iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel comparison review

Which is the best smartphone: iPhone 7 or Google Pixel?

It's certainly an interesting time to buy a smartphone. But which one? Should you buy the iPhone 7 or the new Google Pixel smartphone?

Apple's iPhone 7 remains somewhat controversial thanks to the "missing" headphone jack. Meanwhile, Google has seriously stepped up to the plate and ditched the third-party branding.

Pixel isn't a Samsung or Motorola, it's branded through and through as Google. Or is it? Actually it turns out it's an HTC. But Google is owning this one in a way it's never done before. The Pixel truly is a Google phone.

So the game is afoot. Which smartphone is the one to buy?

See also:

iPhone 7 Plus vs Galaxy Note 7

iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 comparison review

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs iPhone 6s Plus comparison

Best iPhone buying guide autumn/winter 2016

iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel: New features

Google Pixel vs iPhone 7

Many pundits expected a quiet update for the iPhone 7. The phone Apple released was anything but. Here are the notable new features and aspects of the iPhone 7:

  • Better camera. The iPhone 7 has a f/1.8 lens that allows 50 per cent more light to hit the lens. It also features a new 12MP sensor that Apple claims is 60 per cent faster and 30 per cent more energy efficient.
  • Solid Touch ID Home button. You no longer physically push the Home Button. Instead it incorporates Force Touch technology (as found on the Apple Watch and Force Touch trackpad). A vibration jolts to simulate the button push.
  • Lightning headphones. More importantly, there's no headphone jack. You can use the supplied digital headphones (that plug into the Lightning port). Or you can use an adaptor to plug in your old headphones. Apple also released a new type of earphone called the AirPod. But these work with older models of iPhone so it's not an exclusive feature.
  • You no longer have to worry about dropping your iPhone in the sink, or down the toilet. You can also take it swimming if you want. Note that the Google Pixel is not waterproof, although some Samsung Android phones are.

Google Pixel new features

Google Pixel offers a wide range of new features.

  • Google Assistant. Think of it as Siri on search steroids. Or perhaps Google Voice with competence. Google Assistant is an advanced voice assistant that combines great search capabilities with Siri-like assistant functionality.
  • Daydream headset support. Pay £79 to strap the Google Pixel in front of your eyes and use it as a VR headset. Comes with a handheld Wii-like controller.
  • 12-megapixel camera. Google finally gets it. A decent camera is essential to sell phones and this one doesn't disappoint.
  • Unlimited backups of photos and video. Apple's stingy 5GB iCloud allowance is nowhere to be seen. Upload as many photos and videos as you like.
  • 24/7 chat support with built in screen sharing. We're frankly surprised Google has beaten Apple to the punch on this one. You can contact support at any time directly from the iPhone, and an assistant will help you. The assistant can take over your phone and fix things remotely.

Google certainly has a more eclectic mix of features. Although we think the waterproofing of the iPhone wins on the practical front.

Both seem fairly well matched in terms of photography, although more detailed testing will help.

The free storage is a good kick from Google, but the built-in chat support is more clever. If it works then Google could get a lot of happy customers.

Daydream is a curveball. VR isn't for everybody, but it's interesting enough to give Google the edge. We keep hearing that Apple is rolling out a big update next year.

iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel: Design and style

iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel: iPhone 7 in Jet Black

Blimy! That Google Pixel looks a lot like an iPhone, doesn't it? At least from the front. Squint to tell the difference.

On the rear things are a bit clearer. Google Pixel puts its fingerprint sensor in the middle of the back of the device.

They are also available in a different range of colours:

iPhone 7 colours

  • Jet Black
  • Black
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Rose Gold

Pixel colours

  • Very Black
  • Quite Silver
  • Really Blue (US only, for now)

Taste is a subjective thing, but we think the iPhone looks just a little sleeker. Especially from the rear. Both are lookers, though.

iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel: Google Pixel

iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel: Specs comparison

Google Pixel specs

  • Dimensions: 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5 mm
  • Weight: 143 g
  • Display: 5.0 inch AMOLED, 1080 x 1920 pixels (~441 ppi pixel density)
  • CPU: Quad-core (2x2.15 GHz Kryo & 2x1.6 GHz Kryo)
  • GPU: Adreno 530
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Camera: 12 MP, f/2.0, phase detection & laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 2770 mAh battery

iPhone 7 specs

  • Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
  • Weight: 138 g
  • Display: 4.7 inch LED-backlit IPS, 750 x 1334 pixels (~326 ppi pixel density)
  • CPU: Apple A10 Fusion Quad-core
  • GPU: Six core
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Camera: 12 MP, f/1.8, 28mm, phase detection autofocus, OIS, quad-LED (dual tone) flash
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 1960 mAh battery (7.45 Wh)

In what has become a familiar refrain, the Android phone has better specs and a bigger battery. Apple has more efficient software so gets away with lower specs and a smaller battery. The iPhone 7 is a screamer in tests. We await Pixel testing but the point seems pretty moot to us with current levels of software. Both vastly outperform the apps you run on them.

iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel: Price and storage options

Price-wise, there's nothing to separate these two, although the iPhone does offer an extra storage option at the top end for those with particularly deep pockets.

iPhone 7 price

  • £599 for 32GB
  • £699 for 128GB
  • £799 for 256GB

Google Pixel price

  • £599 for 32GB
  • £699 for 128GB

OUR VERDICT

This is the closest anybody has come to producing an iPhone. Not just in terms of design, but also features and price. It's very hard to distinguish between them. Bear in mind you'll have to pay for any apps again if you move from Apple to Google, and offset the free cloud storage with Google Pixel against any monthly iCloud plan. Gamers will appreciate the early VR approach in Google Pixel, but we think it's a stop-gap till a better VR option comes out. Daydream is still a bit of a gimmick. The iPhone is slicker, and we'd take the waterproofing of the phone over new features like Google Assitant and Chat Support. Not bad though Google. Not bad at all.

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