The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 may have suffered some setbacks since it was released, but it is still an impressive device that has set the bar high when it comes to smartphone technology innovation. Apple and LG previously challenged the Note 5 successor by releasing the iPhone 7 Plus and V20, respectively. Now, it’s Google’s turn to confront the Note 7 with its all-new phablet device, the Pixel XL. Without further ado, here’s a comparison review of the Pixel XL and the Galaxy Note 7 specs and features.
When it was launched in August, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 made headlines for being a powerhouse with innovative features. It came with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, which is composed of two Kryo cores clocked at 2.15 GHz and two more Kryo cores clocked at 1.6 GHz. The handset also came with an Adreno 530 GPU that all the more made it impressive in terms of performance. Its benchmark results were remarkable, with Android Central reporting a day after the Note 7’s release that it scored high in the AnTuTu 6 benchmark and the GFXBench tests.
On the other hand, the Google Pixel XL comes with Qualcomm’s latest chipset, the Snapdragon 821, comprising two Kryo cores clocked at 2.15 GHz and two more Kryo cores clocked at 1.6 GHz. Though the configurations of the cores are the same with those of the Note 7, Qualcomm indicated on its official website that the 821 is 10 percent better than the 820. Thus, it’s safe to say that Google’s phablet has the upper hand in this round, since it comes with the more powerful processor and the same Adreno 530 GPU that’s responsible for seamless graphics performance and compute capabilities.
Display-wise, Samsung is proud with what it has done to its Note 5 successor. The 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display of the Note 7 has a 1440x2560 screen resolution and 518 ppi pixel density. The Note 7’s display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which per Corning is so much tougher and provides resistance to damage even when the device falls 1.6 meters onto a hard, rough surface. Making the Samsung phablet’s display even more interesting is its Always-on feature that allows users to check time, date, missed class and message alerts with ease as there is no need to unlock the device to view all these.
The Pixel XL’s display is actually a pretty good match for the Note 7’s high-end screen. For one thing, the 5.5-inch AMOLED display also sports 1440x2560 screen resolution and it even outnumbers the ppi of the Note 7 with its 534 pixel density, based on PhoneArena's report. Moreover, the number of colors it can render also equals the 16,777,216 colors the Note 7 display has. The only downside here is the fact that Google’s phablet comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for protection instead of the up-to-date Gorilla Glass 5 found in the Note 7. It is also worth noting that the Pixel XL does not have an Always-on feature, since it is solely running on Android Nougat v7.1, unlike Samsung’s phablet that has TouchWiz UI running on top of the latest Android mobile OS available to it.
Samsung did not really bank on camera technology for its Galaxy Note 7, but the South Korea tech giant did come up with a decent pair of front and back cameras for its phablet. Its back camera has a 12-megapixel sensor with f/1.7 aperture, standard LED flash, phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization and a couple of software features to enhance its functionality. Its camcorder is capable of taking 4K videos at 30fps. Up front, the Note 7 features a decent 5-megapixel snapper with f/1.7 aperture, auto HDR and dual video call functionality. Despite claiming that its Note 7’s cameras deliver quality photography, it is pretty clear that they are nowhere near as impressive as the cameras of its rivals.
On paper, the Google Pixel XL’s cameras are also very remarkable. The primary snapper has a 12.3-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection and laser autofocus, as well as dual-LED (dual tone) flash, according to GSM Arena. It does have optical image stabilization and software features such as digital zoom and geo-tagging. Its camcorder is also capable of capturing 4K videos at 30fps. Meanwhile, its secondary camera on the front has an 8-megapixel sensor and is capable of taking 1080p videos at 30fps. At this point, it is still too early to tell whether or not Google Pixel XL’s cameras provide better quality photos than the Note 7 since Google’s phablet is not arriving on the market until Oct. 13.
Other features that make the Galaxy Note 7 stand out from the Google Pixel XL include the IP68 certification of its water-proof and dust-proof body. It has a fingerprint scanner and an iris scanner, and it also comes with its signature S-Pen stylus. The Note 7 also has support for Samsung Pay, the tech giant’s mobile payments service. Additionally, the phablet comes in three color variants: Blue Coral, Black Onyx and Silver Titanium. It has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage with expandable memory via the microSD card slot. Finally, powering the handset is a non-removable Li-ion 3500 mAh battery with wireless charging support.
Contrariwise, the Pixel XL does not have an iris scanner, but it does come with a fingerprint scanner for advanced biometrics verification. It is not water-resistant and does not have a stylus. It comes with the latest Android Nougat v7.1 OS and built-in support for Google’s AI assistant called Google Assistant. It has three color options: Really Blue, Quite Silver and Very Black. The Pixel XL has 4GB of RAM, and it comes in two internal memory variants — 32GB and 128GB. Sadly, it does not have a microSD card slot for memory expansion. Last but not the least, the device houses a non-removable Li-ion 3450 mAh battery. Per Android Central, pricing for the Pixel XL starts at $769, which is more affordable than the $849.99 base price of the Note 7.
Which do you think is the better phablet between the Galaxy Note 7 and the Pixel XL? Sound off in the comments below.