Can’t decide between the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs. Pixel 2 XL? Let me help you find the perfect smartphone for you.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. 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. 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, 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. 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. 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. 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. 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). 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. 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.
Lumion Galaxy Note 8 Case “Guardian” is a slim 2-layer case with matte back that is going to give you optimal balance between comfort and protection. This is my #1 pick and I like it because it’s not too bulky with non-fingerprint-magnet matte back and the screen lip is high enough to protect front-facing screen drops.
Spigen sent me some Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL cases, here’s a quick review.
Spigen Liquid Crystal Case has been my all-time favorite for many phones and I love the transparency of the case so I can see through yet it is not bulky and has good lip for protecting the screen.
Although I ordered my Google Pixel 2 XL right as pre-orders were opened, I had to wait over 2 weeks to get my phone as the Black & White version wasn’t shipping until a few days. While the wait was rather long, I had plenty time to play with the regular Pixel 2 and the wait was well worth it as I like the Black & White version much more. The Pixel 2 XL is the bigger brother of Pixel 2 and I am really digging it, especially the curved design.
For those of you who want to take better photos with your Android smartphone, you can now use the full power of Google Camera HDR+ with a modded version of Google HDR+ Camera APK. Now, this modded version ONLY works on devices running Snapdragon 820, 821, and 835. That means you can use it on Samsung devices like Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8 Plus, Note 7, and Note 8 with Snapdragon processor. Exynos models are not supported yet. Also this Google HDR+ Camera APK works on stock and rooted phones, no root required! For LG, you should work on LG G5, G6, V20, and V30. If you have a phone you are not sure about, you can try googling its specs first. I’ve tested the APK on my Galaxy Note 8, LG V30, and V20, all of them work GREAT!So, the biggest question of the day, does it really improve your photos with Google HDR+ Camera?
In this 4K cinematic camera test, I took the Pixel 2 on a trip to the beach with my daughter Peony to see how well it worked during sunset hours. To my surprise, the Pixel 2 has an “amazing” stabilization using its OIS/EIS combo. Now, the original Pixel also had OIS/EIS combo but wasn’t as good as the Pixel 2. With better processor and better electronic stabilization algorithms, the Pixel 2 behaves like it is on a gimbal during good lighting. Now, I did find stability does not work as well in low light and I assume this is due to the fact EIS(Electronic Image Stabilization) works by cropping out the mistakes.
For those of you who need extra battery for your Samsung Galaxy Note 8, you may want to consider a battery case like ZeroLemon SlimPower, which comes with 5500mAh capacity, enough to recharge your Note 8 about 1.5 times. The ZeroLemon SlimPower is rather thick and bulky, this isn’t for everyone but for those who absolutely need extra 1-2 days of battery life.
Probably the biggest question of the week regarding Pixel 2, how much has it improved over last year’s original Pixel? I wanted to see for myself if Pixel 2 indeed has gotten better since last year’s Pixel, which is also an excellent low-light shooter.
In this camera comparison, we compare the Google Pixel 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs. LG V30 in a low-light and see which one performs best in 4K video recordings including stability tests.
In this low-light camera comparison, we take up the Google Pixel 2 vs. Galaxy Note 8 vs LG V30 in challenging low-light situations where a lot bright background lights are involved. To conduct this test, all phones were set to 100% “auto” mode.