If you’re a fan of small phones, then two of the year’s biggest launches have to be the iPhone 8 and Google Pixel 2. They may be pocket friendly, but they still hit your wallet pretty hard: these are flagship devices.
The question is: which is better and on which should you spend your hard-earned cash? Here we’ll compare the two phones to explain how their features differ and which is best suited for your needs.
Pixel 2 vs iPhone 8: Price
The Pixel 2 costs £629 SIM-free That’s the 64GB model, but there’s also a 128GB version if you can afford £729. There are three colours on offer: Clearly White, Just Black and Kinda Blue.
The iPhone 8 starts at £699 and comes in Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Red. Again, that’s the 64GB model. Alternatively you can have 256GB for a whopping £849.
The Pixel 2, then, is the cheaper phone, but doesn’t come in 256GB (and there’s no microSD slot for expansion).
Find out about the Pixel 2’s release date and availability.
Pixel 2 vs iPhone 8: Design
Neither phone sets the world alight with its design. The iPhone 8 disappoints mainly because it uses the same design as its three predecessors and the Pixel 2 for similar reasons: it still has the chunky bezels of last year’s smaller Pixel.
There are differences, though. The iPhone has a good-looking glass back and the Pixel has a nice textured aluminium body with a much-less-ugly glass panel at the top, and it looks really good in Clearly White.
The Pixel has a fingerprint scanner on the back, which leaves room on the front for a second speaker at the bottom. The iPhone 8, too, has stereo speakers which are pretty good, and there’s the usual Touch ID sensor at the front.
Both are IP67 certified which means you can leave them submerged up to 1m in fresh water for 30 minutes.
Neither phone has a dual-camera setup, but only the Pixel 2 can take great depth-effect photos with blurry backgrounds. And it can perform the same trick with the front camera too.
You might consider it a gimmick but it’s possible to give the Pixel 2’s sides a squeeze to launch the Google Assistant. And it works even if the phone is locked.
The iPhone counters with wireless charging, but doesn’t come with a wireless charging pad. At least it uses the Qi standard so if you happen upon a charger in an airport or coffee shop, chances are it will juice up your iPhone 8.
Annoyingly, although the iPhone 8 can also fast charge, it won’t do so with the bundled charger. The Pixel 2 will and, in our tests, it went from 0-60 percent in half an hour.
Neither phone has a headphone jack, which is still an annoyance because if you don’t want to use the bundled ‘buds you have to use the silly adaptor cable which you’ll lose in a few days’ time. It’s also annoying that both companies insist on supplying a white adaptor: only bundled headphones have white cables.
For size, the iPhone 8 is a bit smaller in all dimensions but it also has a smaller screen.
That screen has a 4.7in diagonal compared to the Pixel 2’s 5in display. Apple has stuck with the 1334×750-pixel resolution again, which is lower than the full HD screen on the Pixel 2.
The underlying tech is different too: IPS for the iPhone and OLED for the Pixel 2. So as well as more pixels, the Pixel 2 also has better contrast.
The iPhone has two party tricks though: it has 3D Touch and gets the TrueTone feature first seen on the 9.7in iPad Pro which allows it to adjust colours to suit the current light.
Whether that combo is good enough to beat the Pixel 2’s always-on screen is debatable though: the ability to see the time, notifications and the title of the song that’s currently playing is pretty useful.
And just to clarify, that’s not the song playing on your phone: it can automatically recognise around 10,000 tracks in a Shazam-like way in the background, without an internet connection.
Here’s how their main specs compare:
|Specification||Pixel 2||iPhone 8|
|Price||£629 (64GB), £729 (128GB)||£699 (64GB), £849 (256GB)|
|Operating system||Android Oreo, Google Assistant||iOS 11, Siri|
|Display||5in Full-HD (1920×1080), 16:9, always-on||4.7in (1334×750), 16:9|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835||Apple A11|
|GPU||Adreno 540||Apple custom|
|Primary camera||12.2Mp Single lens, dual-LED flash||12Mp Single lens, dual-LED flash|
|Audio||USB-C, earphones included||Lightning, earphones included|
|Fingerprint scanner||Yes, at the rear||Yes, at the front|
Software and performance
The iPhone 8 has an impressive CPU: the A11 Bionic. It smashes the Snapdragon 835 in the Pixel 2 in Geekbench, and also in the GFX Manhattan test where it hit the 60fps limiter. The Pixel 2 recorded 48fps – still a decent result, but behind the iPhone.
In real-world use, however, it’s hard to notice the difference. Both phones feel ultra-responsive and their respective operating systems run silky smooth.
And talking of software, both iOS 11 and Android 8 are excellent mobile OSes. They’re clean, intuitive and have lots of great features. They don’t necessarily have the same features, though, and you may already be an Android or iOS fan.
Both phones offer similar future-proofing as Google and Apple will offer updates to future versions of their operating systems for at least three years.
Only Google offers free cloud storage for photos and videos, though. The Pixel 2 comes with unlimited storage for original-quality photos and videos for three years. If you wanted to use iCloud Photo library on your iPhone, you’d have to pay around £90 for 200GB of storage for the same period.
And although the unlimited deal ends in January 2021, you won’t have to pay to retain access to the scores of gigabytes of memories.
With Apple, if you stop paying for iCloud storage, iCloud services stop working. You won’t lose the data stored, but it’ll make things too inconvenient to keep the photos and videos there.
Getting back to the phones themselves, both are capable of great photos and videos. Unlike their predecessors, they both have OIS and combine this with EIS for wonderfully smooth, stable video.
The Pixel 2 can use Google’s “Computational Photography” to do things such as the trendy depth effect and scene recognition, but the extra power of the A11 processor in the iPhone allows it to shoot 4K at 60fps and 240fps slo-mo at 1080p.
The Pixel 2, on the other hand, hasn’t progressed in those areas since the original Pixel.