Are there fewer differences between the Pixel 2 and 2 XL or the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus?

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

Google made a point at their Google Pixel 2 unveiling this past week that unlike some other phone makers, you don’t have to make sacrifices when choosing the smaller phone in their lineup. They mentioned this most emphatically when they were talking about the cameras i the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

This got me thinking, what are the differences between the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and are they more significant differences than between the Pixel 2 and 2 XL?

We’ll start by looking at the differences between the 2 latest iPhones. When you buy an iPhone 8 you will be getting the best Apple has to offer across the line (for another month, at least). By going with the smaller iPhone 8, you do lose some features:

  • Lower screen resolution (1334x750 326dpi vs 1920x1080 401dpi on the Plus)
  • No second camera on the back (the other back camera and front-facing cameras are the same though)
  • Battery (1,821 mAh vs 2,691 mAh in the Plus)

Everything else is basically the same. You get the same A11 CPU, the same GPU, the same software, the same display tech, same memory, same storage options, same colors, and same connectivity.

Now let’s look at the Pixel 2 differences:

  • Lower screen resolution (1920x1080 441dpi vs 1440x2880 538dpi on the XL)
  • Worse display tech (AMOLED vs P-OLED on the XL)
  • Battery (2,700 mAh vs 3,520 mAh in the XL)
  • Different color options
  • Different design

There are certainly compromises when going with the smaller Pixel phone, and 2 of the differences (screen resolution and battery size/life) are the same as the iPhone compromises. But you are also sacrificing when it comes to display technology, overall phone design, and color options. Everyone was drooling over the Oreo-inspired black and white Pixel 2 XL, but that color option is not available on the smaller Pixel 2.

To Google’s credit, I think their compromises are fine, and the fact that their small phone has a 1080p screen makes it totally usable in a way I don’t find the kind of embarrassingly low resolution iPhone 8 screen. The fact that you can get a no-compromises camera on both phones trumps all other differences in my book.

So okay Google, I’ll give you this one. Even though there definitely are differences between your 2 Pixel phones, and on paper there actually may be more of them, the fact that you’re not making customers choose whether they want the best camera or not is good for everyone.