iPhone 15 vs Pixel 7: is the $200 price difference justified?

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iPhone 15 vs Pixel 7

Intro


At their core, Apple and Google are software companies, and both have their own idea of what a phone should feel like to use and own. Now, the Pixel 7 might be a bit outdated now, especially considering the Pixel 8 is already out, but maybe you are thinking of upgrading and you are unsure whether to stick to the search giant or transition and experiment with Apple's latest base flagship, the iPhone 15.

Whatever the reason you want to see how these two phones stack up to one another, we are here to compared them and point out the differences and similarities they share.

Before we begin, however, it is important to mention that, even at launch, the Pixel 7 was much cheaper than the price at which the base iPhone 15 starts. Specifically, we are talking about a $200 difference, with the iPhone 15 costing you $799 for the 128GB variant, while the Pixel 7 goes for $599 for the same storage option.

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iPhone 15 vs Pixel 7:
  • iPhone's A16 Bionic chip is more powerful
  • Pixel display is 6.3" with 90Hz refresh rate vs 6.1" with 60Hz
  • Dynamic Island vs punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera
  • More maximum internal storage on iPhone (512GB)
  • iPhone should have longer battery life
  • Similar charging speeds
  • Pixel is $200 cheaper

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

Both are clearly distinguishable

One of the main challenges for phone manufacturers in a market oversaturated with similar designs is to make their product stand out, to make it iconic. On that note, it is safe to say that both Apple and Google have managed to achieve that with the iPhone and the Pixel.

As a consequence of how unique each looks, the iPhone 15 and Pixel 7 are noticeably very different from each other. While the Pixel has a tapered back and an overall more oval shape to it, the iPhone comes in with sharp edges and a more blocky design. There is also the new back panel on the iPhone 15 with a matte finish, compared to the Pixels glossy approach.

Another more obvious difference is the iPhone 15's Dynamic Island. This the same screen cutout for the Face ID sensors and the selfie camera we know from the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. In comparison, the Pixel 7 has a more traditional (and smaller in size) single punch-hole cutout.

Materials-wise, both phones have aluminum metal frames with a glass front and back. Both also share the same IP68 water and dust protection rating.

One new addition to the iPhone 15 that is worth mentioning is its new USB-C port replacing the Lightning connector, and finally joining the Pixel 7 and basically all other Android phones on the market.

Display Differences

Choose: a brighter display, or a smoother one?

The iPhone 15 rocks almost the same display that the iPhone 14 came with last year, with the one difference being the higher 2000 nits of peak brightness and 1600 nits of HDR peak brightness. Otherwise, we are looking at the same panel with a 60Hz refresh rate. In contrast, the Pixel 7 maxes out at 1400 nits of peak brightness, but is also noticeably smoother thanks to its 90Hz screen refresh rate.

One area where the two phones definitely differ in speed and quality, though, is biometrics. The Pixel 7 has both a fingerprint scanner (embedded in the display) and facial recognition. However, the fingerprint scanner has received lots of criticism for being slower than it should be, while the facial recognition is not as secure. The iPhone 15, on the other hand, has Face ID, which is safer and typically more accurate compared to what Google offers on its Pixel phones.

Performance and Software

The iPhone 15 is much more capable, but the Pixel does the job


Google's Tensor G2 is the chipset that powers the Pixel 7, and it isn't exactly known for being on par with the competition when it comes to power. In contrast, the iPhone 15 has the A16 Bionic that came with last year's Pro models from Apple, and it is still one of the most powerful pieces of silicon around.

That being said, the Tensor G2 is not meant to blow competitors out of the water in benchmark tests. It is meant to excel in in scenarios where artificial intelligence (AI) is at play. More specifically, it is just meant to support the "magic" Google manages to accomplish with its software, like all of the camera features that make you feel like a PhotoShop expert with your phone.

Performance Benchmarks:


Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Apple iPhone 152595
Google Pixel 71452
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Apple iPhone 156651
Google Pixel 73318
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 152950
Google Pixel 71854
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 151896
Google Pixel 71521


As mentioned, the A16 chipset inside the iPhone 15 blows the Pixel 7's G2 out of the water, but in real life this difference will mostly be noticed while playing games or using heavier apps. For most of the usual tasks like browsing social media or watching YouTube and TikTok videos, the Pixel 7 performs perfectly fine.

Storage-wise, the iPhone comes with a maximum of 512GB of internal storage, while the Pixel goes only up to 256GB. As for RAM (memory), the iPhone will get 6GB and the Pixel has 8GB. Both have the same LPDDR5 memory, which is pretty fast.

Probably the biggest difference between the two phones, of course, is their software. More likely than not you already know whether you prefer Android or iOS, or maybe you like and dislike bits and pieces on both fronts. The gist of it is that Android offers more customization while iOS works seamlessly with everything else Apple.

More important here is the topic of software support. Pixel phones get three years of major OS updates and 4 years of security patches, while iPhones typically get 5 years of iOS updates and even longer security updates.

Camera

Jury is still out


The iPhone 15 comes with a new impressive 48MP main snapper that has a larger image sensor, offering a visible jump in image quality. Colors now appear more vivid across the board, with more true-to-life skin tones, and double the detail, thanks to the phone defaulting to 24MP photos instead of 12MP like the predecessor, or the Pixel 7 for that matter.

