Google Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS: What’s the Difference

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 10 Oct 2018

Google Pixel 3

Alongside the Pixel 3 XL, Google also released its smaller sibling: the Pixel 3. We have already seen how the Pixel 3 XL compares to the iPhone XS Max but what about the Pixel 3 XL and the iPhone XS? How do the smaller devices compete against each other? Let’s find out in this comparison.

The iPhone XS and Pixel 3 are essentially smaller versions of their Max and XL-sized siblings. This means they only differ from their bigger brothers in terms of dimensions, display size, and battery capacity. Other aspects of the two devices are the same. Let’s have a closer look at how these two devices differ.

What’s the difference between iPhone XS and Google Pixel 3?


This is an area where the iPhone XS wins hands down. The Pixel 3 does not look as ugly as the Pixel 3 XL since it lacks a huge notch, but it still does not look as good as the iPhone XS since it does not really have a bezel-less front. On the plus side, Google uses the bezels on the Pixel 3 to include front-facing stereo speakers which are up to 40 percent louder than the Pixel 2 from last year. They are even tuned by a GRAMMY winning audio producer for optimum sound quality. While the iPhone XS also comes with stereo speakers, they are not as loud as the one on the Pixel 3.

While both devices are feature glass panels at the rear for wireless charging support, the Pixel 3’s rear glass panel has a hybrid metallic coating. The iPhone XS features a stainless steel chassis which gives it a more premium feeling and a solid heft when compared to the aluminum chassis of the Pixel 3. Both devices also feature IP68 dust and water-resistance.

Display and Dimensions

  • Pixel 3 – 5.5-inch OLED  panel, FHD+ (1080 x 1920) resolution, 443 ppi, HDR, 18:9 aspect ratio, 77.2% screen-to-body ratio
  • iPhone XS – 5.8-inch True Tone OLED, 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 ppi), 82.9 percent screen-to-body ratio, HDR10, Dolby Vision

The iPhone XS comes with a slightly bigger 5.8-inch display compared to the 5.5-inch panel on the Pixel 3. However, the latter’s display does not have a notch so the actual content viewing area on both devices is almost the same. Both devices feature excellent OLED panels and you really cannot go wrong with either of them.

  • Pixel 3 – 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm, 148g, IP68 certified
  • iPhone XS – 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm and 177g, IP68 certified

Both devices are IP68 certified, though the iPhone XS is heavier than the Pixel 3 due to its stainless steel chassis. It is also slightly shorter than the device thanks to its almost non-existent bezels. But then, the Pixel 3 makes up for its bezels with its front-facing stereo speakers which have been tuned by a GRAMMY audio producer.

iPhone Xs Max frontChip

  • iPhone XS – A12 Bionic, 7nm chip, 6-core CPU which is 15 percent faster, 50 percent faster 4-core GPU, 8-core Neural engine
  • Google Pixel 3 – Octa-core Exynos 9810/Snapdragon 845 chip running at 2.7/2.8GHz, 2nd gen 10nm chip,

The A12 Bionic chip inside the iPhone XS is an absolute monster and the Snapdragon 845 chip inside the Pixel 3 simply does not hold a candle against it. The former is based on the 7nm fabrication process, features a 4-core GPU and a 6-core CPU with a Neural engine for improved AI processing. The Snapdragon 845, on the other hand, is based on the 10nm fabrication process and features Qualcomm’s Adreno 630 GPU and a bunch of other dedicated chips for particular tasks.

As AnandTech mentioned in their iPhone XS Max review, the A12 Bionic chip is at least 2-3x times faster than any other flagship Android chipset on the market right now.

RAM and Storage

  • iPhone XS – 4GB RAM, and 64GB, 256GB, 512GB storage options
  • Google Pixel 3 – 4GB RAM, and 64GB, 128GB storage options

Both devices come with 4GB RAM and a base storage of 64GB. However, while the Pixel 3 tops out at 128GB, Apple offers the iPhone XS with up to 512GB storage.

The 512GB variant of the iPhone XS is priced at $1,349 but at least Apple is providing users with the option. Pixel 3 users will have to make do with 128GB storage. Given the steep price of both devices, it would have been great to see Google and Apple bump the base storage on them to 128GB.


Pixel 3 front camera

This is one area where despite the Pixel 3 actually being at a disadvantage on paper, it pulls ahead thanks to its superior software. The iPhone XS features a dual-12MP camera setup at the rear, while the Pixel 3 has a single 12.2MP rear shooter. The primary shooter on both devices is pretty much the same: a 12MP f/1.8 shooter with 1.4um large pixels and OIS. While Apple uses Smart HDR to further improve its photos, Google uses machine learning and Auto HDR+. We have already seen how good Google’s machine learning prowess is with the Pixel 2, and with the Pixel 3, it is taking things up a notch.

The new Pixel comes with a number of AI features like Top Shot, Super Zoom, and Night Sight which further improve the overall image taking experience. At the front, the iPhone XS packs a 7MP TrueDepth camera sensor, while the Pixel 3 features dual 8MP selfie shooters. One of them features a f/1.8 aperture lens while the secondary sensor features a f/2.2 aperture and is meant for group selfies. Google says the wider selfie camera can capture 184 percent more selfie when compared to the iPhone XS Max.

Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS Night Sight

The Pixel 3 is the clear winner in the camera department despite lacking some other camera features which are a standard on other flagship devices.

Google also offers unlimited storage for all your original quality photos and 4K videos with the Pixel, which makes it very convenient.

Biometric Authentication

  • iPhone XS Max – Face ID
  • Google Pixel 3 XL – Fingerprint scanner

Surprisingly, the Pixel 3 XL does not come with face unlock and relies completely on the fingerprint scanner at the rear.

However, this comes to preference as many users still seem to prefer the fingerprint scanner over the convenience of Face ID.


  • Pixel 3 – 2915mAh, 18W fast charging, 10W Qi wireless charging
  • iPhone XS – 2658mAh, Fast charging, Qi wireless charging

The Pixel 3 has the edge in the battery department. Despite coming with a smaller display, it comes with a higher capacity battery which should allow it to offer better battery life than the iPhone XS. While both devices also come with USB-PD fast charging, the Pixel 3 comes bundled with an 18W USB-C charger which is capable of providing an additional 7 hours of battery life after just 15 mins of charging. Similarly, while both devices come with Qi wireless charging, the iPhone XS is limited to 7.5W while the Pixel 3 supports 10W wireless charging.


  • Pixel 3 – Starts from $799
  • iPhone XS – Starts from $999

The Pixel 3 is $200 cheaper than the iPhone XS and this without any of the offers that retailers usually bundle with it.

What do you think about the Pixel 3 when compared to the iPhone XS? Drop a comment and let us know!