iPhone XR vs. Pixel 3: How to choose the best phone
When you're choosing a phone, you're biggest decision is whether you're going with iOS or Android.
We're comparing two of the most affordable options from Apple and Google.
This is iPhone 10r versus Pixel 3.
They cost about the same, and they're both premium phones.
So let's see how they compare.
Let's start with what they look like.
Both have sharp screens, but the Pixel has a 5.5 inch OLED display, while the XR has a bigger 6.1 inch LCD screen.
They are both water resistant, and have, The speaker, but there's no headphone jack on either of them.
So you have to use Bluetooth, Lightining, or USB-C headphones.
So it's been about six months since both of these phones have been released.
So rather than talking about all the specs, that's been done in a lot of different places.
Let's talk about what it is like to use both of these phones as your daily driver.
Now Elaine you've been using the Pixel 3 primarily what do you like about the design?
My favorite thing about the Pixel's design is how small and lightweight it is, these days phones are just too big, just like that one, so it's kind of a relief that this phone fits so comfortably in my hand or in my jean pocket, I really like that.
But that being said, it doesn't look as premium as the iPhone.
Besides the glass shade, there's no unique characteristic about it and the not pink color, which is the quirky color for the Pixel isn't actually that colorful.
It's really hard to tell what color it is unless you're really close to it.
It's literally not pink.
[LAUGH] I think a lot of people didn't like the colors on the 10R when it first came out.
I have to say, it's really grown on me And I do like the options that you have there.
And this is actually the first iPhone I feel really comfortable in using without a case, just because it is tougher than you would expect.
So we've done our drop test and it actually survived a couple of drops, when it did crack, though, it was on that camera lens.
And that's the only concern that I do have is just because it juts out so much.
And also look at this, put it down on a flat surface without a case.
Yeah, that drives me-
I know I'm OCD, but it does annoy me a lot.
Fortunately, for the Pixel, it doesn't jut out as much, but the camera does Isn't completely flush.
Right, and let's talk about the durability in terms of water resistance.
I know these each have IP ratings, the Pixel 3 can go down to 1.5 meters, and the iPhone 10R is rated for one meter at 30 minutes.
We did some extreme water testing with the XR and the XS.
And the XR survived eight times its rated limit.
So it went down to eight meters before it totally died.
So when it comes to the screens, a lot of people were a little bit hesitant to choose an LCD over an OLED, especially when when the XR.
Came out and it was an [INAUDIBLE], It was gonna be that LCD.
This is the Pixel 3's OLED.
But in total side by side, it's not like that many people are probably gonna be comparing them side by side, right?.
Yeah, well an OLED screens colors are a little bit more richer, especially your greens, blues and reds.
There's a little bit more contrast and it's a little bit more vibrant.
But again, you only notice that when you have an LCD screen and an OLED screen both in your hands.
Most people aren't gonna have that, so photos and videos look just fine on the iPhone, and photos and videos look just fine on the Pixel 2.
The iPhone XR and Pixel 3 both have a single 12-megapixel camera at F1.8.
but the selfie camera is pretty different.
The iPhone XR has a 7 megapixel True Depth camera that can scan your face and the pixel has two 8-megapixel units.
So the first thing I wanna mention, ofcourse, when it comes to the Pixel 3 camera is Night sight.
I love night sight, I think it works like magic, it does such a good job at lighting up dim settings.
I think I'll never use my flash again.
I totally agree, and I'm very very jealous of night sight on the Pixel 3.
That being said, the iPhone 10R is not bad in low light.
It's just as good as Night Sight on the Pixel 3. I've done an extensive test, a camera test, of both of these phones side by side.
And you can find that on CNET.
Another thing I like about the Pixel 3 is its super res zoom.
I'm not a huge zoom user.
But whenever I used it, I am impressed by how clear objects are from a thousand feet away.
And it's pulling this off on a single lens with just software.
