In 2015, LG re-entered the flagship phablet market with its first V-series device, the V10. In September last year, the South Korean electronics company announced the V20, the successor to the V10. Similar to the V10, LG tasted greater success with the V20 than it did with its G-series flagship for the year, the G5. Of course, it was no doubt helped by the fact that Samsung had to permanently discontinue the Galaxy Note 7, which would otherwise easily have proved to be the most popular phablet of the year, just like its predecessors. However, that doesn’t mean that the LG V20 doesn’t have any formidable rival to deal with. Announced shortly after the V20, the Pixel XL is arguably the finest smartphone from Google yet and is also the first to be developed “completely in-house” by the Mountain-View based company.

In our versus comparison today, we will be comparing the Google Pixel XL and the LG V20 against each other to find out which of these phablets is worth your money. Both the LG V20 and the Google Pixel have their individual strengths and weaknesses, so we will be comparing them across ten different categories. These include connectivity, dimensions, battery life, camera, memory, operating system, price, design, processor, and display. The winner of each round will be awarded one point, which means the phablet that manages to bag the most number of points will be declared the winner of our comparison today. The Google Pixel XL has fared quite well in our previous comparisons, but will it be able to defeat the LG V20 in our specs battle today? Let us get started with our specs comparison and find out.

Dimensions

We are going to start off our LG V20 vs Google Pixel XL comparison by taking a look at the physical dimensions of the two phablets and see which of them has a higher screen-to-body ratio.

The LG V20 is 159.7mm tall, 78.1mm wide, and 7.6mm thin. In terms of weight, the phablet weighs in at 174 grams, which is pretty decent given its screen size and build. Google Pixel XL on the other hand is 154.7mm tall, 75.7mm wide, and 8.5mm thin. It tips the scales at 168 grams, making it slightly lighter than the LG V20.

As you can tell from the numbers above, the LG V20 isn’t much larger than the Pixel XL as far as the physical dimensions go, and also happens to have a slightly higher screen-to-body ratio. That means the win here goes to the LG V20.

Display

Now let’s talk about the displays on these two smartphones. On a modern smartphone, the display is of course the center of attraction.

The Google Pixel XL sports a 5.5-inch sized AMOLED display that offers 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution and a high pixel density of 534 pixels per inch. Like other recent flagship smartphones, the display on the Pixel XL is protected by a later of Corning Gorilla Glass 4, which helps protect it against scratches and other forms of damage. Similar to the Google Nexus 6P from 2015, the Google Pixel XL utilizes a latest generation AMOLED panel that does not suffer from any major weakness. In terms of brightness, the panel on the Pixel XL can hit over 400 nits, which makes it one of the brightest AMOLED displays out there, giving it excellent sunlight legibility and “pop”. Compared to LCD displays, AMOLED displays can deliver punchier colors with a lot more depth, mainly due to their infinite contrast ratio, allowing them to show true blacks. Coming to color accuracy, the AMOLED panel on the Google Pixel does a good job, producing more accurate colors out of the box than most other smartphones out there. However, things can be improved even further by going to Developer Settings and enabling the “sRGB” mode. Once enabled, the Pixel XL display can deliver truly accurate colors, with only few other smartphones managing to beat it in terms of outright accuracy. Of course, most consumers will probably be more than happy with the default setting, as most people do enjoy vibrant colors. In addition to the sRGB option, Google also lets you adjust the UI scaling on the Pixel XL with the “Display size” setting.

LG V20 on the other hand sports a larger 5.7-inch IPS display with 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 513 pixels per inch. Similar to the previous LG flagship smartphones, the V20 display too uses Quantum technology, claimed to help enhance image quality with a higher color gamut than conventional IPS LCD panels used on most smartphones. In terms of brightness, the LG V20 display gets plenty bright, with peak brightness of around 600 nits with the auto brightness feature enabled. In terms of contrast ratio, the V20 display is comparable to most smartphone displays out there, with a static contrast ratio of 1,000:1. That is in fact lower than some previous LG flagships, including its predecessor, the V10. So if high contrast is something that you truly appreciate, the V20 display will most likely disappoint you. There are no modes to choose from either, so the color reproduction cannot be tweaked by users. What you do get is a blue light filter, which filters out harmful blue light emitted by the display, which case eye strain when viewing the display for long periods of time. As far as color accuracy goes, the V20 is among the better smartphones from LG, but it doesn’t quite match the best smartphone displays on the market overall. LG also allows you to tinker with the DPI setting with the “Display size” setting on the V20. The LG V20 also features a secondary display on the top which measures 2.1-inches diagonally and offers 160 x 1040 resolution.

