After Google confirmed that a Pixel successor is hitting the market this year, the device is now expected to be one of the major competitors of Apple’s upcoming 10th anniversary iPhone, which is speculated to debut with the “iPhone 8” moniker. The iPhone 7 was not so much of an upgrade compared to its predecessor, so Apple is poised to change that with the next iPhone. On the other hand, Google’s Pixel 2 could raise the bar for Android smartphones coming out this 2017. Given that both handsets are likely to emerge successful upon their respective launch, it’s just fitting for us to look into them and see if one can one-up the other based on their rumored specs and features.
Apple’s iPhone 7 impressed a lot of people when it launched with the Apple A10 Fusion chip, which is basically a quad-core ARM processor composed of two high-performance Hurricane cores and two high-efficiency Zephyr cores. The six-core PowerVR Series7XT Plus GPU was also no joke for it enabled the device to do “console-level” performance when running mobile games. This year, the Cupertino giant is rumored to bring its A11 processor to the next-generation iPhone.
Back in December, The Motley Fool reported that Apple’s supplier, TSMC, is going to manufacture the smartphone CPU using 10-nanometer technology. It is then expected to be more powerful and faster than the A10 Fusion. As for its GPU, analysts have said that the next-generation iPhone could come equipped with Imagination Technologies’ Series8XT, which is reportedly more power-efficient than the one on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Geekbench scores for the current iPhones are really impressive, so we’re hoping to see higher ratings for the iPhone 8’s performance.
Google also ensured that its flagship smartphone, the Pixel, would be a powerhouse. The Android 7.1 Nougat-running handset debuted with the Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset, which is made up of two 2.15 GHz Kryo cores and two 1.6 GHz Kryo cores. The device also came wth the Adreno 530 GPU. The CPU and GPU combo in the Pixel was regarded as pretty stellar by the tech industry at the time. Looking at it now, however, the combination wouldn’t really be as impressive as before. Despite receiving great scores from Geekbench, it’s clear that the Pixel was nowhere near the iPhone 7 in terms of performance. BGR’s comparison of the handsets’ Geekbench scores showed that the Apple device crushed the Google phone in both the single-core (3488 vs. 1565) and multi-core (5590 x 4103) tests.
The Pixel 2 is rumored to run on Snapdragon 835 CPU — the same chipset that will be powering Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. If this were the case, then it’s certain that the iPhone 8 will trump the Pixel 2 in terms of performance. The Geekbench results for the Galaxy S8+ have already been leaked, and the Snapdragon 835 chipset received a lower score than the iPhone 7 Plus in the single-core test (1929 vs. 3473). In the multi-core test, the processor did better than the A10 Fusion, but the difference isn’t as significantly large as in the single-core test (6084 vs. 5664).
For the most part, the iPhone 8 is claimed to launch with a 5.8-inch display. What would make this screen special is the company’s rumored venture into edge-to-edge display that would see the death of the physical home button. This will not come as a surprise if true because the big players in the smartphone industry are migrating to this type of display for their flagship devices. LG already showed off its edge-to-edge design on the G6 at the recently concluded MWC 2017. Samsung is also said to have embraced this type of display design for its Galaxy S8. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said back in February (via MacRumors) that the iPhone 8's display is an OLED panel. In spite of the larger screen estate, fans can expect the handset itself to retain the size of the current iPhone. Kuo said the measurements of the phone’s form factor would be the same as those of the iPhone 7, but the rather large screen will eat up the entire front panel of the iPhone 8. This would be possible thanks to the advanced technology that would allow Apple to embed its Touch ID fingerprint scanner onto the display itself.
There were rumors of Apple killing off Touch ID for a more advanced 3D scanner with facial recognition technology, but come to think of it, it’s unlikely for the Cupertino giant to just get rid of Touch ID after all of the hard work it has put into making it the first line of defense of iPhone users from hackers as well as the verification tool to authorize users’ purchases and other mobile monetary transactions. Nothing about the screen resolution has been mentioned so far, but we’re hoping Apple is considering bumping up the 750 x 1334 resolution and 331 ppi pixel density on the iPhone 7 for this year’s iPhone.
The original Google Pixel launched with a 5-inch AMOLED capacitive screen with 1080 x 1920 screen resolution and 441 ppi pixel density. Based on speculations from tech insiders, Google is sticking with the 5-inch screen size for the Pixel 2. It is also expected to have a 2560 x 1440 screen resolution. This improved screen resolution will make the handset the perfect partner of Google’s VR headset Daydream. While many believe that Google could be bringing the design of the first-generation Pixel to the upcoming version, there are also others who are hoping for the company to follow the new trend of edge-to-edge displays. If done well, this could help increase the reception of consumers since not everyone was a fan of the rather large top and bottom bezels of the original Pixel smartphone.
