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Apple iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: A Clash of Premium Smartphones

The Google Pixel 7 Pro stands as our favored Android smartphone, offering a comprehensive feature set at a price point that undercuts many of its Pro-grade competitors. While this still holds true, the landscape has shifted with the arrival of the iPhone 15 Pro from Apple, bringing substantial changes that invite a comparison to the best that Android has to offer.

Drawing parallels between Apple’s iPhone, running iOS, and Google’s Pixel, powered by Android, can be likened to comparing apples to oranges (pun intended). Nevertheless, in this analysis, we will delve into critical aspects and attempt to match these devices spec-for-spec to aid you in making an informed choice.

Price, Specifications, and Availability

The iPhone 15 Pro has been unveiled but is not yet officially available. Preorders are open through Apple starting September 15, 2023, with the official release slated for September 22, 2023. The base model, boasting 128GB of internal storage, carries a $999 price tag, mirroring the launch price of its predecessor. Apple also offers trade-in deals, offering up to $650 off when exchanging an old iPhone, and major carriers may offer discounts up to $1,000 based on the trade-in model.

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Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 Pro is on the verge of being succeeded by Google’s Pixel 8 series. The base Pixel 7 Pro model, with 128GB of internal storage, launched at a slightly lower price point of $899. It may even see a modest $50 discount as the new model approaches, potentially coinciding with Black Friday sales.

Both phones offer 5G compatibility and support major carriers in the U.S. Notably, the iPhone 15 Pro in the U.S. operates exclusively with eSIM, while international versions retain physical SIM card slots. In contrast, the Pixel 7 Pro supports eSIM but does not compel its use in the States.

Detailed specifications for the iPhone 15 Pro are somewhat scarce at this stage, as Apple traditionally withholds technical specifics like battery capacity until launch. Nonetheless, a preliminary comparison of the iPhone 15 Pro and the Pixel 7 Pro is feasible based on available information.

Design

The iPhone 15 Pro’s overall design closely resembles its predecessor, though it introduces notable innovations to the iPhone lineup. The new titanium frame reduces the device’s weight while preserving durability. However, the front and back remain glass, incorporating Ceramic Shield technology, which makes them susceptible to damage if mishandled.

On the other hand, the Google Pixel 7 Pro features glass on both sides, encased in an aluminum frame, which is less robust than titanium. Both phones offer an IP68 rating, ensuring resistance to water and dust, making them resilient to accidental submersion.

While the Pixel 7 Pro retains traditional volume control and power buttons, Apple replaced the Mute Button with a new Action Button in the iPhone 15 Pro. This versatile button can mute alerts and be customized to execute various functions, even complex tasks through Shortcuts, enhancing user flexibility.

Display

Both the Google Pixel 7 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro feature impressive OLED panels with exceptional color accuracy and contrast. The Pixel boasts a larger 6.7-inch display with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, while the iPhone 15 Pro offers a slightly smaller 6.1-inch screen but compensates with an Always-on display and an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. Both displays ensure sharp visuals, whether gaming or scrolling through social media.

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Software and Performance

The divergence between iOS and Android brings complexity to the comparison. They are distinct ecosystems with unique approaches to smartphone usage in 2023.

Upon launch, the iPhone 15 Pro will run the latest iOS version, iOS 17. Meanwhile, Android 14 for the Pixel 7 Pro appears slightly delayed, with an available beta for brave users. Preferences play a pivotal role in the software experience. Apple tends to maintain a more controlled ecosystem, favoring first-party apps and services, though it has introduced increased customization in recent iOS iterations. Android, in contrast, offers extensive customization options, settings, and third-party app integration.

Both iOS 17 and Android 13 excel in their core designs, appealing to different user preferences. iOS remains user-friendly for newcomers and casual users, while Android caters to those who crave deeper customization.

In terms of performance, Apple holds the advantage with the A17 Pro chipset, expected to outpace the Tensor G2 powering the Pixel. Benchmark scores for the A16 Bionic, found in the iPhone 14 Pro, suggest superior performance across the board. The new A17 Pro features a significantly upgraded GPU, accommodating hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing, a notable boon for gaming. Apple’s announcement of Resident Evil Village coming natively to the iPhone later in the year underscores this impressive capability.

However, Google’s Tensor G2, while not matching Apple’s raw power, delivers snappy and responsive performance, complemented by Google’s AI-powered features like Call Screening.

Cameras

Both Apple and Google excel in camera technology on their Pro models. The Pixel 7 Pro features a versatile triple-camera setup: a 50MP f/1.85 primary sensor, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide sensor, and a 48MP f/3.5 5x telephoto sensor. The primary sensor bins down images to 12.5MP for enhanced sharpness.

The iPhone 15 Pro boasts a triple-camera system consisting of a 48MP f/1.78 primary sensor, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide sensor, and a 12MP f/2.8 3x telephoto sensor. Unlike the Pixel 7 Pro, the iPhone 15 Pro allows full-resolution 48MP capture.

Both camera systems excel in computational photography for portraits, night shots, and impressive HDR. The Pixel 7 Pro’s 5x optical zoom surpasses the iPhone’s 3x optical zoom, though the iPhone 15 Pro Max offers 5x telephoto capability.

Apple’s prowess in video recording continues with the iPhone 15 Pro, introducing Spatial Video, creating 3D-like videos for Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset Vision Pro. While niche, it underscores Apple’s commitment to pushing video boundaries.

Battery and Charging

The iPhone 15 Pro embraces USB-C, enabling compatibility with the 10gb/s data transfer speeds it offers. However, Android users are no strangers to USB-C, a standard on the Pixel 7 Pro.

Apple refrains from disclosing battery capacity figures, but preliminary estimates suggest around 20 hours of streamed video and 75 hours of audio playback. This mirrors the iPhone 14 Pro’s performance, indicating decent day-to-day usage but lacking the stamina for extended use. The Pixel 7 Pro, equipped with a 5,000mAh battery, faces similar challenges, often requiring a midday charge to last a full day.

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