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OnePlus 6 Red Smartphone Vs Google Pixel 2 XL Smartphone - Which Should I Buy?

The OnePlus 6 Red Smartphone is impressive but is it as impressive as the ever-popular Google Pixel 2 XL? Let's find out as we put them both to the test in a side-by-side comparison and shoot out.

|  OnePlus 6 in Camera Phones
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OnePlus 6 and Google Pixel 2 XL

OnePlus 6 and Google Pixel 2 XL

 

For quite some time, the masses were telling us that we should review one of the Google Pixel smartphones as, I quote, "It's one of the best ever tested, ePHOTOzine" and "have you missed it off your list because there is no match for it in under the smartphone category?". 

Some big words from some big fans so we did, finally, get hold of the much talked about Google Pixel 2 XL and awarded it a 'Highly Recommended' award for its impressive portrait shots, high levels of image detail and clever technology that makes picture-taking such a doddle. Did it score high enough to knock the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus off the top of our leaderboard? Not quite, but it did make the top 5 so it's in good company.

Also featured in our recommended list of smartphones for photographers is the more recently announced OnePlus 6 which we think is an excellent buy for photographers and it also received a 'Highly Recommended' award from us. 

It's not the only similarity these two smartphones share, either, with a line-up of similar technical specs and both Androids coming in much cheaper than anything on offer from Apple, both are an appealing choice for those who regularly shoot images with their smart devices and so, we thought it would be fun (and informative) to take them out on a 'OnePlus vs Google' shootout. 

It's going to be a close contest, so, which do you think will come out on top? (Psst, if you can't wait to find out, scroll to the bottom of the article where you can see which smartphone we crowned the winner.)

You can also use the below to navigate more sections of this feature: 

 

In The Hand

OnePlus 6 and GooglePixel 2 XL

OnePlus 6 and Google Pixel 2 XL

 

Sit them side-by-side and the OnePlus 6 and Google Pixel 2 XL do look very similar but with its slightly more rounded corners, metal edges and overall finish, the OnePlus 6 looks just that little bit cooler than the Google Pixel 2 XL. The left and right edges of the smartphone are also thinner than the central section, making it look/feel better than other smartphones that are available. The Google Pixel 2 XL isn't badly designed by any means, it' just the OnePlus 6 is just that little bit more pleasing to the eye (particularly in red - it's lush). 

As the photos above show, you can fit both phones comfortably in one hand and they can also be navigated easily with just one hand, too, but when taking photos, we'd always recommend holding the phone with both hands. A case is recommended, too, as the metal/glass construction of both phones can be easily damaged if dropped and it also stops scratches/fingerprints from spoiling the phone backs. A thin flexible TPU case is supplied with the OnePlus 6 but it's not the greatest case we've ever seen. A screen protector is also pre-installed which is a bonus as they're a royal pain to fit! If you want a case and/or screen protector for the Google Pixel 2 XL, you'll have to purchase your own. 

Oneplus6 Red Google Pixel2xl
Google Pixel 2 XL - OnePlus 6 Red

Volume buttons, power buttons and the USB charging port all appear where you expect them to be on both smartphones but the Google Pixel 2 XL doesn't have a headphone socket and its memory can't be expanded as there's no MicroSD card slot. There's no MicroSD card slot on the OnePlus 6, either, but there is a headphone jack which will please those who prefer their headphones to have wires on them. Another difference is that the speakers on the Google Pixel 2 XL are stereo. 

Both smartphones have a fingerprint sensor on the back which is used to unlock the devices but if you don't want to use fingerprint recognition, you can unlock the devices other ways. 

There are no 'real' home buttons on either device but digital home buttons are something we've come to expect to see on new smartphone devices nowadays as it removes the need for a big chin at the bottom. 

Overall, both smartphones have a premium feel/look, are solidly built and definitely look very modern but as already said, the OnePlus 6 just pips the Google Pixel 2 XL to the style post (but only just). 

