Sony Xperia XZ3 Unboxing: And this is our initial comparison of the Google Pixel 3 XL and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
So we’ve got the best from Google and the best from Samsung and we’re going to look at all of the key differences, starting off with the size.
They are both very large devices, the Note 9 is slightly taller and slightly thicker, but they’re roughly about the same width and they both have large displays.
We’ve got a 6.4-inch display on the Note 9.
With the Pixel 3 XL, we have a 6.3-inch display.
Both are all OLED displays and have a quad HD plus resolution, which means they’re very sharp, vibrant, viewing angles are good.
I’ll have to spend more time deciding which one is better overall.
But generally speaking, both of these have very very nice displays.
But the Pixel 3 XL does have a pretty big notch and quite a large chin as well.
It’s the deepest notch that we’ve seen on a smartphone so far, and it’s something that a lot of people have been talking about.
On the Note 9, we just have small top and bottom bezels.
However, the Pixel 3 XL does use the space in the notch and the chain for front-firing stereo speakers.
Now the Note 9 does have stereo speakers as well, but we have one in the earpiece and one bottom-firing, so you can still cover that up.
Whereas the Pixel 3 XL, they are front-firing, which is an advantage.
But the Pixel 3 XL does not have a 3.5 mm jack, the Note 9 does have one.
So if you’re somebody who uses lots of wire headphones, then that might be something to consider.
You do get the dongle out of the box with the pixel, so that’s the USB type-c to 3.5 mm dongle.
Now moving on to the build and design, both feel very premium.
We’ve got a metal frame with glass panels on the front and back of both.
The Pixel 3 XL, however, does have a soft-touch finish at the back which doesn’t attract as many fingerprints as the Note 9, but the Note 9 does have those curved edges on the front and back, that’s a signature look on the Note 9 which does look really slick.
It is going to come down to your preference which one do you like more, both do look and feel pretty premium in my opinion.
And they are both IP68 water and dust resistant, which is also great.
Now moving on to the internals, both devices are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, however, the Note 9 in certain markets will have the Samsung Exynos 9810.
For RAM, the Pixel 3 XL just has four gigabytes of RAM, the Note 9 either comes in six or eight-gigabyte variants.
Now, of course, specs aren’t everything and we would have to put these side by side in terms of performance.
One advantage that the pixel does get, is the fact that it’s running a stock version of Android and this is going to be optimized for the device, which should definitely help it in terms of performance.
You also get the latest version of Android, Android Pie, out of the box.
The Note 9, it’s currently on Android Oreo version 8.1.
It does have Samsung Skin on top, which does give you some useful additional features.
But this does mean that you’re not going to be getting updates right away and you’re going to have to wait for those to come along, and sometimes they can take quite a bit of time.
This is something you’re not going to have to worry about on the Pixel 3 XL.
Now let’s move on to the cameras, the Note 9 does have dual rear-facing cameras, both 12 megapixels and have optical image stabilization.
The primary camera has a variable aperture, and it’s going to switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on the light you’re seeing, works very very well in low light.
The secondary camera is going to give you two times optical zoom, and that has an f/2.4 aperture.
I’ve been using it for the past couple of months and it’s been very good overall.
The Pixel 3 XL in comparison has a single rear-facing camera with 12 megapixels, optical image stabilization, and an f/1.8 aperture.
Now you might be thinking, a single camera is not going to be as good as dual cameras.
But this is where the Google Pixel really shines, the Google Pixel 2, last year performed really really well, even with a single camera.
Google has decided to stick to that and they are all about the Pixel Visual Core, this is the machine learning and software processing that really does a great job of your images.
Of course, we’re going to have to do some camera tests and put these side by side, to see which one of these performers is better overall.
But in terms of new features, the Pixel 3 XL does come with a feature called Top Shot.
This is where it’s going to be taking multiple shots before and after you actually take an image, and if somebody maybe looks away or closes their eyes, then it’s going to give you a better suggestion or let you pick as well, through its machine learning, which is pretty cool.
With the Note 9, you do have something called Flaw Detection, this is where it’s going to alert you if maybe the picture you took is a bit blurry or somebody’s got their eyes closed or anything like that, and you can then take another image.
But with the pixel, it’s going to let you choose images that it’s already taken, so that is quite interesting.
And then we’ve got another feature on the pixel called Night Sights, and this is where it’s going to try to enhance your low-light images.
The Note 9 as mentioned earlier, does do really well because of that super-wide f/1.5 aperture.
We’ll have to see what wins, hardware or software.
Of course, I’m going to try my best to do a SuperSaf style camera comparison between these two.
If you really want to see one then make sure you let me know in the comments section below.
