There have always been parallels drawn between Google and Apple phones. From the sizeable bezels that make up the phones’ designs to the big-phone-little-phone release strategy both companies follow, Google and Apple are constantly ‘borrowing’ ideas from one another.
So, when you heard that Google was emulating Apple in dropping the headphone jack, you might have resigned yourself to the idea these are two like-for-like phones. The only difference: one runs on Android and the other on iOS.
It’s true that these smartphones have a lot in common. Yet, in certain areas, you’ll find one far outperforms the other. Here we take a closer look at what both phones bring to the table.
Google Pixel 2 vs iPhone 8 at a glance
- Both phones have outstanding cameras, but the Pixel 2 has the best
- Both phones have lacklustre displays. Out of the two, the Pixel 2 is better
- The iPhone 8 is more powerful thanks to its A11 Bionic chipset
- Some Pixel 2s emit an annoying ticking sound from their speakers – a bug Google plans to fix with a software update
The design of the Google Pixel 2 hasn’t changed significantly from the original Pixel. The phone’s body remains mostly metal, the back retains a two-tone colour and the display is surrounded by chunky bezels.
There are two changes. Firstly, the fingerprint scanner on the back has moved further down, so it no longer sits on the glass at the top. This is a good move because you’ll no longer find yourself smudging the glass each time you unlock your device.
The other design change is less commendable; the absence of a headphone jack. No jack means you’ll need an ugly converter to continue using wired headphones – an inconvenience most would rather avoid.
By contrast, the iPhone 8 is classier than its previous models. The phone is encased in Gorilla Glass 5, which makes the iPhone look more modern. What’s more, despite the glass finish, the iPhone is durable enough to withstand low-impact drops. Like the Pixel 2, the iPhone 8 is water and dust resistant, so copes with a surprise dip in the bath too.
You could be forgiven for finding the display of the Pixel 2 and iPhone 8 disappointing. Neither have the highest resolution screens, nor do they support quad HD (QHD) display.
Side-by-side, you’d say the Pixel 2’s display is a little crisper and better defined. Supported by AMOLED technology, the Pixel 2’s screen has good colour accuracy and is easy to see, even in bright sunlight. A nice touch is the always-on display feature, which lets you see information such as the time, date and new notifications without waking your phone up.
The iPhone 8 runs a lower resolution (326 ppi vs Google’s 441 ppi) and you can tell. Although its True Tone feature helps keep the display sharp in ambient light, the overall colour contrast doesn’t compare to other flagship models.
Again, the Pixel 2 steals the win. And it does so without the dual-lens camera set-up you find in other flagships.
Most phones, such as the Samsung S8 and Sony Xperia, use dual-lens cameras to create artistic effects and make zooming in easier. But Google has avoided the need to include the hardware by using a dual-pixel sensor. The sensor divides pixels in two to speed up autofocus and make your photo’s subject stand out.
Unlike the iPhone 8, the Google Pixel 2’s front-facing camera supports portrait mode – an effect that lets you separate the subject of your photo from the background. By isolating the subject, you can edit that part of the image on its own. This is especially useful when experimenting with lighting and contrast on people’s faces.
That’s not to say the iPhone 8 has a bad camera. The iPhone takes fantastic wide-angled shots and its image processing sensor (ISP) quickly focuses in low light. However, if you’re obsessed with quality, you’ll be happier with the functionality and effects found on the Pixel 2.
Software, power & battery life
While on the subject of software, it’s important you’re aware that some Pixel 2s are suffering from a bug. The glitch causes the phone to emit a ticking sound when unlocked, which is bloody annoying when you’re trying to watch the latest episode of The Apprentice.
As Google has promised to fix the issue asap, we’ve decided not to let it overshadow this comparison. But, we wouldn’t recommend buying a Pixel 2 until Google confirms the fixed.
Google’s Pixel 2 runs on the latest Android operating system, Android 8.0 Oreo. The new system comes with several updates that help preserve battery life and make password autofill easy.
Inside the Pixel 2, you’ll also find the same Snapdragon 835 processor you have in phones such as the LG V30. The processor is fast when put through its paces and you’ll have no problems running videos or playing games.
The Pixel 2 is fast, but the iPhone 8 is faster. This is mainly down to the iPhone’s A11 Bionic chipset, which is a whopping 70% quicker than the iPhone 7’s A10 chip. Apple wanted the iPhone 8 to cope with new trends in tech, like augmented reality, so it had to be their most powerful phone yet. They succeeded: the iPhone 8’s power is currently unmatched by any Android phone.
As for battery life, both phones are on a par, lasting around 12 hours when taken off charge and used regularly. For Apple, this is quite the feat, given that the iPhone 8’s 1821mAh battery is much smaller than the Pixel 2’s 2700mAh unit.
As Google has partnered with HTC to produce the Pixel 2, the phone comes with the same squeeze functionality found in HTC’s U11. Google refers to the feature as Active Edge and it lets you activate Google Assistant with a squeeze of your phone. The shortcut is especially handy if you use other Google products, such as Chromecast, which respond to Google’s Assistant.
A similar feature on the iPhone 8 is 3D Touch. The feature teaches your phone to respond differently depending on how long you press it. For example, by holding down on an email you can see a snapshot of its contents without opening the message.
Importantly, the iPhone 8 also supports wireless charging (that glass case isn’t just for show). Wireless charging is predicted to grow quickly over the next five years as more people choose to have one charging pad for all their electronic devices.
Google Pixel 2 vs iPhone 8: A closely matched contest
Ultimately, the Pixel 2 doesn’t bring enough to the table to tempt loyal Apple fans away from iOS. Indeed, if you have other Apple gadgets, like a HomePod, you’re better off keeping your devices on one platform.
That said, the Pixel 2 trumps the iPhone in most areas. The display is sharper and brings up pictures and videos in a higher res. Also, the camera is superb, letting you take crystal clear shots that are easy to edit however you want.
Admittedly, the iPhone 8 is more powerful. But practically speaking, you’re only going to yearn for this kind of power when augmented reality takes off. For the time being, it’s a nice-to-have that makes little difference to your day-to-day phone use.
|Google Pixel 2||iPhone 8|
|Price||circa £629.00||circa £699.00|
|Dimensions||145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm (5.74 x 2.74 x 0.31 in)||138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm (5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29in)|
|Size||5.0 inches||4.7 inches|
|Resolution||1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~441 ppi density)||750 x 1334 pixels (~326 ppi pixel density)|
|OS||Android 8.0||iOS 11|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835||Apple A11 Bionic|
|Internal||64/128 GB, 4 GB RAM||64 GB or 256 GB, 2 GB RAM|
|Image capture||12.2 MP, f/1.8, OIS, phase detection & laser autofocus, dual-LED flash, check quality||12 MP, f/1.8, 28mm, phase detection autofocus, OIS, quad-LED (dual tone) flash|
|Video||2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720p@240fps||2160p@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps|
Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
Type-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adaptor
Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter
|Sensors||Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer||Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|