“The Pixel series has been priced identical to the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus”
Choosing a new smartphone mostly comes down to either opting for a device from Apple’s ecosystem or one from Google’s, considering Microsoft’s Windows phones are all but dead. While the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus are Apple’s latest flagship smartphones, users opting for Google’s Android ecosystem are spoilt for choices with several manufacturers like Samsung, LG, etc offering their very own flagships at difference price points. That being said, Google itself has a few options to showcase this time around and they aren’t Nexus devices. Launched recently, the Pixel and Pixel XL (first impressions), are packed to the brim with the best specifications along with a deep software integration from Google and carry a premium price tag just like the Apple iPhones. So, we decided to compare the two and here’s how they stack up on paper.
Design and Display
Talking about the Pixel smartphones first, both the devices will feel premium in the hand owing to the two-toned finish of metal and glass used in their framework. The Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on the other hand take design cues from their predecessors and have kept things uniform by sporting a unibody metal design. The lack of a headphone jack on the iPhones gives Android fanboys/fangirls something to brag about but then again, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are waterproof while the Pixels smartphones aren’t, which brings the comparison back to level ground. While the Pixel smartphones feature a fingerprint sensor on the back, Apple has opted to place one on the home button, which isn’t really a button and is instead a pressure sensitive key which makes use of Apple’s haptic engine to give users the sensation of something being pressed. However, both the companies do share some design traits with both, the Google as well as the Apple smartphones, featuring curved edges and antenna bands at the top and bottom of the devices.
The display on the Pixel is a 5-inch full HD AMOLED affair whereas the Pixel XL is equipped with a bigger 5.5-inch quad HD display. On the flipside, Apple has opted to ship the iPhone 7 in a 4.7-inch and the iPhone 7 Plus in a 5.5-inch form factor with the former packing 1,334 x 750 pixels and the latter opting for a full HD panel. The resolution on the Pixel smartphones is noticeably higher which definitely gives them an edge over the iPhones but Apple promises a wider colour gamut this time around.
Performance, Storage and Software
Google isn’t messing around when it comes to core specs of its devices, with both the Pixel smartphones powered by industry-leading quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processors and 4GB of LPDDR4 memory for multitasking. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on the other hand are powered by an Apple A10 fusion chip, which the company claims is 40 percent faster than the Apple A9 chip found on the predecessors. However, the Apple iPhone 7 comes with just 2GB of RAM where as the iPhone 7 Plus comes with 3GB of memory. While both, Apple as well as Google have kitted their gladiators with the best processors that the industry has to offer right now, it is difficult to contemplate on who comes out victorious as a device’s performance is only as good as the software it’s built on top of and just how well the hardware and software gel together.
On that note, the Google Pixel smartphones come with a vanilla version of Android and will be the first devices to run Android Nougat 7.1 whereas the iPhones will ship with iOS 10 out-of-the-box. Both the user interfaces are fairly minimalistic and offer little to no customisation/tweaks. Google has also integrated its virtual assistant with the Pixel smartphones which will give Android users Siri-esque capabilities without having to download a third-party app. For storage, buyers can opt for a 32GB, 128GB, or a 256GB variant of the Apple iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus whereas the Pixel doublet comes in either a 32GB or a 128GB variant. While neither of the two tech giants offer expandable storage, Google has made provisions for buyers to make sure they never run out of space by giving them unlimited room to store their digital stills on Google Photos without reducing the resolution of the images.
Camera, Battery and Connectivity
This is where the comparison gets a little interesting, and complicated, at the same time. Both the Pixel smartphones come with an identical 12.3MP rear facing sensor and an 8MP front facing shooter, Apple, on the other hand, decided to jump on the dual-camera bandwagon with its Plus model. While the bigger variants of the iPhone usually came with a marginally better camera than the smaller ones, this time the difference is more pronounced than ever. The iPhone 7 features a 12MP shooter at the back and a 7MP shooter upfront whereas the iPhone 7 Plus comes with a pair of two 12MP sensors on the back, one of which is a wide angled lens along with a 7MP sensor upfront. However, Google claims that the cameras powering its Pixel smartphones aren’t just the best cameras that the company has made but the best cameras to ever grace a smartphone. As per Google, the Pixel scored an impressive 89 from DXOMark’s camera benchmarks beating the iPhone 7, which managed to score 86. Numbers aside, the smartphone offerings from Google as well as Apple feature very capable cameras and we’ll be able to give you more insight once we get our hands on some review units.
For battery, the Pixel is fuelled by a 2,770mAh battery whereas the Pixel XL comes with a beefier 3,450mAh battery. Apple on the other hand has equipped the iPhone 7 with a 1,960mAh unit and the iPhone 7 Plus with a 2,900mAh unit. While the battery capacities of both the iPhone models are smaller than their Pixel counterparts, Apple’s software optimisations usually lead to good battery life. For connectivity, all the smartphones can be seen provisioned with the standard connectivity features along with support for a single nano-SIM card and 4G LTE support.
While we can only speculate at this point as to which smartphone will perform better, carrying a hefty price tag of 57K, the Pixel will appeal to users who insist on settling for an Android and even then it might not be a buyer’s first choice considering the behemoth of flagship Android devices available for at a lower price. While the Pixel smartphones compete head-to-head with the newer iPhones and might even seem better on paper in certain aspects, the price tag might scare some users into buying a much cheaper and equally better Android alternative. Only time will tell whether Google’s Pixel smartphones manage to get ahead of the newer iPhones in terms of popularity and sales. We’ll be publishing our review on the smartphones very soon, so stay tuned for a more in-depth coverage on these smartphones.