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iPhone 7 Plus vs Google Pixel speed tests: Closer, but Android was still crushed in the end

Published Oct 21st, 2016 10:01AM EDT

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 may be toast — literally and figuratively — but Android fans have a new pair of flagship phones to lust after this holiday season. Google’s first ever “made by Google” smartphones pack cutting-edge specs into a somewhat unique design, giving shoppers what most early reviewers believe to be a viable alternative to Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

We know the Pixel phones feature the latest and greatest features Android has to offer, and we also know that they pack some serious power on paper. By how do those impressive specs translate in the real world? Is the Pixel a match for the reigning performance champs, Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus?

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When it comes to optimizing the mobile experience, Apple has been untouchable for a few years now. The company has never concerned itself with speeds and feeds, but it has still managed to build phones that outperform all of its rivals. By taking control of the hardware and software from start to finish, Apple has put itself in a unique position in an industry filled with companies that use Google’s software to power their smartphone experiences.

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are the closest any Android phone company has come to mirroring Apple in terms of owning and controlling both the hardware and software experiences. Google has repeatedly touted its new “made by Google” smartphones, which it says were designed solely by Google with no outside help from its manufacturing partner, HTC. As a side note, it’s odd that HTC offered no design input and yet the finished product looks just like all of HTC’s recent iPhone knockoffs. But that’s a topic for another time.

So now that we have an iPhone rival with software and hardware designed and optimized by the same company, we should have a phone that is much more competitive with Apple’s iPhone lineup, right? Well, the good news is that Google’s new Pixel phone came closer than any other Android phone to matching the iPhone 7 Plus’s performance in performance tests. The bad news is that while it did come “closer,” it still wasn’t very close in the end.

YouTube channel SuperSaf TV posted a video recently that shows the Pixel and the iPhone 7 Plus facing off in two key performance tests. Why the smaller Pixel and the larger iPhone? Because both phones have 1080p displays, so this is the best way to level the playing field.

Where raw benchmark scores are concerned, the Pixel was obliterated by the iPhone phablet. Google’s new phone rang up a 1565 on Geekbench’s single-core test while the iPhone 7 Plus more than doubled that score at 3488. The Pixel’s 4103 on the multi-core test was a bit more competitive, but the iPhone registered a 5590.

Real-world speed tests were a different story. The narrator compared the phones by opening the same app on both devices to see how quickly they load, and the Pixel definitely held its own when opening simple, lightweight apps. But then when it came to more complex apps like games with 3D graphics, Google’s new smartphone was no match for the iPhone 7 Plus.

The full video is embedded below.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.