On paper, it seems like a weird clash. A battle between a recently launched flagship, and a flagship from a year ago. And yet, the fact is that if you go to the market in search of a premium phone with a budget in the vicinity of Rs 60,000, the two options that you are most likely to be confronted with are the Google Pixel 7 and the iPhone 13. In terms of design and culture, they could not be more different – one comes from the house of Google, the other from Apple. One comes packed with camera muscle and smart features, while the other is all about old-fashioned consistent performance. Some might turn their noses up at the iPhone 13 because of it being a slightly older device, but the fact is that in terms of sheer performance, it still packs a formidable punch and has a processor that is very similar to the one seen on the latest iPhone 14 and 14 Plus. So which of the two should you be considering investing in – the latest phone from the search supermo or the slightly oldie but still goldie one from the giant from Cupertino? Let us try to work that out for you.
Appearance and design
Want something different? Head to the bar!
In terms of design, this is a clash between the conventional and the unusual. The iPhone 13 follows the iPhone trend of straight sides and a flat back while the Pixel 7 comes with a jutting camera bar on the back which gives it a very distinct touch. Both phones have glass fronts and backs and an aluminium frame in the middle but the iPhone 13 is a way more compact device with a height of 146.7mm as compared to the Pixel 7’s 155.6mm. The iPhone 13 is also slimmer at 7.7mm as compared to the Pixel 7’s 8.7mm, and lighter too (174 grams to 197 grams). The Pixel 7’s back also tends to pick up way more smudges than that of the iPhone 13, but we think the Google device’s far more distinct appearance wins this round for it. Those who love compact devices might prefer the iPhone 13, but those who want a device that stands out will go for the Pixel 7.
Winner: Pixel 7
Does that refresh rate make a difference?
The iPhone 13 comes with a 6.1-inch full HD OLED display, while the Pixel 7 sports a 6.3-inch full HD AMOLED display. They are both vibrant and bright, but we think that the iPhone 13’s display handles colours a little better (the Pixel 7’s display sometimes feels a little dull). This could also be because the iPhone 13 actually has a higher pixel density than the Pixel 7 – 460 ppi to 416 ppi. The Pixel 7, however, has a 90Hz refresh rate, as against the ‘normal’ 60Hz refresh rate of the iPhone 13, and even though that difference is not very visible while viewing content, it certainly becomes evident when you are scrolling through your social networks and photo albums. We are going to hand it to the iPhone 13 for better colour handling, but we can see those who prefer larger displays and higher refresh rates preferring the Pixel 7. This is a close round.
Winner: iPhone 13
Go Bionic or be Tensor?
You would have thought that there would be no contest between a new flagship processor and one from last year, but that is not the case here. The Pixel 7 runs on Google’s new Tensor G2 chip while the iPhone 13 runs on the A15 Bionic. While Google’s Tensor chips have been acclaimed for their AI ability and the features they add to photography, they are not the most powerful around and are seen as being somewhere close to the Snapdragon 888. While the Tensor does get marks for smartness, the A15 Bionic scores in terms of sheer power – in fact Apple considered it good enough to drive the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus.
Winner: iPhone 13
Gaming and multimedia
A tense time for Tensor!
The difference between the Tensor and A15 Bionic chip comes to the fore in gaming where we saw the iPhone 13 handling high-end games like Call of Duty and Genshin Impact far more smoothly than the Pixel 7. It was not as if the Pixel 7 did badly, but the difference in loading times and operation was significant. The Pixel 7’s larger display with higher refresh rate also does not really cancel out the iPhone 13’s advantage in this regard. Both phones pack in stereo speakers, but the iPhone 13’s speakers just seem a notch better in terms of overall audio quality, although the Pixel 7’s are impressively loud as well. If you intend to play a lot of games or watch shows and videos galore, the iPhone 13 is the much better option, in our opinion. A slight concern for the Pixel 7 in this regard is also its tendency to heat up – an issue that is altogether absent in the iPhone 13!
Winner: iPhone 13
Team Pixel to the Fore
This is one of the keenest rounds of this face-off, with both the iPhone and the Pixel coming with formidable reputations in photography. The iPhone 13 packs in two excellent 12-megapixel sensors on its back(one main and one ultrawide) and a very good 12-megapixel selfie camera, while the Pixel 7 has a 50-megapixel main sensor and a 12-megapixel ultrawide and a 10.8-megapixel selfie snapper. While both phones deliver great images, those who prefer richer colours and details will prefer the snaps from the Pixel 7. The iPhone 13’s shots are realistic, but seem a trifle dull in comparison. The Pixel 7 also handles portrait snaps much better, while the iPhone 13 is a little hit-and-miss in that department. In low light conditions, the Pixel 7 seemed to capture more detail but this sometimes seemed a little artificial with even dark places getting well-lit, while the iPhone did not excessively light up dark areas. The iPhone however, rules when it comes to videos, with much better sound and clarity. On the selfie camera front, we felt the Pixel 7 once again gave us more detail and handled glare better than the iPhone. The iPhone 13’s camera did seem to work faster than the one on the Pixel 7, but all said and done, we think those who prefer good-looking snaps (and most of us do) will go for the Pixel 7, unless videos come into the picture in a big way.