There is no doubt the Google Pixel XL’s AMOLED display has the upper edge here. It boasts of better colors, higher contrast, and better sunlight legibility. That means the winner of the display round is the Google Pixel XL.

Battery Life

When you pay top dollar for a flagship smartphone, you not only expect top notch performance and hardware, but also excellent battery life. Do these two phablets deliver in terms of battery life?

The Google Pixel XL happens to be identical to its predecessor as far as the battery capacity is concerned. It packs a 3450mAh capacity battery, which doesn’t sound all that bad, at least on paper. Google claims the Pixel XL is capable of delivering up to 32 hours of talk time, 14 hours of continuous video playback, and 14 hours of browsing when connected to a Wi-Fi network. Sadly, these numbers do not match the actual real-world results, so the Pixel XL is definitely not the most impressive flagship smartphone out there in terms of battery life. While it does deliver impressive talk time, it falls behind when it comes to web browsing time and video playback. You do get fast charging support though, via the smartphone’s USB Type-C port. With just 15 minutes of charging, you can look forward to around 7 hours of usage, which is very impressive. What isn’t impressive though, is the actual charging time. The Pixel XL is actually among the slower charging phones out there with fast charging support. Wireless charging is unfortunately not supported, owing to the part metal back.

The LG V20 features a smaller 3200mAh capacity battery, but unlike the Google Pixel XL, you do get the option of removing it yourself. To do that, you just need to pop off the back cover. In terms of battery stamina, the LG V20 isn’t as impressive as the Google Pixel XL, which isn’t surprising as the company’s flagship smartphones have never really impressed in this area. Thankfully, the V20 does support the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 standard and happens to charge really quickly. In fact, the V20 is among the fastest charging phones out there, so it sort of makes up for the lower battery life when compared to the Google Pixel XL. And since the battery is user-removable, you can swap batteries as well. However, the V20 does not support wireless charging, which is slightly disappointing.

Overall, neither Google Pixel XL nor the LG V20 is very impressive in the battery life department. While the Pixel XL does have slightly better battery life, the V20 allows you to replace the battery and also offers faster charging times. Since no smartphone has the clear edge here, we are going with a tie.

Connectivity

The LG V20 and the Google Pixel XL were released around the same time last year, so you might expect these two phablets to be very similar to each other in terms of connectivity. Let us find out if that is indeed the case.

The Google Pixel XL comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, GPS with GLONASS, NFC, USB Type-C, and 4G LTE (Cat.12) with maximum supported download speeds of up to 600 Mbps. LG V20 on the other hand features Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Infrared port, USB Type-C port, and 4G LTE (Cat.12) with maximum download speeds of up to 600Mbps.

As you can tell, the two smartphones are nearly identical in the connectivity department. The V20 does have slight edge with an Infrared port, but it isn’t likely to make a difference for most users out there. Which is why we feel it makes more sense to declare the connectivity round a tie.

Camera

Camera performance is another area that most buyers consider when choosing a new smartphone. Time to find out which of these two phablets has the edge in the camera department.

