The three biggest smartphone releases of 2017 will undoubtedly be the iPhone 8, Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel XL 2. With the Samsung device anticipated in the next few weeks, it will be something of a wait for the other two devices on the list, with Apple likely to release the iPhone in September as usual, and the Pixel XL 2 from Google arriving in October time.
Nonetheless, ahead of the release of the Galaxy S8, now is an apt time to compare the potential qualities of these three devices, based on rumors and leaks.
iPhone 8 vs Galaxy S8 vs Pixel XL 2 – Display
There is a feeling that the display specifications of smartphones have become somewhat less important over the last few years, as screen technology has provided diminishing returns. It is noticeable that 4K resolution is not really being embraced by the mobile niche as of yet, and none of these devices is expected to touch this technology.
Thus, both the Galaxy S8 and Pixel XL 2 will feature quite HD displays, albeit the Google device will be significantly smaller. Leaked specs suggest that the Galaxy S8 will feature a 5.8-inch screen, somewhat larger than the 5-inch display being linked with the Pixel XL 2.
Apple will make the largest strides in display technology of the three companies, with the iPhone 8 widely expected to feature OLED technology. We may also see the first curved screen iPhone when the next generation handset hits the market, while the iPhone 8 has also been linked with a big redesign in order to embrace a wraparound display.
The latest leaks suggest that the smartphone version of the Galaxy S8 will feature a 3,000 mAh battery. Apple is unlikely to match this considering that the iPhone 7 featured a 1,960 mAh cell, but the consumer electronics giant is expected to nonetheless increase the capacity of the battery in the iPhone 8.
There has been little news as of yet regarding the cell that Google will include in the Pixel XL 2, but we do know that it will be larger than either the Samsung or Apple equivalents. The Pixel XL featured a very large non-removable Li-Ion 3450 mAh unit, and with rumors rife that Google is looking to enhance battery performance in its next generation smartphone, the Pixel XL 2 should remain an outstanding performer even if Google sticks to the same battery size.
It has been suggested that Google will boost the memory of the Pixel XL up to 6GB of RAM; a 50 percent increase from the last generation. There is no concrete evidence available regarding the Galaxy S8 as of yet, as RAM memory is one aspect of the smartphone that has not been explicitly leaked. Thus, there has been a debate in the media whether Samsung will increase the RAM included in the Galaxy S8 to 6GB, or stick with a 4GB provision, with most analysts believing that the latter will ultimately prevail for reasons of pragmatism.
With Apple relying on its patented combination of proprietary hardware and software, the iPhone 8 will only be armed with 3GB of memory; still a 50% increase over the iPhone 7.
Camera technology could be very important in the smartphone releases of 2017, and this is one area in which Google is particularly expected to concentrate on improving the Pixel XL 2. In particular, the mega-corporation has been strongly linked with the inclusion of a dual-camera setup such as that of the iPhone 7 Plus.
The Pixel XL 2 has also been linked with support for optical image stabilization, while other reports have even suggested that tri-camera technology could be included. This is essentially a step up from dual-lens sensors, and would certainly provide the Pixel XL 2 with an edge in the marketplace. However, in must be said that the odds are against this particular suggestion.
Apple has also been working on camera improvements for the iPhone 8, with reports from close to the Apple supply chain suggesting that the company will include a dual-lens cameras in every version of the iPhone 8. News of Samsung improving the camera in the Galaxy S8 has been rather thin on the ground, with the expectation being that the snapper in this smartphone will be rather similar to previous iterations.
With virtual reality growing in significance in the technology niche, it is expected that the Google Pixel XL 2 will have significant VR provisions. In particular, it is believed that the handset will be released at the same time as the second generation Daydream VR system, and that there will be an obvious collaboration between the two devices.
Samsung is similarly expected to ensure that the Galaxy S8 is compatible with its own Gear VR technology. Meanwhile, Apple has been linked with augmented reality far more than virtual reality, particularly since Tim Cook indicated the support of the Californian company for this concept. It is believed that augmented reality may play some part in unique security features in the iPhone 8, while Apple also believes that the technology has huge potential in other areas.
Nonetheless, Apple will undoubtedly be keeping a keen eye on the way that virttual reality develops, and could look to include some relevant features in the iPhone 8.
Early reports indicate that Google is considering introducing dust and water-resistance capabilities for the Pixel XL 2. This is not something included in the current generation of the Google smartphone series, with the Pixel XL only able to fend off minor spills and very fine rain. Google conceded that it ran out of time to include dust and water-resistance previously, and will thus almost certainly embrace this with its new handset.
Samsung already has an advantage in this area, with the Galaxy S7 having achieved an IP 68 rating. Apple was only able to acquire an IP67 rating for the iPhone 7, and reports suggest that the Cupertino-based company will look to bring the iPhone 8 in line with its great Samsung rival.