OnePlus 5T vs Google Pixel 2 XL: first look

There's an abundance of gems in the Android sphere right now, making it tough at times to uncover the truly great ones from the myriad of darlings that are vying for supremacy this upcoming holiday season. Already, the Google Pixel 2 XL is making a strong case for itself with its amazing camera performance and wholesome Android experience. Equally so, the OnePlus 5T is conjuring up one compelling story as well with its unbeatable price. These two smartphones certainly have a lot behind them, but it'll be interesting to see how they compete against each other for consumer superiority.


Naturally, there are certain characteristics about their designs that'll appeal to individuals. For its low-cost and all, the unibody anodized aluminum construction of the OnePlus 5T is in every facet a premium phone, offering more of that durable feel. In contrast, the Google Pixel 2 XL's mostly metal with a glass accent construction gives it some water-resistance properties, but it simply lacks the cleaner, more uniform look of the OnePlus 5T. While some people won't mind that two-toned look with the rear of the Pixel 2 XL, we find that it breaks up the look of the phone more.

Sharing both USB Type-C connections and rear-planted finger print sensors, we certainly have to give kudos to OnePlus for continuing to offering a headphone jack. It's just a convenient thing to have, whereas with the Pixel 2 XL, you'll need to constantly remember to bring an adapter. When it comes to speakers, though, we appreciate the dual front-firing ones with the Pixel 2 XL – making it more appropriate for watching videos.


Most folks would probably have a difficult time trying to discern any noticeable differences in regards to details superiority with the respective displays. That's because from normal differences, those pixels are packed so tightly against one another – making it almost indistinguishable to tell which one is more detailed. On paper, though, it's the Pixel 2 XL with its 6-inch 1440 x 2880 P-OLED display, versus the OnePlus 5T's 6-inch 1080 x 2160 AMOLED panel.

Despite that, it's tough to dislike either of them, especially given their OLED attributes – like those rich colors they're able to produce. In addition, they both jump on the trend of offering those near bezel-less looks, making them perfect for watching videos and running two apps side-by-side to one another. However, we can say that viewing angles are slightly better with the OnePlus 5T, since it retains more of its clarity.

User Interface

Being the Google Pixel 2 XL and all, it has the benefit of providing the most up-to-date Android experience, which in this case is Android 8.0 Oreo. While OnePlus' OxygenOS follows the same clean aesthetics we find with stock Android, purists will still like the fact that the Pixel 2 XL will always sport that true Android experience. And you certainly know that it'll be one of the first to receive the latest updates – whereas with the OnePlus 5T, it might get them in a fair amount of time, but not necessarily as fast as its rival.

Regardless, this is yet again something that personal preference will determine. With the latest version of OxygenOS, it adds some new enhancing features – like a new Face Unlock security and apps "cloning" with its new Parallel Apps feature. As for the Pixel 2 XL, there's always the squeeze function, which for now can launch Google Assistant with a simple squeeze. Is it novel? Absolutely, but we're crossing our fingers that it's opened up to other things.

Processor and Memory

Being stock Android undoubtedly has its benefits, such as being super responsive due to the fact that the processor isn't being throttled by other things. Then again, it's worth pointing out that both handsets leverage the same processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, but the OnePlus 5T is paired with 6GB of RAM with the 64GB model – or an even more generous 8GB of RAM with the 128GB variant. In contrast, the Pixel 2 XL is available in 64GB and 128GB capacities, but tops out at 4GB of RAM. More RAM doesn't necessarily translate to a superior performance, but it's more comforting to know that the OnePlus 5T has more, while being cheaper in price. Oh yeah, neither phone offers expandable storage!


If you've been reading a lot about the Google Pixel 2 XL, you know very well that its camera is highly touted. Given how the OnePlus 5T continues the trend of offering a dual-camera implementation, whereby it dual 20MP cameras mainly work together in producing those wicked portrait shots, the Pixel 2 XL's single 12MP camera has proven it can work the same magic as well.

Then again, the OnePlus 5T's dual-camera combo is expected to work better under low light, thanks in part to its new pixel slicing technology and wider aperture of f/1.7, bettering the Pixel 2 XL's aperture of f/1.8. So far, it's just all talk until we're able to take samples using the two phones together! Over on the video side, though, we will point out that the Pixel 2 XL offers optical image stabilizations – whereas with the OnePlus 5T, it does it electronically.

We've raved about the Pixel 2 XL's resounding performance with its camera, which is capable of achieving the same portrait shots that many of these dual-cameras offer, but only with a single camera of course! And that same portrait mode even applies to the front-facing camera! However, it's not available with the OnePlus 5T's front camera.


On paper, the Pixel 2 XL has a slight advantage in the battery department, as it manages to stuff a larger 3520 mAh battery into its frame. Considering that the OnePlus 5T features a lower capacity 3300 mAh battery might, its lower screen resolution might compensate for things. Or who knows, maybe it'll blow out its rival out of the water? Regardless, they both offer their own quick charging technologies, so recharging for a short period of time should give them decent levels.