Winner: Pixel 7
The Great Android vs iOS war
For many, this is the round that will decide whether you go for the Pixel or the iPhone. The Google Pixel 7 comes with Android 13 out of the box, while the iPhone 13 was recently updated to iOS 16. Both phones run the purest versions of their software and come with no bloatware at all. Which one you prefer is going to depend on your inclination. The iPhone 13 delivers the classic, consistent iOS experience, with zero lags and comes with some very high-quality app support. The Pixel 7 on the other hand comes with not just Android 13 but a number of unique and smart touches such as transcription, live captions and even special call-handling functions. Whereas the iPhone 13 is a steady performer, the Pixel 7 actually tries to make things happen, from removing objects effortlessly from your pictures to sharpening blurry snaps to making ‘speak to type’ so seamless as to replace your keyboard. No, it does not always work smoothly (apps do crash and results are occasionally odd) but if you are looking for a phone that is trying to be really smart, the Pixel 7 gets points for trying to up the general smartphone IQ. That said, if you are the impatient type who wants a phone that just works, we think the iPhone 13 is more likely to be your cup of tea. In terms of updates, both phones are assured to get both major and minor software updates for the next few years. We are calling this one a tie between an OS that just works and another that bravely tries to do more.
Lasting long and charging fast
Both the Pixel 7 and the iPhone 13 come with batteries that will easily see you through a day of normal use. The Pixel 7 has a 4,355mAh battery while the iPhone 13’s battery is not officially enumerated, but in general terms we found the iPhone 13’s battery lasting a little longer than the Pixel 7. We suspect this could be because of the extra smarts on the phone which are often active and using the processor, as well as the larger display with a higher refresh rate. In terms of charging, neither phone comes with a charger in the package. Both phones have charging speeds of 20W over a wired connection, but while the iPhone charges in a little more than one and a half hours, the Pixel 7 takes close to two hours, Both phones also support wireless charging – the iPhone at 15W, the Pixel 7 at 20W. However, in terms of lasting longer and charging faster, the iPhone 13 takes this round.
Winner: iPhone 13
Everyday ‘smart’ phone stuff
Both phones are very closely matched while handling ‘normal’ tasks like Web surfing, messaging, mails and social networks with ease. The Pixel 7 comes with a number of smart features like live captions and call transcription, but the iPhone 13 scores on being easier to handle thanks to its compact size. We also found the iPhone 13’s Face ID working more smoothly than the in-display fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 7, which could be a little hit-and-miss (something we encountered with the Pixel 6a as well). Both phones come with 5G support which is likely to be activated in the coming days, via software updates. Yes, we know the iPhone is more consistent here, but we are giving this round to the Pixel 7 simply because it offers a very different, and often smart, everyday phone experience.
Winner: Google Pixel 7
Who saves you more bucks?
In terms of price, the Google Pixel 7 comes in a single variant (8GB / 128GB) which is available at Rs 59,999, while the iPhone 13 officially starts at Rs 69,900, That seems to represent a considerable gulf between the two devices. However, with the festive season, a number of retailers are offering the iPhone 13 at prices in the vicinity of Rs 60,000. That said, the Pixel 7’s official price is certainly much lower than that of the iPhone 13, whose price is likely to go back to close to the official figure once the festive season runs out. If you need to save money, the Pixel 7 is definitely the better option for you.
Winner: Google Pixel 7
Which one to go for
So which of the two phones should you be going for? If we ignore the platforms (iOS and Android), it really is a battle between a phone with a lot of smart (if somewhat buggy) functionality and great cameras against sheer power-packed consistency. Those who want a different-looking phone with a great camera and a lot of software smarts will prefer the Pixel 7, as the phone does have so many innovative features in it. However, those who are looking for a rock-steady phone that delivers consistently time and again would be better off going for the iPhone 13. The Apple device might give ground to the Pixel 7 in the camera and might not have as many smart features, but its consistency makes the Pixel 7 almost seem buggy in comparison at times (although we are reasonably sure that Google will fix matters with some updates). It is a battle between the innovative and the consistent, and whichever one you opt for, you are likely to end up with a device that is going to deliver a lot.