Google Pixel 2 XL review

GSMArena team, 30 October 2017.

Synthetic benchmarks and real-life performance

Google has went with the industry standard for premium smartphones of 2017: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset with 4GB of RAM. The chipset is an octa-core CPU with two four-core Kryo clusters. The first, more powerful cluster is clocked at 2.35 GHz while the other, more efficient cluster is clocked at 1.9 GHz.

It's worth noting that other smartphones with the same CPU have the high-power cluster clocked marginally faster at 2.45 GHz. This difference is so miniscule that we're not likely going to see a major difference in benchmarks among other devices. For graphics, the Adreno 540 pairs with the Snapdragon 835, as is standard.

For this round-up of performance scores, we're tossing in several other devices powered by the same Qualcomm chip, as well as the first-gen Pixel XL before it. We've also included the Meizu Pro 7 Plus, a device powered by Mediatek Helio X30, as well as Huawei's newest Kirin 970 and Samsung's current Exynos-powered devices.

Starting off with GeekBench, the iPhone 8 duo takes the lead by a mile with those A11 Bionic chipsets in the multi-core test. The Pixel XL didn't do the best, in fact, it scored toward the bottom of the pile. There is a noticeable difference between the Pixel XL and Pixel 2 XL, though.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 8
    10214
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus
    10037
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    6784
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    6783
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    6754
  • ZTE nubia Z17
    6622
  • OnePlus 5
    6604
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    6590
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    6541
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    6428
  • LG V30
    6365
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    6301
  • Google Pixel XL
    4113

Single-core tests fared a bit better for the Pixel 2 XL, but the difference is still negligible among other similarly spec'd smartphones. The A11 chip takes the cake again with a beastly single core.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 8
    4234
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus
    4232
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    1987
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    1986
  • ZTE nubia Z17
    1966
  • OnePlus 5
    1932
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    1915
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    1902
  • LG V30
    1901
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    1862
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    1840
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    1832
  • Google Pixel XL
    1582

Antutu 6 incorporates UX performance into its scores, so you'll see some variations among the other similarly-powered smartphones. Like we saw with Geekbench, we are seeing the Pixel 2 XL score toward the bottom of the pile. Though, just as before, the difference between scores is not very significant.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 8
    202645
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus
    188766
  • OnePlus 5
    180331
  • ZTE nubia Z17
    178629
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    178510
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    175153
  • LG V30
    174330
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    174070
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    172425
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    170407
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    168133
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    144462
  • Google Pixel XL
    141186
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    128498

The Pixel 2 XL did well in the off-screen graphics tests. These off-screen tests compensate for differences between smartphones' screen resolutions and puts them in a level playing field for comparing scores.

The Car Scene is definitely more taxing on these processors than the Manhattan test. The Pixel 2 XL scored at the top with 25 fps in the on-screen test, as did the devices with alternative processors.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    43
  • ZTE nubia Z17
    43
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    42
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    42
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    42
  • OnePlus 5
    41
  • LG V30
    41
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    39
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    39
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    38
  • Google Pixel XL
    32
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    22

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    25
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    25
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    25
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    25
  • ZTE nubia Z17
    25
  • OnePlus 5
    24
  • LG V30
    24
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    24
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    23
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    22
  • Google Pixel XL
    19
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    8.4

On-screen tests are a different story. The Pixel 2 XL has one of the highest-res displays available in the market since the longer length of the display requires more pixels than a standard 16:9. The Pixel 2 XL carried its weight though, coming in second behind the Exynos-powered Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note8.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17
    41
  • OnePlus 5
    40
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    40
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    35
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    23
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    23
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    20
  • LG V30
    19
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    18
  • Google Pixel XL
    17
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    13

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17
    25
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    25
  • OnePlus 5
    24
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    21
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    13
  • LG V30
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    12
  • Google Pixel XL
    11
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.8

The same situation can be seen here as we saw in the graphics tests: The Pixel 2 XL's score was right behind those of the Note8 and S8+ with the rest trailing behind. Meanwhile, the Meizu Pro 7 Plus struggles to keep up with the first-gen Pixel XL.

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    43862
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    40890
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    40232
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    39143
  • OnePlus 5
    38844
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    38583
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    37211
  • LG V30
    36704
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    34951
  • ZTE nubia Z17
    33513
  • Google Pixel XL
    30861
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    22472

Not all benchmark tests are created equally, which is precisely why the iPhone 8 duo didn't score drastically different results like we saw on GeekBench and Antutu. The Pixel 2 XL scored well above the median result of the devices being compared.

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 8
    3934
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus
    3601
  • OnePlus 5
    3601
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    3425
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    3424
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    3379
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    3333
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    3319
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    3298
  • ZTE nubia Z17
    3281
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    2986
  • LG V30
    2705
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    2380
  • Google Pixel XL
    2281

Finally, here's Basemark's equivalent of the GFX Graphic tests. Unlike GFX, Basemark ES 3.1 offers its test on iOS to compare graphics across operating systems on the Open GL 3.1 graphics platform. The iPhone 8 ranks on top while the Pixel XL is about somewhere in the middle.

The Snapdragon 835 doesn't break past 900 on Basemark's graphic test while the Exynos 8895, Kirin 970, and A11 Bionic all sailed above and beyond.

Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 8
    1690
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus
    1644
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    1268
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    1183
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    1111
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)
    875
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    874
  • LG V30
    860
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    853
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)
    817
  • OnePlus 5
    796
  • Google Pixel XL
    626
  • ZTE nubia Z17
    619
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    517

You will not be disappointed with the Pixel 2 XL's performance in day-to-day multitasking, social media apps, and overall snappiness. Although it's not the best-performing smartphone in the world, it's still more-than-capable of handling any game with demanding graphics.

The Snapdragon 835 is well future-proofed for the promised three years of software updates from Google. The 10nm process is also very power efficient and doesn't warm up with use quite like the Snapdragon 820 used to. The Pixel 2 XL warms up pretty evenly across the lower portion of the rear glass window in times of graphic-intensive gaming or high-intensity rendering. That heat is quickly dissipated through the glass window and the metal body of the phone.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

No it doesn't

  • Shab

Does the pixel2 xl come with e-sim in India?

  • Anonymous

I can't seem to find a good screen saver that stays on my phone.. I have had 3 different glass pieces on my phone and they pop off I have had two different soft pliable screensavers on and after just a little bit of time they peel off.