If you're shopping for an Android smartphone this holiday season, two of your best options are Google's Pixel XL and the LG V20. While the Pixel is probably the better all-around choice, the V20 will better serve certain groups of customers. Let's compare their features and specs.
The LG V20 is 3-percent taller, 3-percent wider and 4-percent thicker. As we'll see in a moment, though, it pays you back with a bigger screen.
The V20 is also 4-percent heavier.
Both phones are, in typical flagship fashion, made of aluminum.
Three color options to choose from for each handset.
The V20 gives you a 7-percent bigger screen, based on area.
Both have ultra-sharp QHD resolution, meaning the smaller Pixel has a slightly-higher pixel density.
LG is the rare modern Android manufacturer that chooses IPS over AMOLED.
LG put a little strip of secondary screen above the main one. It serves as a scrolling ticker for notifications, as well as a place where you can launch app and settings shortcuts.
In our experience, the Pixel has noticeably snappier real-world performance: It's the rare Android phone that's every bit as buttery-smooth (in day-to-day tasks) as a current-gen iPhone.
Both offer 4 GB of RAM.
The V20 has the more generous storage on the entry-level (in its case, only) tier.
LG also lets you expand that 64 GB of internal memory by popping in a microSD card.
The Pixel has more battery capacity, and it also fared a hair better in our benchmark (streaming video over Wi-Fi, it dropped 11 percent per hour vs. the V20's 12 percent).
Like Android phones of old, the V20 lets you remove its back and swap batteries.
Both phones have quick-charging tech built-in.
While the Pixel technically has some splash-resistant rating, neither phone has any significant water-proofing.
The V20 comes closer than most phones, but the Google Pixel has the best smartphone camera we've ever used (past a certain point, megapixel counts cease to become a defining factor in image quality).
Camera aperture (rear)
That overall camera advantage for the Pixel comes despite the V20 winning on aperture.
It's also despite the Pixel not having Optical Image Stabilization. Google's advanced image-processing algorithms defy the expectations we'd normally garner from specs alone.
Dual (rear) camera
The V20 does, however, have a second camera that enables a quick-toggle into landscape photography, where you can capture wider scenes.
It's niche, but this is the V20's killer feature, with its 32-bit "Quad" DAC (for superior wired-headphone audio) and AptX HD Bluetooth codec (for superior wireless audio). If you're an audiophile, or at least own a pair of audiophile-friendly headphones, this is a great handset.
Both handsets have back-facing fingerprint sensors.
If you want a taste of mobile VR, the Pixel XL works with the sleek-looking Google Daydream View headset. Its game selection is teensy-weensy at the moment, but it will grow over time.
We consider this a big advantage for the Pixel, as it runs stock Android Nougat, and will receive updates to future versions immediately. The V20 runs Nougat too, but it's LG's highly customized (i.e. bloatier and slower) variant.
Both handsets released in October.
Starting price (full retail)
US carrier pricing for the V20 is all over the place, so you'll want to double-check this with yours before buying. The Pixel is set at a firm $769 full retail.
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