Last week, Google debuted its much-anticipated smartphone the Pixel 2 XL. It arrives at the same time as the new Pixel 2 and follows up on last year’s Pixel and Pixel XL. Both phones pack flagship specifications for 2017 and new designs, with the smaller option being produced by HTC and the other produced by LG.
And I’m sure many of you are excited about buying one. If you don’t want the smaller $649 5-inch Pixel 2 with its large bezels, you’ll probably opt for the larger $849 6-inch Pixel 2 XL. Both phones come with the same specs besides display sizes & resolutions and battery capacities, they each ship with near stock Android Oreo, and they’re both promised future software updates and will receive them first. All in all, what you’ll pay for the phones will probably be worth it to you. But when you start looking at the smartphone market, you’ll notice there’s plenty of other options available besides the new Pixels, and one particular option will probably fly under your radar.
It’s another smartphone from the manufacturer of the Pixel 2 XL: the LG V30. While both phones pack plenty of features, the V30 has nearly everything but the kitchen sink. And I’ve been thinking about this since Wednesday when the new Pixels debuted as I fired off tweets from my pre-production unit of the V30. In nearly every way, the V30 actually outdoes the Pixel 2 XL, even though it really doesn’t seem like it at first.
I’ll admit, I have yet to see the Pixel 2 XL in person, but at least according to other people’s reactions and the images we have of the device, it looks like the V30 has a nicer body. They both have 6-inch QHD+ 18:9 displays, but the V30 has much slimmer bezels than the Pixel 2 XL’s. And yes, the latter flanks stereo speakers, but the overall aesthetic of the V30 is much more eye-appealing since it takes the screen closer to the edges.
The V30 is also made out of glass while the Pixel 2 XL opts for an aluminum build with a glass pane on the back to transmit radio signals. Since the former has an entire glass back, it enables wireless charging. The Pixel 2 XL doesn’t have this feature which is a shame since the technology is becoming increasingly more popular thanks to the recent introduction of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. But the V30 has it, and it could be a deal maker for those adopting modern smartphone standards.
The V30 and Pixel 2 XL have nearly the same internal specs – Snapdragon 835 processors, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Bluetooth 5.0 support. Therefore, if you’re considering the Pixel 2 XL for its under-the-hood specifications, you wouldn’t really miss out if you bought the V30 instead.
The V30 packs nearly everything the Pixel 2 XL doesn’t.
In the same breath, LG’s V30 has way more user-facing hardware advantages than you can probably count over Google’s newest phone. It packs two rear cameras with manual controls and neat tricks whereas the Pixel 2 XL opts for a single shooter and a basic camera app. A headphone jack accommodates a quad DAC inside the phone, two features both absent from the new Pixels. The V30 even has a microSD card slot for expandable storage, a feature much missed by Pixel owners. And let’s not forget the V30 has an IP68 water and dust rating over the Pixel 2 XL’s IP67 rating alongside a Military-Grade 810G certification for improved drop protection. So on the outside alone, the V30 outshines the latest from Google.
Obviously, the Pixel’s software reigns supreme.
Of course, the Pixel 2 XL does have its own advantages over the V30. Not only does it pack stereo front-facing speakers while the V30 has a single, bottom-firing speaker, it also comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box and is first in line for software upgrades. The V30 has Android 7.1.2 Nougat with LG’s skin on top and no promise of consistent upgrades. Google uses various machine learning and AI algorithms and under-the-hood enhancements to make the Pixel’s operating system better, while the V30 is dependant on what LG can do to make Android better for its hardware which isn’t much.
But here’s the thing: sitting next to the Pixel 2 XL in a carrier store, consumers may gravitate towards the V30 thanks to its flashier looks and added bells and whistles. One of the major advantages important to consumers is obviously the headphone which the V30 has and the Pixel 2 XL doesn’t. Not everyone has made the switch over to wireless Bluetooth headphones, so average people may be pleased by the 3.5mm jack atop the V30 alone. And Verizon, who is selling both devices, will probably upsell you the Pixel 2 XL since they’re in bed with Google, but for your dollar, you’ll wanna think of what’s best for you. And at least to me, you’ll probably wanna get the V30 instead.
LG’s V30 is surprisingly cheaper than the Pixel 2 XL.
And then you have to consider the price. After everything we discussed here, the V30 may sound more expensive than the Pixel 2 XL. Surprisingly, this isn’t the case. Despite costing $800-$840 at carriers, LG values the V30 at just $749.99 whereas the Pixel 2 XL will cost a minimum of $849 wherever you buy it from. So for spending less money, you’ll be getting a lot more phone.
But then there’s some people who don’t need everything in their smartphone. Maybe you’re the type of person who wants a simple, fast, fluid, future-proof smartphone. If that’s the case, go buy a Pixel 2 XL. But for those who might want a bit more out of their next smartphone purchase, the V30 should definitely be considered since it’ll not only give you advanced controls and nicer hardware but also spare some of the cabbage in your wallet.
And yes, I realize the V30 likely won’t sell as well as the Pixel 2 XL since it probably won’t receive as much marketing or hype. But just like the V20 from last year, it’ll go noticed only by those who care. And at the end of the day, everyone should care about this Pixel 2 XL alternative since, at least in my opinion, it’s nicer, cheaper, and stupid similar.