What Google's Pixel 2 needs to compete with iPhone X

Apple's stepped up their game with the iPhone X, creating a device that not only has a built-in cult following, but delivers on new features to boot. Google's task now with Pixel is to create not only a solid Android phone, but a device that's at least as high quality as the phone's first generation. Today we're having a peek at some of the key features on the iPhone X to see what Google's Pixel 2 will need to directly compete.

Which is a better starter phone?

Neither the iPhone X or either of Google's Pixel phones are meant for your everyday average Joe. No user new to smartphones will purchase a Pixel 2 or an iPhone X – not for the amount of money each of these smartphone lines cost. The everyday average citizen doesn't go out and purchase a brand new car when they're just learning to drive.

Both the Google Pixel and Apple's iPhone X would be perfect starter phones if they were available for free. But they cost many hundreds of dollars – far more than is reasonable for someone who's just getting started in the smartphone universe. Do not buy one of these devices as a first phone for your teenager – unless of course you're made of money.

Establishing a Baseline

While we've yet to see the price of the Pixel 2, there's little reason to assume pricing will change from last year's models. That means $649 for the standard Pixel and $769 for the Pixel XL. The iPhone X starts at $999. For those prices, we're talking top-tier buyers, early adopters, and those that are just plain addicted to having the biggest and the best. So we'll judge mostly without price in mind.

Which display is better?

The Google Pixel (2016) has a display that is OK. It's not the most mind-blowing piece of equipment in a smartphone, nor is it very good in direct sunlight. Barring Google pulling out a totally surprise-reveal of a Samsung-made Super AMOLED display on the Pixel 2, this may be Apple's game.

It's with the display that the iPhone X will win most of its customers. The display on this smartphone is easily the best on an iPhone and amongst the best on the market this year. It's only with Samsung that the iPhone X contends for display supremacy. With the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, Samsung's displays spill over the edges, while with iPhone X, the display has a notch but for the entire frontside of the phone.

It's only once we get the iPhone X next to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 that we'll know which display is truly supreme. Google's Pixel (at least the 2016 model), isn't really in the same league. There's nothing inherently wrong with what Google's got in the Pixel (and probably the Pixel 2), but the company hasn't yet presented anything extraordinary.

Which has a better camera?

The battle for best camera is going to be a TIGHT one this year, especially considering the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus' standings in the ranks VS the list-topping Pixel (2016) right now. It's really difficult to decide which smartphone has the "best" camera here in 2017 even judging the phones that are already out on the market, much less adding a new phone to the mix.

The iPhone X has a collection of camera abilities that may place it ahead of the Pixel 2, assuming the Pixel 2 comes with a single-camera setup again in 2017. The Pixel line currently tops the charts for all the most basic camera quality tests. But the iPhone X has everything the iPhone 8 Plus has plus the addition of optical image stabilization on both of its lenses. That MAY put the iPhone X out ahead of the Pixel 2 in more ways than one – we shall see.

Which has better battery life?

Everyone that's ever owned a smartphone will tell you stories of fast-draining batteries and lost charger cords. Unfortunate for the Google Pixel, there won't likely be any wireless charging (if last year's model is any indication), so you'll need the cord. Fortunate for the Google Pixel, the Pixel line has thus far proven itself as a battery-efficient set of phones. With the Pixel XL (2016), the battery almost always lasts a full day at a time, without issue – and it has Fast Charging from Qualcomm.

SEE: Google Pixel XL Review: 5 months later

Cross your fingers for the battery life on the iPhone X. For now it would seem that Apple's rating the iPhone X fairly well on battery time. As you'll see in the chart provided by Apple, Apple suggests the iPhone X will last "up to 2 hours longer than the iPhone 7". At the same time, the quoted hours seem to be nearly identical to those on the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone 8 Plus in turn is said to last "about the same as the iPhone 7 Plus".

The good news for the iPhone X is that Apple's added Qi standard wireless charging. They've also added Quick Charging so the device can charge up to 50% in 30 minutes. Google's implementation of Quick Charge is said to allow "Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging".

Which has better software?

Google's Android hasn't changed dramatically from the last big build. If you've used Android in the last couple of years, you won't feel like anything's caught you off-guard with what Pixel 2 will be delivered with. That's Android Oreo – software that's already on the Pixel and Pixel XL.

Apple's iPhone X will come with iOS 11, software that'll really only reveal itself fully when this and the iPhone 8 line are released. The iPhone X hardware will have a big effect on how the user uses their phone. If we're judging purely on which device will feel like the biggest change from one generation to the next, the iPhone X wins by a mile. If we're judging based on ease of transition from one generation to the next, it's Google who'll take the cake.

OK, but which is really best?

There really isn't a contest between these devices because of the different consumers they attract – not to mention the completely different operating systems they run. An iPhone user will be more likely to choose the iPhone X, while an Android fan will be more likely to choose a Pixel – that's largely been my experience in chats with people aiming for either in the near future.

This year may end up being a game-changer based on the emphasis Apple's placed on the importance of the iPhone X. But we won't know how well any device will sell until it's been put on the market – or at least until we see how much either company is willing to spend on advertising.

SEE IT: iPhone X hands-on: Apple's OLED flagship up close

When this article is set to be published, the iPhone X is not yet out in stores – you literally cannot purchase the device yet. The same is true of the Google Pixel 2, which is set to be revealed on October 5th – more than likely. Right now it seems like the iPhone X could have an edge over the Pixel 2 unless Google has some new tricks up its sleeve – we shall see!

Stay tuned for our full review of the iPhone X and event reveal of both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in early October. We'll also have a review of the Pixel 2 for you soon after that!