Over the last few years, LG’s V series has been the company’s destination for its most ambitious ideas and state-of-the-art hardware. The just-revealed LG V30 continues that trend, with the latest and greatest tech you’ll find in any flagship smartphone. However, last year’s Google Pixel was quite a difficult handset to beat in its own right, and remains a popular choice among Android buyers even today.
How does LG’s newest contender compare to Google’s juggernaut? Read our specs comparison to find out.
Google Pixel XL
|Size||151.7 × 75.4 × 7.3 mm (5.96 × 2.96 × 0.29 in)||154.7 × 75.7 × 8.5 mm (6 × 2.9 × 0.3 in)|
|Weight||5.57 ounces (158 grams)||5.92 ounces (168 grams)|
|Screen||6-inch OLED||5.5-inch AMOLED|
|Resolution||2,880 × 1,440 pixels||2,560 × 1,440 pixels|
|OS||Android 7.1.2 Nougat||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Storage||64GB, 128GB (select markets)||32GB or 128GB|
|SD Card Slot||Yes||No|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835||Qualcomm Snapdragon 821|
|Connectivity||GSM / HSPA / LTE / CDMA||GSM / HSPA / LTE / CDMA|
|Camera||Front 5MP wide angle, Rear Dual 16MP and 13MP wide angle||Front 8MP, Rear 12.3MP|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 5||Yes, version 4.2|
|Other sensors||Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor||Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, barometer, proximity sensor|
|Charger||USB Type-C||USB Type-C|
|Marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Color offerings||Silver||Black, silver, pink|
|Availability||Unlocked, TBD||Unlocked, AT&T, Verizon|
|Price||TBD||Starts at $370|
|DT Review||Hands-on review||4.5 out of 5 stars|
The Pixel offered the best hardware last year had to offer, but the V30 is a year newer. That can make a big difference in the world of smartphones.
The V30 is a more capable device across the board, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of base internal storage, and even a MicroSD slot for expandable memory up to 2TB. The Pixel XL, featuring 2016’s Snapdragon 821 chipset and no option for external storage, simply cannot compete with that — even with the same amount of RAM.
While the Pixel is no slouch, Qualcomm’s latest silicon crushes tasks 30 percent faster, on average, than the processor it replaces. It’s kinder to the phone’s battery as well, and that will make all the difference when the handset’s in standby mode. For those reasons, the V30 easily wins this bout.
Winner: LG V30
Design and display
Like most flagship phones in 2017, the LG V30 has a front-filling display with tiny bezels all around. It’s a look LG first settled on with the G6 — it looked great then, and it looks excellent here. Around the back, there’s a polished metal and glass exterior also not unlike what the G6 offers, a dual camera, and a center-mounted fingerprint sensor.
It’s all very clean and not at all busy — and truthfully, the same could be said for the Pixel XL. Google’s flagship is attractive if not a little dull in the design department, but it also hit right before the bezel-less display boom. As a result, the phone looks quite dated by today’s standards, with lots of unused surface area above and below the screen.
Because of the V30’s lack of bezels, LG has been able to fit a much larger display into the device. The V30 packs a 6.0-inch QuadHD+ FullVision OLED display with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,440 and an 18:9 aspect ratio. The Pixel XL, conversely, only manages a 5.5-inch panel but maintains bigger dimensions. It’s a 16:9 AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440.
Tasteful and simple as the Pixel XL’s design is, we have to give this one to LG. Bezel-free phones are the future, and not only do they look great, but they also provide much more usable real estate for the display.
Winner: LG V30
This area requires a little more testing, so we can’t call a winner quite yet. On paper, the LG should win. It’s got two lenses around the back with two image sensors rated at 16- and 13-megapixels. The latter is a wide-angle lens, similar to what was featured on the LG G6. We found that camera to produce detailed, vibrant shots perfect for landscape photography — a feat no other phone can quite measure up to. LG has also focused on the video features, introducing a new Cine Video mode that offers expertly color-graded filters, and a Point Zoom slider that lets you zoom in on anything within frame.