 

The Screen

OnePlus6 Hands On (8)

OnePlus 6 
 

The screen on the OnePlus 6 is .28 of an inch bigger than the one built into the Google Pixel 2 XL which is nothing, really, but as the Google Pixel 2 XL has larger bezels top and bottom, the screen on the OnePlus 6 does feel a lot bigger. There is a small top-notch sitting slightly into the screen on the OnePlus 6 but this is something we've come to expect in smartphone designs. After all, it's where the front camera sits. 

When you view photos on the OnePlus 6, they initially look very bright and overly saturated but you can alter the screen settings under "Screen Calibration" to sRGB, DCI-P3, Adaptive, or a Custom Colour, for more realistic results. As for the Google Pixel 2 XL, the screen is bright but viewing angles aren't as good as other premium smartphones, as it quickly takes on a blue colour cast if you're not viewing it directly.

Both screens are constructed from Gorilla Glass 5 which is the most up-to-date version currently available on smartphones. 

As for resolution, the OnePlus 6 offers a 2280x1080 resolution whereas the Google Pixel 2 XL offers a higher resolution of 2880x1440. 

 

The Camera 

Google Pixel 2 XL Black Lens Close Up
Google Pixel 2 XL 

 

Dual cameras are something we're seeing more and more of but Google hasn't used this particular technology in its Pixel 2 XL smartphone. Instead, you'll find a single 12.2MP, f/1.8 camera on the rear and an 8MP, f/2.4 camera on the front. 

The dual cameras (20mp used for portrait mode/depth effects and 16mp) on the back of the OnePlus 6 smartphone both have an f/1.7 aperture which means it, along with the Pixel 2 XL, should offer improved performance in low light. The front-facing camera on the OnePlus 6 offers double the megapixels as the Google Pixel 2 XL (16MP) and an f/2.0 lens. 

Both smartphones offer OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) which is excellent for the price-point and it meant, for example, that we could shoot at shutter speeds of 1/8s (when using the OnePlus 6), without a tripod, and images were still sharp. Both smartphones also offer a zoom feature but it's not optical, it's digital, unfortunately. Plus, the Google Pixel 2 XL zoom is a 'pinch and zoom' tool due to it not having dual lenses. 

 

OnePlus 6 RED (5)
OnePlus 6 RED

 

Even though the Google Pixel 2 XL doesn't have dual rear lenses, it does have dual pixel technology built in to create a depth map, so the smartphone can blur backgrounds and keep subjects sharp. It doesn't, however, have a Pro mode as the OnePlus 6 does but it's still a decent camera app that's easy to use. 

The selfie camera on both smartphones is fixed focus which means you can end up with blurry shots if you're too close but a little adjustment and you'll be fine. It's a shame autofocus isn't built in, as it is on the front facing cameras of some other smartphones, but these tend to be more expensive. You can, also, use the background blur portrait mode on the selfie camera built into both smartphones and the results are pretty decent. 

Even though the OnePlus 6 does offer dual rear cameras, the second camera does fall a little short in terms of focal length, when compared with others, as it would be nice if it offered optical zoom, but this doesn't stop it from performing well. 

 

Quick Summary:

  • OnePlus 6: Dual cameras (16mp f/1.7 main camera, 20mp f/1.7 second camera), OIS, 16mp, f/2.0 selfie camera, Pro Mode 
  • Google Pixel 2 XL: 12mp f/1.8 rear camera (1.4um pixels), OIS, 8mp selfie camera, HDR+

 

OnePlus 6 Vs Google Pixel 2 XL Photo Quality 

 

IMG 20180724 200120
OnePlus 6

1/3021 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 50
Google Pixel 2 XL

The dynamic range in both images is impressive with colours remaining accurate and detail showing throughout. However, the Google Pixel 2 XL just edges it as it's that little bit sharper than the image captured with the OnePlus 6. Having said that, the detail in shadow areas is much better in the image captured on the OnePlus 6 so it's still very close. 

 

IMG 20180724 195157
OnePlus 6 

1/264 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 50
Google Pixel 2 XL

Again, both smartphones have performed well with the OnePlus 6 producing a much brighter image but the image captured with the Google Pixel 2 XL is more accurate with blue still appearing in the sky and detail remaining sharper. 

