Do we have a good one for you today – no, let's make that a great one today. The pride of Apple, the iPhone 7 Plus takes on the newest flagship from Google, the Pixel XL. There are many readers that just do not understand why we compare and iOS phone to an Android phone and it just blows my mind. Why they wouldn't want to see just what Apple is offering on their devices and how it stacks up to ours. This is an Android website, so naturally, we believe in our OS and the freedom that Android offers over the iOS environment. I just know if I owned a new Camaro that I would want to see how it stacks up to a Mustang and if I owned a Google Pixel XL, I would surely want to know how it compares to its chief rival. These two devices couldn't be more different in their specifications or design philosophy, but let's take a look and see just what common threads we can find.
When it comes to specifications the iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL could not be further from each other, but the way they perform is a whole other story. Physically, they are very close to the same size, although the slightly larger iPhone weighs an extra 20 grams even though they both have a 5.5-inch display. The displays use different technology and different resolutions. The iPhone 7 Plus uses its own Apple A10 Fusion processor, and the Google Pixel uses the Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor. They both have non-expandable internal memory – the iPhone offers 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB while the Google Pixel XL offers a 32GB or 128GB model. The primary cameras are very close in size as are the front-facing cameras (FFC) and both take excellent photos; although DxOMark gave the Google Pixel models the highest score ever given to a mobile camera. They both offer non-removable batteries, but the Pixel's is much larger and offers rapid charge. They both provide a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone and authorizing mobile payments – Apple Pay only on the iPhone. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, and NFC (the iPhone's is only good for Apple Pay), and they each have a connector for charging and data transfer but the Apple plug is proprietary, and the Google Pixel uses a standard Type-C reversible port.
Please take a careful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
The new iPhone 7 Plus looks very similar to its predecessor, the iPhone 6s Plus, with enhancements throughout. The antenna positioning was moved to its outside edges for a cleaner look, and the old Home button is more like a touch button with no moving parts. Apple improved the 3D Touch and Display Zoom, improved the processor, added IP67 dust and water resistance and added a dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus only. Let's take a look and see just how that new iPhone 7 Plus holds up to the new Google Pixel XL.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus sports a 5.5-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 401 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) It features an improved Apple's 3D Touch that allows the user to make multiple selections with one press of the finger and varying degrees of force. The processor is their new Apple A10 Fusion quad-core clocked at 2.23HGz, coupled with 3GB of DDR4 RAM and either 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB of non-expandable storage – it is nice that the 16GB model was dropped from the lineup. The GPU uses six-core graphics.
Apple did make some considerable changes in its camera area, in particular on the iPhone 7 Plus – it's a shame that Apple did not use the same camera of both models like the Google Pixel and Pixel XL. The iPhone 7 Plus uses a new dual 12MP sensor – one for wide-angle (f/1.8) and one for telephoto (f/2.8). Then it adds phase detection autofocus (PDAF), Quad-LED True Tone flash, and OIS for its primary camera. For its FFC the iPhone 7 Plus uses a 7MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 for selfies and video chatting (AppleTalk) in their nomenclature. It uses a 2900mAh non-removable battery to supply power.
The new Apple iPhone 7 Plus comes with many refinements – dual-camera, improved camera lens, Quad LED flash, improved 3D Touch, improved stereo sound, improved Home button, IP67 dust and water resistance, and 3GB of RAM with 32GB of non-expandable memory now being the smallest available. They did remove the 3.5mm headphone jack and supplied an adapter, although Bluetooth earphones are also an option. In what appears to be an increasing trend, Apple, and the Moto Z line has lost their 3.5mm earphone plug. The iPhone Plus measures 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm and weighs in at 188 grams. Pricing starts out at $770 for the 32GB model.
Google Pixel XL
This time of year, it seems strange not comparing the new Nexus phones with other models, but Google is making a huge move to create an Apple-like ecosystem. In this ecosystem, Google Pixel owners can communicate directly with their new Home products and Chromecast Ultra. We will be looking at the Google Pixel XL this time around to see just how this newly designed Pixel XL with its polished glass and metal construction holds up to the all-metal Apple iPhone 7 Plus.
The Google Pixel XL sports a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with 531 PPI. It is using the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHZ and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz. The Snapdragon 821 is 10-percent quicker than the original Snapdragon 820 according to Qualcomm. The 821 is packaged with an Adreno 530 GPU to take on any graphics you can throw its way. It packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB or 128GB of the faster UFS memory, and there are no means to expand the built-in memory. It uses a large 3450mAh non-removable battery for power and has rapid charge capabilities.
The same Pixel camera is used on both models, and it does not have impressive looking specifications. It comes with a 12.3MP sensor for the primary camera along with an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus (PDAF,) a dual-tone LED flash, and no OIS. However, when tested by DxOMark it received a score of 89 – the highest rating yet for a smartphone camera. The Pixel XL provides a large 8MP FFC that comes with a f/2.0 aperture, a 1.4µm pixel size, and 1080p. This combination of specs offers up great selfies and video chatting.
The Pixel XL measures in at 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm and weighs in at 168 grams. There are three different colors available: Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue (a limited edition color.) A rear-mounted fingerprint sensor will allow you to unlock your device or authorize mobile payments and will have access to Android Pay. The Pixel XL has Google Assistant built in that will work with other Google products. It will be running Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box. The Pixel XL is IP53 rated against dust and splashing water and the 32GB model will cost you about $770.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
Not only because this is an Android website, but because it seems to offer more for the same amount of money I must pick the Google Pixel XL as the winner of this comparison.
We are not implying that the iPhone 7 Plus is not a beautiful looking device. We are not saying that it doesn't take great pictures or videos. We are not saying that it doesn't run as smooth as butter with its A10 processor. What we are saying is that the iPhone 7 Plus does not have quite the specifications nor the users the freedom to customize their device like the Google Pixel XL.
While the displays are the same size, the Pixel XL uses the better AMOLED display technology, and it has a higher resolution than the iPhone 7 Plus – 401 PPI versus 534 PPI. The Pixel XL has 1GB more RAM, which helps with its multitasking abilities. Its camera is excellent. It can use mobile payments other than places that must buy a special reader for Apple Pay. There are no proprietary plugs or cords needed. You can customize your display with widgets that directly open the app when you press them, and you can still plug your headphones into a 3.5mm jack.