The Google Pixel XL features a 12.3 megapixel resolution camera at the rear, identical to the Google Nexus 6P in terms of the resolution as well as the sensor size. However, Google is using the newer Sony IMX 378 Exmor RS sensor on the Pixel XL, which is a slight improvement over the IMX377 sensor used on the Google Nexus 6P. It is still a 1/2.3” type sensor, with large 1.55 micron sized pixels for superior image quality. Moving on, the sensor integrates phase detection autofocus technology paired with laser autofocus technology, which helps the camera achieve impressive focus speeds. The lens features an f/2.0 aperture, which isn’t the brightest out there, but works quite well given the large sensor size of the camera. Unfortunately, the Google Pixel XL camera does not integrate optical image stabilization, which is definitely a disappointment. To compensate, the camera comes with advanced Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) that uses the gyroscope to counter movements when capturing videos. The flash at the back is of the dual-tone LED variety, similar to a number of other flagship smartphones on the market. The Pixel XL’s 12.3MP rear camera also offers features such as face detection, panorama images, 4K video recording, slow-motion videos in 720p HD resolution at up to 240fps, and 1080p resolution slow-motion videos at 120fps. There is HDR+ support as well, an advanced version of the HDR feature that we find on most high-end and flagship smartphones. Compared to regular HDR, the HDR+ feature on the Google Pixel XL is able to capture superior highlights without affecting the color accuracy. As far as actual camera performance goes, the Google Pixel XL is the most impressive smartphone from Google yet and also among the best smartphone cameras on the market right now. DxOMark in fact claims the camera on the Google Pixel (the smaller sibling of the Pixel XL with the same 12.3MP rear camera) is the best on the market currently, delivering brilliant results in daylight as well as low-light conditions. In addition to fantastic image quality, the smartphone captures great looking videos as well. However, the camera app on the Pixel XL isn’t the best in terms of manual controls on offer. Of course, you can download and install a third party camera app from the Play Store to address this. On the front, the Pixel XL includes an 8MP resolution snapper with 1.4 micron sized pixels and support for capturing videos in 1080p Full HD resolution. The camera sensor is paired with an f/2.4 aperture lens, which is a bit disappointing.

The LG V20 on the other hand sports a dual-camera setup at the back, with a 16MP resolution primary sensor and an 8MP resolution secondary sensor. The 16MP sensor is paired with a bright f/1.8 aperture lens, while the secondary 8MP sensor has been paired with an f/2.4 aperture lens. While the 16MP sensor offers a 75-degree field-of-view, the secondary sensor delivers a much wider 135-degrees, allowing you to capture more of the scene. Like the previous generation, the V20 uses a combination of laser autofocus technology, phase detection autofocus, and contrast AF technology, which works quite well. There is optical image stabilization on offer too, which helps with the low-light performance and also helps the phablet capture steady videos. To complement OIS, the V20 comes with Steady Record 2.0, which uses gyro-based electronic image stabilization or EIS. Rest of the key features of the V20 dual-camera setup include panorama photos, HDR, face/smile detection, touch to focus, 4K video capture, and a range of manual controls. While most smartphones only offer manual controls for photos, the V20 comes with advanced manual video mode with options such as Auto Exposure – Lock, EV, shutter speed, focus, white balance, and audio directivity control. You get HD-Audio capture as well, thanks to 3 High AOP (Acoustic Overload Point) microphones. When it comes to image quality, the LG V20 isn’t very different from the G5, which is not a surprise since both smartphones have a very similar camera setup at the back. The V20 performs very well under any condition, delivering images with good colors and high levels of detail. The same goes for video performance as well, with the highlight being the high quality audio recording. If you shoot a lot of videos, the V20 is definitely the smartphone for you. For selfies, the V20 includes a 5MP 2-in-1 front-facing camera, paired with a bright f/1.9 aperture lens. By default, the camera has an 83-degree angle, but you do have the option of capture 120-degree wide angle selfies with the camera.

While the LG V20 camera is undoubtedly very capable, the Google Pixel XL’s 12.3MP rear camera definitely holds the edge when it comes to overall performance. That means the camera round goes to the Google Pixel XL.

Memory

So far the specs comparison has been quite interesting, with the LG V20 proving to be a tough rival for the Google Pixel XL. Let’s find out if we can find a clear winner in the memory round.

