APPLE HAS HAD its time in the sun with the much-publicised iPhone 7, and now it’s the turn of Google, having shelved its Nexus brand to unleash its new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones onto the world.
We’ve pitted the 5in Google Pixel against the iPhone 7 to see how it stacks up against the mighty rival.
Google Pixel: 1434x70x8.6mm, 143g
iPhone 7: 138x67x7.1mm, 138g, IP67 certification
The Google Pixel’s design borrows heavily from the HTC One A9, itself a handset that looked to the iPhone for inspiration.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see a similarly curved metal shell complete with antenna lines and chunky bezels. In order to differentiate itself, however, the Google Pixel has a two-tone finish with a mirrored coating providing the backing for the camera and fingerprint sensor.
The iPhone 7’s tried and tested design will prove reassuring if you’re familiar with Apple’s output of the past few years. That said, the firm has finally upped the handset’s toughness by adding IP67 certification. This means that the iPhone 7 can survive in water to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes. In this first iteration, Google’s Pixel phone remains unprotected.
Apple has also made some changes to the Home button, which replaces the style of old with a new taptic engine. The button is pressure sensitive and manages to bundle in Siri functionality, Touch ID and Apple Pay.
The Google Pixel lacks a hardware-based Home button, but there’s a fingerprint sensor on the rear that caters for Android Pay and device security.
Apple did away with the Space Grey model with the arrival of the iPhone 7 and introduced Black and Jet Black to augment the darker end of the spectrum. Those in need of light relief can still choose from Silver, Rose and Rose Gold. The Google Pixel keeps things simple with a choice of silver, white or blue.
When it comes to connections, the Pixel favours a USB-C port while the iPhone 7 has a Lightning connector. Controversially, Apple ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of its proprietary connection, but Google decided to stick with it.
Google Pixel: 5in, 1920×1080 resolution at 441 ppi
iPhone 7: 4.7in 1334×750 resolution at 326ppi
We might bemoan the Google Pixel’s Full HD display, but even that looks impressive when put alongside the iPhone 7’s specs. It also offers a slightly greater screen-to-body ratio at 69 per cent compared with 65.6 per cent, although the iPhone offers a wider colour gamut and a 25 per cent increase in brightness compared to the iPhone 6S before it.
In terms of protection, the Google Pixel uses Gorilla Glass 4 and the iPhone 7 uses ion-strengthened glass and a coating that limits smudging.
Google Pixel: Android 7.1 Nougat
iPhone 7: iOS 10
The Google Pixel will run Android Nougat, not v7.0 but an incremental update to 7.1 which introduces Quickcuts, launcher shortcuts that work much in the same way as Apple’s 3D Touch.
Android 7.0 Nougat introduced a wealth of functionality like a new split-screen mode, file-based encryption, enhanced notifications and support for the Vulkan API which will deliver cutting-edge 3D graphics. The Pixel is the first smartphone to come with Google Assistant baked into the software, and the firm has also included Google to include AI-powered Allo and Duo services.
The iPhone 7 comes with Apple’s latest iOS 10 operating system, which adds third-party Siri support, new lock screen widgets, and revamped Messaging, Maps, Photos, Apple Music and News apps.
Google Pixel: Snapdragon 821, quad-core 2.15GHz and 1.6GHz, 4GB of RAM
iPhone 7: Apple A10 Fusion chip, quad-core 2.23GHz, 2GB of RAM
Apple’s A10 Fusion chip is hands down the fastest in a smartphone to date and wiped the floor with the competition in our benchmarks despite the 2GB RAM quota.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 is the follow up to 2016’s best performing Android chip, so it’ll be interesting to see what improvements have been made this time around. Speed increases of 10 per cent have been touted which, if true, will benefit both app performance and battery life.
Google Pixel: 12.3MP rear-facing, f/2.0, 8MP front-facing
iPhone 7: 12MP rear-facing, f/1.8, OIS, 7MP front-facing
The iPhone 7 pips the Pixel in the battle of the apertures which means that Apple’s effort is likely to perform better in low light. In our iPhone 7 review, we applauded the six-element lens for its efforts in overcast and murky environments.
It looks as though the Pixel’s 12.3MP snapper has been ripped straight from the Nexus 6P, although Google is touting it as the most advanced smartphone camera on the market. The dual-LED (dual tone) flash is welcome but the iPhone 7 manages a Quad-LED.
Google Pixel: 2,770mAh
iPhone 7: 1,960mAh
The Pixel will benefit from fast charging, a trick that the iPhone is sadly yet to master. Google claims that 15 minutes on charge will equip the device with seven hours of juice.
In pure capacity terms, the 2,770mAh is more than Apple’s effort but falls a little behind other 2016 handsets. We assume that Google has worked some magic with Android 7.0 Nougat to make better use of the Snapdragon 821 and improve power efficiency across the board.
Our iPhone 7 managed a full day of use before it needed a lie-down.
Google Pixel: 32GB/128GB
iPhone 7: 32GB/128GB/256GB
The Google Pixel almost matches the iPhone 7 when it comes to storage. Both have the lower 32GB and middling 128GB capacity but, discounting the ‘unlimited’ room for photos and videos, that’s as far as the Pixel goes.
The two phones are fairly evenly matched on paper. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 could provide the Pixel with the extra grunt needed to challenge Apple’s new Fusion internals, while Android 7.1 Nougat introduces enough new functionality to reinvigorate the rival OS. µ
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