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Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Google Pixel 2 XL: A battle between two finest Android flagships

01 March 2018 5

Samsung kicked off this year MWC with the announcement of new flagships Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. Last year Samsung hold a separate event for their Galaxy S8 series announcement in March due to the delayed announcement after the Galaxy Note 7 Fiasco. This year Samsung is back after a year delay and as expected the company's latest flagships attained a lot of limelight. The Galaxy S9 and S9 are the latest greatest smartphones from Samsung, they are getting attention for having the most impressive specs sheet in the market.

Being the latest smartphones both Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will have to face stiff competition from a number of competitors. We already put the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in comparison with a number of devices and today we will compare the Samsung's greatest Galaxy S9 Plus with the Google's latest best offering Pixel 2 XL. Both the devices fall into the same category of large display flagships and both have a number of perks under the hood to lure customers.

At the moment the Pixel 2 XL is the ultimate device from Google with stock Android OS, top-notch camera, futuristic design and many other features which makes it a worthy competitor of Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. The Pixel 2 XL might have few wow features like Galaxy S9 Plus but certainly, it's a powerful beast overall. Today we will stack Galaxy S9 Plus against the Pixel 2 XL to know in detail how well both the devices compete for each other and which device is better than the other in terms of design, display, hardware, battery, camera, and software. Without any further delay, let's start with the design of both the devices.

73.8 x 158.1 x 8.5 mm
6.2 inches - 2960x1440 px
76.2 x 157.5 x 7.6 mm
6 inches - 2880x1440 px
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Design

Take a first look at both the devices you will find them quite different from each other in terms of aesthetics. You can't relate Pixel 2 XL with the Galaxy S9 Plus in terms of design. The Galaxy S9 Plus brings a refined design which Samsung introduced last year with the Galaxy S8 Plus. The Pixel 2 XL is also not a newly designed smartphone instead its the refined version of original Pixel XL smartphone. So in terms of design both the devices followed footsteps of their predecessors.

The Galaxy S9 Plus chassis is made up of metal with Corning shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass covering the rear side. Its a sleek smartphone with thin bezels on the front. The only prominent bezels are on top and bottom. The edge-to-edge dual curved display looks quite ravishing. Despite having a somewhat similar front like its predecessor, the Galaxy S9 Plus rear is quite different. On the rear, you will find dual snappers, its the first Galaxy S series smartphone with dual cameras. The fingerprint scanner is the camera module which is more convenient to use as opposed to last year's position.

The Pixel 2 XL also comes with a futuristic full front-facing display but its bezels are more chunky. Instead of metal-glass clad, Google opted half glass, half aluminum frame for the rear. Though it's more durable but not as striking as its competitor. The rear side features a single camera module with fingerprint scanner below it. The camera sensor is in glass section whereas the fingerprint scanner is in metal portion. With the single snapper on Pixel 2 XL, Google proved they can do wonders with the even single camera sensor.

For connectivity both the devices features USB-C port. The Galaxy S9 Plus comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack but you will miss it on Pixel 2 XL. In terms of water and dust resistance, the Galaxy S9 is IP68 certified which brings the ability to withstand against water up to 1.5 meters whereas the Pixel 2 XL is IP67 certified which provides resistance up to 1 meters only. The Galaxy S9 Plus takes lead in design section due to sleek looks, better IP-ratings, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

Display

In the display section, Samsung didn't bring any difference from the predecessor because it is still the best in class available in the market. The Super AMOLED display panel on S9 Plus is 6.2-inches with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. The display aspect ratio is 18.5:9 which means you will get more space to play games and watching videos.

The Pixel 2 XL is also packed with one of the best display panels. Its a 6.0-inches OLED display panel with 2:1 aspect ratio. Though initially there were few issues regarding the brightness and sharpness of the display but later on Google resolved the issue by rolling out the software update. So its as bright and sharp as the Galaxy Quad HD OLED but the color contrast isn't as great as the S9 Plus.

The display panel on the Galaxy S9 Plus is dual curved from the edges whereas Pixel 2 XL's display is flat from edges. So it could be your personal preference whether you opt flat display or dual curved.

Hardware

The Galaxy S9 Plus is one of the first smartphones announced with the Qualcomm's latest Octa-core Snapdragon 845 SoC. The US variant comes with the Qualcomm's chipset whereas the rest of the world will get the Exynos 9810 powered device. Both the variants are accompanied with 6GB RAM and built-in native storage is 64GB which is further expandable up to 400GB using MicroSD card. The Galaxy S9 Plus is the first Samsung smartphone with stereo speakers on board to provide soothing audio experience.

The Pixel 2 XL isn't the latest phone instead it was announced a few months ago that's why it doesn't have the latest SoC instead of the last year's Snapdragon 835 chipset. The Snapdragon 835 SoC is nowhere near the speed of the latest Snapdragon 845. The Pixel 2 XL has 4GB RAM which is quite less considering the latest standards. The native storage of Pixel 2 XL is either 64GB or 128GB but it doesn't support memory expansion.

Although both the devices are pretty good in handling daily routine and HIFI tasks the Galaxy S9 Plus takes lead in performance due to the latest chipset, more RAM and also it supports memory expansion via MicroSD card.

