Head-To-Head: Google Pixel 3 Vs. Apple iPhone XS

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There's no slowdown to this big fall season of smartphone releases. Following launches of new Apple iPhones and the Samsung Galaxy Note9, Google this week unveiled its top contenders for the coming year with the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL. The phones aim to offer more than just the usual upgrades, with a number of novel software features and a major camera update. The Pixel 3 is the closest on size to Apple's iPhone XS, so we're taking a look at those two devices today. Which is the better fit for you? In the following slides, the CRN Test Center breaks down the Apple iPhone XS vs the Google Pixel 3 on specs and price.


While the iPhone XS is the smallest iPhone in Apple's new lineup this year, its display still comes in at 5.8 inches--making it larger than the 5.5-inch screen on Google's Pixel 3. Both the iPhone XS and Pixel 3 use bright and colorful OLED technology on their displays. The iPhone XS has the leg-up on resolution with 2,436 x 1,125 pixels, or 458 pixels per inch (ppi). The Pixel 3 offers resolution of 2,160 x 1,080, or 443 ppi.

One noticeable difference is that the Pixel 3 has a larger bezel above and below the screen, meaning it's not offering an "edge-to-edge" design. But then again, the iPhone XS isn't exactly either, due to the camera notch cutout at the top of the screen.

Processor & RAM

The iPhone XS is powered by Apple's newest processor, the A12 Bionic, which features a six-core CPU. The A12 Bionic includes two high-performance cores, which run at up to 15 percent faster speeds than the A11 chip in last year's iPhones. Initial Geekbench benchmark scores suggest that the A12 Bionic and 4 GB of RAM in the iPhone XS will offer faster performance than the Pixel 3, which is powered by the eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and 4 GB of RAM.


The Pixel 3 will retain a single camera system on the rear offering 12.2 megapixels. Google has been heavily touting the advanced camera features on the Pixel 3--suggesting that the phone doesn't need a dual-camera to compete with the iPhone XS. Among Google's new features for the Pixel 3 is "Top Shot," which captures numerous photos and recommends the best ones--where all subjects have their eyes open and are smiling. Another new camera feature, "Super Res Zoom," shoots a burst of photos and merges elements of the photos to present the best possible shot. The Pixel 3 camera also offers improved low-light capabilities, powered by machine learning, with a feature Google is calling "Night Sight."

The iPhone XS features a dual rear camera system, with wide-angle and telephoto cameras that each offer 12 megapixels. Apple says the camera includes an improved flash along with new features such as "Smart HDR," which makes use of the A12 Bionic chip and combines numerous images to deliver a photo that is more highly detailed. The iPhone XS also offers camera features such as portrait lighting, which improves the lighting of the contours over a subject's face.

Battery Life & Storage

Apple promises 12 hours of internet use for the iPhone XS, but it's unclear how the Pixel 3 will compare because Google didn't release battery life estimates. Google did say the Pixel 3 will include a 2,915 mAh battery, up from 2,700 mAH on the Pixel 2—and larger than the 2,658 mAh battery in the iPhone XS.

For internal storage, Pixel 3 buyers will have choices between 64 GB or 128 GB of internal storage. Apple is offering more storage options for the iPhone XS, with choices between 64 GB, 256 GB or a massive 512 GB at the top end.

Special Features

One of the novel features in the Pixel 3 is "Call Screen," which automatically asks unknown callers who they are and why they are calling. Then, their responses are transcribed in real time--allowing users to choose whether to pick up the phone or not (and also letting users mark the call as spam).

Other new features include "Flip to Shhh," which can mute sounds and notifications when the phone is placed face down. Google Assistant can also now be triggered by squeezing the side of the phone.

For charging, both the Pixel 3 and iPhone XS can charge wirelessly with a Qi charging device. Google announced that it's introducing a new Qi wireless charging stand in conjunction with the Pixel 3--the Pixel Stand, which holds the phone upright and automatically adjusts the user interface so that it's viewable from across the room.

Price & Availability

The Google Pixel 3 has a starting price of $799, putting it well below the $999 Apple iPhone XS. Those prices are for the models with 64 GB of internal storage; moving up to 128 GB for the Pixel 3 will bring it to $899, while getting the 256 GB iPhone XS will run $1,149.

Pre-orders are underway now for Google's Pixel 3, and the device will ship Oct. 17.