 

IMG 20180724 200331
OnePlus 6 
1/2463 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 50
Google Pixel 2 XL

Detail is clearly sharper in the image captured with the Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone with the trees appearing more defined and 'popping' from the frame. Everything just looks that bit more 3D in the Google Pixel 2 XL's image. 

 

IMG 20180724 235101
OnePlus 6 
1/100 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 312
Google Pixel 2 XL

Colourful wall balls looks great in each image when viewed small but when you click on the larger versions, you notice some levels of noise in the shot captured with the OnePlus 6 and again, detail isn't quite as sharp as the image shot with the Google Pixel 2 XL. It is brighter, we will give it that, but not 'real life accurate'. 

As both smartphones have OIS built-in, they did a good job at capturing a hand-held shot in a gym where light levels are rather low. 

 

IMG 20180724 202107
OnePlus 6 
1/791 sec | f/2.4 | 3.4 mm | ISO 50
Google Pixel 2 XL

Both cameras have done a pretty decent job at capturing a self-portrait but the Google Pixel 2 XL produces more accurate skin tones (the OnePlus 6 has given skin tones a slight pink tone).

 

IMG 20180725 005058
OnePlus 6 
1/50 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 316
Google Pixel 2 XL

Both plates of food are captured pretty accurately but when you zoom in, you can see that the Google Pixel 2 XL is much better at keeping detail sharp (as it has done in all the sample images compared so far).

 

IMG 20180724 194325
OnePlus 6 
1/153 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 50
Google Pixel 2 XL

The 2x digital zoom allows you to get much closer to subjects without moving your feet, and the OnePlus 6 makes it easy to use with an on-screen 2x button. The Google Pixel 2 XL offers this as well but it's a 'pinch and zoom' tool rather than a 'tap to switch zoom' so it's not as easy to use or as accurate. Note: We'd not recommend using any more than 2x digital zoom on any smartphone unless you really need to as image quality suffers dramatically. 

 

IMG 20180724 180544
OnePlus 6 
1/125 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 126
Google Pixel 2 XL

The close-focusing capabilities of the OnePlus 6 are better than that of the Google Pixel 2 XL and exposure levels are better, too. 

 

IMG 20180724 175348
OnePlus 6 
1/1101 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 51
Google Pixel 2 XL

This is a close one as when viewed small, both images look good but when you click the larger preview and zoom in, detail, once again, is better preserved in the image captured with the Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone. 

 

IMG 20180724 235531
OnePlus 6 
1/278 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 51
Google Pixel 2 XL

There's more detail in the OnePlus 6 shot which makes it the winner of this round. Exposure levels are better, too. 

 

IMG 20180724 195833
OnePlus 6 
1/6667 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 52
Google Pixel 2 XL

The OnePlus 6 image is good with detail showing even in the darkest parts of the shot but is a little overexposed and the brickwork does look a little over sharpened. The Google Pixel 2 XL shot is much cooler, with an emphasis on blues/greens but the brickwork isn't oversharpened and looks more accurate. As for overall sharpness, the Google Pixel 2 XL wins again. 

 

IMG 20180724 195335
OnePlus 6 

 


Google Pixel 2 XL

 

The OnePlus 6 panorama is evenly lit throughout, no problems with exposure, good level of detail and it's stitched well. Although, care needs to be taken to get the panning speed right, as stitching issues can be a problem if you get this wrong. 

As for the Google Pixel 2 XL panorama, colours are good but there are obvious join marks if you look closely at the image which lets it down a little. 

 

More Sample Photos 

 

OnePlus 6 Sample Photos

 

Google Pixel 2 XL Sample Photos

 

ISO Comparison

  • OnePlus 6 - ISO range: ISO100 to ISO3200
  • Google Pixel 2 XL - ISO range: ISO50 to ISO3200

 

OnePlus 6

In the Pro mode, you can manually set the ISO speed from ISO100 to ISO3200. For the best detail, and lowest noise we'd recommend using the lower ISO speeds where possible, from ISO100 to ISO800. Noise is well controlled until you get the ISO3200, where noise becomes excessive. However, when using the auto modes, noise appears reasonable even when shooting at higher ISO speeds of ISO4000 and ISO5000, however fine detail suffers. Distortion is noticeable in these images, too.

