I won’t question you if you think that ever since Google has plunged into the smartphone market, it has substantially affected the giants in the industry. And it’s justifiable. Google appears to have that effect on every market it chooses to dominate.
Before Google’s intervention in the smartphone business, there was kind of an ongoing rivalry between two of the largest names in the industry, Samsung and Apple. Most smartphone comparison videos on YouTube before the second half of 2016 featured an iPhone pitted against a Galaxy. At the time, Google was a neutral medium for both the companies, since it provided with its suite of apps and other notorious services.
Fast forward today and you’ll realize Samsung’s been sidetracked. The comparisons that matter now is between iPhones and Pixels. Yes, Samsung’s there, but it doesn’t brandish people’s affection towards its phones anymore. Now, the competition is more complex, and the two phones that currently ride the trend are the iPhone XS and the Pixel 3.
Both the phones offer a great deal to their users, with the iPhone somewhere in the ballpark of this facet. The iPhone XS has been out for a while now since its launch back in September. Even though this year’s flagship by Apple doesn’t rejig anything, the phone has never once failed to get a negative review by critics in the industry. That’s a quality Apple has been consistently flaunting from generation to generation. It doesn’t need to add something new in its devices to attract, or rather gratify its customers; just some improvements here and there make a new phone by the company a success.
The Pixel 3 is indifferent from that perspective. Nothing’s changed coming from the Pixel 2. The design is similar, most features are same. The only change is that the Pixel 3 sports an obnoxious notch with an attitude and some under-the-hood improvements, at the very least. There’s a new processor, an impressively improved camera, better artificial intelligence features and much more.
Ever since Google started selling Pixels, the competition gap between its counterpart, the iPhone has substantially reduced. The biggest evidence of that thinking is this year’s models. Usually, the iPhone wins every comparison done with the Pixel by a huge margin. But this year, I could only find three reasons for the Pixel 3 to be greater than the iPhone. Sure, there could be a ton of reasons. But this take is subjective and focuses on what matters the most for people. Besides, iPhone XS fares almost equal in other aspects when compared to the Pixel 3.
To start things off, let’s take a look at the specs both the phones flaunt:
Google Pixel 3
Apple iPhone XS
Android 9 Pie
Apple A12 Bionic
12.2 MP Rear
12 MP + 12 MP (Telephoto) rear
2,363 (Single) || 7,712 (Multi)
4,794 (Single) || 14,195 (Multi)
Price (Starting from)
Both phones have similar specs. However, there are places where the Pixel 3 outnumbers the iPhone and there are places where there’s vice versa. Even though the device from Google lacks in some places, the iPhone’s no match considering the fact that Pixel 3 offers almost similar specs at a difference of almost $200.
That said, let’s take a look at the three reasons the Pixel 3 outperforms the iPhone XS, the only three I could find after hours and hours of research.
It has an altogether better Artificial Intelligence.
Initially, when smartphones first came out all we had to do was call, text, and listen to Eminem rap. That’s all phones were capable of doing atop some other things. Today, if I ask you reasons to pick up your phone, there’ll be plenty. I don’t blame you. The world is interconnected, and unsurprisingly; now depends on smartphones.
Albeit, there’s a lot to do with a lot of time constraints. Among that, you wouldn’t want a mere smartphone adding to your time substantially. That’s why researchers and industry specialists today think of AI as a lifesaver. Artificial intelligence has surrounded us more than we anticipate. It’s not bad though. Every device, every service works in unison to provide what you need in the least time possible.
Thus, it isn’t a bad idea to mainstream AI in smartphones. And preferably, I would choose Google’s Pixel anytime over Apple’s iPhone when it comes to the inclusion of AI assistants. In fact, let me just come out here and say it, I don’t think Siri (assistant on the iPhone) should be associated with AI anymore. There’s nothing it does that fits into the definition of AI.
The purpose of having a virtual assistant on a smartphone is to be able to perform automated tasks at any point in time, in any condition.
The purpose of having a virtual assistant on a smartphone is to be able to perform automated tasks at any point in time, in any condition. Consider the Google Assistant on the Pixel 3. It does a flurry of tasks without needing assistance from external resources such as the internet. Sure, if you ask how tall Michael Jordan is, it probably won’t answer you unless you turn on connectivity. But, it could definitely set a timer or an alarm without pulling in resources from the internet, which isn’t the case with Siri.
Look, virtual assistants needing a connection to the interweb is subjectively unimportant. What really matters is the specifics and hospitality that a virtual assistant can and should give you. And by that, I don’t mean to point out the humor that’s programmed into the assistants, rather the correctness of the information and the speed at which you get it.
A good virtual assistant also should be able to keep an informative conversation going, which Siri pretty much tends to brush aside. For example, if you initially ask, “What’s Donald Trump’s age?”, Siri would give you the answer. But, carrying on the conversation, if you ask, “How tall is he?”, there’s a high chance Apple’s pesky assistant would forget what you were talking about in the first place.
