iPhone 7 Plus vs. Pixel XL: Heavyweight title fight

GSMArena team, 28 October 2016.


Tenth generation versus the first of its kind - the iPhone 7 versus the Google Pixel, in their Plus-size versions (or XL in Google terms).

There have been phones by Google, you may argue, but no Nexus has been the epitome of what an Android smartphone should be quite the same way that the Pixel is. Even though that's exactly what we were told for years. Well, now we know that Nexuses were for devs and geeks, and Pixels are for users.

iPhone 7 Plus vs. Pixel XL

But going for the ultimate user experience is not the only way in which the Pixel resembles the iPhone, not at all. Google's latest has the iPhone 7 so well centered in its crosshairs that it matches its pricing to the dollar across sizes, storage options and markets. A premium price for a premium device - that's the message.

With that premise, figuring out which one gives you a better value for your hard-earned cash (not an insignificant amount of it, too), comes down simply to which is the better phone. Looking at the specsheets alone, a few key differences emerge.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus at a glance

  • 5.5" 16M-color LED-backlit IPS LCD screen of 1080p resolution, 401ppi, wide color gamut, 3D Touch tech
  • Quad-core (2+2) 64-bit Apple CPU, hexa-core GPU, 3GB of RAM, Apple A10 Fusion SoC
  • Dual 12MP camera: wide-angle F/1.8 + telephoto F/2.8, easy switch and live bokeh effects, optical image stabilization, quad-LED flash, phase detection auto focus, wide color capture, 2160p@30fps video recording
  • 7MP F/2.2 front-facing camera with BSI sensor and HDR mode, 1080p@30fps video
  • Water-proof metal unibody with redesigned, less-obtrusive antenna strips
  • Pressure-sensitive Home key powered by a brand new Taptic Engine
  • Comes in 32, 128, and 256GB of built-in storage
  • Second-gen Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • 4G LTE Cat.9 (600Mbps); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.2; Lightning port; GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS; NFC (Apple Pay only)
  • 2,900mAh battery

Google Pixel XL at a glance

  • 5.5" AMOLED screen of QHD resolution, 534ppi, 100% NTSC; 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4
  • Quad-core Kryo processor, Adreno 530 GPU, 4GB of RAM, Snapdragon 821 chipset
  • Google-loaded Android 7.1 Nougat; 2 years of OS upgrades from launch, 3 years of security updates
  • 12.3MP camera, f/2.0 lens, 1.55Ám pixels, Phase and Laser AF, dual-LED, dual-tone flash; 2160p and 1080p @ 30/60/120fps video capture
  • 8MP selfie camera, f/2.4 lens, 1.4Ám pixels; 1080p video capture
  • Aerospace-grade aluminum unibody (glass window on the back); splash and dust resistant (IP53)
  • Comes with 32GB or 128GB of built-in storage, no expansion
  • Fingerprint reader, Android Pay
  • LTE Cat 9 or 11 (450Mbps or 600Mbps downlink, 50/75Mbps uplink); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE), GPS + GLONASS, NFC
  • 3,450mAh battery; Fast charging over USB Type-C

A few key differences are immediately notable, so let's start with those.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Apple iPhone 7 Plus

  • Dual 12MP camera with OIS (vs. single 12MP, no OIS)
  • Water resistance (vs. splash resistance)
  • Stereo speakers
  • 3D Touch
  • 256GB version
  • Best mobile chipset
  • Siri can certainly hold its own when it comes to controlling your phone with voice
  • 4+ years of OS updates vs. 2 years of new OS updates and 3 years of security patches on the Pixel

Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel XL

  • Sharper screen (534ppi vs. 401ppi)
  • Lighter and marginally more compact (at the same screen size)
  • Fast charging
  • Headphone jack
  • 3D Touch alternative by long-pressing
  • Google Assistant might be the first actually useful digital assistant
  • Daydream VR is perhaps the next big thing in the living room entertainment

This won't be your usual battle of flagships here. We won't be dissecting the two smartphones chapter by chapter like we've done in the past. Instead we'll focus on the key stuff - display, battery, and camera. And since Google Assistant is among the Pixel's major selling points, we'll touch on how it fares against Siri. But not before we share some thoughts on the controversial topics of design and appeal.