This is important enough to have as a stand alone comparison. We need to be up front here on our headline using the word “destroys” when it comes to a price comparison. We certainly don’t want to lead people astray based on a headline, so let’s clarify.
The Snapdragon 820 powered Zenfone 3 Deluxe does as we say. It destroys the Google Pixel XL prices. However if we get into the Zenfone 3 Deluxe Special Edition price comparison, then destroys is certainly not appropriate to say when comparing to the Google Pixel XL.
This story is, shall we say, rather complicated. We initially wrote this prior to knowing the US price for the Zenfone 3 Deluxe Special Edition so please keep that in mind!
We are going to break down the price comparisons first in US prices. Before the pricing nitty gritty, we need to appreciate the differences between the two (or three) phones. It’s not exactly an apples for apples comparison, but it’s certainly top end vs. top end.
So ultimately you will have to determine what’s most important to you and how much a certain feature or spec is worth to you. This decision could potentially save you a lot of money so think carefully. These considerations are not necessarily listed in order of importance.
Consideration 1: The Google Pixel XL is a 5.5-inch phone and the Zenfone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL) is a 5.7-inch phone. That extra real estate could be said is worth more money, but you may not appreciate the 5.7-inch size and it may detract from the value.
Consideration 2: Resolution is the key component that differentiates these two phones. The Pixel XL comes with a higher resolution screen of 1440 x 2450 versus the Zenfone 3 Deluxe resolution of 1920 x 1080. We don’t have a side-by-side screen comparison. How much of a difference will these displays have? Could you even really tell the difference? Keep in mind that Apple runs the same 1920 x 1080 resolution on their 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus. So the iPhone 7 Plus has a 401 ppi density and the Zenfone 3 Deluxe has a 386 ppi density. At a certain point, phone displays look great and you have to put aside the finite details. Or not.
Consideration 3: Camera quality. We’ve been running a poll on our site which asks you what is the most important aspect of a mobile phone. Camera was the lowest importance to our visitors. Camera came in dead last at 14% and price, battery life, design, size and weight beat camera. This is a poll with over 1,200 votes. All that said, Google claims the Pixel XL as having the best mobile phone camera on the market. The Pixel XL comes with a Sony IMX378 and the Zenfone 3 Deluxe comes with a Sony IMX318. We will let you dig around on comparing quality, but right now the jury is still out on how these two phone cameras compare. Software may also play a role in early results and if the Zenfone 3 Deluxe comes in second now, tweaks to the software may close the gap. The Zenfone 3 Deluxe has OIS whereas the Google Nexus Pixel XL does not. Lacking OIS has been a source of some controversy, although the Pixel XL scored as the highest rated smartphone camera according to DxOmark. It may be a non factor, but time will tell.
Consideration 4: Processor. If you are comfortable with the Snapdragon 820 version of the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, you’re going to enjoy a substantial savings. But of course it’s not entirely fair to compare the price of a Snapdragon 820 phone to a Snapdragon 821 phone like the Pixel XL. So if you step up to the Snapdragon 821 processor found in the Zenfone 3 Deluxe Special Edition with 256GB storage, prices get a whole lot closer. However if you put the same processor models in a comparison (Pixel XL vs. Zenfone 3 Deluxe Special Edition) it’s not telling the whole story either. We must go on! [Note: See our benchmark comparison between the Snapdragon 820 version vs. Snapdragon 821 version of the Zenfone 3 Deluxe]
Consideration 5: Storage. This is where the story really gets complicated. First, the Google Pixel XL comes with either 32GB or 128GB models. The 32GB storage model is not exactly 32GB in reality. This same situation applies to the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, but it has twice as much storage with 64GB and the Zenfone 3 Deluxe has 256GB.
This is a disclaimer that most phone product pages list: “Storage specifications refer to capacity before formatting. Actual formatted capacity will be less” . So when you have a small 32GB drive like on the cheaper Google Pixel XL, it means that 32GB will most certainly not be 32GB when you turn on the phone for the first time. What will it actually be? We have some early insights based on early hands-on footage. The Google Pixel phone with 32GB storage, shows that it has 8.02GB used from the 29.70GB available (32GB model) which leaves you 21.68GB to use. This free storage is based on the 47 apps which is installed on the demo models at the Google launch event. See the screenshot below.
