OnePlus 3T vs. Google Pixel XL

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New Atlas compares the new OnePlus 3T to one of its most obvious rivals, the Google Pixel XL

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Whether their prices were near together or far apart, OnePlus and Google flagships have always competed over the same loyal Android enthusiasts. Maybe it isn't a coincidence then, that after the well-received launch of the first made-by-Google phones, OnePlus snuck in an incremental end-of-year upgrade to the OnePlus 3. Let's compare the new OnePlus 3T to Google's Pixel XL.

Size

The Pixel is a smidge taller and wider, but sizes come out very similar.

Weight

Like the OnePlus 3 before it, though, the 3T is 6 percent lighter than the Pixel XL.

Build

Nothing out of the ordinary here: Both phones have aluminum unibody designs.

Colors

One of the handful of changes in the OnePlus 3T is that it ships in a new gunmetal color.

Display size

Both have spacious 5.5-inch screens.

Display resolution

The Pixel XL has a terrific display that comes out 33-percent sharper than the OnePlus 3T's.

Display type

No change from the OnePlus 3 here: Both of these use AMOLED panels.

Processor

This is one of the key upgrades from the OnePlus 3 to the 3T, as it jumps from the Snapdragon 820 (early 2016) to the new (late 2016) Snapdragon 821 – same as the Pixel.

RAM

OnePlus put an industry-leading 6 GB of RAM in both the 3T and 3.

Storage

OnePlus 3T doubles the Pixel's storage on the entry-level tier, and adds a 128 GB option that wasn't available for the OnePlus 3.

MicroSD

Neither phone gives you the option of expanding that internal storage.

Battery

Another big upgrade in the 3T, the new model has almost as big a battery as the Pixel XL.

But the OnePlus 3, which had a 12-percent smaller battery than the 3T, already scored higher than the Pixel XL in our battery benchmark (thanks in part to its lower-res display). Logics suggests the 3T will widen that gap even further.

Fast charging

Both phones, like all Android flagships, have fast-charging tech. OnePlus, though, is advertising that its "Dash Charge" can better maintain high charging speeds while doing intensive tasks like watching video or playing games.

Camera megapixels

OnePlus updated the front camera in the 3T, but not the rear. Unless you need poster-sized selfieds, though, that may be trumped by the Pixel XL having the best smartphone camera we've used.

Camera aperture (rear)

The Pixel pulls off this feat, despite having "only" ƒ/2.0 aperture. The secret is Google's HDR algorithms, which quickly and automatically combine a variety of shots into one.

Water resistance

Neither phone has any meaningful water resistance.

Virtual assistant

The Pixels launch (exclusively) with Google's new Assistant, the next evolution of the old Google Now, which OnePlus is stuck with.

VR

Speaking of exclusivity, the new Google Daydream VR platform is currently tied solely to the two Pixel phones.

Hi-Fi audio

This year we saw LG and HTC phones add DACs (digital-analog converters) and high-res Bluetooth (AptX and AptX HD) support, to cater to the Hi-Fi audiophile crowd. Neither of these phones does that.

Fingerprint sensor

OnePlus' fingerprint sensor is on the home button, while Google's is on the backside.

Software

Both run Android Nougat. Google's version is 100-percent pure and will always be up-to-date with the latest version, while the OnePlus 3T runs a near-stock customization dubbed Oxygen OS.

Release

OnePlus is putting the 3T up for sale on November 22.

Starting price (full retail)

With a better camera, Google Assistant and completely-stock Nougat, the Pixel XL is likely the better phone. But is it US$330 better? OnePlus' flagships keep creeping up in price, but the constant is that they've all provided terrific value. We'll reserve final judgment for our full review, but so far that appears to be the case with the 3T as well.

For more you can check out New Atlas' review of the Pixel XL.

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