Pocket-lint says shrinking the bezels is one way for Google to stay competitive now that most of the big players in the phone-making scene are starting to embrace the almost bezel-less design for their devices. There also wouldn’t be a problem if the Mountain View giant shifts to edge-to-edge display since the fingerprint scanner on the original Pixel is rear-mounted. By keeping the sensor at the back, Google will have less challenges to take on in making the almost all-screen front possible.
At launch, the biggest selling point of the iPhone 7 was its advanced camera technology. Its bigger brother stole the show for the most part with its dual-lens camera module that was marketed as a technology that captures DLSR-quality photos. The iPhone 7 also has a similar kind of camera; the only difference is it has a single lens instead of two. It has the same 12-megapixel sensor, phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization and the quad-LED (dual tone) flash. For its front camera, the iPhone 7 sports a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera that’s capable of taking 1080p@30fps videos. It also has face detection, HDR and panoramic features. There’s no word yet on how Apple intends to top the rear camera of the iPhone 7, but there’s now word on a powerful front-facing selfie camera with 3D-sensing capabilities. This actually fueled speculations that Apple is getting rid of Touch ID because the front snapper is said to function as a 3D facial scanner as well as an iris scanner. JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall was even quoted by MacRumors in a separate report that facial recognition is a more secure alternative for Apple Pay.
On the contrary, Google set the bar high for Android-powered phones in terms of camera technology when it introduced its Google Pixel late last year. It even got a recognition from DxO Mark as the best smartphone camera yet. The back camera on the Pixel has a 12.3-megapixel sensor, an f/2.0 aperture, electronic image stabilization and laser autofocus as well as dual-LED (dual tone) flash. Despite not really having specifications that would make it stand out by leaps, Wired explains that the camera just impresses and blows everyone away because its HDR+ marquee mode takes images in rapid succession, analyzes them and creates some tone-mapping magic to create stunning photographs. The 8-megapixel front snapper is also commendable. This 2017, Google is likely to put a major emphasis on the camera of the Pixel 2. 9to5Google learned through sources that the company is developing a camera lens that will perform impressively even in low light conditions. The megapixels will not see a significant increase, but Google is going to compensate for this with extra camera features.
The iPhone 8 is going to have a water-resistant body. Compared to its predecessor, The Korea Herald reports the next-generation iPhone will have a higher water resistance rating. The iPhone 7 has IP67 rating by the way. With the 10th anniversary iPhone, Apple is aiming for an IP68 rating that would enable users to submerge their handsets underwater for 30 minutes without negative repercussions. There are also rumors Apple is re-adopting the glass body it used on the iPhone 4 instead of keeping its streak of using the aluminum body found on the recent iPhones. Apple supplier Catcher Technology says (via Nikkei) the glass body is returning this year. If true, Apple could make use of stainless steel frames to hold together the front and back glass panels of the device.
For users who are very particular with the internal memory of their daily driver, the next iPhone could be the best iPhone for you yet. CNET reported late last month that Samsung’s biggest rival is ditching the 32GB base model for a generous 64GB starting memory variant. Previously, Apple got rid of the 16GB entry-level model when it launched the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Other expected specs and features for the iPhone 8 include wireless charging, support for Apple Pencil, 3GB of RAM and a new color variant (Red). Given the premium hardware of the next-generation iPhone, it is said to come with a hefty price tag that could exceed $1,000.
Water resistance has become a must-have feature of flagship phones, so the Pixel 2 is also rumored to sport a water-resistant body. Trusted Reviews claims Google could be looking to build a handset with either an IP67 or IP68 rating just to compete with the iPhone 8 and the Galaxy S8. The Pixel 2 is also expected to come with a tougher build because the original Pixel’s metal body is prone to scratches and dents. Some are hoping for Google to improve the audio experience in the next-generation Pixel since the first-generation device have tiny and downward facing speakers. Perhaps Google could equip the handset with more powerful speakers to make it a notable media-centric device.
Rumor also has it that the Mountain View-headquartered company is going to increase the base model’s internal memory. The first Pixel debuted with 32GB and 128GB storage variants. Since video files and mobile games are becoming more ambitious, a larger internal memory would come in handy. Thus, sources are saying Google could be boosting the base model’s storage to 64GB. Other standout features that are expected for the Pixel 2 include Quick Charge 4.0 and Android 8 or another modified Android software like the Android 7.1 Nougat of the first Pixel. Meanwhile, it’s very likely for Google to keep the same price points of the predecessors for the new models.
Apple is likely to launch the iPhone 8 in September, while Google could hold an October/November launch event for the Pixel 2. Which do you think between the two smartphones is going to impress more consumers at launch? Sound off in the comments below.
Which is the better handset between Apple's iPhone 8 and Google's Pixel 2?