Apple's always offered its users a complete hardware-and-software smartphone experience: everybody gets iOS, and everybody gets the iPhone. With Android, that situation's a lot more complicated, with a litany of manufacturers to choose from, and little assurance their phones are running the newest, most-feature-packed software release available. But this year Google's stepping up in a way we haven't really seen before. While Nexus phones offered a pure-Google software experience, this year's new Pixel phones add that same sort of Google leadership to the hardware side of things, with a pair of handsets designed from the ground up to be 100% Google phones.

We've already gone head-to-head with the smaller iPhone 7 and Google Pixel, but for as much as we enjoy a good petite phone, there's a lot to be said for the big screens, big batteries, and all-around larger-than-life experiences of a more massive phablet. Luckily for us, both Apple and Google are ready to deliver with the iPhone 7 Plus and Pixel XL, respectively.

Do these two phones measure up in quite the same way as their smaller siblings, or does enough change with these bigger models that we'll look at their balance in a different light? Let's find out, with our iPhone 7 Plus and Pixel XL comparison.


Both Google and Apple scale up some familiar looks for their larger handsets

Smartphones may rely upon millions of lines of code, a dizzying array of tiny transistors, and more high-tech components than you can count, but there's little that affects our impressions of a handset more than its design and styling. Looking at both the iPhone 7 Plus and the Pixel XL, it's clear that a lot of thought went into making these handsets look and feel the way they do, all while Google and Apple made some very different decisions about how to put their phones together.

The iPhone 7 Plus is sleek, sturdy, and smooth. The phone scales up the dimensions of the iPhone 7 to accommodate for the Plus model's larger 5.5-inch screen, and while it's slightly thicker than the smaller handset, we're talking a near-indiscernible amount – to the tune of a fraction of a millimeter. But not all of the phone's hardware can squeeze into that slim body, and like the iPhone 7 itself, the Plus has to live with a camera bump, but it's significantly more pronounced on the 7 Plus: it both sticks out further, and takes up more surface area to make room for the phone's dual rear cameras.

While the Pixel XL is a thicker device than the iPhone, Google both manages to keep its thickness consistent from smaller to larger Pixel, as well as avoiding a camera bump altogether. This however, is at the cost of having the profile of the phone get progressively thicker towards the upper end. The handset's design is a bit unusual, taking advantage of multiple materials in a way that's unexpected but also really help the phone stand out in a busy Android market. Like the smaller Pixel, an edge design that shifts from curves, to flat surfaces, to angled bevels helps keep the handset feeling secure in your hand, which is a plus considering the phone's size.

Comparing the two phones against each other, while Apple's is the thinner handset, to the tune of more than a millimeter, Google's manages to be both shorter and narrower, despite the same 5.5-inch screen size.

Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL


6.09 x 2.98 x 0.34 inches

154.72 x 75.74 x 8.6 mm


5.93 oz (168 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus


6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm


6.63 oz (188 g)

Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL


6.09 x 2.98 x 0.34 inches

154.72 x 75.74 x 8.6 mm


5.93 oz (168 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus


6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm


6.63 oz (188 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


Big and bright, or big and pixel-dense – which matters more to you?

OK, now we're getting down to brass tacks: while the design of the Pixel XL and iPhone 7 Plus may carry over from the smaller versions of those handsets, each of these larger editions introduces a new screen, finally giving us something meaty to compare.

This time we're not looking at two differently sized components, with both the XL and 7 Plus going with 5.5-inch screens. But just as was the case with the smaller phones, Google outdoes Apple in terms of pixel density and resolution, giving it a 5.5-inch, 1440 x 2560 AMOLED panel to the iPhone's 1080 x 1920 screen – the same resolution as the 5-inch Pixel. But while Google may have an edge in sharpness, that doesn't have a big impact on general usability, and the iPhone 7 Plus still looks impressively crisp in handheld usage. Google may be putting those extra pixel to good use when you strap the Pixel XL into a Daydream View headset and start giving VR a spin, but they don't change the day-to-day experience much.

Like we noted with the smaller phones, Apple's screens are noticeably brighter than Google's, helping with outdoor visibility. And though both the Pixel XL and iPhone 7 Plus are both brighter than their siblings, Apple still comes out way in the lead here.



1. maherk

Posts: 7049; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Slap a fingerprint scanner on the front of the Pixel and you would find it extremely difficult to tell which is which.

2. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Yay, that's what pisses me off on the Pixel phones - the design. But the Pixel XL still beats the iPhone 7 Plus, hands down.

3. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Most of the specs are irrelevant now because no one is using the full cpu power or gpu power these days. Even the cameras are solid for most now. The main thing is battery life now and that's what these companies should focus on now. Apple does great in battery benchmarks for who knows what reason because all of the real life tests show how bad the iPhone battery life is. The converse is seen with Android devices but most still aren't up to a decent amount.

4. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"The main thing is battery life now..." What about VR? It's the hot thing now, and the Pixel phone's Daydream compatibility is a nice plus.

6. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

From a personal standpoint, when I hop over to my gs5 for a bit I think the biggest issue with it is standby/sleep time. My gs5 would literally drain 15% or more over night. My iPhone 7 loses 1% in the same time.

10. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Thats definitely an android issue....turn wifi and data off before you go to bed and see how much it drops by morning

16. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

You must not have Doze then or something's not allowing it to work correctly. Before Doze I would lose around 15% overnight, but after it's usually a 2-3% loss.

29. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

My LG G5 loose about 1-2% over night :)

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7605; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Specs are not irrelevant. The Daydream VR software is using the full power of its CPU, GPU, RAM, UFS storage, AMOLED display and more. VR is definitely up and coming. Not to mention more and more VR apps arrive everyday. Plus everyday lots of new 360 videos are uploaded. So it is here to stay. If you are interested in VR, then you don't even look at Apple.

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31736; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

My real life iPhone battery is great.

27. llk171

Posts: 95; Member since: Mar 31, 2013

So a decade later and specs finally don't matter for fandroids. It must be the awesome user experience of Android making the sales. Like waiting months on end for a carrier and manufacturer to decide it's time for an upgrade. Only reason android has more sales is because they produce cheap $50 bill handsets.

30. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Poor apple lover IIK171. Want to know one real reason android sell more? ppl like to be able to change OEM. I had LG , Samsung , htc ,Alcatel and Motorola device over the year. Each with different design and different set of features. All with the same google id and all my apps. What happen mr Fanboy if you wana try an android device to all your ios purchase? Yep down the drain. Not everyone like staying with same phone maker for years you know.

9. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

lol so true!

15. applesnapple93

Posts: 340; Member since: Jan 06, 2016

so the software taking advantage of the screen size.... well just neglect dual window/app multi tasking right?

31. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Yep not considered an advantage lol iphonearena at its best.

5. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

TL;DR: iPhone always won because it's iBiasArena. (But have to said truth that some feature from iPhone are really advantages)

7. fancollo

Posts: 130; Member since: Dec 30, 2015

Well, if you're into Apple or Google, those are the phones you need to get and show off. But technically, both are not the top of smartphone technology. for what they offer, they just cost too much. an iphone or a pixel may cost less in the US, but since the US are not the entire planet, i don't see why these are considered top smartphones. They cost just ridiculously too much on "unimportant" parts of the planet. A Honor 8 costs 400 dollars, both iphone 7 and pixel (not the big ones), cost more than double (900-1000+ dollars) in Europe.

8. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

With that price, just go with the 7plus. You'll have lots of years of more software updates compared to the pixel just having two. Tbh I hate the design of the pixel, it looks like a cheap generic phone. 7 plus looks better with that metallic design

17. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

The problem is after 2 years you're going to start seeing performance drop a bit because most apps are updated to take advantage of newer hardware. That and the battery won't have as much staying power simply due to them having a lifecycle based on a certain number of charges. I'm not really a fan of the Pixel's design, but they've both got a metallic body.

32. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

they both look the same so if you say its generic cheap phone then iPhone 7 also cheap generic metallic design. Personaly i like both iPhone 7 and pixel design those are my kind of phone (design wise ) After 2 years you dont want OS update because its will start to make your phone slowdown and lower battery life you really want security update ( wich will be provided with the pixel ) and API update for apps ( wich google update on all android phone from 2.3.2 to android 7.1 directly from the playstore ) Finally ios update are crap they break so many phone and create so many bugs its ridiculous.. and they have no excuses as they dont have as many handset to test it on as android has. So sorry Tiara you are wrong!

11. aegislash

Posts: 1536; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

Battle of the bezel.

14. ChafedBanana

Posts: 409; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

Really? It takes 3 hours and 17 minutes to charge an iPhone?

18. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

My 6p charges in under half that.

33. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Using the normal charger thats its come with it yes. Using iPad charger you can cut 25-30% of thats. Still pretty slow compared to most android handset.

19. QuadFace

Posts: 179; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Why is it the PA has no plan to do comparison between the pixel and HTC 10 especially the cameras? I am tired of waiting.

20. Derekjeter

Posts: 1568; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

I returned my Pixel XL. The lack of the front speaker was not working for me. My good ole Nexus 6p wont be replaced this year.

21. Duke19

Posts: 27; Member since: Oct 02, 2014

Shame to see such poor battery performance on the Pixel XL. Just over 7 hours is not acceptable.

34. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Dont beleive biased battery life test. i have client thats upgraded from iPhone 6S+ and note 5 and they all say the battery life is way better than both of the older handset they where using. Only return i had is one client thats did not want to loose over 3000$ of apps lol ( thanks apple for golden jail )

24. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Looks like IPhone 7 plus is still the phone to beat. Good try Google. Keep up the hard work and see what next year brings.

35. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

i dont agree but its okay if you are an iPhone user you dont have much choice anyway.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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