The Pixel XL, on the other hand, only has one 12.3-megapixel shooter, but it’s one our favorite Android camera phones of last year. Depending on the situation and your particular style of photography, it may even beat out the Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus. The V30 may have more tricks up its sleeve, but it’ll be a tall order outclassing the Pixel XL in terms of day-to-day usage, given the typical photo op.
At the front, LG has chosen another wide-angle lens, this time tied to a 5-megapixel sensor. The Pixel XL’s is a conventional lens, rated at 8 megapixels. Overall though, it’s a toss up as to which phone will offer the better camera experience on average.
Battery life and charging
The Pixel XL’s battery is actually slightly bigger than the V30’s — 3,450mAh vs. 3,300mAh. It delivered about a day’s use on a full charge in our testing, and that’s pretty even with most of the device’s contemporaries.
Considering that fact, you might be reasonably concerned LG’s latest handset won’t quite measure up. Don’t fret — it has phenomenal battery life in our early testing. After heavy use, we’ve had it hit 30 percent around 1 a.m. — that’s after taking it off the charger at 8 a.m. The V30 definitely lasts a lot longer. It also has another advantage: The inclusion of wireless charging.
Winner: LG V30
As with any Google-produced device, you can expect a bloat-free Android experience and timely software and security updates with the Pixel XL. Unfortunately, history indicates that won’t be the case with the V30. LG isn’t particularly fast when it comes to supporting its phones, and its UX customizations to Android are pretty heavy. Outside of the 18:9 aspect ratio being well suited for multi-window app use, there’s little here that would justify the delay in receiving updates.
As you’d expect, the Pixel XL is one of a handful of phones to receive Android Oreo first, with the update currently rolling out to users worldwide. If you’re impatient, you can even directly download it right now. The V30 isn’t launching with the latest version of Google’s operating system, though it is expected to come soon after release.
Being newer, the V30 still has one major advantage: It should see another year’s worth of updates. Android P will be the Pixel XL’s final official version in 2018, while the V30 should ideally be supported up until and including Android Q in 2019. (And who knows what name they’ll think up for that?) Additionally, V30 users will benefit from Quad DAC for audio playback, which really did enhance the listening experience in the V20. We’re happy to see it make a comeback here.
But the Pixel gets consistent, monthly security updates, and the same cannot be said for LG’s V30. Security updates are important, and it gives the Pixel XL the win here.
Winner: Pixel XL
Neither of these phones will be remembered for their durability, but the V30 has one significant advantage — IP68 water resistance. That means LG’s flagship can withstand being submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for a maximum of 30 minutes. The Pixel XL has no water resistance, making it a bit of an anomaly among modern high-end smartphones. Apple’s iPhone 7, Samsung’s Galaxy S8, and even LG’s other flagship, the G6, are all protected in the event of a spill or a splash. The Pixel’s successor is rumored to fix that, but the current model bears no such safeguard.
Winner: LG V30
Pricing and availability
We’re expecting major carriers to sell the V30 when it launches later this year, but LG hasn’t published pricing and availability. Either way, we expect it to be in the region of $800. The Pixel XL retails for $770 from Google for the 32GB option, with the 128GB configuration adding another $100.
The Pixel XL has obviously been on the market for quite a while, though it’s never been easy to find. Google has improved stock over the last several months, but the device isn’t new anymore, and $770 is a steep price to pay for last year’s tech — even when the phone’s as good as this one. Verizon is offering a reduced price of $540 on contract, but then you’re sacrificing quite a bit of freedom for a phone that will be discontinued in a few months’ time.
Considering everything extra you’re getting with the V30, and the similarity in price, we have to give this one to LG.
Winner: LG V30
Overall winner: LG V30
The Pixel XL is great, but the LG V30 is simply better from a specs standpoint. The V30 is LG’s showcase for the best it can do with a mass market smartphone, and is likely to be one of the most powerful and forward-thinking handsets released this year. That said, if you like the Pixel XL in concept but don’t want to settle for last year’s tech, you’ll probably be more interested in the second generation, coming sometime in the fall. Rumor has it LG is on hand to build the successor to the Pixel XL.
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