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Google Pixel phone vs iPhone 7: Which is best for me?

We compare the new ‘made by Google’ Pixel phone with Apple’s own iPhone 7 mobile, to see which is best for you – Android or iOS. What’s the difference between the iPhone 7 and Pixel phone when it comes to specs, camera tech and other features? Here’s all you need to know.

Google’s 5-inch Pixel phone is fresh off the conveyor belt, and already looking like one of the best Android phones of 2016. Both the Pixel and its bigger sibling, the 5.5-inch Pixel XL, boast premium specs – including identical 12-megapixel rear cameras that rival the best mobile snappers of the year.

So how does the Google Pixel phone compare with Apple’s own 2016 flagship device, the iPhone 7? Here’s our full iPhone 7 vs Pixel phone comparison review, revealing how these premium mobiles stack up and which might best suit your needs.

Check out our full hands-on Pixel phone review and hands-on Pixel XL review for more on Google’s own-brand mobile phones.

Google Pixel phone vs iPhone 7: Specs at a glance

Phone Apple iPhone 7 Google Pixel
Screen size 4.7-inches 5-inches
Screen resolution 1334×750 1920×1080
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Water resistant? Yes No
OS iOS 10 Android 7.1 Nougat
Processor Apple A10 Fusion Snapdragon 821
Memory 2GB 4GB
Storage 32/128/256GB 32/128GB
MicroSD? No No
Battery 1960mAh 2770mAh
Rear camera 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Front camera 7-megapixel 8-megapixel
Price (SIM-free) From £599 From £599

Google Pixel phone vs iPhone 7: Design

Apple’s latest iPhone now comes in a snazzy new black finish, and you can even shun the standard metal finish and go for a glossy black model with shiny surfacing instead. Meanwhile, the Pixel phone opts for both finishes at once. You get a glossy top half and a metal bottom, available in a choice of colours, which certainly makes the Pixel stand out against the rest of the smartphone crowd.

However, while the iPhone 7 enjoys a water resistant design, allowing you to dunk the phone in a bath or sink with no ill effects, the Pixel has no such resistance. Drop it in the toilet and chances are you’ll have yourself a £600 paperweight.

Google Pixel phone vs iPhone 7: Screen and media

Google’s Pixel phone sports a slightly bigger screen than the iPhone 7, at 5-inches versus 4.7-inches. The Pixel’s panel is sharper too, rocking a Full HD resolution that makes photos and video look pleasingly crisp. Although to be perfectly fair, it’s difficult to see any real difference in sharpness, even when you position these phones side-by-side. The iPhone 7 still pumps out crisp, gorgeous visuals.

The Pixel also produces punchy, stand-out colours, while the iPhone 7 goes for more realistic images. Which appeals to you most depends on your own personal tastes, of course, so one isn’t ‘better’ than the other.

However, the iPhone 7 has a funky 3D Touch screen which is pressure sensitive, adding extra functionality to the phone. By pushing a little harder on the display, you can perform different operations – for instance, 3D Touch an app icon and you’ll open a shortcuts menu, giving instant access to specific features. Tap it normally, and you’ll simply open the app.

Bear in mind that the iPhone 7 doesn’t have a headphone jack. You do get an adapter bundled in the box, but you’re best off using wireless Bluetooth earphones for convenience. The Pixel, on the other hand, comes with your standard 3.5mm jack.

Neither phone here comes with a microSD memory card slot, so you’re stuck with whatever built-in storage you stumped up for. Google’s Pixel phone comes with either 32GB or 128GB of space, while the iPhone 7 has either 32GB, 128GB or 256GB, so you do get a much bigger storage option if needed – and if your budget allows. After all, you can add about a hundred quid onto the asking price for each jump up in storage.

Google Pixel phone vs iPhone 7: OS and features

You get the latest Android Nougat OS pre-installed on the Pixel phone, which adds some cool new features to Google’s OS. This includes support for Google’s Daydream VR platform (just buy the DayDream headset and enjoy some funky VR experiences), as well as exclusive access to the fresh new Assistant AI.

We’re yet to do an Assistant vs Siri comparison to see which is more useful in everyday life, but check back soon for more.

Apple’s iOS 10 is just as packed with helpful features. The Control Center is now just as useful as Android’s Notifications bar, while the lock screen also offers up plenty of shortcuts and handy widgets. Apple’s keyboard and messaging apps have been updated and 3D Touch is finally becoming useful, with greater support from third-party apps. Check out our iOS 10 features guide for more info.

The iPhone 7 and Pixel phone both pack a fingerprint sensor for quickly and securely unlocking to your desktops. On the iPhone 7 this is built into the home button, stuck just beneath the screen, while the Pixel phone’s scanner is mounted on the back end. The Pixel’s sensor fits naturally underneath your fingers when you pick up the phone so it’s a little quicker and easier to use, but both scanners are fast and impressively accurate.

Google Pixel phone vs iPhone 7: Performance and battery life

Google’s new Pixel phones both sport the latest Snapdragon 821 chipset, which gives you silky smooth everyday performance. Meanwhile the iPhone 7 packs in Apple’s all-new A10 Fusion processor, which once again means you’ll have to try damn hard to make the handset stumble or pause. The latest games run perfectly, even fast-paced titles boasting spectacular visual effects.

The iPhone 7 give you close to a day and a half of life per charge if you don’t hammer it too hard, or a day with regular use. We’ll be reviewing the Pixel phone in full over the next few days, so stay tuned for our verdict on Google’s new blower.

Google Pixel phone vs iPhone 7: Cameras

Both the Pixel phone and the iPhone 7 have a 12-megapixel camera slapped on the back, and in both cases you get a best-in-class experience and results.

The Pixel phone has an HDR+ mode which should make capturing photos in tricky contrast much easier. Your photos take the instant you tap the shutter button, so you should have no problem with those spontaneous action shots. And in low light we’re expecting some strong results too.

However, the iPhone 7 has already proved itself as a respectable all-round snapper, especially in dingy conditions. And in broad daylight you always get crisp, good-looking results. Check out our iPhone 7 camera review for samples and full analysis.

Both of these phones can record up to 4K resolution video, and both include image stabilisation to cut down on hand shakes and sudden jerky motion when moving and shooting at the same time.

Check back soon for our full Google Pixel phone review, and take a look at our Pixel XL vs iPhone 7 Plus comparison review to see how these mighty 5.5-inch mobiles stack up.

Update 31/10/2016: We compared the Google Pixel phone and iPhone 7 side by side. Check out the video comparison below. You can also read the full Google Pixel phone review by clicking here and the iPhone 7 review here:

You can grab the iPhone 7 from O2 right now, from £43 a month on contract.

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