Introduction


Google stirred things up in the cozy Android high-end phone market with its Pixel lineup of phones: for years, things in the Android space have been dictated by the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC and Motorola (...well, mostly Samsung), but this year, we have a truly new player.

The Pixel is just that: the first phone by Google, one with the promise of timely updates and a sprinkle of Google magic.

Its Pixel XL version is the 5.5-inch, phablet-sized model, a phone for lovers of big screens. One of its biggest rivals in the United States is the LG V20, an excellent 5.7” phone that has a ton of tricks up its sleeve: a secondary ticker display, a dual camera system, high quality audio and manual video controls. Let’s see what are the pros and cons of the two, and do we have a winner in this one-on-one battle.

Design

The Pixel XL is a comfortable and safe aluminum design that feels better than it looks, while the V20 is oversized and features a utilitarian design.


LG has never been a design champion or a trend-setter in any meaningful way. Sure, it has had some nice devices, but it has mostly focused on undercutting others on price and including some interesting and novel features that the others lack. The LG V20 is also not a beauty queen: the device is rather utilitarian and big. Sure, it’s got a metal back going for it, but it's not pretty in any way, plus there is also a gigantic and unsightly camera hump at the back, perhaps to hint at its camera-centricity.

The Google Pixel XL, on the other hand, is a surprisingly well-crafted first-gen device. It rocks an aluminum body with a distinct glass accent in the top half. In real-life it feels well balanced and not as thick as on pictures. The slight curve around the edges makes it easier to pick up from a table and fit more comfortably in the palm of your hand.

Size is crucial for such big phones: many people want a big screen, but hate to deal with an oversized device. This is important because neither of these phones is small, but it is the LG V20 that feels oversized. With the secondary display and the large screen, the V20 is noticeably bigger than the Pixel XL and that might be an inconvenience.

Next up, we ought to mention that both phones use on-screen buttons and there are no physical keys up front. The fingerprint scanners are on the back, and on both it works reliably and quickly, but the one on the Pixel seems a bit faster. Both devices also use the reversible USB-C port and both phones come equipped with a good old 3.5mm headset jack.

Wondering about any special water protection? Unfortunately, that is one neat feature present on some modern flagships, but not on these two.


Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL

Dimensions

6.09 x 2.98 x 0.34 inches

154.72 x 75.74 x 8.6 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

LG V20

LG V20

Dimensions

6.29 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches

159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.14 oz (174 g)

Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL

Dimensions

6.09 x 2.98 x 0.34 inches

154.72 x 75.74 x 8.6 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

LG V20

LG V20

Dimensions

6.29 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches

159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.14 oz (174 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

The Pixel XL features an AMOLED screen, while the V20 sports an LCD screen. Both are good, but not great.


Which screen technology do you prefer: LCD or AMOLED? This seems to be a question that bothers many gearheads these days, as the advantages of AMOLED seem clear: deep blacks, excellent contrast and viewing angles, eye-popping color. But the reality is that LCD screens have been around for a while and they have become pretty darn good as well.

The battle between LCD and AMOLED is obvious in these two: the LG V20 sports an LCD display, while the Pixel opts for an AMOLED screen. The latter also shows what Google thinks is the more promising technology, it’s gone for AMOLED.

So what is the actual screen quality on the two? The V20 has a decent, but not great LCD screen: it’s a sharp, high-res 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 display, but it has a somewhat bluish tone and colors that are not well-balanced. We look at the accepted sRGB color standard for photos and videos and the V20 does not fit it well.

The Pixel XL, on its parts, has a 5.5” display that also features a 1440 x 2560-pixel resolution, but it’s also a Pentile screen, a clever tech that makes do with less sub-pixels, while the V20 has three sub-pixels - one red, one green and one blue for every pixel. The Pixel XL defaults to a similar, slightly oversaturated look that has eye-popping colors like on the V20, but it also has an sRGB color mode that you can enable in the settings panel.

In terms of brightness, the LG V20 can go high enough outdoors, so it’s easy to see what’s on the screen, while the Pixel XL has trouble cranking out high-enough luminance, and it’s a bit of a pain using it on a bright sunny day. This is one area we hope Google improves in the future.



