Call Quality



Shock of shocks: with all this high-end hardware inside, calls on both phones sound stellar. It's a tough judgment, but if we had a gun to our head, the iPhone may deliver calls with a lower noise floor, helping you to sound exceptionally clear – but that's by a small margin, with the Pixel still sounding great under most circumstances.

Battery Life

Google strikes a delicate balance, giving Apple room to pull ahead


Just like the smaller phones, the Pixel XL has a larger battery than the iPhone 7 Plus, but the gap is starting to close, with the Pixel XL's 3,450 mAh battery only 19% bigger than the iPhone's 2,900 mAh battery (whereas the Pixel's is almost twice as big as the iPhone 7's).

Unfortunately for Google, the Pixel XL seems to need all that extra juice just to keep its big, high-res screen running, and our constant-brightness screen-on test didn't show the phone lasting any longer than the smaller Pixel. Apple manages not to suffer the same fate, and the iPhone 7 Plus adds a solid hour-and-a-half to the iPhone 7's run time. So while the iPhone 7 and Pixel were pretty evenly matched in terms of battery life, with the larger handsets the iPhone 7 Plus emerges as the decisive winner.

Well, that's the case for discharge times, anyway, but there's a flip side to great battery life on the iPhone 7 Plus: it also takes much longer to recharge, and while the Pixel XL can go from empty to full in under two hours, the iPhone 7 Plus needs north of three.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Google Pixel XL 7h 19 min (Average)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 9h 5 min (Good)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Google Pixel XL 118
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 197

Conclusion


Much as we saw with the iPhone 7 and 5-inch Pixel, the iPhone 7 Plus and Pixel XL don't give either much wiggle room in this comparison: one may have a slim lead in one category, while the other pulls a little bit ahead in another. Though this time, it did feel like Apple was leading in more categories than in our last match.

Pricing is right on par as well, with both phones starting at $770 for their 32GB models, or $870 for 128GB. And just as was the case with the little phones, Apple offers a higher-end 256GB option, as well as a greater variety of colors: five to the Pixel XL's three.

One important consideration, at least at this present moment, is availability. The iPhone 7 Plus quickly became hard to come by immediately after it launched, but by now orders are shipping in three to four weeks. The Pixel XL, meanwhile, is out-of-stock at many retailers (including the Google Store), with no promises about when it may arrive. So should you just go with the iPhone because it's easier to get your hands on?

Well, once again this one comes down to personal taste. A huge component of that decision concerns your feelings towards iOS and Android, but even if you're flexible there, you have to look at other things that matter. Is waterproofing a big concern? Would you rather have a higher-res display or a brighter one? There's no easy answer to “is this the right choice for most shoppers,” but hopefully with the breakdown we've brought you here, you're a lot better equipped to decide which factors are more important to you, and choose the phone you'll be most happy with.

Google Pixel XL

Pros

  • More flexible camera exposure
  • Fast recharge times
  • Headphone jack
  • Higher-res display

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Pros

  • Brighter screen
  • More color/storage options
  • Optical zoom
  • Slimmer build
  • Stereo speakers
  • Longer battery life
  • Waterproof






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