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Google Pixel 3 XL vs Apple iPhone XS Max: How they differ?

15 October 2018 5

Finally, after tons of leaks and rumors, Google unveiled their much-awaited flagships Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL. Undoubtedly the Pixel 3 series was one of the most anticipated series of this year that's why we have new leaks almost on daily basis ahead of official announcement. Now the device is finally out, as expected the Pixel 3 lineup is bringing the top of the line hardware, the latest version of Android OS, improved design and few other goodies to attract buyers.

The Pixel 3 followed the last year's Pixel 2 XL trend of 2:1 display whereas the phablet model brings the latest trendy design language. Being the latest phablet the Pixel 3 XL certainly emerges as one of the most attractive options for buyers who are looking for large display phones. However, the Pixel 3 XL isn't the only latest phablet in the market. Last month Apple took the stage to showcase three new iPhones. The iPhone XS Max is currently the latest best phablet from Apple.

Being an S model it doesn't bring revamped design language instead it follows the last year's iPhone X notch design, however, it has major upgrades under the hood. Both the iPhone XS Max and Pixel 3 XL are one of the most powerful phablets available in the market. For sure it won't be an easy task to decide which smartphone is better in what aspects. Like always we will put the latest Pixel 3 XL in head-to-head comparisons against the Cupertino's iPhone XS Max on the basis of specs sheet to know in detail which flagship is better in what aspects. Without any further delay, let's have a look at the design differences.

76.7 x 158 x 7.9 mm
6.3 inches - 2960x1440 px
77.4 x 157.5 x 7.9 mm
6.5 inches - 2688x1242 px
Go to comparison page
Design


The design is certainly the most important aspect which makes the device attractive or uglier. Last year Apple introduced notch at the top of the display with an edge-to-edge design. Despite the fact, Apple was much criticized for the notch but still, it was the new design trend which was followed by almost all OEMs this year. We have a number of notch phones from Huawei, LG, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Honor. All the OEMs adopted the notch differently but certainly the Google's Pixel 3 XL notch is not amongst the best due to its bulkier design.

The chassis on the Pixel 3 XL is made up of aluminum with glass on the rear but the finish is different from other glass rear panels in the market. Google opted dual-tone finish, the upper portion featuring rear snapper has glossier finish whereas the bottom portion comes in the matte finish. On first look, it looks like nothing changed from last year's half glass and metal design. The iPhone XS Max has stainless chassis with glass covering the rear side.

The Pixel 3 XL has a single rear snapper on the top left corner whereas the iPhone XS Max dual rear snappers are aligned vertically on the top left corner. The Pixel 3 XL features circular fingerprint scanner on the rear in the center whereas the iPhone XS Max relies on the 3D facial recognition. The front-facing bottom chin on the Pixel 3 XL is quite significant whereas its ultra thin on the iPhone XS Max.

Both the phones lack the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. The Pixel 3 XL has dual front-facing speakers whereas the iPhone XS Max relies on the bottom firing mono speakers. In terms of water and dust resistance, the Pixel 3 XL has IPX8 ratings, the iPhone XS Max comes with the best possible IP68 rating. The iPhone XS Max dimensions are 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm and weigh 208g whereas the Pixel 3 XL is almost similar at 158 x 76.6 x 7.9 mm and weighs 184g only.

Overall the iPhone XS Max is more attractive in looks despite having almost similar design like last year's iPhone X. The Pixel 3 XL comes with refreshing notch and all glass rear but still, it isn't amongst the most attractive phones in the market.

Display

As mentioned above the iPhone XS comes with the so far biggest display on any iPhone. It features an OLED display of 6.5-inches with a screen resolution of 1242 x 2688 pixels. The Pixel 3 XL sports a 6.3-inches OLED display with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels.

The iPhone XS Max display pixels density is 456 pixels-per-inch whereas the Pixel 3 XL's display is far sharper at 523 pixels-per-inch. The display on the iPhone XS Max is protected with the scratch-resistant glass. Apple claims it is the most sturdier scratch-resistant glass on any phone in the market. On the other hand, the Pixel 3 XL comes with the Gorilla Glass 5. Although the Pixel 3 XL display is slightly smaller it has better pixels density.

Hardware

Both the phones are the latest best offerings from respective companies that's why both are packed with the best possible hardware. The Pixel 3 XL is running on the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset with 4GB RAM. The iPhone XS Max is powered up by the latest hexa-core A12 Bionic chipset with 4GB RAM. Despite the fact both have the latest SoCs with 4GB RAM, the iPhone XS Max outclasses the Pixel 3 XL in performance with a huge margin.

Like always Apple claims the latest Bionic chipset is the most powerful SoC in the market. The Snapdragon 845's successor is around the corner and the first flagship phone is expected in Q1 2018. Another important aspect is the Snapdragon 845 is built on the second gen 10nm process whereas the A12 Bionic is the first SoC in the market build on the 7nm process.

The benchmarks are quite an easy parameter to know the real performance of the devices. As per Geekbench, the iPhone XS Max achieves 4,794 points on single-core test whereas on multi-core test the device achieves 11,123 points. On the other hand, the Pixel 3 XL receives 2,426 points on a single core and 8,355 points on multi-core test. This clearly showcases the iPhone XS Max takes lead not only in single-core but also in multi-cores performance as well. Though iPhone XS Max outperforms its competitor still that doesn't mean the Pixel 3 XL isn't a good performer.

Specs Pixel 3 XL iPhone XS Max
Display 6.3-inches 6.5-inches
Screen resolution 1440 x 2960 pixels 1242 x 2688 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 845 A12 Bionic
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 64, 128GB Non-Expandable 64, 256, 512GB Non-Expandable
Rear camera 12MP Dual 12MP
Front camera Dual 8MP 7MP
Battery 3,174Mah 3,430mAh
USB Type-D Lightning port
IP-ratings IP68 IP68
OS Android Pie iOS 12
3.5mm headphone jack No No

Battery

As far as the battery is a concern the Pixel 3 XL is packed with a 3,430mAh battery whereas Apple's phablet has slightly smaller 3,174mAh battery. Both have below average battery cell because many OEMs are now adopting 4,000mAh battery cells for their phablets. Both will last one day on a single charge.

Both the devices support wireless and fast charging, however, the iPhone XS Max doesn't have fast charger accessories straight out of the box whereas the Pixel 3 XL comes with fast charging cable and adapter. So if you want to enjoy the fast charging capability of iPhone XS Max you will have to spend around $80 more. Both supports Qi standard for wireless charging.

Camera


In the last two years or so we have seen almost all OEMs paid special attention to the cameras since the success of camera-centric phones. One of the key-selling aspects of Google Pixel phones is undoubtedly the best-in-class cameras. Apple also stepped up their camera game by introducing dual rear snappers a few years ago. However, since the first Pixel phone, Google is outperforming the iPhone's camera with its camera prowess. This year once again Google rely on the single sensor on the rear but they introduced dual selfie cameras.

The iPhone XS Max comes with dual rear snappers of 12MP. The primary sensor aperture is f/1.8 whereas the secondary telephoto sensor aperture is f/2.4. The Pixel 3 XL retains the single 12.2MP sensor with a f/1.8 aperture on the rear with a number of AI tricks on board. The iPhone XS Max has optical image stabilization for the rear cameras whereas the Pixel 3 XL has both optical and digital image stabilization. Both the devices can record 4K videos.

Up front, the Pixel 3 XL has one of the best setups in the market. The primary 8MP sensor is a wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, its field of view is 107 degrees. The secondary sensor is an 8MP telephoto module with the 75-degrees field of view and optical zoom up to 2x. The iPhone XS Max has 7MP true depth sensor on the front and few other sensors for Face ID.

Software

Both the devices are on two different software. The Pixel 3 XL is running on the latest version of the Android ecosystem whereas the iPhone XS Mas is pre-installed with the latest iOS 12 straight out of the box. The good thing is both are stock versions and both will receive new updates pretty quickly for the next few years. Usually, the iPhones receive new updates for the quite long period.

Usually, the iOS is more easy to use and it is better optimized whereas the Android offers more customization options. You can opt different third-party launchers to change UI according to your preference. Both the ecosystems are quite rich in terms of options, So no matter which OS you prefer they are capable to perform everything you require in daily usage.


Special goodies


Apart from having the latest trendy design, display and hardware both the devices are bringing few extra goodies on board to attract buyers. Instead of relying on the traditional fingerprint scanner, the Face ID is the primary authentication option on the iPhone XS Max. Apart from 3D facial recognition it also brings Animoji and Memoji features.

The squeezable frame AKA "Active Edge" was one of new feature Google introduced last year with the Pixel 2 lineup. The company retained the feature for the Pixel 3 XL as well. You can access Google Assitant by simply squeezing the frame of the device. A new Pixel Stand accessory is introduced for your home which not only wirelessly charges your device but also turns your device into Google Assistant with a display without unlocking the device.

Price


Last but not least the pricing certainly plays an important role in the success or failure of the device. The Pixel XL base model can be pre-ordered at $900 whereas the iPhone XS Max is way more expensive at $1,100 for the 64GB model. So if you don't want to spend whopping amount but still wants the best in the market the Pixel 3 XL is a good option at this price range, however, if you don't have budget issues the iPhone XS Max is undoubtedly the best-in-class in many aspects.

Conclusion:

No doubt both the Pixel 3 XL and the iPhone XS Max are the best options currently available in the market. The iPhone XS Max is the better-looking flagship and also its beats its competitor in the performance department. On the other hand, the Pixel 3 XL brings few more AI goodies in the camera department along with dual front-facing cameras. Google tries to adopt the trendy notch but the implementation isn't the best.

The difference in the OS and price tag could be deciding aspects. There are many buyers who prefer Android over iOS and vice versa and $200 price difference isn't small at all. In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts regarding the Pixel 3 XL vs iPhone XS Max in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more comparisons in coming days.

(last update 12 December 2018 @ 10:58)

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