Pricing is going to play a major factor in the decision here! What's truly amazing here is that the OnePlus 5T undercuts its rival with its starting price of $500, significantly less than the $849 starting cost of the Google Pixel 2 XL. That $350 difference will be scrutinized moreover by the fact that the OnePlus 5T features a premium design, the same Snapdragon 835 processor, more RAM, and yes, a headphone jack too!

Then again, the Pixel 2 XL has the benefit of being back by Google, which means it'll get updates substantially faster than most other handsets. So far, Google's offering has proven to be a big hit amongst critics, but it'll be interesting to see how consumers react as we enter the holiday season.

Related phones

  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 2160 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 16 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3300 mAh
Pixel 2 XL
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3520 mAh



4. Cat97

Posts: 2021; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

OnePlus 5T is half the price and no phone can exceed the Pixel 2 XL in the amount of hardware flaws, so basically the choice is a no-brainer.

15. aegislash

Posts: 1536; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

It's funny watching Pixel die-hards over at AndroidPolice defend the Pixel 2 XL and treat it like it's the second coming of Christ. Google easily should have temporarily slashed prices, at least until the devices are resolved of these seemingly neverending issues. I get that it's only affecting a few people...but a few is still too many for a nearly $1000 phone.

24. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I haven't seen anyone saying it's the second coming. There's a difference between that and saying they aren't having issues with it. One elevates beyond anything else, the other asserts it's no better or worse than other devices out there. This sensationalism and exaggeration is part of the problem. I heard one person in the forums say every single 2 XL had bad colorshift, yet when I looked at them in Best Buy, it was no worse than the Galaxy devices on display, and I've heard others with similar experiences to mine. So it's not as bad as he was making it out. Are they perfect? No, and neither is any device out right now, they all have issues to some degree or another. Go to any support forum for any device and they all have issues. What matters is how widespread they are.

27. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Every device has a few duds. I've had to do an RMA on two of my last 4 phones for bugs. Different manufacturers each time and neither one made the news. The Pixels got extra scrutiny this time around, some earned, some exaggerated.

5. KeyserSoze

Posts: 387; Member since: Oct 06, 2014

I hate Chinese spyware phones and I still pick the 5T over P2XL. What does that say about how shtty the P2XL is?

7. djcody

Posts: 239; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

Just don't tell me your lovely government doesn't spy on us, so what difference who is doing? Google does so Apple, Microsoft and anyone who has access to data.

6. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

If I would get i would prefer pixel 2 XL for sure. manufacturer is important not the phone

18. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

In that case, you should get an iPhone 4S

9. baldilocks

Posts: 1547; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

There is a lot of hate from all the children on this thread.

10. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

People here love to hate. I come to these articles legit researching, but others just like to crap on anything that isn't their favorite device/company.

11. Zylam

Posts: 1823; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Awesome video John V, so glad you're back!!! Yea I think I'm gonna hold off on the XL and just go with the 5T. So what if the Chinese government gets my data, at least it will be cheaper and won't have any burn in issues and not to mention the dull looking colors on the XL. I hope you can go deep into a camera comparison between the two, that would be awesome! Thanks John!!!

12. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

You'll have burn-in issues with any AMOLED screen. There's also a saturated mode that makes the colors on the XL 2 look almost exactly like the colors on the XL.

17. Zylam

Posts: 1823; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Yea true but there's a difference between having burn in issues 2 years down the line vs 2 week down the line. Really, they fixed the colors? I sure hope that's true, could turn the tide. But the design of the one plus 5T still wins, if only the camera holds up, it'll be awesome!

14. aegislash

Posts: 1536; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

Wow, I never realized how much bezel the Pixel 2 XL has on the sides of the display. It looks awkwardly thicker than it needs to be.

16. aegislash

Posts: 1536; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

OnePlus 5T is looking and sounding like a beaut! I have never owned a OnePlus device, but this is very tempting.

20. scarface21173

Posts: 702; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Looks like i will be trading my 7 edge for the 5t, i will hold out for final reviews on a few sites before diving in.

21. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Wait a bit longer than that. Oneplus phone looks great in the beginning, and problems keep coming shortly after that. Just remember OP5 problems like jelly effect, no-OIS on 4k, WiFi problem, 911 reboot. Some problem get update fix some didnt

23. bangkoktomboy

Posts: 70; Member since: Jun 29, 2015

Oneplus is not comparable to Pixel 2, just saying.

26. JohnR

Posts: 165; Member since: Sep 08, 2017

For the price, it absolutely is

28. tokuzumi

Posts: 1999; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Aside from the OnePlus 2 "No update" disappointment, they have really been keeping the 3/3T/5 up to date. Security patches, and the Oreo update is being rolled out now. Having a near stock build of Android has been a really good thing. While it's old, I've been using a OnePlus X for the last 6+ months. It's running Lineage, but it performs rather well, despite having 3+ year old hardware. I could see myself picking up a 3T from Swappa soon, if I don't get the Essential Phone.

29. riteshrkm

Posts: 165; Member since: Apr 15, 2015

How can u have a 76.4% Screen to body ratio & call it near bezeless PIXEL 2 XL. LOL That is almost what S7E has with even FPS at front.

30. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

The S7 Edge still looks good today. Best design of last year.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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