iPhone XR vs Google Pixel 3 XL – Which Is Better??

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 10/15/18 •  6 min read

The notch has arrived! Or, it’s gone mainstream anyway. When Apple first introduced the iPhone X it caused waves among armchair pundits because of its notched display design. The notch was a necessity, however. It’s where Apple placed the Face ID camera system.

And when Apple introduced the iPhone XR the following year, that also got Face ID and the notch. Although there was plenty of less notch-bashing this following year, because, since the iPhone X introduction a year earlier, many Android manufacturers had embraced the notch, too.

And with the Google Pixel 3 XL, Google embraced the notch as well. But just how do Apple’s and Google’s former flagships compare in other ways? Let’s take a look to find out.

iPhone XR vs Google Pixel 3 XL – How They Compare

Here are the specs for the iPhone XR:

And here are the specs for the Google Pixel 3 XL:

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iPhone XR vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Specs

As usual, let’s start with storage. Each phone comes in a 64GB and 128GB model, but the iPhone XR also comes in a 256GB storage option as well. As for RAM, the Pixel 3 XL comes with 25% more at 4GB versus the iPhone XR’s 3GB. However, the usual caveat here applies: more RAM does not necessarily equal a faster phone. There are many things that determine the speed of the phone. Including how well the OS is optimized to run more efficiently and speedily on less hardware. Apple is a master at this.

As for processors–there’s no comparison. The iPhone is the clear winner here. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 found in the Pixel 3 XL is a great processor–for an Android device. However, the A12 Bionic chip found in the iPhone XR absolutely SMOKES the Snapdragon 845. We’re talking speeds that are up to twice as fast.

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iPhone XR vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Display & Design

Both phones feature edge-to-edge displays. The Pixel 3 XL’s display is a little larger at 6.3in and it also has a higher resolution at 2960×1440 at 523ppi. Compare that to the iPhone XR’s 6.1in display with a 2436×1125 resolution at 458ppi. If displays are your thing, the Pixel 3 XL beats the iPhone XR–at least in size and resolution.

However, the iPhone XR’s display also features a true tone panel, which means it adjusts to match the warmth of the color temperature in the room, making it easier on the eyes. That’s something the Pixel 3 XL’s display does not do. And as mentioned, both phones feature the notch.

Speaking of that notch, it’s there to incorporate the Face ID components of the iPhone XR. Yes, that’s another huge difference between the two phones. The iPhone XR does away with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in favor of a facial recognition security system. The Pixel 3 XL, on the other hand, still uses the trust fingerprint sensor (though it is placed awkwardly on the rear of the device).

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iPhone XR vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Battery

The iPhone XR has a smaller battery (2942 mAh) than the Google Pixel 3 XL (3430 mAh). Will you see any difference because of it? Most likely not. Both phones should give you about 12-14 hours’ worth of life under mixed usage. Both phones also feature wireless charging–a nice touch.

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iPhone XR vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Camera

Where cameras are concerned, the rear lens system is also almost identical on each phone. Both feature a single-lens 12MP wide-angle camera. Both also feature optical image stabilization and 4K video recording. They also both feature some extra software tools, however, like Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control and Portrait Lighting, adding to their abilities.

It should be said, of course, that the Pixel 3 XL does have the superior front sensor–a dual-lens 8MP camera. That’s one lens more and one MP larger than the 7MP single-lens front sensor found in the iPhone XR. Both front cameras also record 1080p video.

iphone 7 vs iphone xr
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iPhone XR vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Cost & Verdict

Unlocked the Google Pixel 3 XL originally cost $899 (64GB). The 6.1in iPhone XR costs $599 (64GB) and $649 (128GB).

But the great news is you can get the best deal on the iPhone XR and other iPhones by checking out our deals page HERE!

Which should you get? It’s a draw, I think. The iPhone XR with its A12 Bionic will smoke the Pixel 3 XL in speed. But the Pixel 3 XL has the better front camera and the larger, higher-res display. In the end, your choice will probably come down to what kind of fanboy you are–Android or iOS?

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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