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LG has sent me the production, the official LG V30. So I thought I’d compare it against the Google Pixel 2 XL to help you decide which smartphone is right for you.
So the LG V30 and Google Pixel 2 XL are very similar smartphones but they do differ in several key areas. Basically, LG does more in the hardware department while Google excels more in the software department.
The built are both very high quality. The V30 has a predominantly glass build construction that supports wireless charging while the Pixel 2 XL has a predominantly metal build with a soft touch grippy coating on the metal that feels kind of like plastic and both have curved glass on the front that makes swiping through menus really comfortable.
The V30 does have an IP68 water and dust resistance rating while the Pixel 2 XL has IP67 rating. The V30 has a microSD card slot for expandable storage and a 3.5mm headphone jack with a powerful DAC amplifier that will help make music sound incredible via headphones. Seriously guys, a quad DAC is no joke if you’re a music listener. Unfortunately, the Pixel does not offer these features.
Both phones feature the same displays. They’re both OLED panels and they both have some issues. For example, there’s a noticeable blue tint when viewing the displays at an angle though it is a little bit more noticeable on the Pixel 2 XL. They both also feature similarly thin bezels but the Pixel 2 XL definitely has a little bit thicker bezels. The 2 XL’s display also has duller colors but a software fix is reportedly in the works. There’s also some reports of burn-in even only after several days of usage, something I’ve actually started to notice. I can imagine this applies to the LG V30’s display as well. If you really want the best display, you should go for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. These displays, despite their issues, do still impress with their high contrast ratios and QHD resolutions.
I can spend a whole 10-minute video or longer detailing the software differences but do know that the V30 runs Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box while the Pixel 2 XL runs the latest version of Android that is stock Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box and it runs software that is exactly how Google intends. There’s no bloatware or skin on top of Android like you’d find with the V30. Google is also integrated into this phone in almost every single way possible. You can literally squeeze the phone to activate the Google Assistant similar to the HTC U11. You’ll also find Google’s search bars pretty much everywhere. Some people will love the performance gains of stock Android and the fact that the Pixel 2 is guaranteed updates from Google for the next three years. Others will like or, at least, not mind the skinned version of Android Nougat that has a host of LG specific features like its floating bar that aims to give you access to app shortcuts via a floating bar that is on your screen. Both phones feature the Snapdragon 835 chipset with 4GB of RAM but the Pixel 2 is smoother and snappier than its competitor, thanks again to the pure version of Android.
The V30 does also one up the Pixel 2 XL in the hardware department when it comes to the cameras. It features a 16-megapixel main shooter with an industry leading f/1.6 aperture and 13-megapixel f/1.9 aperture wide angle sensor. The Pixel 2 XL just has a 12-megapixel main camera sensor on the rear. These two main cameras can capture some incredible results in all lighting conditions. Once again, the V30 one ups the Pixel 2 XL in the hardware department with a wider f/1.6 aperture but the Pixel combats that threat with its dual pixel technology that gives Google more information to work with so that they can capture the best possible image. The Pixel 2 is able to capture brighter low light photos and better HDR photos than the V30 despite its weaker hardware. It also uses all that information captured from its single rear-facing camera to allow you to take portrait photos all via software. It’s especially impressive for front-facing selfies. The effect, when applied correctly, looks stunning. The V30’s front-facing camera is poor, often resulting in grainy, low quality selfies.
The V30 does, however, have a very impressive wide angle camera sensor that can capture incredible landscape and nature photos; something that the Pixel just cannot do due to hardware limitations. It also has manual photo and video controls with some sweet filters and zoom tricks that is designed for those who just love to create.
So I was able to get through a full day of moderate to heavy usage with each device. The V30 has a 3,300mAh battery and the Pixel 2 XL has a 3,520mAh battery. The Pixel 2 XL does give me more reassurance that it’ll make it through a full day on a single charge, thanks to its larger capacity battery and just better optimized software.
I mentioned the LG phone has a quad DAC and headphone jack while the Google phone does not. The Pixel 2 XL does have dual front-facing stereo speakers however and they sound excellent, much better than the V30’s bottom-facing speaker.
Now if you like hardware more than software, you’ll want to side with the LG V30. It has expandable storage, wireless charging, dual rear-facing camera sensors, and a headphone jack with an incredible quad DAC. The Pixel 2 XL doesn’t have those hardware related features but if you want arguably the best mobile software in the world, guaranteed updates straight from Google, some unique hardware and software features sprinkled in here and there such as the squeeze feature and the portrait modes, then you should go with the Pixel 2 XL. Personally, I love the software experience that the Pixel offers and have been using it as my daily driver since it arrived at my doorstep. I just can’t put this phone down.
I can overlook some of the shortcomings in the hardware department while I know many others won’t be able to, especially at $850 off-contract. The V30 is about $50 cheaper and has some extra hardware related features to make it pull the trigger. I will say, I do really like the added stereo speakers and the newly added waterproofing rating that the previous Pixel did not offer so that has really ultimately helped me feel more comfortable about my purchase with this smartphone.