On the other end, we have the Pixel's 50MP main camera, which is known for its superb image quality when taking photos. There are also all of the AI-empowered features on the Pixel such as magic eraser that allows users to remove whole subject from a photo, or Face Unblur which prevents blurred out, well, faces.

Main Camera



The higher levels of detail are definitely visible when you compare the iPhone 15's main camera and that of the Pixel 7. The iPhone also seems to capture more information in the shadowy areas, making more of the scene visible. Neither of the phones are very accurate as far as white balance goes, however, with the iPhone making colors look warmer than they are, and the Pixel making them cooler.

Zoom Quality



Both phones have a 2x sensor crop mode, which somewhat helps with the lack of a real, dedicated telephoto camera. The iPhone 15 does seem to zoom in a bit more, and the more visible areas in shadow persist, just like while shooting regularly with the main camera (the 2x sensor crop uses the main camera).

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Thanks to its images coming out with double the megapixels of what the Pixel 7 produces, the iPhone's shots also look cleaner and sharper.

Portrait Mode



Both phones are really good at portrait shots, with almost no clipped areas that would make the image look weird. That being said, we do think the iPhone delivers a more natural level of "bokeh" or "blur".

Ultra-wide



The ultra-wide camera on the iPhone 15 proves once again that Apple sorely needs to introduce some kind of upgrade to increase its detail. Even though it is one year older, the Pixel 7's ultra-wide shooter offers more clear images, making them much pleasant to observe, whereas the ones from the iPhone can look very mushy and disappointing.

Selfies



Comparing the selfie cameras on the iPhone 15 and Pixel 7, we found both to be plenty sharp. However, it seems the one on the iPhone tends to more evenly light the scene and subject by making shadows brighter, whereas the Pixel produces a more contrasty.

On the other hand, the Pixel is undoubtedly the king when it comes to skin tone and color accuracy in general with its front-facing camera! In the examples above, the iPhone has decided to apply some "tan", but the Pixel is spot on.

Video Quality


Video Thumbnail

With video, the first thing difference you might notice is that the image from Pixel 7 is much more saturated, while the one from the iPhone 15 is a bit bland, true to life one might say. What's more, the iPhone seems to have an easier time focusing on the subject whereas the Pixel has focused on the background during the introduction.

The next thing that is immediately visible is the smooth transition from the main camera to the ultra-wide on the iPhone, contrasting the instant swap that the Pixel 7 has. The iPhone's ultra-wide is slightly wider, which can help you capture more inside the frame, but the Pixel's (just like when shooting photos), offers better image quality.

Then we see that even though the Pixel 7 has slightly higher 7x digital zoom in video mode, compared to the 6x on the iPhone 15, the latter is much sharper in comparison, and more stable too. This stabilization difference continues to show even when we go back to shooting with the main camera at 1X.

Audio Quality and Haptics


Both Pixel and iPhone typically come with great dual speakers and haptics, but the iPhones usually take both aspects to a higher level. Even if the iPhone 15 doesn't bring anything new compared to previous generations, it will still probably be slightly more impressive when placed next to the Pixel 7.

Of course, that doesn't mean the Pixel 7 is bad in any way. Its sound quality and vibration motor are more than enough for most users.

Battery Life and Charging

iPhone 15 will likely last longer


The Pixel 7 has a battery capacity of 4,355mAh, and the iPhone 15 battery is 3,349 mAh. And as you will see from the results of our dedicated battery tests below, that difference in battery capacity shows, despite the battery efficiency for which iPhones are typically known.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 157h 51 min
Google Pixel 79h 13 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 1513h 25 min
Google Pixel 713h 56 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 158h 24 min
Google Pixel 74h 43 min


During our video streaming test, the Pixel 7 managed to outlast the iPhone 15 by more than 1 hour. The two were close when it came to browsing the web, and for gaming the iPhone 15 came out on top by a long shot, about 4 hours.

As for charging, both phones hover around the 20W mark for wired, and 12-15W for wireless. Sadly, the new USB-C port on the iPhone 15 is not being utilized for faster charging speeds.

Specs Comparison


Check out a summary of both the iPhone 15 and Pixel 7's specs below:


Don't forget that we also have an in-depth iPhone 15 vs Pixel 7 specs comparison table here where you can learn more about all the smaller details.

Summary and Final Verdict


There is one major factor to consider here and that is the $200 price difference. Of course, if you tend to lean towards one of the OS more than the other, the choice is quite simple. Making a decision gets tougher if you have a more objective look at the two options.

For $200 more, you get longer software support, better video recording (as iPhones tend to offer), longer battery life, and a more capable processor with the iPhone 15. That being said, the Pixel 7 is not that far behind on some of those aspects. In fact, the Pixel 7 beats the iPhone in the display department thanks to that higher screen refresh rate.

It all boils down to your personal preference. Even though the iPhone 15 costs significantly more than the Pixel 7, for some, the perks might be worth it. But then there is also the fact that the Pixel 8 is now out, so it might be a good idea to wait and see what it offers before making a decision.

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