iPhone 7 Plus vs. Pixel XL (Smartphone Showdown)

Time for something a bit different. Up until now, we’ve been comparing Android-based phones to one another; this time, though, we’re going to compare what many consider to be the cream of the Android crop – Google’s Pixel XL – with the Apple’s most popular device – the iPhone 7 Plus. Since iOS and Android are very different beasts in terms of Operating System, I’m going to focus on hardware, and the value of that hardware for the price – off contract, though I’ll make a note of the on-contract price and carrier availability as well.

Let’s get it on!

Build

168g vs. 188g

IP 53 vs. IP 67

Let’s start with the body – both phones are made of mostly aluminum frames, with a bit of glass accent on the Pixel XL. While the 7 Plus is heavier, taller and wider than is the Pixel, it’s also more than a millimeter thinner. The Pixel is “splash” and dust resistant, while the 7 Plus (probably referred to just as the iPhone from now) is “water” and dust resistant. In quantifiable terms, the Pixel has an IP (Ingress Protection) Rating of 53 – the iPhone comes in at 67. Pixel’s rating means it is resistant to heavy amounts of dust and resistant to “sprays” of water (mist). The iPhone’s, however, is much more impressive – dust-proof and protected from water immersion of up to 1m. As usual, Apple’s build quality is really the industry standard; I don’t think you’ll find many people out there that’ll argue with you.

Screen

5.5″ AMOLED vs. 5.5″ IPS LCD

534 ppi vs. 401 ppi

We all know I’m biased here – I love me some AMOLED screens. Pixel has a higher screen density and uses a more energy-conservative technology (though the iPhone’s is probably less hungry, given the lower pixel density). The iPhone’s screen also sports 3D Touch, which while the technology hasn’t taken off as Apple hoped, is still different than anything Pixel has (though it should be noted that Google is trying to compete in this area with its new Launcher Shortcuts). In Google’s favor, Pixel is built with Gorilla glass – and as we all know, Apple’s phones tend to…shatter a bit.

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Internals

Snapdragon 821 (2.15GHz) vs. A10 Fusion (2.34GHz)

4GB RAM vs. 3GB RAM

128GB vs. 256GB Internal Storage

Kind of an interesting mix, here. Pixel XL has more RAM, but iPhone has a stronger processor and a higher maximum internal storage. Apple’s line has always managed to do more with less in terms of RAM, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in that 1GB advantage Pixel has – if anything, this is a wash.

Internal Features

802.11AC Wifi, Bluetooth 4.2, Fingerprint Sensor

Type-C USB vs. Lightning Connector

Standard practices here, with a couple exceptions – Fingerprint sensors and charging connectors. Pixel utilizes its fingerprint sensor to enable gestures, controlling the notification shade without using the touchscreen. Apple prefers its own proprietary technology for charging (there’s a shocker), while Google uses the new industry standard USB-C cable. AndroidPit has a very good comparison of the two technologies – give it a read.

I just wanted an excuse to show off this picture we took – I’m a sucker for woodgrain.

Battery Life

3450mAh vs. 2900mAh

32hrs vs. 21hrs Talk Time

Pixel’s battery is 550mAh larger than is the iPhone’s, and it shows in the difference in talk time. Pixel’s AMOLED screen should help use the battery efficiently, despite being an overall more dense resolution, and the higher clock speed of Apple’s CPU makes it a bit more of a power hog. Expect to get as significantly longer charge out of Pixel.

Camera

12.3mp vs. 12mp

Dual LED vs. Quad LED Flash

F2.0 vs. F1.8/2.3 Aperture

1.55 μm vs. 1.22 μm Pixel Size

This is a mess, specification-wise. Pixel has more megapixels, larger aperture, a stronger selfie camera, and laser focus. The iPhone has smaller pixel size (giving it an overall better resolution) optical zoom, dual cameras (one of which has a comparable aperture size to Pixel), and HDR support. Lots to choose from – personally, I’m thinking the iPhone’s camera probably has the edge.

Value

$869 vs. $969

Damned near a grand for a smartphone – what is the world coming to. My goodness. I’m not even gonna comment anymore. Just think on that for a moment.

Verdict

I’m an AndroidGuy, through and through. I will always choose Android over Apple, and it’s 100% based on the philosophy of their creators. Google celebrates diversity, individuality, and open-source development. Apple prefers to limit all its software to Apple hardware, and prefers making proprietary accessories and charging an arm and a leg for them. No contest in my eyes.

…That being said, if you’re talking purely about hardware, these two phones are pretty comparable – just how Google planned it, I’m sure.