Why the iPhone 15 Pro Max might prove to be too much for Pixel users to ignore

Why the iPhone 15 Pro Max might prove to be too much for Pixel users to ignore
Pixel users are pretty much a loyal group even though Google has made it hard for many to remain Pixel owners. The Pixel 6 series fingerprint sensors were either unlocking the phone for everyone or not unlocking the phone for the device owner. And the modem was so poor that many Pixel users would find it impossible to make a call even when they were in a serious situation that required that they get in touch with someone immediately.

When the Pixel 7 line was released last year, Google corrected the modem issue, tweaked the under-display fingerprint sensor, and added a 2D version of Face Unlock that can't verify the user's identity for Google Pay transactions. It also improved Face Unblur by using AI to turn blurry photos into sharp and clear images. Google also improved Direct my call which shows you a company's phone tree as soon as the call is answered.

No matter how many great features a phone has, if the battery is dead it is a paperweight until charged

Holdovers from the Pixel 6 line included the Magic Eraser, which eliminates distracting people, places, or things from a photo. And Hold for Me has the Google Assistant wait on hold and notify you when the person on the other end of the call returns. While these are all very useful, it appears that Google didn't learn a simple lesson. As great as a phone's features may be, if the battery is dead, the device becomes an expensive paperweight until recharged.

And this is something that Apple seems to understand. Perhaps the gang in Cupertino got the message when Samsung called iPhone users wallhuggers in an iconic 2014 ad. That commercial showed how most iPhone users in an airport (played by actors) would gravitate to the wall outlets in the terminal or even in the bathroom, desperate for a fix of electricity to keep their iPhone handsets running.

Apple has become much more seriously focused on battery life and has been starting with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. But it has been two steps forward, one step back. The iPhone 11 Pro Max carried a 3969mAh battery which delivered great battery life for users. Since the chip on the iPhone 12, the A14 Bionic, was the first to be manufactured using a 5nm process node, the decline to a 3687mAh battery on the iPhone 12 Pro Max wasn't seen as a cause for alarm since the new process node made the SoC more energy-efficient.

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But iPhone 13 Pro Max owners hit the jackpot with the 4352mAh battery that helped that model blow away the competition in all battery tests. Apple took a little step back with the 4323mAh battery that powers the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Still, battery life was slightly improved. And the rumor we passed along on the Fourth of July about iPhone 15 battery capacity hikes provided some fireworks of its own.

According to that rumor, the battery on the iPhone 15 Pro Max will weigh in at 4852mAh, a 12% hike from the battery used on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. But there's more. The iPhone 15 Pro Max (and the iPhone 15 Pro) will be powered by the A17 Bionic chipset making them the only phones this year that will be equipped with application processors manufactured using the 3nm process node. The lower process node and the higher battery capacity mean that the iPhone 15 Pro Max should have incredible battery life.

Now let's compare this with the rumored increase in battery capacity for the Pixel 8 Pro. The latest rumor, which we passed along the other day, reveals that the rated capacity for the Pixel 8 Pro battery will be 4950mAh, up from 4926mAh on the Pixel 7 Pro. And charging speed will increase from 23W to 27W. Even if the Tensor 3 is better than the Tensor 2, the small improvement in the Pixel 8 Pro's battery life, at least on paper, shouldn't come close to the battery life improvement we expect to see on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

When it comes to the Pixel, Google needs to stop taking baby steps

Now we need to point out that this is all based on rumored figures. But let's assume for a second that the numbers are correct. Will Pixel users continue to defiantly defend the phone or will they come to the conclusion, as many have, that the Pixel line is all about testing Android and that Google doesn't have a real interest in hardware?

I can't say I agree with that because Google has created this new ecosystem with the Pixel Watch, the Pixel Tablet, and the Pixel Fold. But if Google really wants to compete against Apple, it needs to take the Pixel 8 Pro battery life to much higher levels. It needs to equip the Pixel 8 line with an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner and include secure facial recognition. A top-of-the-line Snapdragon modem should be included, as well.

The time has come for Google to stop taking baby steps with the Pixel. Personally, I'm halfway out the door and looking at switching back to the iPhone 15 Pro Max this September. And I know I'm not the only Pixel owner who feels this way.

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