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HTC U12 vs Google Pixel 2 XL: How are they different?

06 June 2018 5

After a long delay, the Taiwanese giant finally wraps off the cover from the much-awaited flagship smartphone U12 Plus. This year's flagship smartphone from HTC is quite special for the company as it will be the only flagship device of this year. HTC at the announcement confirms the U12 Plus will be the only flagship smartphone that's why the company announced as Plus variant instead of a regular variant. The new U12 Plus will challenge the existing big players like Galaxy S9+, Huawei P20 Pro, LG G7 ThinQ and Pixel 2 XL.

Like always whenever a new flagship smartphone is announced we put it in head-to-head competition against all the latest best offering in the premium segment. We already compared the latest U12 Plus against a number of premium smartphones except for the Google Pixel 2 XL. Despite the fact, the Pixel 2 XL is almost eight months old but still, it is one of the best top-tier smartphones in the market. On the other hand, the U12 Plus is bringing more powerful latest hardware with more RAM. The rear side is also adorned with dual cameras set up.

Today we will find out how the latest HTC U12 Plus stacks up against the Google's finest Pixel 2 XL. Also, it is important to mention that almost all top-tier flagships of this year key selling aspect are their cameras set up, same is the case with the U12 Plus. Let's find out are the dual rear cameras setup of U12 Plus powerful enough to challenge the last year's best camera-centric Pixel 2 XL. Without any further delay, let's start with the design of both the devices.

73.9 x 156.6 x 8.7 mm
6 inches - 2880x1440 px
76.2 x 157.5 x 7.6 mm
6 inches - 2880x1440 px
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As far as the design language is a concern both the devices are quite different from each other. Google introduced one of its kind design with the original Pixel smartphone. Instead of complete metal or glass rear, the company opted for half metal and half glass rear. The Pixel 2 XL chassis is also made up of aluminum with half metal and half glass rear covering the rear side. The upper glass portion has the camera setup whereas the rear fingerprint scanner is in the metal section.

Up front, you will get a full front-facing display with 2:1 aspect ratio and minimal bezels around the edges. Despite having trimmed bezels around the edges the Pixel 2 XL has front-facing Boomsound speakers to provide amazing audio experience. The Pixel 2 XL has on-screen navigation buttons. The device edges are pressure sensitive, once you gently press the edges the device will open Google Assistant for you. The Pixel 2 XL measurements are 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm.

On the other hand, the U12 Plus looks more futuristic as it features glass and metal sandwich design. The U12 Plus comes with metal chassis with glass covering the front and rear side. Both the front and rear glass is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5. So it can resist against accidental drops up to some extent. It doesn't have front-facing speakers like the Pixel 2 XL. On the rear side, the device has dual cameras setup placed horizontally in the center with LED flashlight and circular fingerprint scanner below it.

The U12 Plus dimensions are 156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7-9.7mm. In terms of looks and availability of colors options, the U12 Plus is certainly far ahead from Pixel 2 XL. The U12 Plus edges are also pressured sensitive but they are used to perform certain tasks and they are customizable according to users requirement. Unfortunately, both the devices lack 3.5mm headphone jack instead both rely on the USB-C port for charging and headphones.

Like most of the latest premium smartphones, both are water and dust resistant. The Pixel 2 XL is IP67 certified whereas the U12+ is IP68 certified which means it can resist 0.5 meters more underwater as opposed to its counterpart. One thing is confirmed the U12+ glass rear will be more prone to shattering as opposed to half glass and metal of Pixel 2 XL.


Both the devices have a couple of things common in the display section. Both are packed with a 6.0-inches display with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels. That's where similarities between the two devices end. The U12+ features Super LCD panel whereas the Pixel 2 XL comes with plastic OLED. Thanks to OLED panel the Pixel 2 XL colors are more vivid, colors saturation is pretty good and deep blacks also plays a vital role here.

Although initially the Pixel 2 XL have issues related to displaying colors but later on Google rolled out updates to resolve the issues related to display quality. Both the devices aspect ratio are 2:1 and the pixels density is 534 pixels-per-inch. This section is lead by Pixel 2 XL due to better display tech.


Being the latest premium smartphone the U12 Plus has an advantage in the hardware section as it is packed with the latest best possible hardware straight out of the box whereas the Pixel 2 XL age will certainly have an impact here. The Pixel 2 XL was the last year's flagship device that's why it is packed with the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chipset whereas the U12+ is running on the latest best Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chipset.

Both are Octa-core SoCs but according to Qualcomm the later is 25% more efficient. The Pixel 2 XL has 4GB RAM whereas the U12+ comes with 6GB RAM. As a daily driver both the devices is quite powerful but the U12+ certainly will be faster thanks to latest SoC and more RAM on board. The difference between the devices might not be quite prominent because the stock Android OS brings one of the slickest UI experience in the market. The base variant of both the devices has 64GB storage whereas the top-tier variant has 128GB storage. The Pixel 2 XL native storage isn't further expandable whereas the U12+ has a MicroSD slot.

If you are looking for a powerhouse the U12+ is certainly a better choice but if you don't have an issue with slightly toned down hardware the Pixel 2 XL is also a pretty great option.

