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Which phone you should buy? iPhone X,Galaxy NOTE 8 OR PIXEL 2

So you want a big-screen phone and the Pixel 2 XL, iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8 are catching your eye. Which one do you buy? Decisions, decisions.

The best policy is to wait until our reviews are in. Some of you are going to preorder regardless, so for you, we're going to break down the pros and cons of the eight features that matter most, like which phone gives you the most screen for the smallest body size, and which phone that has the most impressive camera features. That just might make all the difference when you're trying to decide if you'll preorder a new, untested phone or wait.

Since Google has only just recently announced the Pixel 2 XL and we haven't had a chance to test it or the iPhone X against the fully reviewed Note 8, a hard and fast opinion on which phone is best will have to wait until all the reviews are in.

1. Biggest screen in the smallest body

Slim bezels and screens that take up almost the entire face of the s7 edge replacement screen are in, and the combo is giving large-screen handsets a smaller footprint overall.

I used this screen-to-body-ratio calculator to find out which of the three phones gives you the most screen in the smallest package. The calculator uses the screen size, screen resolution, height and width to determine the percent of the phone face that makes up the display.

Galaxy Note 8: 82.76 percent

iPhone X: 81.51 percent

Pixel 2 XL: 76.71 percent

2. Best camera tech

Camera quality is one of the main reasons people buy one phone over another. While we can't compare image quality among these phones quite yet, we can dive into the camera specs.

Notably, the Pixel 2 phones have one rear camera, not two. Google claims its tech is so good on the single 12.2-megapixel shooter, it doesn't need a second lens; it can achieve the same depth-effect portrait mode with one camera. Photography test site DxOMark gave the Pixel 2 camera its highest rating ever, at 98. The Galaxy Note 8 scored 94. DxO hasn't rated the iPhone X yet, for the record, and image quality is something we'll certainly test out on our own.


23Pixel 2 and 2 XL photos: Feast your eyesMeanwhile, Apple's iPhone X stands out because its camera adds a dramatic portrait lighting effect to enhance depth-effect photos. This is a beta feature on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, but something we enjoyed trying out in our tests.

The Galaxy Note 8, the first Samsung phone with dual cameras and portrait mode, has a neat effect that saves a wide-angle version of the image along with the telephoto portrait shot, so you get both with the snap of a lens. The iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 2 will also save two version of the image, though the exact format and audio quality are something we'll need to test.

If you're moved one way or another by camera specs, check out the chart below. Otherwise, know that we expect all three top-tier phones to take excellent photos that looks great online and in print. The differences are often minor and specific -- we think you'll probably get great shots with each of these phones, but to be absolutely certain, it's best to wait.


  iPhone X Galaxy Note 8 Pixel 2 XL
Wide-angle resolution 12-megapixels 12-megapixels 12.2-megapixels
Telephoto resolution 12-megapixels 12-megapixels None
Wide-angle aperture f/1.8 f/1.7 f/1.8
Telephoto aperture f/2.4 f/2.4 None
Optical image stabilization Both wide-angle and telephoto Both wide-angle and telephoto Rear camera
Optical zoom 2X 2X None
Digital zoom 10X 10X N/A
Video 4K and HD 4K and HD 4K and HD
Slow motion 240fps at 1080P, 60fps at 4K 240fps at 720P, 120fps at 1080P 240fps at 720P, 120fps at 1080P
Front camera resolution 7-megapixels 8-megapixels 8-megapixels
Front camera aperture f/2.2 f/1.7 f/2.4
Portrait mode cameras Front and back Back Front and back
Camera extras Portrait Lighting adds dramatic effects, slow-sync flash Can adjust portrait blur, switch between portrait and telephoto shots Free cloud storage, GoogleLens

3. Best unique extras

Pixel 2 and 2 XL:

Squeezable frame launches Google Assistant, silences incoming calls

Blends optical image stabilization and digital image stabilization to produce smooth video

Auto-hotspot with Pixelbook laptop


Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 gives you a digital pen.

Josh Miller/CNET

iPhone X:

Face ID scans your mug to unlock the phone

Portrait lighting mode (also on iPhone 8 Plus)

Slow-sync camera flash will help images pop

Galaxy Note 8:

S Pen stylus comes bundled with the phone

Curved screens with specialized shortcut software

Headphone jack, quickly becoming extinct

4. Most complete digital assistant

Google's Assistant is now on every Android 6.0 phone and higher, but Apple's Siri and Samsung's newly launched Bixby Voice app are hot on its heels.

Pixel 2 XL: Google Assistant

Google Assistant is the clear winner here in terms of actual Web searching -- and that's irrespective of the Galaxy Note 8 or Pixel 2 s7 edge screen price . The fact that it's so good at understanding what you want to say and quickly returning web results is key. On the Pixel 2 XL (and Pixel 2), being able to quickly launch the app with a squeeze is a bonus shortcut.

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