Pixel 3 XL vs. iPhone XS Max vs. Note 9 vs. LG V40
Google announced the 5.5-inch Pixel 3 and 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL today, giving lovers of large-screen phones the impossible task of choosing from at least four major brands. The talent here runs deep, with the iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9 and new LG V40 ThinQ all boasting camera prowess and raw internal power.
The V40 in particular can wag its three rear cameras at the Pixel 3 phones’ single rear lens. (This third-generation Pixel XL does take a cue from LG by adding a second 8-megapixel front-facing wide-angle lens to make selfies with a large group easier to capture.)
Meanwhile, these high-priced phones, which inch close to or have crossed the $1,000 mark, are feeling pressure from cheaper-but-good phones from OnePlus, Motorola and Nokia. Note that we’ve reviewed every phone except the Pixel 3 XL, so we have to hold off final judgment until then. For now, here’s how the specs line up. Scroll to the end for a full specs comparison chart.
Screen size and clarity
Does this surprise you? The iPhone XS Max has the largest screen of the four, with a 6.5-inch display. The V40 and Galaxy Note 9 come in at 6.4 inches apiece and the Pixel 3 XL has a 6.3-inch display. But it’s the LG V40 that has the highest pixel density, edging the others. We’ll scrutinize them further in a number of lighting conditions, but all should excel at watching videos, reading stories and keeping up with social networks.
3 rear cameras vs. 1
Our mega camera comparisons are still to come — they take gargantuan effort, but are worth waiting for. What we can tell you is that the LG, iPhone and Galaxy phones are muscle-bound with camera options and tools. The LG V40’s three rear cameras are especially braggadocious. For example, you can take a photo from each rear camera at the same time to either use individually or to stitch together.
All four of these phones lean on AI camera software. The V40 and Note 9 change your settings when it senses one of almost 20 scenes (e.g. pets, blue sky). And the V40 and iPhone XS Max take dramatic photos with digital lighting effects. The Pixel 3XL can take wide-angle selfies and promises clean, crisp low-light photos that never need a flash, and excellent digital zoom.
Later on, Google will also add a tool that picks your best shot for you when the motion setting is turned on — so even if the photo you snapped is a complete blur, the Pixel 3 may have still captured something better.
At stake here is the importance of the multicamera trend. Google’s single rear lens throws down the gauntlet against phones with multiple rear cameras, like the V40’s (and Huawei P20 Pro’s) three rear cameras apiece. Are they really necessary for producing terrific shots or mostly window dressing to impress buyers and set the phonemakers apart?
On the other hand, Google seems to think that a second lens does make a difference on the front-facing camera. We’ll need to test these phones pretty exhaustively to see what the camera results tell us.
The storage space wars
Even just a few years ago, a 64-gigabyte repository of storage was pretty standard. Now, times have changed. LG and Google offer you 64GB just to start with. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 ups the ante to 128GB at its lowest price, or you can pay more for 512GB. That doesn’t even include the 512GB of external storage you can add with a microSD card…..Read More>>>