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HTC U11+ vs Google Pixel 2 XL: It's a tough call

03 November 2017 0

Finally, the Taiwanese giant HTC announced the much-awaited flagship phablet U11+. The device was in rumors and leaks for quite some time, the company wrapped off the cover from their first bezel-less flagship on November 2. The best thing about U11+ is despite having large display its overall footprints remain similar to the standard flagship U11 which was announced a couple of months ago. Being the premium flagship the U11+ will have to face stiff competition from the premium flagships announced in H2 2017.

The U11+ is pretty much capable to challenge the existing big players Galaxy Note 8, LG V30, Apple iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL. Like always, soon after the announcement, we compared the latest U11+ against the standard U11. Now after the U11+ announcement the rumors start popping up that actually it was the Muskie which was initially planned to be Google's Pixel 2 but later on the company rejected it in favor of LG's Taimen.

Today we will compare the latest Pixel 2 XL against the HTC's U11 which was initially intended to be the bezel-less flagship from Google. Both the devices have bezel-less flagships that bring large screen to a compact body. The overall footprint of both the devices isn't huge that's why users can easily grab single handily. Without any further delay, let's find out how HTC's U11+ competes against the latest finest product from Google.

74.9 x 158.5 x 8.5 mm
6 inches - 2880x1440 px
76.2 x 157.5 x 7.6 mm
6 inches - 2880x1440 px
Go to comparison page
Design

HTC didn't bring a drastic change in the design of flagship U11+ but instead, it retains similar overall design what HTC announced with the U11. The chassis is made up of metal with Liquid Surface covering the rear side. It looks quite glossy and luring while holding in hands. The U11+ finish is quite striking which is its stand out feature amongst the crowded flagships market. The U11+ announced in three attractive colors including Ceramic Black, Amazing Silver, and Translucent.

The Translucent color variant showcases the device internal in a very awesome way. The U11+ is the company's first IP68 certified device which means it can resist up to 1.5 meters deep water for 30 minutes without damage. The rear side is adorned with a single camera module. Being the bezel-less flagship it has all front-facing display and lacks physical buttons. The fingerprint scanner is placed on the rear side below the single camera module in the center. It has BoomSound HiFi edition speakers which are 30% better performer than the U11. The U11+ also has the squeezable frame which allows access to a number of apps instantly.

For connectivity, the device has Bluetooth 5.0 and USB Type-C port. The power and volume controllers are placed on the right edge. Unfortunately, the device lacks traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. Like the original Pixel XL, the new Pixel 2 XL is also featuring a glass and metal sandwich design, the chassis is made up of glass whereas the Pixel 2 XL rear is mostly metal with a small portion of glass comprising the camera sensor and LED flashlight. This year fingerprint scanner is shifted to the metal section to avoid smudges on the glass portion.

The front-facing bezels of Pixel 2 XL are trimmed like the U11+. Both the device's display look ravishing. The Pixel 2 XL is announced in two color options including Just Black and Balck & White. It is IP67 certified device which means its water resistance is up to 1 meters only. It also has USB Type-C port for connectivity. The volume controller and power buttons are on the right edge, it also lacks headphone jack. Google Pixel 2 XL also has Edge Sense feature Aka pressure sensitive edges like the U11+.

However, the Squeezable frame of U11+ is more customizable as opposed to Pixel 2 XL. The U11+ dimensions are 158.5 x 74.9 x 8.5mm and weigh 188g whereas the Pixel 2 XL is slightly smaller and slimmer at 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm and also it is lighter weighs 175g only. Though the U11+ design is more striking and mature at the same time, it needs more care as it attracts fingerprint imprints.

Display

There is the only difference between the display of both the devices, otherwise, most of the aspects are similar. The HTC U11+ has a 6.0-inches Super LCD 6 display with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels. The display screen-to-body ratio is 82% with a pixel density of 538 pixels per inch. The Corning Gorilla Glass 5 is protecting the display in case of accidental drops. HTC confirmed the display will support HDR10 as well after the update. Despite being an LCD panel, it is vibrant and brighter than most of the devices available in the market.

Google Pixel 2 XL is also offering a 6.0-inches display with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels but the display panel is OLED instead of LCD. It has deep blacks but surprisingly it lacks the lust of OLED display panel. It looks a bit dull in front of HTC U11+ LCD panel. The display on pixel 2 XL is also protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and it supports HDR10.

The aspect ratio of both the device's display is 18:9 instead of traditional 16:9. Most of the flagships announced in 2017 have 2:1 display which looks quite amazing and also provides a widescreen in same bodies. The Pixel 2 XL display isn't vibrant as U11+. The Pixel 2 XL display also has burn-in issues which later on Google claimed will be resolved with an update.

Camera

Without any doubt, the camera sensors are the first essential aspect of any flagship smartphone to be successful in the market. Both the companies paid special attention to the primary rear snappers. Surprisingly when most of the companies are adopting dual rear cameras, both HTC and Google opted single camera modules for their flagships and still placed amongst the best camera-centric devices available in the market. Last year Pixel was acknowledged as the best camera-centric device in the market by DxoMark, this year once again the Pixel 2 lineup is placed on top by DxoMark ratings.

The HTC U11+ is bringing the same camera module which the company introduced with the flagship U11. The rear primary snapper is the 12MP module with f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilization, and dual LED flashlight. It can record video of 4K quality and it comes with 4 microphones on board for better audio experience. The Audio experience on Pixel 2 XL is pretty awesome. The front-facing camera of U11+ is the 8MP module with f/2.0 aperture and field of view is 85 degrees. It can record video of Full HD quality. There is HDR mode as well for better camera performance.