The usable storage on the cheaper 32GB Google Pixel XL is important here because it’s very small by today’s standards. Yes you can get an iPhone 7 with 32GB so it is done and people find ways to manage. However it’s something to think about in this price comparison. The 64GB and 256GB versions of the Zenfone 3 Deluxe will be less than the listed storage in the specs, but you simply have more storage for less cost. There are aspects of relying on cloud storage that may be frustrating. I don’t think anyone could make an argument that cloud storage is better than having access to your file via local storage. For securely backing up files, certainly cloud storage is essential and that’s undeniable. However local storage isn’t relying on wireless signal for access. Local storage IS added value.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Zenfone 3 Deluxe has expandable storage via a microSD card slot. According to Asus.com, this means up to 2TB added storage is available via microSD. The Google Pixel XL does not have a microSD card slot.
Consideration 6: Software. Depending on your personal feelings, you may feel Android OS updates are at the top of considerations. Having the latest and greatest Android versions come to Google phones first. More than that, the Pixel XL runs “pure” Android which is a strong value added. The Pixel XL is running on Android Nougat 7.0 with some Google phone exclusive features for the Pixel line-up.
On the Zenfone 3 Deluxe you will get pre-installed apps along with the ZenUI 3.0 over the top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. A big knock from many users in the past was about slow rollouts for Asus phones to get the new Android OS versions. Many users also complained about the amount of pre-installed apps. From our viewpoint, the past is the past and with Asus shifting focus from tablets to phones, expect more dedication to bringing the Android updates faster and more seamlessly. Time will tell, but Asus is aware of what people want in terms of Android updates and it’s one area we expect to see big improvements on.
We have one last nugget that may alter the value you place on Google phones getting the Android updates first. As their product page states, the Pixel XL will get “2 years of OS updates” and “3 years of security updates”. This may not be unusual, but the selling point of getting the new Android updates is enjoyed for 2 years which is not exactly a long time considering the cost of the phone. After three years no security updates? What do you do with the phone then? Now to be fair, we need to clarify with Asus what their timeline is with supporting the Zenfone 3 Deluxe. Apple shows strong support for their older devices which Google and Asus should strive for. Expensive devices deserve long lasting use. At the very least ensure our outdated phone isn’t subject to hackers via lack of security updates.
Consideration 7: Everything else. We didn’t even venture into battery life! At this stage it’s too early for that to be part of this article, but obviously it’s important. It’s hard to imagine a drastic difference but you just don’t know until these devices have been explored fully. It’s also confusing to think that the slightly slower Snapdragon 820 in the Zenfone 3 Deluxe (not Special Edition) will be more power efficient. The bottom line is the Google Pixel XL has a 3,450mAh battery and the Zenfone 3 Deluxe has a 3,000mAh battery. In theory the Pixel XL will beat the Zenfone 3 Deluxe battery life, but it’s a question of by how much.
How about RAM? The Zenfone 3 Deluxe comes with 6GB in comparison to the 4GB in the Google Pixel XL. How many value do you put in an extra 2GB RAM?
The Zenfone 3 Deluxe also comes with the ZenEar S headset which by all accounts, is a quality headset. The Google Pixel XL comes with a headset and OTG dongle. Headset wise, the ZenEar S is a premium accessory (apparently it has dual driver) with Hi-res supported (whatever that means). We can’t say for sure about the quality of the Pixel XL headset just yet.
Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments.
The Nitty Gritty – Let’s Get Right Down To It
Zenfone 3 Deluxe Special Edition
Specs: Snapdragon 821 / 6GB RAM / 256GB Storage
Specs: Snapdragon 820 / 6GB RAM / 64GB Storage
Google Pixel XL
Specs: Snapdragon 821 / 4GB RAM / 32GB Storage
Specs: Snapdragon 821 / 4GB RAM / 128GB Storage
Here is a price comparison for the Europe markets:
EUR 849 for the Zenfone 3 Deluxe Special Edition with Snapdragon 821 and 256GB storage
EUR 699 for the Zenfone 3 Deluxe with Snapdragon 820 and 64GB storage
The Google Pixel XL prices in EURO?
EUR 899 for Pixel XL with 32GB storage
EUR 1009 for Pixel XL with 128GB storage
In Canada, we’ve seen two different prices for the Zenfone 3 Deluxe with Snapdragon 820 and 64GB RAM. The highest price is at CAD 699. We don’t see any prices for the Snapdragon 821 version yet. The Pixel XL has the Snapdragon 821 so the price comparison is slightly tainted, but it’s well worth discussing here.
CAD 699 for the Zenfone 3 Deluxe with Snapdragon 820 and 64GB storage
The Google Pixel XL prices in CAD?
CAD 1049 for Pixel XL with 32GB storage
CAD 1179 for Pixel XL with 128GB storage