 

Google Pixel 2 XL

To get control over the ISO speed used, we downloaded the free Adobe Lightroom app and noise is well controlled to around ISO800. Images, however, do look better when taken with the Google photo app, and there is more detail in the photos. If you do use another camera app to set the ISO speed manually, then noise is well controlled up to around ISO800. Because of the way the Google camera app takes multiple photos and combines them for more detail and lower noise, we'd recommend simply using the standard app in low-light situations for better results.

 

1/26 sec | f/1.7 | 4.2 mm | ISO 100
OnePlus 6  | ISO 100

Adobe Lightroom Camera - 1/130 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 104
Google Pixel 2 XL  ISO 104

 

 

1/211 sec | f/1.7 | 4.2 mm | ISO 800
OnePlus 6  | ISO 800
Adobe Lightroom Camera - 1/1400 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 824

Google Pixel 2 XL  ISO 824

 

 

White Balance Comparison

 

OnePlus 6 

Auto White Balance (AWB) gives warm results under tungsten lighting, and mixed light but it performs well under fluorescent lighting. In Pro mode, you can adjust the white balance using a Kelvin (K) slider to select the colour temperature.

 

Google Pixel 2 XL

Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a warm result under tungsten lighting with a similar result using the tungsten preset. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, and the preset gives a colour cast if used. Results under mixed lighting are reasonably good, although quite warm. The camera gives a range of white balance options, but the white balance cannot be set manually without the use of another app.

 

AWB Tungsten

AWB Tungsten | 1/15 sec | f/1.7 | 4.2 mm | ISO 100
OnePlus 6  |  AWB Tungsten 
AWB Tungsten | 1/100 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 235
Google Pixel 2 XL |  AWB Tungsten


 

Low Light

Both smartphones have OIS built in and a decent aperture to help with low light performance but even a shot captured at 10:30 at night, when there was hardly any light left, is proven to be a bit difficult for both smartphones. Although, the Google Pixel 2 XL has brightened it considerably a lot of noise does fill the frame. 

We're not sure what happened when capturing the same scene with the OnePlus 6 but something went very wrong as it didn't preserve any detail at all when previously, it's performed amicably in low light (see the full review for more low light sample images). 

 

1/17 sec | f/1.8 | 4.5 mm | ISO 3200

Google Pixel 2 XL 

 

IMG 20180725 025736
OnePlus 6

 

 

Video Quality 

 

OnePlus 6 

The OnePlus 6 smartphone captures 4K video at 30/60fps, 1080p at 30/60fps and 720p at 30fps. There's also a super slow motion where you can capture 1080p videos at 240fps or 720p videos at 480fps and time-lapse is built in. The slow-mo mode isn't quite as slow as what the Samsung Galaxy S9 can capture footage at but when you consider how much more the S9 costs, you can forgive OnePlus. Although, it can capture around a minute of slo-mo footage which equates to around a 6-minute video when played back which is awesome but it can struggle in low light. A cool feature is the built-in video editor which isn't something you see every day and you can use the LED light as well as optical image stabilisation when shooting video footage. 

In the videos we captured, overall detail is good, although flare from the sun is visible in the video below, and optical image stabilisation helps keep footage stable and smooth. 

 

 

Google Pixel 2 XL

The camera records 4K (UHD) video at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 at 30fps. Compression is reasonable with a bit rate of 46Mbps. You can use the LED light on the back during video recording. Optical image stabilisation helps keep the video steady even when using the camera handheld. The slow-motion video mode records FullHD video at 120fps, or 720p video at 240fps. 

 

 

  OnePlus 6 Google Pixel 2 XL
4K Video Yes Yes
Full HD Video  Yes Yes
Image Stabilisation Optical and Electronic  Optical 
Slow-Motion Video FullHD video at 240fps or 720p videos at 480fps FullHD video at 120fps, or 720p video at 240fps

 

 

Battery

The battery on the Google Pixel 2 XL measures 3520mAh while the OnePlus 6 battery measures 3300mAh so it's slightly smaller but it charges fast. 