See, Google’s assistant doesn’t do this. And that’s why it’s better than the one on the iPhone and pretty much every other Apple product.
Now, AI in a smartphone isn’t only limited to virtual assistants, it extends to other features as well. Like, on the Pixel, there’s prominence of AI in a flurry of places other than just in the Google Assistant. A great example of that is Google’s “Now Playing” feature. It determines what song’s playing in the surroundings and displays it right on the lock screen. In Apple’s defense, it has acquired Shazam. Though, it hasn’t yet able to make that acquisition worthwhile for end-users. You still have to evoke Siri to identify a song, which is grossly time-consuming and disruptive considering the fact that we are now in 2018.
Apple too has a lot of power when it comes to AI. But, the company gives away most of that power to third-party-developers. And since this power is vested in the hands of people directly unrelated to Apple, we see the best of AI on an iPhone in the form of third-party apps. On one hand, it is a good thing. But sometimes it gets kind of overwhelming.
Besides, there are some features on an iPhone that suitably justify the ubiquity of AI. Siri, for example, personalizes a lot of stuff like; when you read a topic online frequently using the Safari browser, she will understand that you might be interested to read more about it. As a result, you’ll see something similar in Apple’s official news app on iOS.
There are some features on an iPhone that suitably justify the ubiquity of AI.
Google, on the other hand, provides a much better experience when AI’s involved. Its ‘screen examining’ feature is way ahead of other services as such. iPhones don’t offer a smart screen reading service. And that’s sad.
Moreover, Pixels now have Google’s stunning call management features, namely “Duplex” and “Screening.” Both features involve the nifty use of AI to automatically reply to people on the other end. Duplex, for that matters, works best for business-based calls. But calls such as the one for a hotel reservation are also handled flawlessly. Everything related to AI in the smartphone world seems to make the devices made by Google the best.
Thus, Pixel 3’s better in AI than the iPhone XS, hands down.
It sports the best camera in town.
I am clearly unmistaken if I say that the Pixel 3 has the best camera ever in a smartphone. The iPhone XS isn’t bad either. In fact, it’s way better than its predecessor, the iPhone X. But, it just can’t compete with the Pixel 3.
Part of that theory comes from the merits of embedding AI into the camera. Both phones use AI excessively to enhance the image quality, per se. But, they both differ in the end.
The iPhone XS goes a little too hard on the saturation while trying to keep the picture as real as possible. The Pixel 3 enhances the images in a similar way but does a better job handling the tone and slimming down excessive processing. The images on a Pixel 3 look much pleasing to the eye, if not real to life. And that’s definitely a feat for Google.
But the elephant in the room is the current trend in smartphones- portrait mode. Initially introduced by Apple, portrait mode traditionally requires either a large lens or two lenses to make up for the large lens using which it produces photos with a blurred background AKA depth effect. As a matter of fact, those photos look appallingly beautiful.
Since it first appeared on Apple’s iPhones, the rest of the industry didn’t take a second to start putting portrait mode into their devices. Thus, the trend. What’s interesting is that when Apple introduced portrait mode for its plus-sized phones, it wasn’t really available to the users as a complete product. The feature stayed in a beta form for a very long time- seemingly, a year. And even when it was really available to the general public, it wasn’t refined to perfection.
Sure, you can’t expect perfection from everything, but after almost a year working on the project, Apple wasn’t even near to perfect.
Things started getting interesting when Google released the Pixel 2 with portrait mode or let me quote the industry-specific term, depth effect. There was a lot of negative reaction for the portrait mode that came with Pixel 2, purely because the Pixel 2 used software to blur the background in images. And that was justifiable. The single-camera software processing overdid jobs and made look photos sleazy.
However, with the Pixel 3, the photos produced by software look way better than the ones captured by iPhone XS’ dual lenses. Look, here’s the thing. Why go for traditionally produced tolerable photos when you can get close to perfect photos using just software? The Pixel 3 does a great job at separating the subject from the background which helps to produce mesmerizing photos.
Above all, the fact that Google did something as impressive as Apple with half the lenses is quite a reason for cognizance. And that’s what makes the Pixel 3 worth getting ahead of the iPhone XS in terms of camera performance. Sure, there’s lots we could talk about the cameras on both these devices, but this discussion vents for a separate post.
It’s cheaper than the iPhone…
The Pixel 3 and the iPhone XS both have cameras, both have processors, both have extra features and lots more. But, it’s the Pixel that seems to pose a better deal. Why?
Don’t ask why!
The Pixel 3 starts from $799, and the iPhone XS starts from $999, which is almost a $200 difference. For an easier comparison, I’ll let you know that the iPhone “XR”- this year’s budget Apple iPhone is $200 less than the XS. The XR has lesser features, a gullible camera, and better cost-effectiveness. It is no comparison to the Pixel 3. Still, the Pixel 3 is almost the same price as the XR.