A quick examination of how Google’s Pixel phones compare to Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Need a new phone? We take a look at the key differences between Apple’s iPhone 7 and the new Google Pixel phone range
Apple’s iPhone 7 is here and, thanks to Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note 7, has had a pretty clear run at the market since its release last month. All this will change, however, on October 20 when Google releases its new Pixel phones.
Like Apple, Google has come to the fray with two handsets: the Google Pixel (5in) and the Google Pixel Plus (5.5in). This approach is more or less the same as Apple’s; the iPhone 7 at 4.7in is slightly smaller. Both phones share a lot of similarities in how they’re being marketed as well.
Both claim to have the best cameras in their class.
Both claim to be the smartest smartphones on the planet.
Both have conservative designs that can hardly be considered innovative.
Both will receive software updates as soon as they’re ready.
And, finally, both are pretty darn expensive.
For the most part, the choice between going for an Android phone or an iPhone, is largely based on prior purchases. Those that have used iPhones for years, investing hard-earned cash in Apple’s ecosystem, seldom leave. Ditto for Android. But it’s not everyday that Google releases a brand new phone brand, a move that will almost certainly interest plenty of tech-loving Apple enthusiasts.
In the same context, the iPhone 7 Plus’ camera is outstanding. Easily the best ever plopped inside a mobile phone, and this fact alone gives the handset a lot of gravity with consumers on both sides of the fence that hold photography close to their hearts.
In this article we’re going to be looking at the specs, the facts and the overall package. The point isn’t to say one is better than the other, consumer technology is frightfully subjective, but rather to highlight the USPs of each and demonstrate where they differ and what it means to you, the consumer.
First, let’s take a look at the specs for the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL:
Google Pixel vs Apple iPhone 7: Specs
Dimensions: 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6 mm
Display: 5in AMOLED capacitive touchscreen 1920 x 1080 pixels (441ppi)
Processor: MSM8996 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core CPU "Kryo" 2.1GHz
GPU: Adreno 530 GPU
Storage: 32GB or 128GB
Rear Camera: 12MP, f/2.0 aperture, phase detection & laser autofocus, two-tone dual-LED flash, 1/2.3" sensor size, 1.55µm pixel size, HDR, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panoramic capture, video at 2160p; 1080p; 720p
Front Camera: 8MP, f/2.4 aperture, 1/3.2" sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size, video at 1080p
Software: Android 7.1 Nougat
Battery: 2770mAh Quick Charge
Colours: Silver, Black, Blue (select regions; NOT UK)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.2 (LE), GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS, NFC, USB Type-C 3.0
Other Harware: Fingerprint scanner, IP53 splash resistant
Apple iPhone 7
Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
Display: 4.7in IPS LCD "Retina" (LED-backlit) capacitive touchscreen 1334x 750 pixels (326ppi), Wide Colour Gamut, 3D Touch
Processor: Apple A10 "Fusion" CPU quad-core 2.34GHz
GPU: Proprietary Six-Core GPU
Storage: 32GB,128GB, or 256GB
Rear Camera: 12MP, f/1.8 aperture, phase detection autofocus, OIS (optical stabilisation), two-tone quad-LED flash, 1/3" sensor size, HDR, geo-tagging, touch focus, face & smile detection, panoramic capture (with HDR), video at 2160p; 1080p; 720p
Front Camera: 7MP, f/2.2 aperture, video at 1080p, HDR, face detection, panoramic capture
Software: iOS 10.0.1 (Upgrades to iOS 10.0.2)
Colours: silver, gold, rose gold, black, "Jet Black" (Gloss)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.2 (LE), GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS, Lightning Port (USB 2.0 & 3.5mm audio jack adaptors), NFC (Apple Pay only)
Other Harware: Touch ID fingerprint scanner, 3D Touch Capacitive Home Key & Haptic Engine, IP67 water and dust resistant
The specs for the both Google Pixel phones are decent enough for today’s market. The imaging is very impressive, again, par for the course these days, but where Google is attempting to make a lot of friends is the software that ships inside the phones.
A lot of the core USPs aboard the Pixel phones WILL NOT be available on other Android phones. Google stayed pretty tight-lipped about this at launch but reports suggest the following features will ONLY be available on Pixel phones:
Unlimited storage for original quality photo / video
Pixel Camera app
Phone support (24-hour hotline)
Screen-share (part of the support service)
As a constant Android user, I have to say these exclusive features, notably unlimited storage for pictures and videos, Google Assistant and phone support, are all very tempting for me. Chuck in getting Android updates as soon as they’re available and what you’re looking at is one of the more compelling software propositions in the Android ecosystem.
