There once was a time when, if you wanted a big-screen phone, Android was the only option. Things have changed in recent years, and now Apple is competing in the 'phablet' space, and has just launched the iPhone XS Max, which has the largest screen of any phone the company has ever made, ever.
Google has just announced its pocket-busting challenger for 2018 too, the Pixel 3 XL. If you're looking for a phone that gives you as much screen as possible, then these are two solid options – but which is best?
Google Pixel 3 XL vs iPhone XS Max: Specs
Here are the specs for the Google Pixel 3 XL:
Display: Fullscreen 6.3in display, QHD+ flexible OLED at 523ppi
Dimensions: 158mm x 76.7 mm x 7.9 mm
Storage: 64GB or 128GB
Memory: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
Processors: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Front camera: Dual-lens 8 MP, 1080p video
Rear camera: 12.2 MP, Optical + electronic image stabilization, 4K video
Battery: 3430 mAh
Colors: Just Black, Clearly White, Not Pink
Here are the specs for the iPhone XS Max:
Display: 6.5-inch OLED display with a 2688x1242-pixel resolution at 458ppi
Dimensions: 157.5mm x 77.4mm x 7.7mm
Weight: 208 grams
Storage: 64, 256, or 512GB
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: 3,174mAh, up to 13.5 hours battery life mixed usage.
Other: Face ID, NFC, Wireless charging, 3D Touch, IP68 waterproof
Color options: Silver, Space Gray, and Gold
As you can see, there are some similarities in the specs, but it's hard to directly compare Android and iOS devices as Apple creates its own internal hardware – the A12 Bionic chip, in this case – whereas most Android phones rely on silicon made by Qualcomm. Comparatively speaking, both phones are powerful, though – certainly two of the most capable handsets money can buy right now.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs iPhone XS Max: Display & Design
The iPhone XS Max's massive display is a real plus point here; at 6.5-inches, it's bigger than the one on the Pixel 3 XL, although it packs in less pixels. Both are OLED panels, so you're getting bright colours, deep blacks and superb contrast. Last year's iPhone X introduced the now-famous notch at the top of the screen, something Apple has carried over to its 2018 devices. So influential is this design choice that many other phone makers are copying it – including Google, which has used a notch on the Pixel 3 XL. Despite this, there's a noticeable 'chin' at the bottom of the screen, which isn't present on Apple's phone. In that respect, you could argue that the iPhone XS Max is the better 'full screen' choice here.
In terms of design, both phones employ a metal frame with glass fronts and backs – these are required to enable wireless charging. This also makes them slippery in the hand and prone to cracking if accidentally dropped, so you'll want to invest in a case no matter which phone you buy. We like both designs – and so do Google and Apple clearly, as they're very similar to last year's handsets – so on this score, we'd recommend you pick the one you personally like the most.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs iPhone XS Max: Battery
The Pixel 3 XL has a 3430 mAh battery, which is actually a drop down on the Pixel 2 XL’s 3520 mAh power cell. The difference isn't really noticeable though, especially when you consider the various hardware and software optimisations that have been made in the phone. The iPhone XS Max, on the other hand, has a 3,174mAh battery. The gulf in battery size between the two phones isn't a new thing; Android devices tend to have bigger batteries, but Apple's deep degree of optimisation helps its phones overcome this issue, to a certain degree. Apple quotes over 13 hours of stamina on a single charge.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs iPhone XS Max: Cameras
The Pixel line of phones is famed for its photographic capabilities, so it's hardly a shock to find that Google has left the rear camera pretty much the same as it was on the Pixel 2 XL. There's a single 12.2 MP lens (no dual camera shenanigans here) with optical and electronic image stabilization which is capable of shooting smooth 4K video. As before, Google has used a special chip in the phone – known as the 'Visual Core' – to apply AI smarts to photos. As a result, this is the smartest smartphone camera money can buy; low-light shooting is amazing and Google's new 'Top Shot' system takes images before you've even pressed the shutter, allowing you to capture the perfect snap. On the front, there are two 8-megapixel selfie camera, one with a super-wide field of view so you can fit more people into the shot.
Not to be outdone, the camera setup on the iPhone XS Max is equally impressive, offering a two-camera setup on the rear which takes fantastic 'bokeh' effect photos – and now, you can even adjust the level of background blur post-snap.
Google Pixel 3 XL vs iPhone XS Max: Verdict & Cost
Given that the two phones are very similar in terms of specs, design and overall power, you'd expect a similar price. However, Google's phone is a little cheaper than Apple's, which is hardly a surprise as iPhones are usually sold at a premium. The 64GB model starts at a jaw-dropping £1,099, with a 256GB version costing £1,249. The top version – 512GB version – costs an incredible £1,449. Gulp.
In comparison, you can pick up the 256GB version of the Pixel 3 XL for £969, which is cheaper than the lowest-spec iPhone XS Max. If you're OK with 64GB, then that costs just £869.