The Pixel 2 XL is also featuring a 12.2MP snapper with f/1.8 aperture. The single sensor has optical, electronic image stabilization with laser and phase detection autofocus and dual LED flashlight. The Pixel 2 XL camera is currently on top due to its capturing capabilities and machine learning support. The selfie-camera on Pixel 2 XL is the 8MP module with f/2.4 aperture. The rear camera can record 4K videos whereas the front facing sensor can record up to 1080 pixels only.

The machine learning support from Google brings HDR and portrait mode. Yes, what you heard is right, the Pixel 2 XL rear and front-facing camera can blue background while focusing solely on the subject despite being single camera sensors. The Pixel 2 XL camera takes lead in this department. Last but not the least Google is offering free unlimited cloud storage for your HD videos and images. You can capture as much as you want.

Hardware

Being the latest flagships both the devices are running on the latest hardware available in the market. The U11+ is powered up by the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 SoC. The base variant has 4GB RAM with 64GB storage whereas the top of the line variant has 6GB RAM with 128GB memory. It supports memory expansion via MicroSD card.

The Pixel 2 XL is also running on the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 SoC with 4GB RAM. There are two variants based on internal storage, either you can grab 64GB variant or the 128GB model. Unfortunately, you can't expand built-in storage on either model but free unlimited cloud storage on Pixel 2 XL is something which isn't available for U11+ customers.

In terms of sheer power both the devices, the base variant is enough to handle hifi graphics games, you can do multitasking for hours without worrying about power under the hood but the 6GB RAM variant of U11+ is more future proof as compared to 4GB variant of Pixel 2 XL.

Specs HTC U11+ Pixel 2 XL
Display 6.0-inches 6.0-inches
Screen resolution 1440 x 2880 pixels 1440 x 2880 pixels
RAM 4/6GB 4GB
Storage 64/128GB Expandable via MicroSD 64/128GB Non-Expandable
Rear camera 12MP with f/1.7 aperture 12.2MP with f/1.8 aperture
Front camera 8MP 8MP
Battery 3,930mAh 3,520mAh
IP-ratings IP68 IP67
3.5mm headphone jack No No
USB Type-C Type-C
Software Android Oreo with HTC Sense Stock Android Oreo
Battery

A relatively large 3,930mAh battery cell is on board to keep the U11+ lights on with Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0. On the other hand, the Pixel 2 XL has a 3,520mAh battery cell. Both the devices have enough juice by the end of the day on normal usage. Both the devices have Quad HD+ panels that's why you won't find the drastic difference between the battery life of both the devices, however, extra 4,00mAh on U11+ provides slightly better battery life than Pixel 2 XL. Both the devices lack wireless charging support.

Audio Experience

Apart from camera sensors, the companies are also paying special attention to the audio capabilities of the flagships. HTC smartphones traditionally have the best audio experience, same is the case with U11+. The device has BoomSound HiFi edition speakers which perform 30% better than the speakers available on the U11. It supports Hi-Res Audio. The package includes USonic Type-C headphones for the better audio experience even while listening through headphones, the headphones features Active Noise Cancellation. Overall audio package on U11+ is amongst the best available in the market.

Google is also paying special attention to audio that's why despite opting full front-facing display they opted stereo speakers on chin and top. Both the speakers offer a pleasant audio experience but not as good as U11+.

Software

The software is surely the department where it is not easy to compete against the Google's own Pixel branded devices as they are the first to receive the latest software update within no time after the announcement. The U11+ is the HTC's first flagship with Android Oreo straight out of the box with HTC Sense layer over it whereas the Pixel 2 XL also has Android Oreo without bloatware.

Overall UI experience on both the devices is slightly different, however, in last few years HTC removed much of the bloatware that's why it is pretty close to the stock Android OS. Both the devices have Google Assistant on board which can be accessed by simply squeezing the frame whereas the U11+ is also pre-loaded with Amazon Alexa.

The Pixel 2 XL brings a newly revamped Pixel launcher which is definitely more appealing than custom UI layer over U11+. Google already confirmed Pixel 2 XL owners will be getting latest software updates for next three years without any delay whereas the U11+ owners will have to wait longer to receive the latest update as well as they won't get latest updates for next three years. Both the devices are offering a number of customization options.

Price

The HTC U11+ top of the line variant with 128GB memory will be available in the UK for £699 whereas the 128GB variant of Pixel 2 XL costs £899 and also it has 4GB RAM as opposed to 6GB RAM on U11+. The U11+ is significantly cheaper than Pixel 2 XL and most of the devices of this category. We have to admit the U11+ is providing better value for money.

Conclusion:

Without any doubt, both the U11+ and Pixel 2 XL are offering top of the line specs available in the market. In terms of design, display, hardware, battery, and waterproofing the U11+ is better choice whereas the Pixel 2 XL brings better camera and software than U11+. The U11+ is significantly cheaper than Pixel 2 XL despite having MicroSD card support and extra RAM. The HTC's BoomSound speakers outclass the front-facing speakers of Pixel 2 XL.

The Pixel 2 XL is slim and lightweight as opposed to U11+. The display issues of Pixel 2 XL are expected will be resolved with a software update in near future but the camera on Pixel 2 XL is something which makes it special. At the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts regarding which smartphone would they like to grab after reading all the pros and cons.

8.7 Hardware
5.9 Price Quality

Google Pixel 2 XL

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(last update 21 September 2018 @ 05:53)

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