There are no two bigger names in tech: Apple and Google. And two of their most popular phones ever were the iPhone XS and the Google Pixel 3. Both phones came out in 2018, but are still readily available (see our best deals for iPhone here). For Apple, the iPhone XS was the successor to the previous year’s iPhone X. But Google also released an update to its Pixel line of phones that year, too. Here we’re talking about the Pixel 3. The Pixel 3 has a massive display and some other enticing features, not the least that, like the iPhone XS, the hardware, and the operating system is both designed by one company. So, how do these two flagships compare? Let’s take a look.
iPhone XS vs Google Pixel 3 – How They Compare
Here are the specs for the iPhone XS:
- Display: 5.8in OLED display with a 2436×1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi
- Dimensions: 143.6mm x 70.9mm x 7.7mm
- Storage: 64, 256, or 512GB
- Memory: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
- Processors: A12 Bionic
- Front camera: 7 MP photos and 1080p HD video.
- Rear camera: Dual lens 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, Dual optical image stabilisation, Optical zoom, 4K video
- Battery: 2658 mAh
- Other: Face ID, NFC, Wireless charging, 3D Touch, IP68 waterproof
- Color options: Silver, Space Gray, and Gold
And here are the specs for the Google Pixel 3:
- Display: 5.5in FHD+ flexible OLED display with a 2160×1080-pixel resolution at 443ppi
- Dimensions: 145.6mm x 68.2 mm x 7.9 mm
- Storage: 64GB or 128GB
- Memory: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
- Processors: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- Front camera: 8 MP photos and 1080p HD video.
- Rear camera: 12.2 MP, Optical + electronic image stabilization, 4K video
- Battery: 2915 mAh
- Other: Fingerprint reader, NFC, Wireless charging, IP68 waterproof
- Colors: Just Black, Clearly White, Not Pink
iPhone XS vs Google Pixel 3: Specs
Let’s start with storage. Each phone comes in a 64GB model. Where they differ is the iPhone XS comes in 256GB or a whopping 512GB storage option as well. The Pixel 3 only offers an optional 128GB of storage. Is double and quadruple the storage better? From a spec point of view, yes. But will most people need 256GB or 512GB? Probably not.
Both phones come with 4GB of RAM-making them even in that department. The usual caveat here applies, however: more RAM does not necessarily equal a faster phone. There are many things that determine the speed of a phone. Speaking of speeds, when we look at the CPU’s in each phone there is simply no comparison. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 found in the Pixel 3 is a great processor–for an Android device. However, the A12 Bionic chip found in the iPhone XS absolutely SMOKES the Snapdragon 845. We’re talking speeds that are up to twice as fast.
- iPhone XS – the iPhone XS features an A12 chipset, which is about twice as fast as the Snapdragon 845.
- Google Pixel 3 – the Google Pixel 3 features the Snapdragon 845. It’s a great chipset, but can’t match the speed of the A12.
Winner: iPhone XS – it’s A12 chip smokes the Snapdragon 845.
iPhone XS vs Google Pixel 3: Display & Design
Both phones feature edge-to-edge displays. The Pixel 3’s display is a little smaller at 5.5in and it also has a lower resolution at 2160×1080 at 443ppi. Compare that to the iPhone XS’s 5.8in display with a 2436×1125 resolution at 458ppi. The iPhone XS’s display 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’s display does not do. However, the iPhone XS does have that notch cutout at the top, while the Pixel 3 does not. If notches bother you, then you know who the winner is in the design department.
Speaking of that notch, it’s there to incorporate the Face ID components of the iPhone XS. Yes, that’s another huge difference between the two phones. The iPhone XS does away with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in favor of a facial recognition security system. The Pixel 3, on the other hand, still uses the trust fingerprint sensor (though it is placed awkwardly on the rear of the device).
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS features Apple’s biometric authentication system called Face ID. Its industrial design features a glass and aluminum body and comes in a wide range of six color options, including a blue model. The iPhone XS features an edge-to-edge LCD display that is 5.8in and has a 1792 x 828-pixel resolution at 326ppi.
- Google Pixel 3 – The Google Pixel 3 has a smaller display, at 5.5in. It also has a lower resolution. However, the deciding design factor may be dependent on if you like facial recognition unlocking or fingerprint unlocking, the latter of which the Pixel 3 offers.
Winner: iPhone XS – It’s got the better display and the future-proof Face ID biometric authentication system.
iPhone XS vs Google Pixel 3: Battery
The iPhone XS has a smaller battery (2658 mAh) than the Google Pixel 3 (2915 mAh). Will you see any difference because of it? Eh, probably 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.
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS’s battery will get you about 14 hours of battery life with mixed usage. It also features wireless charging.
- Google Pixel 3 – The Google Pixel 3’s battery will get you about 14 hours of battery life with mixed usage, too.
Winner: Draw – Both phones will get you the same amount of battery life on average.
iPhone XS vs Google Pixel 3: Camera
Where cameras are concerned, the iPhone XS blows the Google Pixel 3 out of the water in the rear camera department. It should be said, of course, that the Pixel 3 does have the superior front 8MP camera. That’s one MP larger than the 7MP single-lens front sensor found in the iPhone XS. Both front cameras also record 1080p video. But when we flip the phones around to the rear cameras, the iPhone XS destroys the Pixel 3. Why? Because the iPhone XS has its dual-lens camera setup with a 12MP wide-angle and a 12MP telephoto lens, dual optical image stabilisation, optical zoom, and 4K video recording.
Bafflingly, the Pixel 3 DOES NOT offer dual-lens rear cameras when almost every other major Android flagship does! This is very frustrating and could be a deal-breaker for some. That’s not to say the Pixel 3’s single-lens 12.2MP rear camera is bad. Matter of fact, it performs exceptionally well in most tests. Still, it makes us wonder just how good a dual-lens system on this phone could have been.
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS features a 7MP front-facing camera. On the rear camera, you get a dual-lens 12MP camera complete with a wide-angle and telephoto lens.
- Google Pixel 3 – The Google Pixel 3 features an 8MP front-facing camera. On the rear camera, you get a single-lens 12MP camera complete with a wide-angle lens.
Winner: iPhone XS – That sweet dual-lens rear camera setup can’t be beat.
iPhone XS vs Google Pixel 3: Cost & Verdict
Unlocked the Google Pixel 3 originally cost $799(64GB). The iPhone XS originally cost $999 (64GB). However, the great news is you can get the best deal on the iPhone XS and other iPhones by checking out our deals page HERE!
But which should YOU buy? The Pixel 3 or the iPhone XS? If you’re a fan of iOS or Android OS, the choice is a no-brainer. However, if you can go with either OS and just want the best hardware possible, the iPhone XS blows the Pixel 3 out of the water. It’s got the larger, better display, the faster processor, and the far superior rear camera setups with dual lenses.
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.