The Google Pixel XL packs the latest generation UFS 2.0 memory chip from Samsung, boasting of impressive read and write speeds. What this means for the end user is that the smartphone will be able to load heavy games and files quicker, which adds to the perception of “flawless performance” that you would expect from a flagship smartphone. In terms of capacity, the Pixel XL comes in two variants – 32GB and 128GB. While 32GB of base storage isn’t bad, you should keep in mind that the Pixel XL does not include a microSD card slot for further expansion. That means you will need to live with the 32GB of onboard storage, with only cloud storage coming to your rescue. Fortunately, Google does not charge a huge premium for the 128GB model like Apple, so we suggest you spend more and get the 128GB model if you think 32GB of onboard storage may not be enough for you. Otherwise, the 32GB model should be enough if you don’t mind storing files in cloud, as Google is giving unlimited cloud storage with the Pixel XL. For smooth multitasking, the Pixel XL comes with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which is slightly on the lower side by today’s standards. Still, the excellent software optimization makes the Pixel XL a great smartphone for multitasking, so don’t be discouraged by the “low” 4GB of RAM.

LG V20 on the other hand comes with either 32GB or 64GB of onboard memory, which can be further expanded by up to 2TB with a microSD card. The company is using UFS 2.1 memory chips from SK Hynix on the V20, which offer similar performance to the UFS 2.0 memory chips used on the Google Pixel XL. Unlike Samsung’s UFS 2.0, the SK Hynix UFS 2.0 chips use a 3D-V2 NAND solution, which offers a few advantages. When it comes to RAM, the LG V20 is no different from the Google Pixel. It too isn’t the most impressive flagship out there when it comes to the amount of RAM onboard, as you only get 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. Multitasking performance is still quite good though, as we have seen with LG flagships in the past. That said, if you want superior multitasking performance, then a smartphone with 6GB of RAM is definitely going to serve you better.

In summary, the Google Pixel offers higher 128GB storage option, while the V20 allows users to expand the storage further. Both smartphones pack 4GB of RAM, so there is no difference when it comes to RAM. We think the LG V20 definitely deserves to win here, thanks to memory expansion and the UFS 2.1 memory with 3D-V2 NAND.

Processor

The Google Pixel XL runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, which is a newer version of the Snapdragon 820 chipset introduced in the first half of 2016. Similar to the Snapdragon 820, the Snapdragon 821 is also a 64-bit quad-core SoC employing Qualcomm’s custom Kryo cores. On the Pixel XL, the chipset features two high-performance Kryo cores clocked at 2.15 GHz and two efficiency-oriented Kryo cores clocked at 1.6 GHz. In other smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 821 SoC, the chipset is clocked higher at up to 2.4 GHz, which helps it deliver higher benchmark performance when compared to smartphone running on the Snapdragon 820 chipset. Handling the graphics is the Adreno 530 GPU from Qualcomm, clocked at 624 MHz. Manufactured on a 14nm process by Samsung, the Snapdragon 821 chipset boasts of significant efficiency improvements compared to the Snapdragon 810 chipset from 2015. Since the Snapdragon 821 SoC on the Google Pixel XL comes underclocked from factory, it performs on par with Snapdragon 820-powered smartphones in pretty much every benchmark.

The LG V20 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core chipset, the same chipset the powers the G5. As we discussed above, the Snapdragon 820 chipset features two custom Kryo cores clocked at 2.15 GHz and two efficiency-oriented Kryo cores clocked at 1.6 GHz. Graphics are handled by the Adreno 530 GPU, which is quite a powerful GPU, delivering significantly improved performance when compared to the previous generation Adreno GPUs from Qualcomm. Just like the newer Snapdragon 821, the Snapdragon 820 too is manufactured on a 14nm FinFET process by Samsung, which makes it a significantly more efficient chipset than its predecessor. When it comes to benchmarks, the V20 performs similarly to the Google Pixel XL, which is to be expected given the identical clock speeds.
Overall, there isn’t much differentiating the two smartphones in the processor department. While the Google Pixel XL has the edge on paper, it does not show any performance improvement when compared to the Snapdragon 820 chip inside the V20, as Google has decided to stick with the exact same clock speeds, perhaps in a bid to avoid any overheating issues. That clearly means the processor round ends up in a tie.

Design

Manufactured by HTC, the Google Pixel XL is in many ways similar to the HTC One A9 in terms of the design. Of course, there are a number of striking differences as well, which make the Pixel XL stand out. The back for instance, comes with a unique design. The upper portion is made out of glass, while the lower part is made of metal. Similar to the Nexus 6P, the fingerprint scanner is positioned at the back of the handset, and not on the front. Made primarily out of aluminum, the Pixel XL does look and feel premium, just as you would expect from a flagship smartphone. The smartphone comes with an IP53 certification as well, which makes it resistant to splashes. It isn’t completely water resistant though, so you should avoid getting it anywhere near water. In terms of color options, the Pixel XL is available in Quite Black and Very Silver options.

