Do you want face detection? Do you want a fingerprint reader? Maybe a phone that fits well in your hand? How about a camera that replaces your DSLR? Both Apple and Google came out with stellar phones for all your needs, but is it enough for you to buy, or even switch devices? We’ll look at both, and look at the pros and cons.
The Pixel 3 XL is a review model supplied by Verizon. The iPhone XS Max is a my personal phone.
Google Pixel 3 XL
This is a 6.3 inch phone with a 2.5 GHz Octa processor from Qualcomm. The Adreno 630 GPU gives you a resolution is 1440×2960, has 4 GB RAM, and a minimum storage of 64 GB, with no card expansion. Of course, the latest version of Android in Pie is on the phone.
This device has stereo speakers front-facing, so it does affect the screen size. For example, the notch on top is a little bit deeper than that of the iPhone.
Inside is a 3430 mAh non-removable battery. 8W Qi wireless charging is also available, charging the phone at about 20% an hour.
The phone will charge a lot faster when plugged in.
Security fingerprint is on the back side of of the device. Connection via the USB-C cable port, available on the bottom, running USB 3.1. Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band hotspot 802.11 ac WIFI, and NFC available.
Pixel 3 Camera
As we start to get closer to taking 2 trillion digital photos, this is probably the most important part of your phone. The Pixel XL has a 12.2 MP main camera and 8 MP front camera. Both have Auto-HDR options, and the main camera sports a dual LED flash, and panorama option.
Video on the main camera can be created up to 2160p@30 (aka UHD) fps or 720p @ 240 fps (slow motion). The selfie camera video can do 1080p @ 30 fps.
Features iPhone XS Doesn’t Have
Pixel has a fingerprint reader for secure login without password. Interesting enough, Older Google phones used to have facial recognition, but don’t anymore. Other instant login features such as location based and even on-body unlock (which is not secure) are available.
Squeeze the sides of the Pixel instead of saying “Hey Google”. You can flip the phone over to put it into silent mode.
The USB-C port for faster data transfer.
There is a setting to hide the camera/speaker notch. You loose screen space, though.
Flip to Shh. If the screen is down, the phone will be in silent mode.
The group selfie cam has the ability to zoom out a little more to get the shot. Top shot takes the best of your burst photos and stitches together for the perfect photo. No more blinking.
3 colors for the Pixel – Just black, very white, and not pink.
Finally – and this is one thing that Google hasn’t really announced – they will be supporting the Pixel 3 for 3 years with Android releases. That means your phone will be current all through the device life cycle, and possibly the hand-me-down cycle, too.
Now that might be mixed signals, because even the iPhone 6 can get newer updates. This is more of a “Buy Pixel over the other Android phones” feature because in the past, many Android devices wouldn’t update their OS after the first year.
iPhone XS Max
Inside is the A12 Bionic chip – a 64 bit ARM chip with 2 -2.5 GHz “Vortex” cores, and 4-1.6 GHz “Tempest” cores. A 4-core GPU processor, and their “Next generation Neural engine”, which adds another 8-cores and can run 5 trillion operations per second. That is a lot of cores…
The display is Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1242×2688, and a display of 6.5 inches. 4 GB of RAM and a minimum 64 GB storage.
Sound is stereo, but the speakers are on the bottom of the phone. Therefore, palming will cause audio loss.
Battery is a 3174 mAh Li-Ion, and non-removable. Qi charging available at 10W, or 25% an hour.
Bluetooth 5.0, and dual-band hotspot 802.11 ac WIFI. NFC also available for connections and transfer, such as switching phones. USB 2.1 using the proprietary Lightning cable.
Not sure why Apple didn’t switch to the USB-C like they did with the iPad…
iPhone XS Max Camera
The iPhone sports a 12 MP main camera, and 7 MP front face camera. Both can create HDR photos. The main camera is a dual camera device, with a wide and telephoto lens. It has a Quad-LED dual tone flash, and can create photos, or panorama.
Video on the XS can do 2160p 60 fps. selfie camera can do 1080p 30 fps.
However, both also have depth sensors, so you can take photos in portrait. This data is being used by Facebook to create
Features Pixel 3 Doesn’t Have
iOS can do more than screen share. You can also record the contents of the display with voice input. You can make presentations, or GIFs on your phone easily. There are 3rd party apps for Android, but nothing native.
You have other features in your messaging, including sending money, linking app posts, throwing kisses, and more. Only issue with this feature is the recipient also has to have an iOS device.
Face detection is a big part of the iPhone XS. You can look at your phone to unlock, get into your banking apps, ApplePay, and more.
Speaking of which – Facebook 3D photo is not available for Android devices. Even if you take a portrait photo and send it to iOS, it does not have the depth information to process it 3D.
Overall: Pixel 3 or iPhone XS Max?
There is a reason why I have an iPhone over any Android device. Simply put – music apps. I can do more with an iPhone musically than any Android device. Not to mention the apps for most products usually come out focusing on iOS over Android. Since iPhones outsells high performance Android devices like the Pixel 3 in major tech countries, it makes sense to focus on the performance of iOS apps.
Keep in mind – Android can be put on many different devices, so overall sales does go to that platform.
For you, there might be reasons why you prefer Android over iOS. Whether it be the functionality of Google Home, the use of Google Apps like calendar, maps, and documents, or possibly the functionality of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).
The price might also be a big factor. The iPhone XS 64 GB model starts at $1099 and the Pixel 3 XL is $899.
Also keep in mind we did not review the 5.5 inch Pixel 3 for $799, the iPhone XS for $999, and the Xr for $749.