Specs HTC U12+ Pixel 2 XL
Display 6.0-inches 6.0-inches
Screen resolution 1440 x 2880 pixels 1440 x 2880 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 845 Snapdragon 835
Storage 64, 128GB Expandable via MicroSD 64, 128GB Non-Expandable
Rear cameras 12+16MP 12MP
Front camera Dual 8MP 8MP
USB Type-C Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack No No
IP-ratings IP68 IP67
OS Android Oreo with HTC Sense UI Android Oreo 8.1


In this department, it is not an easy task to beat Pixel 2 XL as it comes with a stock version of Doze with enhanced capability to last longer on a single charge. The U12+ features a battery cell of 3,500mAh whereas the Pixel 2 XL has a 3,520mAh battery cell. Both the devices support Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 for fast charging. Unfortunately, despite having the glass rear the U12+ lacks support for wireless charging.


This year HTC brings back the dual camera's setup once again after a delay of almost 4 years. The company not only opted dual cameras setup for the rear but also for the front as well. The primary rear snapper is a 12MP module with f/1.8 aperture whereas the secondary telephoto sensor is a 16MP module with f/2.6 aperture and optical zoom up to 2x. The dual sensors bring bokeh effect and all other goodies of dual cameras setup. As per DxoMark ratings, the U12+ is featuring the second best cameras setup in the market with 103 scores. So far the DxoMark is lead by the Huawei P20 Pro.

The Pixel 2 XL doesn't have dual rear cameras but it brings almost everything what you can expect from dual rear cameras. Google uses AI to perform dual sensors and we have to admit the company did a commendable job here. Both the front and rear camera of Pixel 2 XL brings portrait mode thanks to AI support. The rear camera is of 12.2MP with f/1.8 aperture. The sensor not only works great in daylight scenarios but also in low-light conditions. The Pixel 2 XL emerged as the best camera-centric smartphone in the market during 2017.

Up front, the selfie cameras on the U12+ are 8MP modules. The key reason behind the inclusion of dual sensors is to bring support for portrait mode shots. The Pixel 2 XL comes with a single snapper of 8MP on the front-facing side. Despite the fact, the U12+ is amongst the best cameras-centric device in the market still the Pixel 2 XL takes lead in few scenarios. So we can claim both the devices have one of the best cameras in the market.


As OS both the devices are running on the Android Oreo, however, the firmware version and UI layer are different on both the devices. The U12 is running on the Android Oreo 8.0 with HTC's Sense UI layer over it. HTC is amongst those OEMs who are cleaning their UI for quite sometime to make it more refined and clean. The company removed a lot of bloatware in last few years instead adopting the Google services and stock apps.

On the other hand, the Google Pixel 2XL was announced with Android Oreo and it is amongst the few devices who are running on the Android Oreo 8.1 with stock Android UI. The vanilla version of Android undoubtedly brings the slickest experience. As far as updates are a concern Google Pixel 2 XL will get updates much faster as opposed to U12+. Also, the device will receive the security patches on monthly basis. As far as Android P is a concern both the devices are confirmed to receive the next big update but as expect Pixel 2 XL will receive it earlier than U12+.

Now it's up to you whether you like the stock Android UI experience or prefer the custom experience provided by HTC's Sense UI. Last but not the least the Pixel 2 XL comes with Google AI Assistant whereas the U12+ pre-loaded with three Assistants straight out of the box including HTC's Sense Assistant, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.

Special features

HTC's squeezable edges bring more functionalities and also it is more customizable as opposed to Pixel 2 XL. For instance, you can set it to Google Assistant as well as to open the camera. HTC stepped up their game by introducing double tap which brings more option to access features. As mentioned above the Edge Sense 2.0 is highly customizable. So you can dictate your device what do you want to do by pressing the edges.

Both the devices have the Boomsound speakers, however, the implementation is different. The Pixel 2 XL has front-facing speakers whereas HTC U12+ rely on the bottom firing and earpiece speaker to provide superb audio experience. One of the special dedicated features of Pixel 2 XL was Google Lens which allows the user to identify locations, translating into English and much more. However, later on, this feature is rolled out for non-Pixel smartphones as well. The U12+ has certainly more special features than Pixel 2 XL.


Both the devices fall in the flagships category that's why both are amongst the expensive devices in the market. The Pixel 2 XL was announced at $850 whereas the U12+ costs $800 for the 64GB variant. The 128GB variant of the Pixel 2 XL was released at $950 whereas the U12+ top-tier variant with 128GB storage can be grabbed for $850. As far as availability is a concern the Pixel 2 XL is widely available as being 8 months old whereas the U12+ is relatively new that's why yet to hit most of the markets. It is important to mention that Pixel 2 XL can be grabbed at the lower price tag on special deals.


Both the devices have pros and cons. The U12+ takes lead in the better hardware, more special features, latest design, excellent cameras setup and the fairly large battery cell. The Pixel 2 XL is still one of the best top-tier smartphones, it takes to lead in the display, superb single camera and long-lasting battery life, however, it lags in the hardware department. For sure you are keen to know whether you purchase the HTC U12+ or the Pixel 2 XL. In our view it depends on your usage, it the performance and superb cameras are your first preference then you should choose the U12+ straight away, however, if you want a display with more vivid colors, stock Android OS experience and fast software updates the Pixel 2 XL is certainly a better option.

In the end, we would like to hear our keen readers thoughts regarding the HTC U12+ vs Pixel 2 XL in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more comparisons and previews.

  • The HTC U12 Plus isn't still available online. To be notified when it becomse available click here.
  • The Google Pixel 2 XL isn't still available online. To be notified when it becomse available click here.



HTC U12 vs Google Pixel 2 XL: How are they different?
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In the camera department, I believe, both phones are going neck-to-neck. I personally feel, very little to choose between the two.


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