Introduction


What's the quintessential Android smartphone now? With Apple and iOS, it's easy, and while there will be a holdout or two shouting about the virtues of the iPhone SE until no one's left to listen, it's not at all controversial to award the iOS version of that honor to the iPhone 7. But with Android? There was a time we'd point to the uber-popular Samsung flagships as probably the most obvious example of how to successfully make an Android phone, but with the huge PR hit the Galaxy brand has taken as a result of the Note 7 meltdown, we're accepting new nominations.

As fate would have it, Samsung's struggles coincide with the launch of Google's own phones, its first models to bear the Pixel name. And while Nexus devices of years past may have been received more as tech demos, or hardware for fanboy enthusiasts (though that image has been lightening in recent years), Google's really going out of its way with the Pixel phones to make a big commercial push, getting smartphone shoppers excited about unique hardware that taps into the Android software and service ecosystem at a core level.

Times may change as we roll into the new year and get to meet the next generation of Android heavyweights, but for now, the Pixel is arguably the best example of what Google's smartphone platform has to offer.

Now that we've identified the Androidiest Android and the iPhoneiest iPhone, what better to do than to see how these two phones at the top of their game stack up against each other? They're very different handsets, sure, but what does each have to offer – where are their strengths and weaknesses? You're about to find out, as we compare the Google Pixel against the Apple iPhone 7.

Design

Google may not have caught up with Apple's design refinement just yet, but it's close


Both Apple and Google know that smartphones aren't one-size-fits-all, and they're smart enough to give their users multiple size options. But while Google's been all too willing to embrace larger handsets (look no further than the fall of 2014 and the solitary launch of the six-inch Nexus 6), Apple's still coaxing some of its base away from their four-inch (or even smaller) iPhones. As a result, the iPhone 7 arrives as a more compact 4.7-inch model to the Google Pixel's 5.0-inch screen.

But it goes beyond just screen size. Apple's refinement of its hardware design has brought us one of the tightest, most feature-packed handsets for its size in the iPhone 7 – and even if you're not an iOS fan, it's hard to deny that this is some exceptionally well done hardware. At once it feels remarkably solid and satisfyingly thin. The buttons are clicky and responsive, and even the new solid-state home button with its Taptic Engine trickery works great. If there's one dark spot on the iPhone 7's design it's the still-quite-controversial decision to nix the handset's analog headphone jack – but ask us again in a year, and we may be over it by then.

The Google Pixel is also a very well built handset, and one whose design brings with it its own controversies: the half-glass back is an unusual choice (though one we quickly found ourselves coming around to), and in a world where every handset manufacturer seems to be wholeheartedly embracing waterproofing (including long-time hold-out Apple), Google elected to do without for the Pixel. It's a larger phone than the iPhone, understandably, a situation only compounded by Google's edge design. And with a combination of curves, flat surfaces, and angled bevels, the Pixel may offer a comfortable grip, but it's also a model that never feels quite as sleek and effortless as the iPhone.


Google Pixel

Google Pixel

Dimensions

5.66 x 2.74 x 0.34 inches

143.84 x 69.54 x 8.58 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Google Pixel

Google Pixel

Dimensions

5.66 x 2.74 x 0.34 inches

143.84 x 69.54 x 8.58 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

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



Display



Apple could be going the way of AMOLED panels soon, but with this generation of iPhone, it returned to familiar LCD screens. The 4.7-inch screen sticks with its familiar (for Apple, and only Apple) 750 x 1334 resolution, for a pixel density of 326 ppi.

Google's 5.0-inch AMOLED screen on the Pixel may not be much larger than Apple's, but its 1080 x 1920 resolution is significantly higher, offering a density that hits 441 ppi. Honestly, though, both screens look super-sharp, and you're never going to be spotting individual pixels under general usage conditions.

When testing the Pixel's screen, we had some issues with color accuracy, but with the ability to correct that over-saturation in software, it's not a huge deal. The much more important consideration between these two displays is how they fare in outdoor visibility, and the limited brightness levels the Pixel is capable of hitting end up putting it at a big disadvantage compared to the extra-bright iPhone 7 – one of the brightest screens we've tested all year.



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75 Comments

1. mahima

Posts: 727; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

i don't believe in apple brightness test at all...

4. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

17. mahima

Posts: 727; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

not about the iphobe, i kwow they have one of the brightest screen(thats all they have to say anyway) All phones brightness test is not what i trust, especially the nonapple

20. sgodsell

Posts: 7187; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Should be lower maximum brightness. Just like does anyone here believe that an AMOLED and an IPS display have almost the same minimum brightness. That is just BS iPhonearena. AMOLED pixels are either powered on or they are off. An IPS display is not the same at all. So when these BS charts show that the iPhone7 has a minimum brightness of 2. Isn't that real funny how the Samsung S7 and Now 7 had the same minimum brightness as the iPhone 7. The other thing is there is no mention of VR and why you need a higher resolution display. If both displays were used for VR, then the iPhone 7 would not only have a smaller FOV (Field of View), but it would also look like crap. The iPhone 7 would only have a resolution of 667x750 per eye, whereas the Pixel would have a resolution of 960x1080 per eye. Putting VR aside you can still see the clarity.

31. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2340; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Well DisplayMate found the iPhone 7 to have a 3 nits minimum brightness, so PhoneArena's benchmark could be off but only by one nit. I doubt that two different websites would benchmark around the same amount if it were not to be the case. Unless you want to give some drawn out conspiracy theory of how PhoneArena and DisplayMate are both a part of the illuminati with the ultimate quest of altering display benchmark results to somehow control consumers into buying the iPhone 7. i would love to read that one actually. And you do make a good point about VR. It is true that a 2K resolution display would benefit those wanting that VR experience.

54. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Because a smart mobile phone user gives a flying f**k on VR capabilities... Oh, wait, we don't!

2. aman5mathur

Posts: 241; Member since: Mar 28, 2014

The iphonearena has the blind test camera results but still wont admit that pixel produces better images than all the flagships including the iphone 7 plus Such BS

3. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

UNBELIEVABLE! Despite the pixel being widely regarded as the better camera, Phonearena can't bring themselves to admit it. Yet instead of saying the same about call quality ("you will enjoy satisfied with either"), they say the iPhone is better. They even had to put the iPhone 1 min head on the battery. Hilarious

8. sissy246

Posts: 7065; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Well it is iphonearena. They also STILL have to bring up the note 7 even though it is old news and gone. But they have to keep that jab going. They will never tell the truth about iPhones.

10. sissy246

Posts: 7065; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

That's the other thing, a lot of people reported bad call quality.

28. Subie

Posts: 2350; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

They base their reviews on the tests units in hand. So if both units had great call quality then thats how they report.

50. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

And what about the phonearena article where the pixel destroyed the iPhone in the blind camera test?

57. Subie

Posts: 2350; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

On camera quality this review states "And the reality is that both handsets produce wonderful pictures". bases on the pics used in this review I'd say that's accurate. The blind camera test was a separate article and has no bearing on the outcome of this one. (PS - I preferred the Pixel shots too) The Note 7 has had many articles on fires and recalls, but that had no bearing on the good experience and review and rating given by PA with their test unit. Nor should it IMO.

11. bucky

Posts: 3776; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

widely regarded? I was just about to comment on how every site i go to is back and forth between the ip7, pixel and gs7.

62. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

It also depends on what aspect of the camera IMO its: Photo quality day Pixel > S7 > iP7 Photo quality night/high dynamic range Pixel >> S7 > iP7 Video quality S7 > iP7 > Pixel Slo mo quality Pixel > iP7 >> S7 Audio quality S7 >> Pixel > iP7 Depending on use cases, it will go back and forth between them

13. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Looking better and being more accurate are two different things, the Pixel defaults to HDR+ so they're going to look nice, However that also means they sometimes look too saturated, similar to what you get with some HDR camera apps on the market. I have no doubt the Pixel's have great cameras, but other than then some clever software they're not much different to other flagship devices. Comparing HDR+ to a standard image is Apples and Oranges.

21. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

The pixel is better in low light than the iphone.... fact. Pixel>gs7>ip7 and I'm a huge sammy fan boy but you can deny the facts

40. bucky

Posts: 3776; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

that is your (expected) opinion, not fact.

51. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

According to DxO it is fact. I trust them more than any of the mongs on here

61. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

HDR+ Auto isn't really Apples and Oranges any more since its just as instantaneous as HDR+ Off HDR+ On is still Apples and Oranges HDR+ is not what you find in most camera apps The only one I know with something similar is Super Mode in an app called "A Better Camera", the rest just have regular HDR HDR+ sometimes look too saturated isn't really a negative since any phone's can slip up from time to time

65. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

"I have no doubt the Pixel's have great cameras, but other than then some clever software they're not much different to other flagship devices." The same could be said for Apple. When Apple was king of the hill it was due in a large part to their post processing software.

18. Scott93274

Posts: 6031; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Seriously, the difference between the image quality of the iPhone 7 and the Pixel was night and day, this was proven in the blind camera comparison conducted by this site where the vast majority of people picked the Pixel over the iPhone. As for the battery, The Pixel did smoke the iPhone in charge times. Also, I had unplugged my Nexus 6P from the outlet at 100%, left it alone for 7 hours and it was down 9% when I picked it back up again, it said it had 3 days remaining on battery life... I think that's amazing stand-by time for Android, and I wonder if iOS is optimized to come anywhere that close? ... My point being, there's a lot of different ways to measure battery life.

44. coldspring22

Posts: 349; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Yea, iphoneareana is out to la-la land again. Remember they reported iphone 6S battery as being hugely improved over iphone 6 battery? Nobody else in the whole world said that besides iphoneareana. They need to re-examine their eyes (and brains!). Meanwhile, Supersaf did battery recharge test of Pixel XL, Galaxy S7 edge and iphone 7 plus. Galaxy S7 and Pixel XL simply crushed iphone 7 plus. There is no contest, and iphonearena apparently lost it's eyes (and brains) again!!

67. cheetah2k

Posts: 2213; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

DXOmark says it all. Pixel is the highest rated most accurate camera phone known to man... iPhonyarena just blowing Apple's trumpet again.

55. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Yes, iPhone is way better on standby times: I take out my 6s out of the charger at 22-23 hours and the biggest consumption (with hardly any usage) was 3% in 10 hours. When it was new, I tested the 5s to see how much battery it consumes if I use it as a dumb phone (only for voice calls, no text) and I had 50% down in 48h (0% in the first 5h) with 60 min/day talk time.

68. cheetah2k

Posts: 2213; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

This is because the iphone can't properly multitask and cant keep running apps in memory... This situation actually helps battery on standby as nothing is running.... I turned off notifications (messenger + facebook apps) and I got to 4 days standby with 60% battery left on my pixel.. All comes down to your own preferences really

69. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I don't know what you're talking about when you're saying that the iPhone can't "properly multitask". My phones have never had problems, keeping running processes of apps in memory: my music player plays music while my communication apps send me all the notifications, my media files are backing up to the cloud all this time and all this while my maps app is giving me directions while I search for Pokémons (I don't actually but I could). So where's the problem with iPhone's multitasking? PS: Pixel is a very new phone so I highly doubt you have done that test, but if you did, keep in mind that 6s has a better battery than 5s, almost twice as good.

24. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

" 1 minute ahead" :)

52. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Tool lol ;)

75. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Scientific one for sure

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