The new Google Pixel 3 XL (review) is finally here and at first blush, it lives up to the expectations and hype around its launch. The device boots Android 9 Pie, sports a dual front-facing camera setup, and is powered by Qualcomm’s flagship chipset. However, starting at USD 799 in the US (INR 83,000 in India), the handset is not priced aggressively, and hence, needs to provide enough value for the money to prove itself worthy in the cut-throat competition of flagship devices.
Recent flagship launches include the Apple iPhone XS Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and in this post, we shall pit these three pricey and large-screen flagship phones against each other, to see which one is better, and at why exactly.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs. Apple iPhone XS Max vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Comparison of Price in India
The Google Pixel 3 XL’s price for the Indian market starts at INR 83,000 (USD 799 in the US) for the 64GB storage variant, and INR 92,000 (USD 899 in the US) for the 128GB storage model. The Apple iPhone XS Max retails at INR 1,09,900 for the 64GB storage variant, and INR 1,24,900 for the 256GB model. The 512GB storage variant of the iPhone XS Max retails for INR 1,44,900 in India.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (6GB RAM + 128GB storage) has the advantage in this aspect, retailing as low as INR 67,900 through Flipkart and Samsung e-store. You can grab it at even lower price of INR 61,900 through Paytm Mall with promo code ‘NOTE9’. The variant with 8GB RAM + 512GB storage retails at INR 84,900 at Flipkart.
Display, Design of Google Pixel 3 XL vs Apple iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The display of the Google Pixel 3 XL is identical to that of the Apple iPhone XS Max, featuring a screen notch. The Google Pixel 3 XL has a 6.3-inch P-OLED notched display, with QHD+ resolution (1440×2960 pixels) and 523 pixels per inch. The pixel density of this device is the best here. The Apple iPhone XS Max has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED notched display with Full HD+ screen resolution (1242×2688 pixels) with 458ppi pixel density. The aspect ratio and screen space of the iPhone is the best in this comparison, as it is the only handset with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, while the other two achieve 18.5:9. All three handsets use a metal-and-glass sandwich design.
However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (review) has a good pixel density of 516ppi with its 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display that does not get a notch but still has very thin bezels. Both the Pixel and the Galaxy Note get Corning Gorilla Glass 5, while the Apple device gets a scratch resistant glass with oleophobic coating. All three handsets here have HDR compliance as well as IP68-certified bodies for dust and water resistance. In addition, the Apple device gets Dolby Vision certification, 3D Touch Display, True Tone display, and 120Hz touch sensing technologies. Even with the lower pixel density among the three, it is hence, safe to conclude that the Apple iPhone XS Max offers the best colors and touch experience. If you hate the notch, go with the Galaxy Note 9, but if you’re okay with the notch, the iPhone XS Max is great in terms of color accuracy.
Performance, Software of Google Pixel 3 XL vs Apple iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Performance-wise too, the Apple device takes the lead, with its first-in-class 7nm processor: Apple A12 Bionic. This is a hexa-core chipset with Apple’s 4-core GPU, while the other two handsets are powered by the more conventional Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor that is made with 10nm process. As with all Apple phones, the iPhone XS Max also does not provide alternate RAM options, coming with a standard 4GB of RAM. The Google Pixel 3 XL also has the same limitation, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 comes in 6GB and 8GB RAM options.
Software-wise, the Google Pixel 3 XL ships with Android 9 Pie, the Apple iPhone XS Max gets iOS 12, and the Samsung device comes with Android 8.1 Oreo (upgradable to Android 9 Pie). The Galaxy Note 9 offers more software features in comparison, and a lot of them are genuinely useful.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs Apple iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9; Camera
The Google Pixel 3 XL is the only phone in this comparison that sports a dual front camera, with two 8MP sensors, one with a wide-angle lens and another with an ultra-wide angle lens. However, it has just a single rear camera, with a 12.2MP sensor paired to a wide-angle lens (28mm), dual-LED flash, dual-pixel phase detection autofocus, OIS and HDR+. The Apple iPhone XS Max gets a dual 12MP+12MP rear camera with a 26mm wide-angle lens and a 52mm telephoto lens with 2x effective optical zoom, aided by a quad-LED true-tone flash and OIS for both sensors. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 also gets a 12MP+12MP dual rear camera, with the same wide-angle and telephoto lens setup, with dual-OIS.
The Pixel device does not get 2x optical zoom but it has Google’s AI-assisted hybrid zoom technology which is claimed to offer better quality than your run-of-the-mill digital zoom. All three handsets in this comparison get Full HD video recording but the Pixel 3 XL cannot record 4K videos at 60fps as the other two can. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 alone flaunts a super slow-motion HD video recording with 720p at 960 frames per second, while the Apple handset can record 1080p at 240fps, and the Google Pixel 3 XL can record 720p at 240fps. However, the iPhone’s 1080p 240fps slow-motion video recording feature is more practical of the lot, allowing you to slow down any portion of the video.
The front camera of the Apple iPhone XS Max has a 7MP sensor (32mm lens), while the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a 25mm wide-angle 8MP front camera. In conclusion, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has an edge in the rear camera aspect, and the Google Pixel 3 XL excels in front camera tech.
Battery, Connectivity of The Google Pixel 3 XL vs Apple iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9
In the battery section, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has the largest battery at 4000mAh, followed by the Google Pixel 3 XL at 3430mAh, and the Apple iPhone XS Max at 3174mAh. However, the 7nm chipset of the Apple device certainly draws less power than the 10nm chipset powering the other two handsets.
All three of these devices get fast charging as well as fast Qi wireless charging. They also have the latest connectivity features in common, such as a reversible connector, Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, NFC, and dual-band Wi-Fi. The Apple device does not get a fingerprint sensor but unlocks with a 3D Face ID, while the other two devices get a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. The Note 9 also gets access to an iris scanner, but it is less reliable than the other two biometric authentication features.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs Apple iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Conclusion
To sum it up, the Google Pixel 3 XL does tick all the boxes it needs to check for the flagship label, but does not offer anything groundbreaking. There is a dual front camera, sure, but the front cameras of the other two devices in comparison are also rated quite well. Processing speeds will surely be better in the iPhone since it flaunts the world’s first 7nm chipset, and iOS 12 is also quite an impressive upgrade over the previous Apple operating systems. However, the Apple device costs a lot more than the other two, so keeping the price in mind, it is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 that offers the best value.