Sep 13th, 2018

With yesterday’s unveiling of Apple’s iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, you might be wondering how the upcoming Pixel 3 handsets from Google will stack up against the latest iPhones. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL won’t officially be unveiled until October 9th, but at this point, there’s very little we don’t know about the two phones.

To kick things off, we do need to point out that Apple introduced three new smartphones this year — the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and the iPhone. While we’d like to say that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL would be going head-to-head with the iPhone Xs (5.8-inch display) and iPhone Xs Max (6.5-inch display), the introduction of the iPhone Xr throws a wrench in those plans. The new iPhone Xr has a 6.1-inch display, a single camera on the back and its $749 base price point is significantly lower than the $999 Apple will be charging for the iPhone Xs. The other reason for the phone’s lower price is that the body of the iPhone Xr is built with an aluminum frame instead of the steel frame that the iPhone Xs is equipped with.

Pixel 3 XL versus iPhone Xs Max

Google’s upcoming Pixel 3 XL and its rumored 6.7-inch display seems to match up nicely with the iPhone Xs Max since they both will have extremely large displays. The 6.5-inch 2436×1125 pixel display on the Apple iPhone Xs Max will be slightly smaller than the Pixel 3 XL’s 6.7-inch, 2960×1440 pixel panel. Both devices come with hefty notches at the top, so you’ll definitely need to embrace the notch life if you’re planning on picking up either of these phones.

The iPhone Xs Max does have the advantage when it does to camera hardware. Not only does the iPhone has a dual-sensor setup on the back with a 2x optical zoom lens on the secondary sensor, the main sensor has increased in size, featuring the same 1.4μm pixel size as the Pixel 2’s camera sensor. Apple is also jumping on the computational photography bandwagon with a new Smart HDR feature which will mimic the Pixel’s HDR+ setting to produce better images with every shot. On top of that, the Apple’s iPhone will be able to adjust the bokeh blur when taking portrait shots. 

Pixel 3 versus iPhone Xs, iPhone Xr

The matchup between the Pixel XL is pretty straightforward, but comparing the Pixel 3 against the iPhone Xs or the iPhone Xr is a bit trickier. Google’s Pixel 3 will be smaller than both of Apple’s phones. The iPhone Xr’s $749 price tag will likely be close to the Pixel 3’s, but its 6.1-inch display will dwarf the 5.5-inch display Google’s phone is rumored to have. The only advantage the Pixel 3 appears to have is its 2160 x 1080 pixel display with a 440 ppi compared to the iPhone Xr’s 1,792×828 pixel display with a 326ppi.

When it comes to the iPhone Xs, the story is pretty much the same as last year. Apple’s phone is significantly more expensive than what the Pixel 3 will sell for, mainly due to the extra camera hardware on the back and the surgical steel used for the phone’s frame.

But in the end, the details listed here don’t really matter. The majority of Apple users will continue to buy Apple phones and Android users will likely be sticking with Android. The new Pixel 3 devices and new iPhones don’t really offer anything revolutionary that would lead to a shift in the market. Consumers tend to buy specific smartphones based on the overall experience that they offer and the final price. Besides the phenomenal camera experience that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are expected to offer, more people will be buying Google’s Pixel devices simply because they are running stock Android. ON the other side of the fence, Apple is hoping to capitalize on the notched-display form factor it introduced last year by delivering it at a price that’s much more affordable. That being said, Apple has finally caught the extra-large smartphone bug with the iPhone Xs Max which may help them retain customers who were thinking of abandoning Apple for a large-screen Android device.

How do you think things will play out between the new iPhone’s and Google’s upcoming Pixel 3 lineup?