iPhone XS vs Pixel 3: How the Flagships Stack Up in Price, Features, Specs

A heavy-hitter versus the underdog.

The Silicon Valley showdown of the year is about to go down. In one corner, Apple’s iPhone XS and XS Max that hit shelves around the world Friday, and which tout the same sleek design fans of the company have come to love. And in the other corner will likely stand the still-unannounced — but heavily leaked — Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL, scheduled to make their debut on October 9 at a press event in New York City.

Apple incrementally upgraded last year’s flagship with a size change and some internal updates but, this was also met with corresponding hikes to its already eye-watering prices with the iPhone XS Max starting at $1099. CEO Tim Cook justified heftier price tags by stating that making a top-of-the-line smartphone comes at a cost.

“We found that people want to have the most innovative product available and it’s not cheap to do that,” he said during a Good Morning America interview.

Yet, some iPhone XS reviewers have conceded that the newly released handset’s camera still doesn’t match that of the Pixel 2. This leaves room for the upcoming Google phones to offer up a comparable screen size and to totally dunk on the iPhones’ camera — two of Apple’s main selling points this time around. But the pressures also on the Mountain View monolith to show that it’s smartphones can play in the big leagues.

America smartphone market share, via Counterpoint Research

Counterpoint Research

For its part, the Pixel so far has missed the mark with consumers. As of the second quarter, Apple lay claim to 40 percent of the American smartphone market share, with Google nowhere to be seen, according to industry analysts at CounterPoint. Will Apple’s minimal upgrades coupled and soaring prices be enough for the Pixel to make up some ground?

iPhone XS vs Pixel 3: How Much Do They Cost?

Brace your wallet iPhone fans, Apple has raised the starting price of their top-of-the-line XS Max to $1,099 — up from the $999 price tag of the iPhone X last year. However, the XS has kept with the same price of its predecessor.

And for the Apple aficionados with the deepest pockets, the 512GB iPhone XS Max will cost $1,449 — that’s $300 more than the 256GB iPhone X that clocked in at $1,149.

While the price of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL have not been officially announced, various leaks have honed in on a potential price range. Monday, a listing for a 3 XL appeared on the Chinese e-commerce website for roughly $729. It has since been removed, but WCCFTech snagged a screenshot. This would make the starting price of Google’s top of the line phone almost $400 cheaper than the XS Max.

Apple has shattered its previous pricing records with the iPhone XS Max.


Other leaks have indicated a big discount for Pixel buyers. A leak spotted by *Mobile-Review back in August claimed the Pixel 3 will start for $649 and the 3 XL will go for $749. These prices mirror how much a Pixel 2 currently costs.

If you choose to go with the cheaper option, all you’ll really be missing out are some of the perks of the Apple ecosystem. That means no iMessage and no compatibility with other Apple devices, like the Apple Watch, MacBook, or AirPods. But if you’re okay with being a green bubble person, the iPhone XS and XS Max are a tough sell this year.

iPhone XS vs Pixel 3: Camera Features

This year’s iPhone release was an incremental one. Both the XS and XS Max kept the notched design as the iPhone X with the biggest change coming the in form of Apple’s A12 Bionic chip.

A leaked image of a Google Pixel XL 3 phone as it appeared on, a leaks news website. The notch could be hiding two front facing cameras.

Compared to last year’s A11, the A12 uses a 7-nanometer design delivering more processing power at the cost of less battery. The chip can handle up to 5 trillion operations per second and comes with an upgraded Neural Engine to handle demanding augmented reality apps and provide Photoshop-like image editing, giving users all new power over Portrait Mode.

The biggest feature potentially coming to the Pixel duo is the so-called “Super Selfie” mode. According to anonymous sources interviewed by 9to5Google, both phones will come retrofitted with two front-facing camera sensors and a wide angle lense. Both phones are expected to come with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 processor, which could also provide some sweet photo editing features.

It’s not exactly clear what this capability could offer, but seeing as the XS and XS Max only have one front-facing camera the Pixel 3 and 3 XL could take superior selfies. They’re also expected to come with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 processor, which could also provide similarly sweet photo editing features.

Are the iPhone XS and XS Max worth the upgrade? 

It’s not exactly clear what this capability could offer, but seeing as the XS and XS Max only have one front-facing camera it seems early enough to say that the Pixel 3 and 3 XL will be able to take superior selfies.

iPhone XS vs Pixel 3: Specs

As far as specs go, both Apple handsets are packing some serious heat this year. The XS sticks with the same 5.8-inch OLED screen that the iPhone X came with, but the XS Max comes with a 6.5-inch display — the largest of any iPhone in history. Even with this massive screen, the XS Max is the same size as the 8 Plus since Apple has improved its bezel-to-screen ratio with these releases.

Just like every iPhone refresh both the new models come with marginal battery improvements compared to the iPhone X’s 21-hour battery life, especially to support the XS Max’s huge display. Apple stated that the XS will last around 21 hours and 30 minutes and the XS Max clocks in 22 hours and 30 minutes. Both also come with integrated wireless charging capabilities so users can juice up without plugging in.

The Pixel 3 XL has been leaked as coming with a notched 6.2-inch OLED screen, compared to the 6-inch OLED screen of the 2 XL that did not include a notch. It’s smaller counterpart is expected to come touting a 5.5-inch OLED screen with no notch, making them slightly smaller than the iPhone duo this year.

Their battery capacity has yet to be revealed, but Russian blog Rozetked leaked a video demonstrating the 3 XL wirelessly charging. This would be the first Google handset come with Qi charging capabilities.

Apple has already made a splash in this year’s smartphone war, now it’s time for Google to show tech fans what its got.

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