The LG V20, like its predecessor, is a rugged premium smartphone with MIL-STD-810G certification. LG has used AL-6013 aircraft-grade aluminum for the most part, while the top and bottom of the phablet uses siloxane-polycarbonate, which offers great resistance against impact. Despite a metal build, the back cover is removable, giving you access to the battery. The LG V20 isn’t water resistant though, so you will need to be careful about any kind of liquid damage. In the hand, the V20 feels significantly more premium than the G5, which was criticized for its sub-par build, despite claims of an all-metal build. The LG V20 is available in Titan, Silver, and Pink color options.

While both smartphones are fantastic in terms of build quality, the Google Pixel XL is definitely more pleasing to the eye and looks better overall in our opinion. However, the V20 is more rugged than the Pixel XL, which means it can take a lot more beating than the Pixel XL. We’re calling this round a tie.

Operating System

The Google Pixel XL currently runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, which is the latest version of Android currently available. Being a Google smartphone, the Pixel XL offers a completely stock Nougat experience, with no bloatware to deal with. The lack of bloatware and the stock Nougat interface make the Pixel XL a zippy device, with almost flawless performance. A major highlight on the software front is the Google Assistant, which is based on Google Now, but includes several new features and improvements that make it a better virtual assistant. The Pixel XL is also the first Daydream certified smartphone, along with its smaller sibling, the Pixel. When paired with the Google Daydream VR headset, you can enjoy a wide range of virtual reality content, including videos and games. Another major highlight is the guarantee of major software upgrades until two years from launch and security updates until three years.

LG V20 launched with Android 7.0 Nougat operating system out of the box last year and is still running on the same version of Android. The phablet’s secondary display offers a number of handy features such as glancing at your recent apps, quick tools, and proving app shortcuts. As far as other features go, LG hasn’t added a ton of unique features this time, sticking to the core Nougat features for the most part. You still do get some features such as QSlide floating app feature, Quick switch, support for various themes, and more. By default, the V20 does not have an app drawer, as LG has decided to get rid of it. Thankfully, you do get an option to change to the app drawer launcher if you aren’t a fan of seeing all apps on your homescreen. While the Pixel XL will no doubt receive software upgrades for a longer period of time, LG isn’t too bad at delivering updates either.

Overall though, the Google Pixel XL definitely has the edge here with its stock Android Nougat experience and the promise of consistent software updates.

Price

The only carrier selling the Google Pixel XL in the US is Verizon Wireless. The carrier is selling the 32GB Pixel XL for a monthly payment of $32.08 on a 24-month contract or $769.99 when purchased outright. If you get the 128GB variant, you will need to pay $36.24 monthly on a 24-month contract of $869.99 outright. If you aren’t a Verizon Wireless customer, you can get it unlocked directly from the Play Store, where the 32GB version is priced at $649 and the 128GB version is priced at $749.

LG V20 on the other hand is much more widely available in the US. You can get it from all the four major US carriers – AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile. T-Mobile offers the V20 for a monthly payment of $30 per month on a 24-month contract or $769.99 when purchased outright. Verizon Wireless has the V20 available for a slightly lower $28 monthly payment on a 24-month contract, while Sprint offers the phablet for a monthly payment of $33. If you are okay with signing up for a 30-month contract, you can get the V20 from AT&T for $23.50 monthly.

Even though the LG V20 is more widely available, it is the Google Pixel XL that is more affordable, making it a better VFM option. It also makes the Google Pixel XL the winner of this round.

Conclusion

In our Google Pixel XL vs LG V20 specs battle today, we have had four rounds where no clear winner could be determined. The LG V20 managed to win two rounds, while the Google Pixel XL won a total of four rounds. That clearly means the winner of our specs comparison today is the Google Pixel XL.

Which one of these flagship phablets is your pick? Leave a comment down below to tell us what you think.

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