If you like big phones, and have anywhere between $750 and $850 to spend on a new high-end model, your choice may come down to the Samsung Galaxy S8+ or Google Pixel XL. A no-brainer, given the former’s extra screen real estate, speedier processor and unquestionably prettier exterior?

Not so fast, as Big G and HTC built their premium Nexus replacement to last. Its first obvious advantage over the 2017 heavyweight title frontrunner is a different software philosophy, focused less on user customization and more on always up-to-date security.

It’s ironic that the newer handset runs the older Android version, but you really can’t do much about it. Meanwhile, there’s no perceivable gap in multitasking, and despite packing a passé Snapdragon 821 SoC, the Pixel XL often feels snappier when navigating the far cleaner UI.

Good luck trying to separate these giants in terms of battery life and overall camera performance as well, with the latter greatly depending on your personal preferences of controls and settings.

At the end of the day, of course the Galaxy S8+ wins this battle. It’s a sight to behold, audio champ, gaming powerhouse, not to mention its unique iris recognition feature or superior water resistance. But you have to admit, Google’s Pixel XL put up one heck of a fight. And with a second-gen around the corner, maybe it wouldn’t be wise of Samsung to rest on its laurels.

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