The iPhone 15 is here, and while Apple brought some solid upgrades to the table, we are just a couple of weeks away from Google's Pixel 8 reveal. So should you buy the iPhone 15 now or wait to see Google's latest?
With the combination of leaks and Google itself posting photos and details about the Pixel 8, we have a pretty complete picture of the phone already. So while there is still some guesswork here and we'll need to finish our full review of both phones to answer some questions, we should already be able to steer you in the right direction.
Apple already has its cards on the table, so let's try to take a peek at Google's and see where you should place your bet.
|Spec||iPhone 15||Google Pixel 8|
|Screen size||6.7 inches||6.8 inches|
|Storage||256GB, 512GB, 1TB||256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|CPU||A17 Pro||Snapdragon 8 Gen 3|
|Cameras||48MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto periscope lens||200MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 50MP telephoto, 10MP periscopic|
|Battery capacity||4,422 mAh||5,000 mAh|
|Design materials||Glass and Titanium||Glass and aluminum|
iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 8: Price
Apple is sticking to the same starting price on the iPhone 15 at $799 for the base model with 128GB of storage. Bumping up to 256GB takes it to $899 and you can max out at 512GB for $1,099.
Pricing for the Pixel 8 is not yet official, but rumors suggest that it is going up from the $599 that we've enjoyed for the last two generations. That's not shocking at all, we predicted this price increase after the launch of the Google Pixel 7a in May which offered an arguably better experience than the Pixel 7 for just $499.
The good news is that Google is still reportedly going to keep things more affordable than Apple with a price point somewhere around $649-$699 for the base Pixel 8 with 128GB of storage. Anticipate paying $100 more for a 256GB model.
- iPhone 15: $799
- Google Pixel 8: $649-$699
We'll hold off on signaling a winner in this category until the Google pricing is official, but it's hard to imagine a $200 price jump based on the rest of what we know about the Pixel 8, so Google is almost assured to come out ahead here.
iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 8: Design
- iPhone 15 gets the Dynamic Island treatment and slightly curved edges
- RIP Lightning, you won't be missed. iPhone 15 joins the rest of the world with USB-C.
- Google Pixel 8 may pull a rare move in the phone world and get slightly smaller.
The iPhone 15 isn't a massive shift from its predecessor, but it does eliminate the notch in favor of the Dynamic Island that was exclusive to the Pro models last year. It also gets a gentler curve to the edges and camera array that should make it more comfortable to hold.
The change that will impact users the most is the move to a USB-C port after 11 years of Lightning. We've been following this one avidly as part of the Apple vs. EU saga, so it comes as no surprise. It's certain to be frustrating in the short term for those with a large library of Lightning cables, but most people should already have a stable of USB-C chargers and cables from other devices.
|Phone||iPhone 15||Google Pixel 8 (rumored)|
|Size||5.81 x 2.82 x 0.31 inches||5.93 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches|
The Google Pixel 8 is a fairly similar story with minimal changes from the last two years, with Google's polarising camera bar still prominently dominating the back of the phone. Whether you fell on the love or hate side of things for the past two generations, that's where you'll stay this time around.
Google's teaser video showed the phone in a light pink that Google is reportedly calling Peony Rose, and it will be joined by Grey and Obsidian Black.
- iPhone 15: 3,349mAh
- Google Pixel 8: 4,485 mAh (rumored)
The Pixel 8 is rumored to get a slight increase in battery size to 4,485 mAh, which is 130 mAh up from the Pixel 7. It's a much-needed boost as battery life was the Achilles heel for the Pixel 7.
Regardless, it's a safe bet that it won't overcome the battery life of the iPhone 15, which rocketed back into a strong position, lasting 11 hours and 5 minutes in our sister site Tom's Guide's battery test. That's a massive leap from the 9 hours and 46 minutes for the iPhone 14.
iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 8: Display
- iPhone 15: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, 2556 x 1179-pixel resolution
- Google Pixel 8: 6.2-inch OLED display, 2268 x 1080-pixel resolution, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate.
Beyond the change from the notch to the Dynamic Island, there are minimal changes to the iPhone 15 display. That's unfortunate as while it boasts a perfectly reasonable resolution and now a claimed 1,600 nits of peak brightness, the 60Hz refresh rate is something we'd expect on an Android phone for under $400.
On the other side, the Google Pixel 8 isn't getting any changes, but that means it will be superior in almost every metric with the exception of brightness. The 120Hz AMOLED display is a considerable upgrade over Apple's 60Hz LCD panel.
iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 8: Processor
- iPhone 15: A16 with 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
- Google Pixel 8: Google Tensor G3
Apple continues to use the tactic of recycling its old parts on the base model iPhones, so this year the iPhone 15 gets the A16 Bionic from last year's iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. While that may sound disappointing, it really shouldn't be, the A16 Bionic remains one of the most powerful in any phone for now. Good luck finding a task that it won't churn through in no time.
Google's Tensor G3 won't be able to match up with the A16 Bionic in many regards, but it should represent a massive leap from the G2 and feature ray tracing support, something only the A17 Pro in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max offers from Apple. The projections are that the Tensor G3 will match up with 2022 flagship phone's CPU performance, while the GPU should be competitive with most 2023 flagship phones. Again that may not sound amazing, but it's a significant upgrade and Google has consistently delivered better performance than the benchmark scores would suggest.
iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 8: Cameras
- iPhone 15 gets a new 48MP wide camera
- Google Pixel 8 gets an upgraded 50MP wide angle and a slightly wider 12MP ultrawide
The camera wars are among the biggest talking points for smartphones, but it's also one of the most confusing at times as we've seen disappointing results from fantastic hardware. Computational photography has become such a critical piece of the puzzle, that the best hardware will not always win.
With that said, you need both, so let's take a look at the camera hardware in the iPhone 15 and Google Pixel 8, but we'll have to hold off until we have the phones in hand to let you know which actually captures the best images.
|Phone||iPhone 15||Google Pixel 8|
|Wide camera||48MP wide (f/1.78)||50MP wide (f/1.9)|
|Ultrawide camera||12MP ultrawide (f/2.2)||12 MP ultrawide (f/2.2)|
It is too early to call a winner in this one, but I would certainly tell you to wait to make your decision until after the Google Pixel 8 launches if you are on the fence. The $100 or more in savings alone will be enticing for some and based on the images I've seen from the iPhone 15 so far, I'll be shocked if the Pixel 8 doesn't deliver better photos (video is another matter).
Now if you were waffling between the iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro, that would change the equation considerably as the Pro models got a much more significant upgrade than the standard iPhone 15 models. If you're wondering about the iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro, read our take on that decision as well.
The biggest differentiators for the iPhone 15 are going to be battery life, where I expect it to maintain a healthy lead on the Google Pixel 8, and performance as the A16 Bionic is still likely to be in a class above the Tensor G3.
In the Google Pixel 8's favor, you have the 120Hz adaptive display, the likely superior photos, and some of the unique software features offered by the Pixel line. That last one may still hold some surprises for us as Google hasn't revealed all of the new features coming to the Pixel 8.
Wait if you can, it's only a couple of weeks and then we'll have a more complete analysis of what are sure to be some of the best phones of 2023.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.