I also like the inclusion of QuickCharge, whereby you can add in seven hour’s worth of battery life in just 15 minutes. QuickCharge is NOT exclusive to Pixel phones, however, so this is not a deal-breaker. What might be though is that neither Pixel phone is waterproof nor do they feature SD-support. Google’s beef with expandable storage RAGES on.
iPhone 7 Specs & Hardware
The look and feel of Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is very familiar. Apparently this was planned, though, according to Mr. Ive. Apple added in some new colour options and tidied up the exterior but that’s about it. If you’ve used an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6s you’re not going to be in for any surprises really, save for a missing headphone jack and a new capacitive Home key.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are, essentially, refinements on what came before: improved power management, marginal improvements in battery life, big uplifts to performance and graphics and vastly superior imaging. Imaging is the big USP, however, though the biggest talking point was undoubtedly the removal of the headphone hack.
Powering the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is Apple’s new A10 chipset. This thing is a monster, there’s no other way to describe it. With respect to processors, Apple is way ahead of the curve. Apple has always done more with less aboard its iPhones, but the last few releases have featured super-high-end power and that translated into exceptional performance across the board.
The other big difference with Apple’s iPhone 7 range is to do with storage. Previously, Apple favoured 16GB of storage for its base model, much to the chagrin of many commentators and reviewers. With the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, however, Apple ditched 16GB in favour of 32GB and added in 256GB options for the iPhone 7 Plus.
Google Pixel vs Apple iPhone 7: Design
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so with regards to which handset looks more attractive it's entirely subjective. Both designs are clearly very clean, high-tech, and tidy, so they each have that going for them. Apple's stuck with a fairly familiar overall aesthetic with the metal surround and back panel, but has neatened things up by moving the antenna bands to a more discrete location along the upper and lower edges. On top of that, the adoption of a capacitive touch Home key also contributes to the newly smoothed exterior aesthetic.
Google's look is a little less glamorous, shunning the brushed metallic premium vibe in favour a more industrial appearance; it's still metal, but incorporates a two-tone partial glass back panel design on the rear. Additionally, while Apple still incorporates its Touch ID fingerprint scanner into the front-mounted Home key, Google's fingerprint scanner is on the back of the device.
Apple's iPhone 7 is thinner and more lightweight (by only a little bit, mind you), but one of the biggest differences is invisible. While Google's Pixel only offers IP53 splash proofing certification to keep your phone safe when the weather turns bad, Apple (for the first time on an iPhone) offers full IP67 water and dust resistance, meaning the phone will survive being dunked into a sink or bath with no worries.
Another thing worth noting is the difference in connectivity; both devices support USB and 3.5mm audio connectors, but while the Google Pixel has these ports incorporated directly into the phone, Apple insists on using its proprietary Lightning port and supplying adaptors for the aforementioned connectivity types. This will be a big bugbear for some, but will fall by the wayside for others.
Google Pixel vs Apple iPhone 7: Price
If you were hoping for a new dawn of Nexus pricing with Google’s Pixel phones you will disappointed. Both the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL are expensive handsets. Even by modern Android standards. Both are now up for pre-order will be available from October 20 here in the UK. Below is a breakdown of the pricing:
Pixel will be £599 (32GB) and £699 (128GB) and Pixel XL at £719 (32 GB) and £819 (128GB) via Google Play. Pay monthly customers can pick up the Pixel, Phone by Google (5”) for an upfront cost of £79.99 and the Pixel XL (5.5”) for £159.99, both at £42 a month with 6GB of data allowance on Vodafone. All pre-order customers will receive a £50 ‘Google Play Store’ voucher to spend at their leisure.
And for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus?
iPhone 7 Price
32GB - $649 (£599, AU$1,079)
128GB - $749 (£699, AU$1,229)
256GB - $849 (£799, AU$1,379)
iPhone 7 Plus Price
32GB – $749 (£619, AU$1,129)
128GB – $849, (£699, AU$1,379)
256GB – $949 (£789, AU$1,529)
Alternatively, the Nexus 5X can be picked up for around £250 on Amazon, while the larger, better-specced Nexus 6P can be had for around £380, depending on which seller you plan on buying from. Just in case you're looking for a bargain ;)
13:50, 6 Oct 2016
Apple iPhone 7