Design
Where form meets function

With the Galaxy Note S7 down for the count, it seems the biggest market competition right now exists between two worthy adversaries: Apple’s iPhone 7 and Google’s Pixel.

The competition between the two is fierce, as the iPhone 7 continues Apple’s fight for the smartphone crown, and the Pixel takes over as Android’s main contender. In fact, a lot of people are saying the Pixel is the best Android-based phone ever released, and allegedly offer best-in-class features across the board.

The iPhone 7 — the behemoth iPhone 7 Plus, particularly — is lauded as one of the best smartphones of the year. It’s waterproof, has a snappy processor, incredible camera capabilities and no headphone jack, for better or worse.

In their own right, both of these phones truly are at the top of their own individual food chains, but what happens when you put both of them in the same room? How do they stack up? Well, without further ado, let’s compare the two of them:

The iPhone 7 has a Better Design

Apple

I’m not going to sit here and call the Pixel ugly or anything. In fact, it’s very, very closely — almost strangely — modeled after HTC’s popular phones, the One A9 and Desire 10, both of which are super attractive phones. But, when push comes to shove, the iPhone 7 is smaller, slimmer, lighter and water resistant.

The Pixel still clocks in at a very lean 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm and weighs just 143 grams — no easy feat by any means. Nevertheless, the iPhone comes in at 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm and weighs 138 grams.

Aside from the basic design elements, the iPhone 7 also outshines the Pixel from aesthetic and logistical design standpoints. While both phones utilize finger scanner technology, the iPhone 7’s is conveniently located on the front of the phone, while the Pixel is located on the back.

It might be easier to unlock the Pixel while you’re digging through your pants pocket, but that’s about it. The iPhone 7 is also waterproof up to a meter and completely dust tight (with an IP67 rating), while the Pixel can’t be submerged at all (well, not officially), and is only dust resistant—not dust proof (with an IP53 rating).

The Pixel has a Better Display—By Far—But the iPhone’s Is Still Great

Tech Radar

First and foremost, the Pixel has a bigger 5-inch screen (which probably contributes to its larger size — derp) compared to the iPhone 7’s 4.7 inches. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a noticeable difference when you have the two phones side by side.

The Pixel also features a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, which equates to a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch, while the iPhone 7 only features a 1334 x 750 resolution, which equates to roughly 326 pixels per inch.

What does it mean? Well, if I’m being honest, not much. The difference is so incredibly slight that you most likely won’t be able to notice it at all.

What you will notice, however, is the Pixel’s incredibly vivid AMOLED display compared to the iPhone 7’s outdated LED. There is a noticeable difference in the display quality on both phones but, even then, that’s not to say the iPhone’s display isn’t classically awesome right out of the box. But, if you’re looking for the latest and best display technology, the Pixel is your choice.

And one real quick point for the iPhone 7 — it features its new 3D Touch, which is basically Apple’s pressure-sensitive display feature. It’s very accurate, easy to get the hang of and integrates well with iOS 10.

Each Phone’s Camera has its Strengths and Weaknesses

iPhone left, Pixel right. Photo: Dominik Schulte / Highsnobiety.com

On paper, the Pixel has a more powerful camera at 12.3MP compared to the iPhone’s 12, but that’s seriously only a slight technicality that no one actually gives a shit about. For all intents and purposes, they’re both 12MP cameras.

The iPhone 7 features an f/1.8 lens, as opposed to the Pixel’s f/2.0, which doesn’t make too significant a difference in regular light, but, as Highsnobiety’s side-by-side test shows, makes a huge difference in low-light situations.

The iPhone kills the Pixel there. Close-up subjects bring out the best bokeh in both of these lenses, and we couldn’t honestly tell the difference between f/1.8 and f/2.0.

iPhone left, Pixel right. Photo: Dominik Schulte / Highsnobiety.com

The Pixel outperforms the iPhone in flash situations, as well as with selfies. Pixel’s colors are far more natural, and the front camera on the Pixel offers a slightly smaller focal length, which makes its field of view noticeably wider.

In everyday shooting, which phone you shoot with all depends on your shooting style. The iPhone 7 yields more accurate color and tone in general, but the Pixel shoots in a default HDR mode, which allows it to salvage more detail in every photo.

All in all, the differences between the two cameras are hardly deal-breaking; and while each has their own strengths and weaknesses, both cameras are top-tier performers.

The Pixel Is a Hardware Goliath on Paper, but Still Doesn’t Beat the iPhone

ifixit

Both the iPhone 7 and Pixel come with quad-core processors, but the Pixel includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 with a whopping 4GB of RAM, while the iPhone 7 has half that, at only 2GB of RAM. Even with half the RAM, in real-time speed tests, the iPhone 7 slaughtered the Pixel.

Additionally, the Pixel only offers two flash storage options, the 32GB and the 128GB, while the iPhone punches back with a 256GB model, too.

The only place where the Pixel seems to edge out the iPhone 7 in the hardware department is with its awesome battery life. The Pixel comes with a long-lasting 2770 mAh battery over the iPhone’s standard 1960 mAh battery.

That’s no surprise, of course, seeing as the iPhone is a notorious battery pig. If you need a strong, long-lasting battery, you may want to consider the Pixel here.

So, Who Wins?

Google / Apple

This one is a really tough match to call, because both phones really are excellent choices, and each is worthy of a fair share of pre-purchase time and commitment.

If you’re looking for the latest mobile phone technology, the Google Pixel is going to be ideal for your hobbies and interests. Are you a photographer? You may enjoy the beauty and incredibly sharp images of the iPhone 7. Battery Life? Pixel. If you’re in need of something small and light that can stand up to the elements? iPhone 7.

It really all depends what you’re looking for and, at least now, you have all the information you need to answer your questions. Happy hunting, nerds!

If you’re considering a Google Pixel, check out what critics are saying first.

  • Lead image: Google / Apple
Words by Maxwell Barna
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