How Does the Google Pixel 2 Compare to Apple’s iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X?
While Google dominates the smartphone software market with its ubiquitous, customizable Android operating system, it’s a relative pipsqueak when it comes to selling its own handsets. The company is hoping the two phones will be strongly competitive to rival gadget-makers Samsung, which earlier this year released its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus phones, and Apple (AAPL), which last month unveiled its iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
Google has a long way to go. Presently, the company has less than 1% of U.S. market share for phone hardware versus Samsung’s control of about 21% of the global market and Apple’s share just under 14%.
Here’s a rundown of how Google’s new Pixel phones—due out Oct. 19 and already available for pre-order—compare to their Apple iPhone counterparts in terms of their tech specs.
Google Pixel 2 vs Apple iPhone 8
First, the commonalities. All of the phones are water resistant and none of them have headphone jacks.
The phones’ screens differ. The Pixel 2 sports a 5-inch screen with a crisp, organic light emitting diode display, or OLED. Apple’s iPhone 8 has a slightly smaller 4.7-inch screen with a less efficient liquid crystal display, or LCD.
The difference is palpable: Google’s new model has better image resolution by about two orders of magnitude, the company claims.
The Pixel 2 XL screen is bigger than the others’ screens. This model boasts a 6-inch screen with a thinner and more flexible plastic, rather than glass, OLED display. The Pixel 2 XL also has a higher screen resolution: 538 pixels per inch, a finer contrast ratio than either the Pixel 2 (441 pixels per inch) or the iPhone 8 (326 pixels per inch).
The prices of the low-end phone models from Google and Apple are similar. The Pixel 2 starts at $649 while the iPhone 8 starts a little costlier at $699 (both base models have 64 Gigabytes of memory). The Pixel 2 XL starts at $849 for the base 64 GB model.
While the new Pixel phones do not feature wireless charging, like the new iPhones, they do come with squeezable sides designed to activate Google’s virtual voice assistant. The Pixel phone displays are also always on, meaning that no tap is necessary to view notifications and other information, like the time and weather.
The cameras on the Pixel phones are superior. They come with 12.2-megapixel rear cameras, a slight edge over the 12-megapixel rear cameras in Apple’s new iPhones. Google’s phones also have a slightly higher quality 8-megapixel front-facing camera versus the 7-megapixel front cameras in the iPhones.
Now let’s look at how the Pixel phones compare to Apple’s next model up: the iPhone 8 Plus.
Google Pixel 2 vs Apple iPhone 8 Plus
The iPhone 8 Plus is a middle of the road option. It has a 5.5-inch screen with an LCD display, an average of the sizes of the Pixels’ more vivid OLED screens (5-inch and 6-inch).
The iPhone 8 Plus has a coarser display at 401 pixels per inch than either the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. But it’s also a bit cheaper than the higher end Pixel phone. The iPhone 8 Plus starts $799, making it $50 cheaper than the larger Pixel 2 XL.
Unlike the iPhone 8 Plus, the Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL have one rear-facing camera rather than two. The Pixel phones are able to take “portrait mode” photos with blurred backgrounds from both their front and back cameras, however, yielding an effect similar to what you might expect from a professional photographer.
Next up: iPhone X, the king of the lot, but also the costliest phone of them all.
Google Pixel 2 vs Apple iPhone X
The killer feature on the iPhone X is Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition technology that can scan and recognize a user’s face in order to unlock a phone—no fingerprint necessary. Google’s Pixel phones have not matched this feature.
Similar to the Pixel phones, the iPhone X has an OLED display that presents images at a sharper resolution—458 pixels per inch—than the aforementioned phones, except for the Pixel 2 XL, which boasts an enviable 538 pixels per inch on its plastic OLED display.
The iPhone X screen is a smidgen smaller at 5.8 inches than the Pixel 2 XL’s 6-inch screen. The high-end iPhone starts at $999, a steep premium over the rest.
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For some consumers, even Google’s generally superior cameras and image displays will be insufficient to tear them away from the church of Apple, whose products and services tend to work best when paired together. But Google is getting serious—deadly serious—about its hardware; just recently the company agreed to acquire a phone-making unit at HTC for $1.1 billion, making its intent to take on the phone market known.
Apple—and Samsung for that matter—reign for now, but Google is clearly thirsty for an upset.