section at the top housing a single camera lens and a matte section for the rest of the back.
The smaller Pixel 3 has the same design as the Pixel 3 XL on the rear, but the front has bezels at the top and bottom of the display. Both devices come in three colours including Not Pink, Clearly White and Just Black.
The Pixel devices are also IP67 water and dust resistant like the P20 Pro and they too ditch the headphone jack. They also have squeezable edges, called Active Edge, for launching Google Assistant.
Google Pixel vs Huawei display
- P20 Pro: 6.1-inch, Full HD+, 18:9, 408ppi
- Pixel 3 XL: 6.3-inch, Quad HD+, 18.5:9, 523ppi
- Pixel 2: 5.5-inch, Full HD+, 18:9, 443ppi
The Huawei P20 Pro features a 6.1-inch FullView OLED display with a Full HD+ resolution. This means 2240 x 1080 pixels across the screen, resulting in a pixel density of 408ppi.
The Google Pixel 3 XL also has a 6.3-inch OLED display but it bumps the resolution up to Quad HD+, 2960 x 1440 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 528ppi. The Pixel 3 meanwhile, has a 5.5-inch screen with a Full HD+ resolution that offers a pixel density of 443ppi, meaning both should deliver crisper and sharper images than the P20 Pro.
The P20 Pro and the Pixel 3 offer 18:9 aspect ratios, while the Pixel 3 XL has an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The P20 Pro and the Pixel 3 XL have a notch at the top of their displays though, while the Pixel 3's display is uninterrupted. That said, it is possible to hide the notch with software on the P20 Pro for a more seamless look.
Google's Pixels are also HDR compatible.
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Google Pixel vs Huawei hardware
- P20 Pro: Kirin 970, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, 4000mAh
- Pixel 3 XL: SD845, 4GB RAM, 64GB /128GB storage, 3430mAh
- Pixel 3: SD845, 4GB RAM, 64GB /128GB storage, 2915mAh
The Huawei P20 Pro runs on the company's Kirin 970 chip, coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage. There is also a 4000mAh battery on board.
The Google Pixel 3 XL features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, meaning the P20 Pro is the more powerful of the two on paper thanks to the extra RAM, though it's unlikely you'd notice in day-to-day use. The Pixel 3 XL has a smaller battery capacity too though at 3430mAh. The Google Pixel 3 has the same hardware as the Pixel 3 XL, but it offers an even smaller battery capacity at 2915mAh.
Neither the Huawei P20 Pro or the Google Pixels have microSD for storage expansion and neither device offers a 3.5mm headphone jack, opting for USB Type-C only for both charging and headphones. The Pixel devices support wireless charging though, while the P20 Pro doesn't.
Google Pixel vs Huawei cameras
- P20 Pro: 40MP, 20MP and 8MP rear cameras, 24MP front camera
- Pixel 3 / 3 XL: 12.2MP rear, 8MP dual front
The Huawei P20 Pro has three Leica cameras on its rear. There is a 40-megapixel RGB sensor with an aperture of f/1.8 and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor with an aperture of f/1.6 arranged together and designed to create higher quality photos by capturing more data.
The third sensor on the rear is an 8-megapixel sensor offering 3x optical zoom and an aperture of f/2.4 and it sits below the dual combo. This sensor can be combined with the 40-megapixel sensor for 5x Hybrid zoom. Overall, the results are absolutely fantastic, especially in low light conditions. Huawei has also placed a 24-megapixel sensor on the front of the P20 Pro with an aperture of f/2.0.
The Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL both have a singular 12.2-megapixel camera on the rear with an aperture of f/1.8 and 1.4µm pixels. It offers plenty of features including Portrait Mode with depth control, Night Sight and a feature called Top Shot, that allows users to pick the best image from an automatic burst of shots. There is also laser and phase detection autofocus, as well as optical and electronic image stabilisation.
On the front of the Pixels, there is a dual 8-megapixel camera with a telephoto lens offering an f/1.8 aperture and a wide-angle lens with an aperture f/2.2.
Google Pixel vs Huawei software
- P20 Pro: Android Oreo with EMUI over the top
- Pixel 3 / 3 XL: Android Pie
The Huawei P20 Pro features Android Oreo at its core, but Huawei places its Emotion interface over the top, meaning it looks very little like stock Android. There are plenty of customisation and options and the more recent versions of EMUI have offered a more natural Android feel but it isn't pure Android. Despite launching on Oreo, the P20 Pro will eventually get an update to Android Pie.
The Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL meanwhile run stock Android. They are the poster boy for Android software so you don't get any bloatware or extras, just pure, vanilla Android at its best. This means the Pixel 3 or 3 XL are the first to receive any software updates too so you'll get access to the latest features as they arrive.
Google Pixel vs Huawei price and conclusions
The Huawei P20 Pro costs £799 while the Google Pixel 3 XL starts at £869 so there isn't a huge difference in price. The Pixel 3 is cheaper than the P20 Pro, starting at £739. The Huawei P20 Pro is impressive on paper and in real world use, offering that brilliant triple camera setup on the rear, a lovely quality design and plenty of power inside too.
The Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL meanwhile, have sharper displays, are HDR compatible, offer wireless charging and Google claims they will deliver an even better camera performance than the Pixel 2, though we need to test that. The 3 XL's design makes better use of space than the Pixel 3, but the Huawei P20 Pro offers more RAM and a larger battery capacity even if all devices being compared here are likely to deliver in terms of power.
The decision between these two devices will likely come down to design preference or software preference. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL offer Android at its best, while the P20 Pro offers a great design and an interesting camera setup that we will compare to Google's single offering when we review it in full.