For years, Google has only had an indirect hand in the fiercely competitive smartphone market. While it had it’s own Nexus phone, it was actually built by Huawei. But just last week, Google shook the entire mobile industry when it announced that it was ending its long-running Nexus line and introducing a new, premium handset on the market: Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. So far, we like what we’re seeing.
With Google’s flagship phone offering so much promise on paper, we’re sure you’re wondering how it would fare against the most popular high-end smartphone. To satisfy everybody’s curiosity, we’re pitting Google Pixel XL against Apple iPhone 7 Plus in our first Tech Showdown.
Round 1: First Impression
It doesn’t take long to notice that both handsets have well-built designs that look and feel as grand as their price tags. These two models are phablet-sized and both have fingerprint sensors. Though Pixel XL’s fingerprint scanner is found on the back of the device, while the iPhone 7’s is on the front.
After holding each phone, it’s clear that while the iPhone 7 Plus is slimmer, the Pixel XL is actually lighter. The iPhone7 Plus will feel larger in your hand, which could be positive or negative, depending on the user.
While iPhone 7 obviously omitted the 3.5mm headphone jack from its design, we’re glad to see it sitting on top of Pixel XL’s. Nevertheless, we were pleasantly surprised to find the rare yet promising USB-C port (for charging) on Google’s flagship model.
Verdict: It’s a virtual tie as both are technological masterpieces that look equally pleasing to the eyes. The edge will depend on if you want a headphone jack or not. We’ll leave the winner of this round up to you!
Round 2: Price Tags
With these phones considered to be the best there is in the mobile phone market today, there’s little surprise that they command premium prices as well. Both Pixel XL and iPhone 7 Plus starts at an identical $769-price tag for their 32GB models. Frankly, it doesn’t go cheaper from there. If you want the 128GB model, it’s an extra $100 for each phone. Only the iPhone7 Plus offers an even larger storage model, at 256GB, which retails for $969.
It’s important to note, though, that prices of these devices vary based on the allotted internal memory and the retailer so you may have to check with local stores to get a clearer idea of how much each will cost you.
Verdict: It’s another tie between Pixel XL and iPhone 7 Plus, as the prices are identical.
Round 3: Camera Performance
A well-performing camera is a given at this price point. But which of the two has the best shooter in its arsenal?
While Apple flagships have delivered with well-rounded cameras through the years, Google Pixel XL is threatening to knock them out right from the start by coming up with the best smartphone camera ever. As a matter of fact, Pixel XL’s camera garnering a top DxOmark rating of 89 suggests that it might just be the real deal.
Meanwhile, iPhone 7 Plus tries to level the competition with a unique dual-lens rear camera setup, which comprises of two 12-megapixel sensors for wide-angle and telephoto modes. Impressive stuff, really.
Verdict: It’s tough to argue with a rating of “the best smartphone camera ever”. While to the average person, the difference is negligible, Google Pixel XL takes this round.
Round 4: Hardware
Although we thought this factor would be where a clear victor would emerge, it turns out that the two high-end models were clearly built with the best hardware anyone can find for mobile phones.
For instance, Pixel XL runs the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor while iPhone 7 Plus is powered by the new A10 Fusion chip that blends two high-performance cores with two more low-power ones. In other words, they’re both well-equipped to multi-task through various apps with little to no lags at all.
While iPhone 7 Plus may have excluded a 3.5mm headphone jack unlike the other handset but, it well makes up for it by having the largest available storage capacity option (256GB) of the two.
Verdict: No phone has the edge in terms of what’s under the hood. They both are pretty much built with impressive hardware to deliver an equally impressive performance.
Round 5: Software
Right out of the gate, Google Pixel XL clearly has the edge over all the other flagship Android phones in terms of software. While most Android flagships run Android Marshmallow, the Pixel comes with the newest Android OS version: the Nougat 7.1. Plus, Google’s device comes with the built-in Google Assistant—an infinitely better version of Google Now feature that can easily go toe-to-toe with Apple’s Siri.
As for iPhone 7 Plus, it runs on the latest and greatest iOS 10. It offers a streamlined experience for Apple and Mac users, and makes cross-device usage a breeze. Google Pixel XL also aims to have that same functionality for Android and PC users.
Verdict: Google’s smartphone may be at par with the software capability of Apple’s iPhone 7 for now but, it may have the slight edge when the Assistant proves to be a far more capable virtual assistant than Siri.
Round 6: Extra Perks
It took a while, but iPhone 7 Plus is finally dust and water resistant. It seems curious how Google Pixel XL could have launched while overlooking such a remarkable feature. However, one thing Google does right is provide users with unlimited cloud storage for their full-resolution photos and videos.
Another feature that makes Pixel XL stand out is that it has the sharpest display of the two devices. Although iPhone 7 Plus keeps itself relevant in this arena by incorporating pressure-sensitive technology in its design (3D Touch) so its display may be more functional than that of Pixel XL.
Verdict: We are giving this round to the iPhone, as being dust and water resistant is more vital to long-term use than unlimited cloud storage.
So, who wins? Google Pixel XL or iPhone7 Plus?
If you’re someone who gives a lot of weight to specs, it’ll probably be a toss up between Google Pixel XL and iPhone 7 Plus. The reason is that both devices are pretty much on par in terms of performance. Ultimately, choosing between the two will come down to design and software experience. If your computer is a Mac, and you have an iPad already, it would make more sense to go with the iPhone 7 Plus. If you don’t care about cross-device use, and all you want is a headphone jack, go with the Google Plus XL.
Nevertheless, we’re sure you’ll have little regrets picking whichever of the two as they’re both powerful, well-designed flagship models that can equally amaze and impress.