We ran a number of benchmark tests to see how the two phones compare and these were done using the AnTuTu and Geekbench apps, where the phones scored the following: 

  • OnePlus 6 - Geekbench: 2474/9074 (single core/multi-core), AnTuTu score: 287306
  • Google Pixel 2 XL - Geekbench: 1897/6365 (single core/multi-core), AnTuTu score: 204308

 

Processor

  • OnePlus 6 - Qualcomm SnapDragon 845
  • Google Pixel 2 XL - Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

 

Other Features 

  OnePlus 6 Google Pixel 2 XL 
MicroSD Slot No No
Water Resistant  Just weatherproof, not waterproof

Water and dust resistant (IP67)

Headphone Socket Yes No

 

Size & Weight 

  • OnePlus 6 - 177g, 155.7mm x 75.4mm x 7.75mm 
  • Google Pixel 2 XL - 175g, 157.9mm x 76.7mm x 7.9mm

 

Price 

 

OnePlus 6 Vs Google Pixel 2 XL Rating

 

OnePlus 6

"The OnePlus6 is a reasonably priced smartphone with specs that make it fit right at home alongside smartphones with a more premium price. As a result, we think the OnePlus 6 smartphone is an excellent buy."

Highly Recommended - 

 

Google Pixel 2 XL

"The Google Pixel 2 XL delivers impressive portrait shots and images with high levels of detail, thanks to clever technology."

Highly Recommended - 

 

Our Pick: Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 XL In Hand (1)
 

We couldn't really finish the comparison without picking a favourite and if we were to buy one of these two smartphones, it would be the Google Pixel 2 XL. 

The Google Pixel 2 ticks all the boxes for a flagship smartphone, with a large 18:9 screen, waterproof body, optical image stabilisation, and it makes up for the lack of a second camera by producing some excellent images. It's a shame there's no headphone socket, and we'd like to see more manual control in the default camera app, as settings for the ISO speed and raw shooting would be useful, without having to download other apps. For most people, this will make a great camera, being easy to use, while still getting great results. The selfie camera could be improved by featuring AF, but this is still quite rare.

Overall, the Google Pixel 2 delivers impressive images with high levels of detail and accuracy - excellent. 

 

To compare the 2 smartphones further, have a look at the specs table below. 

We also have a Samsung Galaxy S8 Vs iPhone X Vs Huawei Mate 10 comparison and should you be an Apple purist, we've got a head-to-head of the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus. There's also a true Android smartphone shootout as we put Samsung's, Google's and Huawei's flagship head-to-head to find out which one you should buy. Plus, we've put the OnePlus 6 Red up against the Honor 10 to see, which out of these two Androids, is a better buy for a photographer. 

Comparison Table

OnePlus 6Google Pixel 2 XL
ManufacturerOnePlusGoogle
Front Camera
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)No Data
Max Aperturef/2No Data
Smartphone Cameras
Smartphone Cameras
  • Wide-Angle (Standard)
  • Depth (Bokeh)
  • Wide-Angle (Standard)
Additional CamerasNo DataNo Data
Lens
Max Aperturef/1.7f/1.8
35mm equivalent27mm27mm
Optical Zoom0x0x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)12.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)46084032
Pixels (H)34563024
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.6inch1/2.55inch
Sensor Size (width)No DataNo Data
Sensor Size (height)No DataNo Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 1:1
  • 19:9
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor6.28in6in
Screen resolution2280 x 1080 pixels 19:9 AMOLED2880x1440 18:9
Touch ScreenYesYes
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
  • Touch AF
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortestNo DataNo Data
Shutter speeds longestNo DataNo Data
ISO sensitivity100 - 320050 - 3200
Video
Movie modeYesYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 4K
  • 4K
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS4K 60fps4K UHD 30fps
Stereo SoundNo DataNo Data
Other Features
Image StabilisationYesYes
Interface
USBUSB-CUSB-C
Wi-FiYesYes
Storage
Internal Memory8000MB4000MB
Power Source
Battery Type3300mAh3520mAh
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo DataNo Data
Dimensions
Weight177g175g
Width155.7mm157.9mm
Height75.4mm76.7mm
Depth7.75mm7.9mm
View Full DetailsView Full Details


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