Google is serious about its phone business and after a major reset in the flagship space last year with the Pixel 6 family, it’s coming back even stronger this year with the Pixel 7 Pro. But how good is it and does it have something special that will make loyal iPhone users consider switching?
In this comparison we put two big and bad phones: the Pixel 7 Pro versus the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Both come with the largest screens available in the flagship space and both have the largest battery sizes, plus an oversized phone like these two means the processor inside can run at its best and highest performance without overheating.
With this in mind, let’s not waste time and start exploring the differences between Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max!
- 6.7 inch screen size, both 120 Hz
- Fingerprint on Pixel vs Face ID on iPhone
- Google Tensor 2 chip vs Apple A16 Bionic
- 12GB RAM vs 6GB
- 128 GB basic storage on both, no microSD card support
- Triple camera on both, but Pixel has 4X telephoto lens, while iPhone 3X . has
- Bigger battery on Pixel, but iPhone is expected to last longer
Design and display quality
Big phones, uncompromising screen quality
The first thing to know about these phones is that they are large and quite heavy. Some people will love this, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea (in that case, look for the Pixel 7 or the non-Max iPhone versions).
The Pixel is made of glass and metal and uses an aluminum frame, while the iPhone is expected to stick with stainless steel, which gives the sides a glossy shine. Stainless steel is a more premium, but it is also a heavier material.
Both the Pixel and iPhone require dust and water protection, and we expect no less than IP68 water resistance.
The Pixel 7 Pro is available in three color options: the classic Obsidian (a black shade) and Snow (white), as well as a new Hazel colorway with a deep gray shade with copper metallic accents. The iPhone 14 Pro Max, on the other hand, is expected to come with four colors to choose from: the well-known graphite, silver and gold, as well as a new rumored purple shade. Interestingly, the Pixel has a glossy back, while the iPhone has a matte finish on the back.
While we expect both phones to maintain a 6.7-inch screen size and both should support a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate, we expect the iPhone to adopt a slightly different aspect ratio. While the Pixel will stick to a 19.5:9 ratio, the iPhone is rumored to have a slightly larger and narrower 20:9 display. This subtle change might make it a little less wide and easier to grip with one hand.
As for the actual screen quality, we expect more information to be released soon, so stay tuned.
We’ll also be doing our typical display measurements once we get these phones, and these measurements will give you the exact scientific data on screen calibration and color accuracy.
The Pixel 7 Pro sticks with an in-display fingerprint scanner, and we’re rooting for it to be faster than its predecessor, which had some very noticeable issues. The previous model also had no form of facial recognition and we do expect that the new Pixel 7 Pro will finally add that feature.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max, on the other hand, relies solely on 3D facial recognition, also known as Face ID, and with a 2022 update to iOS, Face ID can also work with masks, eliminating the one major complaint most users had about it.
Performance and software
Google Tensor Gen2 vs Apple A16 Bionic
Google says it started working on its first Tensor chip nearly 3 years before the release of the Pixel 6, and the Pixel 7 Pro is bringing a more refined, second-generation version of the processor. Tensor gen2 is expected to deliver improvements in power and efficiency, but most importantly, it will continue to focus on super-fast machine learning (ML) performance.
Apple’s A16 Bionic chip, on the other hand, has a high bar to clear as the previous A15 Bionic is still the fastest mobile chip available even in 2022.
But the real difference between the Pixel 7 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max may not be in the performance at all. It can only be about the software and the ecosystem. Those who are used to iOS probably won’t want to switch to Android, and vice versa. After all, both platforms try to convince you to stick with a ton of features, but especially the Apple ecosystem with the Apple Watch, tight integration via AirDrop and AirPlay with other iDevices, then AirPods, AirTags, and it all just works seamlessly together. Google is on track to build something similar, but it’s not quite there yet.
In terms of software, the Pixel 7 Pro will be one of the first to launch with the latest Android 13 version. Google traditionally offers major software updates for 3 years, while Apple has longer software support of about 5 to 6 years.
A battle of algorithms
You can’t confuse the camera systems on these phones: the iPhone with the stovetop-type look and the Pixel with its camera bar, they just look so unique!
But despite the different styling, the camera hardware is quite similar: a 1X wide camera, a 0.5X ultra-wide camera, and then a telephoto lens with 3X zoom on the iPhone and 4X zoom on the Pixel. Dig deeper into the specs and you’ll find that both camera sensors are larger than usual compared to the rest of the industry, but most importantly they both have the software to bring it all to life.
We expect a continued focus on photo and video quality, plus a few new tricks from the same playbook on both phones, but no details yet! We should wait.
One thing on our wish list is 4K120 video recording for high quality slow motion footage, that would be truly epic!
Audio quality and haptics
Neither phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, and frankly, it’s clear that the jack is gone for good on mainstream flagships, so it is what it is.
Last year, the iPhone 13 took a giant leap in audio quality with speakers that just LOOK, got loud, had bass and depth, and did audio better than most phones. We hope Apple takes this up a notch in the 14 Pro Max. For the past year, Pixel also had very good audio quality, but not quite on par with the iPhone, so it has more catching up to do in this area.
Battery life and charging
iOS remains the deciding factor for battery life
Apple traditionally uses smaller battery sizes in its iPhones, at least compared to Android rivals, but since iOS appears to be much more efficient at power management, it not only compensates, it even outperforms the Android competition. At least that was the case with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, one of the longest-lasting phones we’ve ever used!
For the iPhone 14 Pro Max, we expect a battery capacity of around 4,300-4,400 mAh, compared to a 5,000 mAh capacity on the Pixel 7 Pro. But be careful not to confuse these battery capacity numbers with battery life! We’ll have to test that once we get our hands on the phones.
Both the Pixel and iPhone will also support wireless charging, but it’s the iPhone that stands out with its MagSafe fancy magnetic charging, where it clips securely to compatible chargers.
And just in case all that text wasn’t enough, here’s a quick look at the specs highlights for the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max side by side:
*Above specifications are based on leaks and rumors and are not final.
We will update this table with details as the phones get closer to their launch.
Summary and final verdict
Ultimately, the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are evolutionary devices.
We can’t forget the price difference either: the Pixel is expected to start at a much tastier $900, while the iPhone is reportedly getting a price hike this year, starting at $1,200.
Anyway, which of these two would you choose? And what do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of each?