Galaxy Note 8 vs. Pixel 2 XL!

Can’t decide between the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs. Pixel 2 XL?  Let me help you find the perfect smartphone for you.

  1. Design & Feel – Both phones features curved screen(while Pixel 2 XL is curved glass but flat screen) with sexy curves.  Both phones feel very good in the hands.  The Note 8 has slightly longer screen(taller) while the Pixel 2 has the same width as Note 8 but with bigger bezels, making it feel slightly wider.   For people using the phone naked, the Pixel 2 XL back is mostly matte with glass on top.  This will help you get less fingerprints.
  2. Screen – Both phones features the latest OLED screens, the Galaxy Note 8 has AMOLED made by Samsung and the Pixel 2 XL has POLED made by LG.  The POLED on Pixel 2 XL displays some blue tint when viewed at an angle.  However, the Galaxy Note 8 also has a blue tint when seen at an angle.  This blue tint will NOT affect daily performance since it is only visible when viewing 100% white background, you won’t notice it much with regular images that have mix of different colors.  I don’t think this is a huge deal breaker but some people just simply don’t like the blue tint.  The Pixel 2 XL has 6″ 18:9 aspect ratio screen while the Note 8 has 6.3″ 18.5:9 aspect ratio screen with resolution of 1440P on both.
  3. Performance – Both phones run Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with Note 8 having 6GB of RAM vs. Pixel 2 XL’s 4GB of RAM.  Since Pixel 2 XL runs 100% pure Android,  you won’t find more optimized Android phone out there and RAM shouldn’t be an issue.  As for overall performance, both phones will give you nearly same performance,
  4. Storage – The Pixel 2 XL has no micro-SD card slot but offers unlimited free cloud storage of all your photos/videos in original resolution for the next 3 years(until 2020).  This also means free storage of any 4K videos in original size.  This will work out great for those of you with fast WiFi or unlimited 4G LTE but the Galaxy Note 8 offers a micro-SD card slot which you can easily expand using 256GB+ micro-SD cards.
  5. S-Pen – The BIGGEST difference between the two smartphones is the S-Pen.  A 4,096 pressure touch-sensitive S-Pen on the Galaxy Note 8 can help the user in jotting down notes, drawing art, browsing websites in desktop-mode, and a whole lot more while the Pixel 2 XL does not offer anything close to it.  For students, artists, business owners, and many others who would benefit from the S-Pen, the clear choice is Galaxy Note 8.
  6. Battery – The Note 8 has 3300mAh while the Pixel 2 XL has 3540mAh.  You can expect slightly better battery life out of the Pixel 2 XL but Note 8 does quite well even with much smaller 3300mAh.  But if it came down to battery, I would go with Pixel 2 XL.  Also Google’s latest Android operating system can give you extra battery life due to its more-efficiency.
  7. Camera – The Pixel 2 XL has the “best” smartphone camera this year, you will get the best low-light/dynamic range than any other phone out on the market.(See Pixel 2 vs. Note 8 vs. LG V30 comparison)  The Note 8 is also excellent and you can actually get the best of both worlds by installing the Google HDR+ camera, that can give you similar results to Pixel 2 XL.  Pixel 2 XL also has portrait mode for both front and back camera, both which work better than the Note 8.  Stabilization is also wildly awesome as seen in my handheld 4K test video here.  But be aware, the Pixel 2 XL offers no manual video mode while the Note 8 does.   The Galaxy Note 8 has an extra zoom back camera that also has OIS(Optical Image Stabilization) and it is one of the best 2X zoom cameras I’ve used on a smartphone.  And as for front camera videos, the Note 8 offers 1440P, making it king of front-camera vlogging.    The Note 8 may have a better overall camera experience while the Pixel 2 XL is going to give you the best low-light performance along with awesome portrait modes.
  8. Carriers & Rooting – If you are buying the Galaxy Note 8, you will have to buy at a carrier that supports your network.  For Note 8, that means different models for each carrier if you are in the U.S.  If you have a GSM network like AT&T or T-Mobile, you can grab the international version of Note 8 that also has unlocked bootloader so you can root it.  Unlike Note 8, Google offers 4-carrier unlocked version of Pixel 2 XL, meaning you can use it on any U.S. network like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon.  The Pixel 2 XL is a hybrid GSM/CDMA phone and also it is easily rootable without voiding your warranty(Google does not penalize you for rooting).
  9. Speakers – The stereo speaks of the Pixel 2 XL is one of the loudest I’ve tested and if you need good smartphone speakers, Pixel 2 XL is the way to go.
  10. Security – The Galaxy Note 8 offers variety of security measures including fingerprint, IRIS, and face recognition.  The fingerprint sensor position is very odd but so long as your index finger can reach it, you will get used to it.   IRIS scanner comes in really handy when your fingerprint scanner stops working in water(e.g. while in spa) and will easily unlock your phone with IRIS.  The Pixel 2 XL does not offer extra security other than fingerprint sensor but it works very well and you should have no problemo.

Overall, there are good and bad things about each of these phones and you may have to decide based on which features you need the most(such as S-Pen or portrait mode front camera).  As for me personally, I dig both phones very much and plan on using both regularly.  When you can’t decide on one, just use both.

I may have missed out on some other features and if you would like to know more about them, please leave a comment below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.