If this year’s smartphone season has taught us anything, it’s that phablets are here to stay. Tech enthusiasts have gotten used to thicc handsets and the announcements of the Google Pixel 3 XL, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the iPhone XS Max is all further evidence that smartphones aren’t just getting better they’re also getting larger.
If you want a technical definition, any phone that touts a diagonal display length of 5.5-inches or larger is considered a phablet, according to Consumer Reports. And the phablets will soon reign supreme, possibly as early as the year 2021, according to International Data Corporation. That gives Google a three year window to carve are a more meaningful segment of the market for future smartphones.
Samsung’s far ahead in terms of popularity with consumers. As of the second-quarter of 2018, Samsung had more than 20 percent of the global smartphone market with 71.5 million shipments worldwide. Google, on the other hand, wasn’t able to break into the top five companies.
The release of the Pixel 3 XL gives Google a way to gain back some ground with industry-leading artificial intelligence. While the Note 9’s heavy-hitting tech specs make it a powerful tool that Samsung can use to further its significant lead in the smartphone game.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs. Galaxy Note 9: Pricing
The 3 XL is currently available for preorder starting at $899 with an October 18 launch date. The Note 9 is already in stores and starts at $999, making Samsung’s premium phablet $100 more expensive than Google’s. However, the 3 XL’s baseline model comes with 64-gigabytes of memory space, while the Note 9 comes with double the amount at 128GB.
Users can pick up a variant with more memory capacity for a steeper price. A 128GB 3 XL is priced at $999, while a 512GB Note 9 comes in at $1,249.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs. Galaxy Note 9: Specs
Both phones are neck-and-neck in the display size category. The Note 9 touts a 6.4-inch OLED, notch-less screen and the 3 XL packs a 6.3-inch OLED display with a top notch. But the Pixel trumps the Note 9 when it comes to pixel density, which should make for crisper photos and video viewing. The pair have identical 2960-by-1440 resolution, but the 3 XL packs 523 pixels in every inch compared to the Galaxy’s 516.
The Note 9, once again, edges out the 3 XL in terms of battery life. Samsung’s phablet comes with a 4,000 mAh cell compared to Google’s 3,430 mAh battery. So the increased screen size of the Pixel might be a bit more taxing on its battery.
The duo are both retrofitted with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, which is a top-of-the-line central processing unit that is used in most of this year’s smartphone releases. We’ll have to wait for device benchmarks before we can see if there are any notable differences in performance.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs. Galaxy Note 9: Cameras
Both smartphones come with three lenses in total. The only difference is that the 3 XL has two front-facing cameras, while the Note 9 has two on the back panel.
The 3 XL’s single rear camera contains a 12.2-megapixel wide-angle sensor while its selfie duo is made up of a 8MP wide-angle sensor and a 8MP “ultrawide” lens. The only hardware difference between last year’s Pixel 2 is the addition of a second front-facing camera.
As for the Pixel 3, all of this year’s improvements come in the form of artificial intelligence features, like “Super Res Zoom.” This feature uses a photography technique traditionally used in satellite imagery to make up for the lack of an optical zoom lens.
The Note 9’s back cameras are both 12MP wide with telephoto sensors, giving the phone optical zoom capabilities. The front-facing camera is a 8MP wide lens.
Samsung’s phablet also touts its own A.I. photo features. The camera can identify up to 20 different scenes, like food, sunrises, or pets and suggest complimentary filters that goes best for each. Users can also utilize the device’s S-Pen stylus to edit and draw on images more precisely than with their finger.