The launch of the Pixel XL is a landmark moment for Google, representing the first time that the software giant has fully designed every component of a smartphone. The somewhat glitzy launch that Google announced the Pixel XL with was symbolic of the seriousness with which the corporation is taking this handset, and it is hoped that the Android-driven device can rival major market players such as the iPhone 7.
Considering the size and scope of the Pixel XL, Google is effectively pitching the technology against the iPhone 7 Plus phablet. So how do the handsets compare to one another?
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Pixel XL vs iPhone 7 Plus – Size
The Pixel XL is marginally smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus, with the latter measuring 6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches, and the former 6.1 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches. Naturally, this also means that the iPhone 7 Plus is a tiny bit slimmer than the Pixel XL, something that Apple has always prided itself on.
The iPhone 7 Plus is just over 10 percent heavier than the Pixel XL. The Apple phablet weighs in at 6.63 ounces, while the new Google contender weighs just 5.9 ounces. Considering that the Apple handset is only very slightly larger, this is a good achievement from Google.
It is not hugely surprising that the display in the Pixel XL outperforms the iPhone 7 Plus, and in all honesty the resolution of the Apple smartphone is seriously due an upgrade. Google has announced that the Pixel XL offers quad HD resolution, while the iPhone 7 Plus is only full HD.
This means that the Pixel XL is capable of displaying 25 percent more pixels per inch than the iPhone 7 Plus; 543 as opposed to 401. Apple must surely upgrade the iPhone 7 Plus to quad HD when the next generation iPhone 8 is released, as quad HD is becoming an industry standard, and it is possible that its great rival Samsung will introduce 4K resolution technology in its smartphone range in 2017.
It remains to be seen precisely what Google will deliver with the Pixel XL camera, and the iPhone 7 Plus is notable for possessing several valuable and innovative features. But the raw specs do suggest that the new Google device will compete favorably with the iPhone 7 Plus, with the former featuring a 12.3-megapixel snapper. This is slightly superior to the 12-megapixel unit included in the iPhone 7 Plus, although Google has been relatively coy regarding other features included in its camera.
Meanwhile, the front-facing snapper in the Pixel XL is also superior to the equivalent iPhone 7 Plus device. The new Google release features an eight-megapixel camera compared to the seven-megapixel unit included in the iPhone 7 Plus.
Again, we cannot be entirely sure of the battery life of which the Google Pixel XL is capable, as numerous factors can contribute to the performance of a smartphone in this department. There is no doubt that Apple has significantly improved the battery lifecycle of the iPhone range in the iPhone 7 generation, and also the size of the battery.
But the Google Pixel XL will feature a larger cell than the iPhone 7 Plus. The mega-corporation has indicated that the Pixel XL possesses a 3,450 mAh battery, which is more than 15 percent larger than the 2,900 mAH cell that was included in the iPhone 7 Plus.
Whether this will translate into superior real world performance is doubtful, as the most recent version of Android has been somewhat more greedy on battery power than the latest iOS operating system.
Apple rightfully improved the storage capacity of the iPhone range significantly when the corporation announced the iPhone 7 series, and the choice it provided to consumers with the iPhone 7 Plus is superior to any other mainstream smartphone. With the largest storage version of the iPhone 7 Plus being 256GB, and 32GB and 128GB versions also available, there are good options available for consumers with the market leading Apple flagship.
By contrast, Google has decided not to offer a 256GB version of its smartphone, which is slightly surprising considering the premium which is placed on storage by modern media.
Apple has always relied on its combination of proprietary hardware and software to ensure that the iPhone range punches above its weight. And this has meant that traditionally the iPhone series has less memory than many other smartphone competitors.
This trend was repeated with the iPhone 7. Although the iPhone 7 Plus received an upgrade in memory, it still only contains 3GB of RAM. This is less than the Google handset, with the Pixel XL being fitted with 4GB of memory as standard.
All of the evidence from the early information on the Pixel XL suggests that Google has certainly packed its smartphone with impressive specs. This has always been a tactic of Samsung, with the Galaxy range noted for its outstanding specs over the years. It certainly seems that the Pixel XL will compete evenly with the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S series, and certainly is beefier than the iPhone 7 Plus in most categories.
This won’t necessarily translate into superior performance, with Apple always optimizing the performance of the iPhone handset via software efficiency. And the interface and operating system utilized by the iPhone 7 Plus arguably remains the slickest on the markets.
Apple, of course, can also call on the unrivalled iPhone branding, which has played a massive part in establishing the Californian corporation as the most powerful consumer electronics company on the planet. Google will have some hard work on its hands to convince customers to switch to one of its smartphones, and establish the sort of brand identity and loyalty that Apple now almost takes for granted, despite the recognizability of Google to everyday consumers.
It seems that the Google Pixel XL is a very credible smartphone contender, and possibly one that can establish itself as a mainstream device. Whether it can have ever seriously rival the dominant iPhone is extremely doubtful.