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(Pocket-lint) - Google has two new champion smartphones. These "Made by Google" smartphones bring a premium design, coupled with flagships specs and they will be hitting the shelves from 20 October.

But how do the Google Pixel XL and the Google Pixel compare. If you're after a new pure Google handset, which one should you choose? Read on as we pitch these handsets head-to-head.

Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Design

  • Pixel and Pixel XL are 8.6mm thick
  • Pixel XL is larger and heavier
  • Both have rear fingerprint sensors and USB Type-C

The Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL come with a premium metal bodies, except for a third of their rear, which is covered with a glass panel. A circular rear fingerprint is present on both devices within this glass section, along with a rear camera that has no bump, for a flat finish across the back.


The Pixel XL is the larger and heavier of the two devices, measuring 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm and weighing 168g, while the Pixel measures 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm and weighs 143g. Both have USB Type-C and both have no physical buttons on the front, with the power and volume rocker positioned on the side.

Both have the same design and both are available in the same range of colours, it's only the dimensions and weight that differs here.

Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Display

  • Pixel XL has larger, sharper display
  • Both have AMOLED displays
  • Both protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4

The Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display sporting a 2560 x 1440 resolution. This means it offers a pixel density of 534ppi.

The Pixel is slightly smaller AMOLED display at 5-inches with a lower resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This results in a lower pixel density of 440ppi, but while Full HD isn't always great for VR, Google has claimed both the Pixels are built for Daydream.

Both displays are protected by Gorilla Glass 4 so should remain fairly free of scratches and using AMOLED panels mean they are vibrant and punchy with colours. Both look great, but obviously it's the Pixel XL that gives you more play space and more detail.

Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Camera

  • Both have 12.3-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and 1.55µm pixels
  • Both have 8-megapixel front camera

The Pixel XL and Pixel both arrive with a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, coupled with an 8-megapixel front facing camera. The main camera has an aperture of f/2.0 and 1.55µm pixels, the rear offers 1.4µm pixels with an f/2.4 aperture. Same cameras should mean the same performance across both devices.

The two devices offer a feature called Smartburst for capturing action shots and they will shoot with a HDR+ by default. Both cameras are extremely fast to capture and offer excellent results, but the Pixel Camera app is a little basic. There are few manual options offered, it's more a case of point and shoot. 

Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Hardware

  • SD821, 4GB RAM, 32GB/128GB internal memory for both devices
  • Pixel XL has a larger battery capacity

The Pixel XL and Pixel both have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip under their hoods, a slightly enhanced version of the SD820. They also both offer 4GB of RAM, along with 32GB and 128GB storage options.

Nexus devices have never offered microSD support, and the Pixel devices are no different, so there's no expansion on offer.

In terms of battery, the Pixel XL offers a 3450mAh capacity, while the Pixel has a smaller 2770mAh capacity and both support Quick Charge, providing 7 hours battery life in 15 minutes. Remember the XL has a larger and higher resolution screen to power though so it will need that extra juice - but the result is that the Pixel XL offers better endurance too.

In terms of performance, with the same hardware at their heart, the experience is the same too. Both are fast and powerful: picking the smaller handset doesn't mean compromising on power.

Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Software

  • Both Pixel and Pixel XL to launch on Android 7.1 Nougat
  • New launcher with round icons
  • Google Assistant built-in

Android Nougat will be available straight out of the box and users will find a a collection of exclusive features to make the Pixels stand out from other Android devices. However, the same software is on both devices, so there's no decision to be made here: they are both the same.

The Pixels both feature Google's Assistant built-in so you'll be able to get conversational with Google.

Both devices will offer exactly the same user experience, with vanilla Android stealing the show.

Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Price 

The Google Pixel XL has a starting price of £719 for the 32GB model, creeping up to £819 for the 128GB model.

The Google Pixel has a starting price of £599 for the 32GB model, jumping up to £699 for the 128GB model.

Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Conclusion

The Google Pixel XL and Pixel offer the same premium design, along with the same processor, RAM, storage options and camera functionality.

The Pixel XL trumps Pixel in terms of display size, resolution and battery capacity, but it is a larger and heavier device and it is also more expensive.

So choosing between these two handsets really is a case of making a simple decision based on size. How big do you want your phone to be?

You can read our Pixel and Pixel XL round up for everything you need to know regarding these two Google handsets.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.
Sections Google Phones