FEATURED VIDEO

15 Comments

1. R-vjn

Posts: 301; Member since: Jan 07, 2013

I would pick the V20 any day over the Pixel. In my country, the V20 costs less than the entry level 5" Pixel 32gb. And with that, I will get a free b&o headset, that awesome wide angle camera, QHD display, much better DAC and altogether a better feature set.

3. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

I agree V20 over Pixel XL any day!

8. ecdumb

Posts: 12; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

No regrets when i preordered this beast. Using this pbone for almost 3 months now and performance is still the same the first time i used it. Hifi + manual stills and video + hd audio recorder + wide angle secondary camera - can you tell me other phone that have all these features?

2. sissy246

Posts: 7065; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I lean towards the v20, but it would depend on the one that would meet my needs the most.

4. EC112987

Posts: 1214; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

Pixel for me, I'm all about updates

5. LordGeek

Posts: 18; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

I had no choice in the matter .. ended up choosing the LG V20. I'm on Verizon and needed a new phone .. I was fighting between the Pixel XL 128GB and the LG V20 for a few days .. but ended with LG. Reason behind this .. Google needs to make some serious improvements if they want to continue bringing out so called flagship devices .. the fact that you can not even purchase this device from Google because it's always showing "Out of Stock" .. and with them marking Verizon as the "Exclusive" for the Pixel line .. you can't order this from Verizon either .. 2 month waiting period (and that'f if they ever obtain stock again) ! Verizon authorized providers (Best Buy etc) .. no stock. So what choice did I have .. LG V20 won this time .. but again, Google needs to make MASSIVE improvements on there stock.

6. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

V20 is awsome phone with the exception of the fragile camera lens.

7. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

indoor shoot: I prefer V20, since it give more punchy color (but not oversaturate).. outdoor shoot: HDR+ on pixel work better, the difference isn't much, but pixel still does better selfie: pixel win here low-light: I prefer V20 video: Pixel stabilization and AF work much better

9. painnpanic

Posts: 33; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

The V20 feels oversized? It's about the same size (almost identical) as the Pixel, and with a 5.7 inch screen vs 5.5. They look about the same except for the protruding camera. Both use aluminum so why give credit to a pixel and not the V20 for using the same material? You gave credit to the pixel for a better battery life but failed to once mention you can change the battery out of the V20. Seems you gave a review to what you like and not a fair comparison. I'm not saying the V20 is the better phone, but people who own a V20 seems to be very happy with the phone and its features. My son has a S7 edge and I wouldn't trade my V20 for it any day. Better reception, quicker charge, and easier on the eyes screen to view. How about adding one extra area as well next time. (Reliability) There both fairly new but it doesn't take a scientist to see what kind of problems people are having.

10. FrankUnderwood2

Posts: 243; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

Am I the only one here who thinks LG V-20 has a better design over all than Pixel XL?

12. Bluesky2111

Posts: 8; Member since: Dec 09, 2016

You're not the only one

11. PL2006

Posts: 18; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

LG's are okay assuming you are smart and buy them on the secondary market. Wait a few months after release and prices drop significantly. Buy then otherwise I wouldn't pay flagship money for one. My problem with them is their QC and customer service is nonexistent...

13. martesque

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 31, 2017

The Pixel, Samsung S7, iPhone ALL LOOK THE SAME! Same top and bottom style whereas the V20 has a beautiful minimalistic look that reminds me of the BlackBerry Z10 (A phone I thought looked amazing.) I looked the the S7 Edge, a very pretty phone, but I don't understand the diss on the V20's look. It's all screen, which is what we use these devices for! BTW, I almost went with the S7 Edge, but was glad someone talked me into the V20. It's been a great device so far.

14. rowlin

Posts: 50; Member since: Jun 14, 2012

Agree, the Pixel looks like so many designs that want to clone the iphone. The V20 looks great with the slim top and bottom bezels, and more unique. Not crazy about the gray color, but I put a dbrand marble skin on the back and it looks awesome.

15. NJSteve

Posts: 42; Member since: Aug 25, 2015

Yea... whatcha going to do when the V20 boot loops and bricks itself???

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.