Now when it comes to video, the Note 9 does get a few advantages here for frame rates because you do have 4K at up to 60 frames a second on the Note 9.
On the Pixel 3 XL, you have 4K at up to 30 frames a second.
And even when it comes to slow motion, the Note 9 does have 1080p at up to 240 frames a second or 720p at up to 960 frames second, this is a small burst but you can get some interesting effects.
The Pixel 3 XL is on the slow-motion side doesn’t do too great, you’ve got 1080p at 120 frames a second or 720p at 240 frames a second.
So, when it comes to the frame rates the Note 9 definitely gets the advantage here.
Now when it comes to the front-facing cameras, things are a little bit reversed.
On Notes 9 you have a single front-facing camera, whereas on the Pixel 3 XL you have dual front-facing cameras.
All are eight megapixels with auto-focus.
The Note 9 has an f/1.7 aperture.
The Pixel 3 XL, the primary camera, has an f/1.8 aperture, that’s a standard angle view.
And then you’ve got a wide-angle camera with an f/2.2 aperture.
And this is going to be great for your group selfies, groufies, wefies, whatever you want to call them.
And in my experience, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL are still the best selfie cameras out there at the moment, even compared to lots of the devices that have been released this year, so the 3 and 3 XL are only going to improve on this.
Moving on, both devices do have a fingerprint scanner at the back of the device, and both work really really well, you shouldn’t have a problem with either of these.
And on the Note 9, you do get some additional unlock options.
So, you’ve got an iris scanner, you’ve got facial recognition, and you can also use these both in combination, and that’s called Intelligence Scan, these are things that you don’t have on the Pixel 3 XL.
So, you do get more options on the Note 9.
The Note 9 also comes with an S Pen, which is very very unique to the Note Series and it works really well if you’re somebody who likes to use the stylus on your smartphone, it’s going to be great for all of the obvious things like signing documents, maybe doing some doodling or jotting down some quick notes.
But this year it also has Bluetooth functionality, so you’re going to be able to control your Note 9 remotely with the S Pen, whether that’s to take some pictures, whether it’s to go through some presentations.
And you can also connect up the Note 9 to a display and that’s going to use Samsung Dex, which is built-in.
And you’re going to be able to have a desktop experience using the Note 9.
This is really really useful, especially if you’re a business user.
When it comes to assistance, we do have the dedicated Bixby button on the Note 9, which I know has very mixed opinions.
The Google Pixel 3 XL, of course, does come with Google Assistant and you do have the pressure-sensitive side, so you can squeeze to launch it.
And there are going to be some new Google Assistant features, which will be coming to the Pixel first.
I’m not sure if they’re going to be rolled out to other devices like the Note later on.
One of these is named Call Screen, and this is where it’s going to answer your phone calls for you if you’d like it to and ask the person who’s speaking and why, and then it’s going to actually give you the text on the screen.
So if it’s a telemarketer, for example, you don’t even have to interact with them, you can just reject and a block the call right there.
That is very very cool.
Once again, I’m not sure if it’s going to be rolled out to all devices that have Google Assistant, we’ll have to see.
Moving on to the batteries, the Note 9 does have a larger battery compared to the Pixel 3 XL.
Of course, usage is going to vary and we’re going to have to see how both of these perform, the Note 9 has been performing pretty well in my experience.
Both devices do support fast charging out of the box, which is great, and they both also support wireless charging.
You do have fast wireless charging on the Note 9, which should charge your device up faster if you’ve got the right charger.
And when it comes to the different storage options available, you do have a larger storage version on the Note 9, 128 as well as 512 gigabytes.
Whereas the Pixel 3 XL comes with either 64 or 128 gigabytes.
You’ve also got expandable storage on the Note 9, this is something you don’t have on the Pixel 3 XL.
However, Google does offer unlimited storage for your photos and videos at full resolution for a couple of years, and at high resolution after those couple of years, so that’s something that you shouldn’t generally have to worry about.
Now finally, looking at the price.
If we compare the like-for-like 128-gigabyte models, then you will be paying the same price in the US for each of these, $1,000.
But in the UK, you will be paying more for the 3 XL, around 70 pounds more compared to the Note 9.
So definitely something to bear in mind if you’re based here in the UK.
I’m not sure why this is, but these are the figures here for you.
And that is our initial comparison between the Google Pixel 3 XL and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
We’ve got the best from Google and the best from Samsung here.
Both devices do have their advantages and disadvantages.
I’m very interested to see how well the Pixel 3 XL camera performs, once we’ve got the latest software versions available.
I’ll be doing some style camera comparisons coming up within the next few days, hopefully.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful.