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Google Pixel 3 vs Apple iPhone XR: Confrontation between two affordable premium flagships?

29 November 2018 5

In the past few weeks, we have seen new flagships offering from almost all OEMs for the last quarter of the year. Samsung was amongst the first as they introduced Galaxy Note 9 back in August. Apple took the stage in September. Google, LG, Huawei, and Xiaomi announced their premium flagships in October. The latest phones are getting expensive with each new iteration. Last year Apple was the first company to touch the $1000 mark with their 10th anniversary iPhone X. This year Samsung and Huawei brought new flagships with an even higher price tag.

Google's new Pixel 3 lineup is also significantly costlier than the predecessor. Apart from bringing the top of the line flagships with the latest best, the companies also bring variants with slightly toned down hardware at lower pricing as opposed to the premium flagships. For instance, the latest iPhone XR starts at $749 which makes it $250 cheaper than the standard iPhone X. The Pixel 3 is $100 inexpensive as opposed to the larger sibling. The new Pixel 3 is $150 expensive than its predecessor still it is pocket-friendly.

For those who are looking for a solid flagship phone but don't want to spend a hefty amount, the latest Pixel 3 and iPhone XR are solid offerings to attract those buyers. Both the phones are packed with the latest hardware, solid cameras, stylish design, and many other goodies to attract buyers. Both are still expensive phones but still not as expensive as others in the flagships arena.

As both the phones fall in the same category that's why it will be an interesting battle to see which smartphone is better in this price range. We are hopeful this comparison will help you better understanding which smartphone is better in what aspects. Without any further ado, let's start with the design of both the phones.

68.2 x 145.6 x 7.9 mm
5.5 inches - 2160x1080 px
75.7 x 150.9 x 8.3 mm
6.1 inches - 1792x828 px
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Design

Last year iPhone X was Apple's first phone with a new edge-to-edge design language with a notch at the top of the display. Since then it remained debate whether notch is better or slim bezels. Despite being the latest phone from Google the Pixel 3 still has significant bezel at the top and bottom of the display. On the other hand, the iPhone XR share the looks with the expensive models. It has the same edge-to-edge display with a small notch.

The iPhone XR display aspect ratio is 19:9 whereas the Pixel 3's display aspect ratio is 2:1. Both are offering gigantic displays with a very good screen-to-body ratio. Thanks to notch design the iPhone XR has better screen-to-body ratio whereas the Pixel 3 bezels are chunkier due to dual front-facing speakers. Now it's up to you whether you prefer notch of the iPhone XR or the full bezel of Pixel 3.

The chassis on both the phones made up of aluminum with full glass covering front and rear. So far Google was using half metal and half glass design, this year Pixel 3 has full glass rear with a two-tone finish. The upper portion with single rear snapper comes in glossy finish whereas the bottom portion comprising fingerprint scanner comes in the matte finish. It looks quite identical to its predecessor in terms of looks.

On the other hand, the iPhone XR is the only latest iPhone with single rear snapper. It also lacks the traditional home buttons instead it has Face ID as the only biometric security option. The fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 3 is in the center below the camera setup. The Pixel 3 dimensions are 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3-inches whereas the iPhone XR is slightly larger at 5.9 x 3 x 0.3-inches.

Both the phones lack the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. The iPhone XR is an IP67 certified phone which means it can resist up to 1-meter deep water for 30 minutes without any damage. Although both have glass rear the Pixel 3 is less prone to fingerprint imprints thanks to two-tone finish.

In terms of colors option the iPhone XR has an upper hand, it is available in White, Yellow, Product Red, blue, black and coral colors. The Pixel 3 is available only in three options including Not Pink, Clearly White and Just Black.

Display

The display could be one deciding aspect as both the phones fall in a different category as far as display is a concern. The iPhone XR has a fairly large 6.1-inches display panel. Its an LCD panel with a screen resolution of 828 x 1792 pixels. The display pixels density is 326 pixels-per-inch.

The Pixel 3 has a 2:1 display panel of 5.5-inches with a Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. In terms of colors accuracy, contrast ratio and deep blacks the Pixel 3 has an advantage of having OLED panel. If you don't like the notch on the iPhone XR, you can hide it with a black bar from settings.

Another important aspect is iPhone XR top-notch comes with a number of sensors for Face ID whereas the Pixel 3 lacks such goodies instead it relies on the rear fingerprint scanner.

Hardware

On paper, the iPhone XR is certainly a better option despite the fact both are the latest phones. The iPhone XR is running on the company's latest A12 Bionic chipset with the dedicated neural processing unit. Its an Hexa-core chipset built on the 7nm process. As per all benchmarks, it is currently the fastest chipset in the market, it beats the Snapdragon 845 driven phones with a good margin.

The Pixel 3 is powered up by the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset. Its an Octa-core SoC built on the second gen 10nm process. This chipset is powering almost all premium phones of this year. It was announced almost a year ago, So it's not surprising why it falls behind the latest Apple chipset. The Snapdragon 845 chipset best is achieved by the latest premium phones with up to 8GB RAM. The Pixel 3 has modest 4GB RAM on board.

In terms of native storage, the iPhone XR is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB variants. The Pixel 3 is only available in 64GB and 128GB variants. Both the phones lack support for memory expansion via MicroSD. If you are looking for extra sheer power the iPhone XR is a better option. Overall both the phones are capable to handle HIFI games, daily tasks quite efficiently.

Specs Google Pixel 3 Apple iPhone XR
Display 5.5-inches 6.1-inches
Screen resolution 1080 x 2160 pixels 828 x 1792 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 845 A12 Bionic
RAM 4GB 3GB
Storage 64,128GB Non-Expandable 64,128,256GB Non-Expandable
Rear camera 12.2MP 12MP
Front camera Dual 8MP 7MP
USB Type-C Lightning port
3.5mm headphone jack No No
IP67 No Yes
Battery 2,915mAH 2,942mAh
OS Android Pie iOS 12

Software

Google is efficiently working on the AI from last few years that's why Google AI-powered Assistant is considered as one of the best in the market. With the latest Pixel 3, Google brings few exclusive AI features which are certainly an added advantage over the iOS.

Google recently started rolling Duplex support which will allow Google Assistant on Pixel 3 book appointments for users. A new call screening feature will automatically transcript what caller is up to. This will sure save your time from telemarketers. Apart from these features the Pixel 3 brings a number of other exclusive AI goodies. The Pixel 3 is pre-installed with Android Pie straight out of the box. It is the company's first phone with Digital Wellbeing features straight out of the box.

The iPhone XR is running on the latest iOS 12. A new Memoji feature is introduced which allows you to capture live Emojis with the TrueDepth sensor. The Siri shortcuts feature is also a pretty good option to customize shortcuts according to your preference. Both the phones are running on the stock version of OS that's why both will receive latest updates pretty quickly and for a longer period of time.

Cameras

Undoubtedly the camera setup here will play a critical role. The Google Pixel phones have a legacy of best-in-class. It will be an exciting battle whether the latest iPhone XR is able to dethrone it or not. Both the phones have a single snapper on the rear that's where similarities end. The Pixel 3 camera is tuned with AI to enhance the capturing capabilities.

The Pixel 3 has a 12.2MP sensor on the rear with a f/1.8 aperture. It comes with optical and digital image stabilization. If you want to capture the superb shot without issues like blinking, you can turn Top shot feature while capturing in burst mode. It automatically brings the best shot amongst all.

To capture long range shots the Pixel 3 utilizes the Super-Res Zoom which uses the software prowess to capture crisper shots even from a distance. A new Night Sight mode is introduced which drastically enhances the Pixel 3 capturing capabilities in low-light scenarios. In this mode, the device uses the AI to boost the colors accuracy in dark situations. Overall the results are still more natural than any other phone in the market.

The iPhone XR has a single 12MP sensor, you won't get goodies of telephoto sensor like iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. A new Super HDR is introduced and the good thing is Apple retains this feature for the entry-level model as well. When the Super HDR mode is activated the device allows capturing of multiple exposures and joins them to produce great final results.

Although the Pixel 3 lacks dual rear sensors it has dual selfie snappers of 8MP. The secondary sensor is meant to capture wide-angle selfies. Both the phones can capture portrait mode shots with software prowess without the secondary sensor. The iPhone XR has a single 7MP snapper on the front. The iPhone XR has a solid camera setup but the Pixel 3 certainly bringing class wining setup. It is capable to surpass iPhone XR in the camera department.

Battery

Apple never officially discloses the battery cell details of their phones that's why you have to rely on the certification. The iPhone XR has a 2,942mAh battery cell. The company claims it will last even longer than the last year's iPhone 8 Plus up to 90 minutes. On a single charge, it can easily last one-day thanks to lower screen resolution and power efficient chipset.

On the other hand, the Pixel 3 also doesn't have a gigantic battery cell. It is running on a 2,915mAh battery cell. It easily lasts one day on moderate usage, however, on hefty usage, you may need to recharge it before the end of the day. Both the phones support fast and wireless charging. The Pixel 3 is shipped with fast charger but that's not the case with the iPhone XR. The wireless charging Pixel stand is available as an extra accessory which turns your device into Google Assistant in your room without unlocking the device.

Price and Availability

The iPhone XR starts at $749 whereas the Pixel 3 is slightly expensive at $799. The difference increases further if you opt for the higher model. The 128GB variant of iPhone XR costs $799 only whereas the Pixel 3 costs $899 with 128GB storage. The iPhone XR is also available in 256GB variant at a price tag of $899.

The iPhone XR is more widely available across the globe and also its carrier bound variant is available from all major carriers in the US. On the other hand, the Pixel 3 carrier bound variant is only available from Verizon in the US and also not available widely globally.

Conclusion:

Both the Pixel 3 and iPhone XR are certainly one of the best standard flagships in the market. Both the phones have metal chassis with glass on the rear. Now it's up to you whether you prefer the edge-to-edge design with a notch or prefer the two-tone finish with full bezel at the top of the display. In the display department, the Pixel 3 has an upper hand due to OLED panel and better screen resolution. The Pixel 3 takes lead in the camera department whereas the iPhone XR performs better in the hardware department.

The Pixel 3 lacks behind in battery life but it has the advantage of fast charger straight out of the box as well as Pixel stand. In the software department, both are on the latest version of OS, so it's up to you whether you prefer the iOS 12 or Android Pie flavor. Last but not the least the Pixel 3 is slightly more expensive than the iPhone XR. Apple is offering 128GB variant at same pricing, this could be a deciding factor.

In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts regarding the Pixel 3 vs iPhone XR in the comments section below. Stay tuned, we will keep you updated.

(last update 13 December 2018 @ 10:33)

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