Performance: Bionic booster
The Pixel 2 XL comes with a top-of-the-line Android chip, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, but it's not totally cutting-edge right now – we've seen it in phones for several months now. Still, with 4GB RAM alongside, it doesn't disappoint when running games and media, and pure Android 8.0 Oreo runs like a dream.
And yet if we're talking benchmarks, the iPhone X's A11 Bionic chip crushes the competition. Apple has 3GB RAM stuffed in here, but this ultra-efficient, mega-powered system-on-a-chip comes out well ahead of the smartphone competition in testing.
You won't see a big difference in real-world usage; they're both super-fast phones that can handle your every demand. But the power is there if developers need it – and it might emerge at some point down the line. Plus, iOS 11 is super speedy. Both of these pack more than enough power, but Apple has more more in there somewhere.
Winner: Apple iPhone X
Battery and perks: Odds and ends
Google built the Pixel line in the mould of the iPhone, so unsurprisingly, it has some similar traits. For example, fixed storage: the iPhone X comes in 64GB and 256GB varieties, while the Pixel 2 XL offers 64GB or 128GB.
And no, you can't expand that with a microSD card in either case. Still, Google does offer free unlimited storage for your photos and videos via Google Photos, whereas with Apple you have to pay for iCloud storage above the initial 5GB limit.
As for battery, the Pixel 2 XL wins on paper with its 3520mAh cell within, while Apple's is a bit conservative at 2716mAh. But they're pretty close in everyday usage: we had a solid stash of battery life at the end of an average day, although you can tap out both of these phones by going hard on streaming media and glossy games.
Both can fast charge (albeit with extra cables required for the iPhone X), but Apple does have an edge with wireless charging here.
Google's phone adds the new Active Edge pressure sensitivity to the sides, letting you squeeze the phone to bring up the Google Assistant. On the other hand, Apple has 3D Touch pressure sensitivity with the screen, which really hasn't proven to be a massively critical addition.
The Pixel 2 XL does offer the advantage of Daydream View VR support, with a newer version of the headset available with a wider field of vision. Daydream is decent, mid-range VR, but it's something that Apple can't match.
On the other hand, Apple has made a big augmented reality push with iOS 11 and ARKit, and the front-facing TrueDepth camera array on the iPhone X enables some of that silliness – like animated emoji that match your facial movements. Yeah.
It also powers the Face ID system for unlocking your phone with your face, which works really well... most of the time. Occasionally it misfires, in which case you'll need to tap in a code. You might miss the Touch ID sensor then. Meanwhile, Google has its own fingerprint sensor in a pretty ideal spot on the back, and it's speedy and reliable.
And both of these phones lack a headphone port, so that's a loss all around. There are some ups and downs in this catch-all category, but overall, there's no enormous edge here on either end that drowns the others out.
Verdict: Both are awesome, but...
With the Pixel 2 XL looking much less like an iPhone knockoff than last year's handset, and the iPhone X no longer another boring rendition of an old theme, the comparison here isn't as cut and dried as before.
In short, both of these are extremely powerful, capable, and feature-packed devices, and they've both fallen into the upper half of our list of the top 10 smartphones in the world right now.
But the Pixel 2 XL came out ahead. Why? Well, while the iPhone X has the edge on design and max horsepower, the Pixel 2 XL's brilliant camera blew us away, and despite a slightly uninspired design, it's top-of-the-line everywhere else.
And price is a key consideration. The iPhone X costs S$220 more, at S$1648 vs £799 (S$1430) for the Pixel, and that's a key distinguisher between the phones. Who besides the Apple-craving elite wants to spend S$1648 on a phone?
That's exactly where our verdict falls. If you love the iPhone and can't imagine using something else, the iPhone X does not disappoint. It has a few quirks and some things that could be improved in the next revision (classic Apple), but overall it's an incredibly cool, incredibly powerful phone that feels like it's worth that insane sum of cash.
But if you're not an Apple-only aficionado and you're just looking for an incredible, top-of-the-line smartphone - and don't mind spending several hundred quid for it - then we think the Pixel 2 XL is the more practical phone of the two. Hey, S$200 is S$200, and while the Pixel 2 XL lacks a bit of the iPhone X's flash, it's just as strong of a device where it really counts.
Winner: Google Pixel 2 XL