When it comes to the lenses themselves, [UNKNOWN] has a slightly wider lens in the Pixel 3 so you get a little bit more in your photos specially shooting landscapes
But your portraits will look slightly different, especially if you're coming from a portrait mode on something like the 10S or the iPhone 10, with both of those cameras.
It does look a little bit wider and slightly more distorted.
So you'll need to move in a little bit closer.
Then again, you're only ever gonna notice that if you compare portrait mode from both phones.
One big thing about the Teno that I really really wish that they could change was making it so you could take photos in portrait mode of pets, and anything that's not a person.
Like come on it's all just software the Pixel 3 does it with no problem at all with one lens.
It's all computational photography.
Let's get that happening on iPhone XR, it just says no person detected when you're trying to take a photo of something that's not a person.
I would really love to see that in a new software update.
It just seems like it would be an incredibly easy fix.
As for the front-facing camera, what's new to the Pixel 3 is that it has a secondary wide angle lens.
This is not the first phone to have it.
LG for example, has had this feature in a few of its recent phones.
And on the Pixel, I use it a lot actually.
Especially when I'm trying to take groupies and I'm trying to fit all my friends.
It is really helpful to fit more content in each frame.
So it sounds like so far, the Pixel 3 is doing a lot better when it comes to the camera, than the iPhone XR.
But it's not like that, when it comes to video, it's the total opposite.
The iPhone completely smokes the Pixel.
The image quality is much better especially in low light And the audio is really good too.
If you want to find out more about the cameras on both of these, you can find the deep dive on Cnet.
The iPhone has Apple's own A12 chip, while the Pixel uses a Snapdragon 845 from Qualcomm.
Each have wireless charging and the Pixel 3 can charge a lot faster with rapid charging, as long as you have the Google Pixel stand or any made for Google chargers.
And they also have similar size batteries.
Both clocked in really solid times in our lab tests.
But the I-phone 10i lasted longer.
Playing back a video on a continuous loop in airplane mode, the 10R lasted nearly 20 hours, while the Pixel 3 died after 15 hours.
So we've done a lot of battery testing in our labs, and that's obviously a really controlled situation, doesn't necessarily reflect real world situations, but it does give you a really good idea of how long these will last you.
Maybe you're watching this and thinking well, the Pixel 3 XO has a bigger battery so it's gonna last a lot longer.
In our battery test, it only lasted 16 hours 15 minutes, so it's only like an hour or so longer than the Pixel 3. So it doesn't necessarily give you that much extra juice
Yeah and as for benchmarks, the iPhone and the Pixel both performed really really well.
But the iPhone consistently outranked the PIxel in our benchmark tests.
And that includes Geekbench and 3DMark.
But that's on paper.
In the real world you're not gonna see much difference in speed, especially with day to day tasks, like opening up Apps, and launching the camera, and things like that.
Yeah, the only thing that I did notice a difference between these two phones, in terms of real-world performance, is processing camera functions, such as if I'm using portrait mode.
I found that it was taking a long time for the portrait mode to render on the Pixel 3.
Or something like using HDR plus enhanced on the Pixel 3.
That took a long time.
I also found that when it came to the front facing camera's flash, it took actualy a really long time to render a photo.
More than I really like.
Iphone versus Android.
It's pretty much the biggest rivalary in the tech world So choosing a phone involves more than just deciding on hardware.
You also have to consider the ecosystem.
And the best predictor of what phone you're gonna go with is what operating system you're already comfortable using now.
That being said, if you're OS agnostic or looking to switch There are pros and cons to both.
So, Lexi you and I use both Android and iOs pretty extensively.
What do you like about iOs?
So, at least with iOs 12 I really appreciate how it's less buggy than prevoius editions of IOS, but at the same time some issues, such as the group Facetime bug, has taken a little longer to resolve than I would've expected.
Now, as an Android user I too am familiar with bugs and security issues.
Switching gears, between Siri and Google assistant, I find that between them there really is no contest.
Google assistant has way more capabilities and it's integrated so deeply with core apps.