Specs Galaxy S9 Plus Pixel 2 XL
Display 6.2-inches 6.0-inches
Screen resolution 1440 x 2960 pixels 14440 x 2880 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 845/ Exynos 9810 Snapdragon 835
RAM 6GB 4GB
Storage 64GB/128GB Expandable via MicroSD 64/128GB Non-Expandable
Rear camera Dual 12MP 12MP
Front camera 8MP 8MP
Battery 3,500mAH 3,520maH
3.5mm headphone jack Yes NO
IP-ratings IP68 IP67
OS Android Oreo 8.0 Android Oreo 8.0
USB Type-C Type-C

Camera

Finally, after a long delay, Samsung brought dual cameras for the Galaxy S series smartphones, however as expected the dual camera setup is exclusive to the S9 Plus only. The dual rear cameras on the Galaxy S9 Plus are 12MP, the primary sensor has variable aperture between f/1.5 to f/2.4 whereas the secondary snapper comes with fixed aperture f/2.4. Both the sensors have electric image stabilization, optical image stabilization, and autofocus.

Having dual rear snappers isn't the key aspect of Galaxy S9 Plus camera setup instead of the primary snapper with variable aperture makes it special. Samsung brought a better solution to counter the issue of capturing images in low-light conditions, the company didn't bring software solution instead their camera adjust the aperture to capture more light in low-light conditions. The camera aperture turns to f/1.5 in low-light conditions whereas in daylight the aperture shifts to f/2.4.

Up front, the selfie camera is 8MP with f/1.7 aperture and autofocus. The camera sensor is same as the last year but the wide aperture will allow you to capture better selfies in low-light scenarios. To compete against the Apple's Animoji, Samsung brought a new 3D face mapping feature as AR Emoji. The new feature allows the user to capture their face using the front camera to turn your selfie into 3D Emoji. You can use different characters as well as Disney cartoon characters.

On the other hand, the Google Pixel 2 XL's approach to capturing in different light scenarios is different. Google didn't bring dual rear cameras instead they improved the camera capability by bringing software solution with an imaging sensor to improve Pixel 2 XL camera results even in low-light conditions.

The Pixel 2 XL rear primary snapper is 12.2MP with f/1.9 aperture, Electric and Image stabilization are there to ensure your capture stable images even while moving. The sensor comes with laser autofocus and dual pixel phase detection autofocus. Up front the selfie camera sensor is 8MP.

Apart from the sensors, both the companies brought AI camera assistant. The Galaxy S9 Plus features Bixby Camera to provide users details about the locations and objects which they are looking through the camera. It also translates into real time. On the other hand, the Pixel 2 XL comes with Google Lens which provide similar functionalities but as expected it is more reliable and powerful than its counterpart.

Samsung steps up the slow-motion capturing capability of their flagships with the Galaxy S9 Plus. The rear sensor on S9 Plus can capture slow-motion Full HD video at 960 Frames per second. You can also shoot Full HD video at 240 frames per second. At 60 FPS, the device can capture 4K video.

The video capturing capability of the Pixel 2 XL isn't as good as the Galaxy S9 Plus. The device supports Full HD recording at 120 frames per second and it can record 4K video at 30fps. Last year DxOMark awarded Pixel 2 XL 98 scores, the highest score ever awarded to any smartphone in the market.

There are few aspects whether Galaxy S9 Plus take lead over Pixel 2 XL like slow-motion photography and variable aperture but in some scenarios the Pixel 2 XL camera is better. So in this section, both the devices are equally champions.

​​

Software

The Galaxy S9 Plus and the Pixel 2 XL are pre-installed with Android Oreo 8.0, the Pixel 2 XL comes with a stock version with purest UI experience whereas the Galaxy S9 Plus comes with TouchWiz custom UI layer. There are software features on board, for instance, the Pixel 2 XL brings the Google Assistant whereas in case of S9 Plus you will find Bixby AI assistant. It won't be fair if we don't mention the Pixel 2 XL squeezable frame which allows the user to call Google Assistant by simply pressing the body. Preferring the stock version or the custom version is surely customer's own preference.

Battery

The Galaxy S9 Plus lights are kept on by a 3,500mAH battery whereas the Pixel 2 XL features 3,520mAh battery cell. On moderate use both the devices easily last one day on a single charge but considering Galaxy S9 Plus is running on more power efficient SoC, it could last slightly longer.

Both the phones come with different fast charging tech. The Galaxy S9 Plus retains the Qualcomm's Quick charge 2.0 whereas the Pixel 2 XL relies on the USB power. The Galaxy S9 Plus supports Qi wireless charging but that's not the case with the Pixel 2 XL. The Galaxy S9 Plus wins this round due to power efficient chipset and supports for wireless charging.

Price and release

The Galaxy S9 Plus is slightly more expensive than the last year Galaxy S8 Plus. The device can be grabbed for $840 or you can choose carrier plan of paying $35 for next couple of years. Though the pricing is quite steep but Samsung is bringing a lot of features on board to make their flagship standout in the competition.

The Google Pixel 2 XL base variant with 64GB storage can be grabbed for $850 whereas the top-tier variant with 128GB storage can be grabbed for $950. You can get it from Google for $35 per month for next two years whereas for the top-tier variant you will have to pay $40 per month. The Galaxy S9 Plus pre-orders will kick off from March 2 with an availability from March 16th onwards.

The Galaxy S9 Plus will be available from all major carriers in the US whereas the Pixel 2 XL is exclusive to Verizon only. Despite having better specs and many positive aspects the Galaxy S9 Plus is slightly cheaper than the Pixel 2 XL.


Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus takes lead over the Pixel 2 XL number of aspects including a better display, powerful hardware, support for wireless charging, and innovative camera. On the other hand, the Pixel 2 XL comes with a stock version of Android OS with better software support from Google. The Pixel 2 XL also features one of the best cameras on the market. The Galaxy S9 certainly emerges as the best flagship smartphone available at the market. Stay tuned, we will be bringing more comparisons in coming days.

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(last update 21 September 2018 @ 05:53)

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