Pixel XL vs iPhone 7 review


THE PIXEL XL, which along with the smaller Pixel is being touted as the first ‘Made by Google’ smartphone, sees Google looking to take on Apple at its own game. 

Both smartphones have impressed us separately, so we decided to pit the two flagships head-to-head o see how they stack up when placed in direct competition. 

Design
Pixel XL: 155x76x8.5mm, 168g, USB Type-C
iPhone 7: 138x67x7.1mm, 138g, IP67 certification, Lightning port

Comparing the diminutive iPhone 7 with the Google Pixel XL is a bit like pitting David against Goliath.

The Pixel XL may mark Google’s entry-proper into the hardware world, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see fingerprints from the so-called “contract manufacturer” all over it. In this case that’s HTC, so it’s unsurprising the Pixel XL looks a lot like the HTC One A9.

That very handset took inspirational cues from the iPhone too, so when put side-by-side at least, the subject’s of this review look spookily similar.

Pixel XL vs iPhone 7 - size

Both the iPhone 7 and Pixel XL exhibit a curved metal shell replete with antenna lines and oversized chunky bezels. To its credit the Pixel, it does its best to introduce a little differentiation by adding a two-tone finish, and partially covering the rear of the device in glass.

On the face of it the iPhone 7 looks like business as usual. The design is a winner after all, save for the implementation of IP67 certification which is a welcome addition seeing as all and sundry are jumping on the bandwagon. Such safeguards mean the iPhone 7 is able to survive in water up to 1m deep, for a period of 30 minutes. In contrast, the Pixel XL offers no such tricks.

Pixel XL vs iPhone 7

Both phones incorporate fingerprint sensors for security and payment purposes, which can be found on the rear of the Pixel XL and in the Home button on the front of the iPhone 7.

This time around, however, Apple has replaced the technology behind the button, opting for solid-state input with a vibration motor that provides feedback. While we’re talking changes, the iPhone 7 also marks the much-publicised removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Audio is now provided through the Lightning port (which also scratches data and power itches), or via use of a bundled adapter.

Conversely the Google Phone uses USB Type-C for all of its connectivity needs.

Winner: Draw

Display
Pixel XL: 5.5in 2560×1440, 534ppi
iPhone 7: 4.7in 1334×750, 326ppi

On paper, the iPhone has never really dazzled with its display specs. It’s all the more frustrating as we know Apple’s capable of more – the iPhone 7 Plus gets a resolution bump to 1080×1920, for example.

Resolution aside, the most jarring aspect is the size of that screen. The 5.5in of the Pixel XL dwarfs the 4.7in iPhone 7, so if you’re an Android user and looking to make the move it might take some readjustment.

iphone-7 display

In its defence, the iPhone does offer a wider colour gamut and a 25 per cent increase in brightness compared to the iPhone 6S before it. If that sounds impressive, it is. The iPhone 7 is capable of 705 nits meaning it’s as bright as you like, as such it’s easy to look past the discrepancy’s between the two. No one display is better than the other.

The two phones differ when it comes to screen technology, with Apple opting for LCD and Google for AMOLED. The latter is deemed ‘Daydream ready’ and will enable the Pixel XL to take advantage of Google’s VR platform in the coming months. Never one to be outdone, the iPhone 7 offers extra levels of functionality with its pressure sensitive 3D Touch tech.

We already know Apple’s doubled-down on protection for 2016, and the display isn’t left out with its Ion-strengthened glass and oleophobic coating. The latter should help to prevent the build-up of fingerprints by making it easier to wipe down. The Pixel XL is strengthened with Gorilla Glass 4.

Winner: Draw

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