But it's not as private or secure as Siri.
I much prefer the grouped notifications on IOS than on Android.
But I do like the notifications center on Android.
So, I kind of wish it was a bit more of a hybrid between the two.
And on IOS, there's no contest when it comes to the ecosystem in terms of messaging.
iMessage and Facetime is a really tough combination to beat, especially when you go to an Android phone and you're like, well I could Hangouts them, or I could maybe Duo them, or Ello.
And I'm like what is the current Google app of choice right now, I don't know.
You use one, you get accustomed to it.
You try and find your friends and then all of a sudden they discontinue it.
So I find that's really hard.
When it comes to multi-tasking, I do prefer the iOS implementation of it, especially since they've removed the Home button.
I just find it a little bit more intuitive, because often on Android I find myself swiping up, and I end up getting the actual rather than the multi-tasking menu.
To be fair, I get confused about gestures on iOS, so there you go.
One thing I like about the Pixel is its level of customization.
The Pixel is Google's ultimate interpretation of Android.
And even then, Android is still really customizable.
I really like choosing my widgets and my icons and my launchers.
It also just makes your phone feel like your own because your home screen doesn't look like someone else's home screen.
And I also really like the integration with Google's ecosystem.
There are other important factors to consider that don't really fit in with any of the previous, Categories like authentication, call quality and storage options.
While we don't consider these deal-breakers, they are important to keep in mind.
So the eternal question is Face ID or fingerprint?
Which one do you prefer?
Well, on the pixel one, I've been using the fingerprint reader and I really like it.
It's Really fast and smooth and it's pretty reliable so i don't have any gripes with it.
Face ID does work for me about 90 to 95% of the time.
There is that time in the morning when i wake up but i hold the foreign up and it just doesn't register me.
I know i don't have any makeup on, my hair is a mess but i still kind of get a little bit offended that it doesn't recognize me i know i should set up an ultimate appearance.
I didn't think I look that drastically different, though, it was sad.
It's insulting you.
It is, but it's not that much of a pain point.
And Face ID has definitely been a lot more efficient over the past couple iOS updates, as well.
Well, you never know, maybe the iPhone 11 will have an in-screen fingerprint reader.
So here's hoping.
And one thing that a lot of people don't usually talk about when it comes to flagship phones is call quality.
I know that people forget that phones can actually make calls.
But for me personally, call quality has been pretty good on the Pixel, I haven't had any problems.
TBut there have been reported by other people, some bugs related to the microphone and audio.
Yeah, the same goes for me, I haven't really had anything to report back about the call quality on the 10R.
Something that I am very envious about though, on the Pixel 3, is the call screening.
Do you use that a lot?
I use it more than one should have to use it.
It's very unfortunate, but on a bad week, I could get three spam calls in a day, and they're very annoying.
But I use call screening, which I love, because I just see this spam call and I could just tap, and it starts.
And I could either see them See the transcript going that it's a spam call or I see them hang up when they realize I'm that I'm using a call screening service, which is very satisfying.
Another point of difference between these two phones is that the IPhone has that third tier of storage available, which I think it's a really nice option to have when your making that purchasing decision I like to take a lot of high resolution videos in 4K and a lot of photos.
So I like having that extra option of having it on the device rather than necessarily having to upload it on the cloud.
Yeah, what's really interesting about the Pixel is that when it comes to price per gig, it's actually more expensive than the iPhone, and Google knows this.
So it really tries to push it's unlimited cloud service which is free for Pixel users.
And you can upload your photos and videos for free at their original resolution.
Now, Apple has an iCloud service but it charges a monthly fee.
So for Google Pixel users, this can be a really big draw.
Both are incredibly capable phones, and you won't be disappointed with either.
If you want one of the best cleanest Android experiences, then the Pixel 3 is unbeatable.
And the ten 10 R is Apple's most affordable new iPhone with very few compromises.
For more details to help you make the decision, check out our comparisons on cnet.