It’s that time of year again! Last year the two tech behemoths, Apple and Google, went head to head with their latest flagship phones, the Pixel 3 and iPhone XS. One year on and the Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 are in the same position. These two product lines are natural competitors for anyone looking for an autumn upgrade. They both have a strong focus on sleek design, stunning photography, and high performance.
Tech-savvy consumers looking for their next phone have now surpassed the age-old Apple vs Android debate and are asking “which device tackles these features best?“. When it comes to choosing your next flagship phone there’s a lot to consider, so that’s why we’ve decided to do a comprehensive breakdown of the Pixel 4 and iPhone 11. Let’s take a look.
Design: iPhone 11 keeps the notch
iPhone 11 has a notch at the top of the screen, just like all the iPhones from iPhone X onwards. The benefit of the notch design is that more of the screen can be used for…well, being a screen. Oddly, despite sporting a notch in the Pixel 3 XL, this time around Google decided to opt for a ‘forehead‘ seen in older Pixel models.
Other Design Considerations
From the front, the iPhone 11 looks almost identical to the iPhone XR released in 2018; so much so that you’d struggle to differentiate between them. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, of course, but it’s just something to be aware of if you were looking for something more distinct.
However, Apple is offering new colour options for iPhone 11 so this will help you set it apart from earlier models at first glance. The new colours on offer are mint green, lilac, and yellow, in addition to the white, red, and black options offered in the past.
There’s less choice in colours when it comes to the Pixel 4, with Google only offering black, white, and orange, although the orange does look striking.
Both phones have a fairly prominent bump on the back where the camera hardware is housed, so there’s not much difference there. Apple opted for a glossy glass aesthetic on the back of the iPhone 11 but with the housing around the camera inverted to a matte texture. Despite the change in texture, the colour stays the same throughout the back of the phone. Although there haven’t been any major design changes here, Apple has managed to maintain that unibody and high-quality look they’re known for.
On the Pixel 4, Google has deviated from the two-tone design on the back of the device that we saw in 2018, and instead opted for a one-tone textured look. The camera housing is black to match the colour of the cameras, resulting in a clean and high contrast aesthetic.
Size and Display
The iPhone 11 features a 6.1 inch LCD which Apple refers to as a “Liquid Retina HD Display”. The display has a 1792×828‑pixel resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi). In contrast, the Pixel 4 features a 5.7 inch OLED screen at 441 ppi. Put simply, the Pixel 4 has a crisper display which also has truer blacks due to the OLED. However, Apple’s LCD does have IPS technology which makes for higher max brightness, in addition to great colour and viewing angles. IPS screens, in general, are considered superior to other screens due to their high image quality, making them the preferred choice for professional digital artists. With that said, digital artists aren’t likely to be creating on an iPhone 11. To conclude, both screens are strong and you’re unlikely to notice much of a difference.
The iPhone 11 has two 12MP cameras, one wide and one ultra-wide. With the Pixel 4, Google also went with two cameras, but this time they opted for one 12MP wide lens and one 16MP telephoto lens. This was a surprising move by Google since ultra-wide lenses seem to be the more popular option right now. It also makes the Pixel 4 the first Pixel phone to feature a rear telephoto lens. If you’re not sure what the difference is, let us explain.
The Pixel 4 can capture more detail at a further distance, allowing for higher quality zoomed-in shots. In contrast, the iPhone 11 won’t maintain the same clarity on a highly zoomed shot, but you can take ultra stylized wide-angle shots. Google commented that people care more about zooming in than they do going ultra-wide, and that may be true, but it still seems like a strange choice. Technology has come a long way when it comes to computationally correcting images – something which is commonly done in highly zoomed shots. Put simply, you can do a good fake of a high zoom but you can’t fake an ultra-wide shot because you won’t have any data to work with. With that said, both phones take stunning photos with the only other notable difference being that Apple tends to favour a warmer tone, in contrast with Google’s preference for cooler-toned photography.
The Pixel 4 has an 8MP selfie camera and the iPhone 11 has a 12MP selfie camera.
Both phones have biometric face unlocking technology that works by creating a 3D scan of the face. However, it has been confirmed that the Google Pixel 4 will unlock even if your eyes are closed, which is a major security flaw. Google is working on fixing this but we’re not sure when.
The two phones are pretty close on this front with the iPhone coming out slightly on top, with a 3,110mAh battery for the iPhone 11, vs 2,800mAh on the Google Pixel 4. The Pixel 4 has a 90Hz display compared with the iPhone 11’s 60Hz so this may also result in a faster depleting battery.
iPhone 11 wins this one. It features Apple’s custom made A13 Bionic processor, which is currently the best processor on the market. The Pixel 4 is sporting the same processor as the Samsung S10, the eight-core Snapdragon 855. Google Pixel 4’s processor is one of the strongest Android chips out there but it doesn’t quite match the power of the A13.
There’s no clear winner here because neither phone outperforms the other across all areas. Essentially, the best phone for you will depend on what you want and need out of a phone. Do you want the fastest processor on the market? Go for the iPhone 11. Is an OLED screen a must for you? Then go for the Pixel 4.