Key TakeawaysI got a chance to compare Google's latest Pixel phones to my beloved iPhone 12 Pro Max. The Pixels seemed speedier than the iPhone, although both were more than fast enough for most uses. I preferred the softer tones of the iPhone screen as well as the iPhone's excellent pictures.
Sascha Brodsky / Ach5
I've been taking the latest Google Pixel phones for a test drive, and they are almost great enough to tempt me away from my iPhone 12 Pro Max.
My love affair with the iPhone goes back to the first model released, and I'm thrilled with the latest Apple flagship. So, I wasn't expecting to be wooed by Google's Pixel devices. In the end, I found a lot to like about the Pixels, but the benefits weren't enough to make me want to switch.
Google vs. Apple
Choosing my favorite phone was a tough decision with such excellent choices. The iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a softer screen but after spending some time with the Pixels I find their shape much less cumbersome than the iPhone.
While unboxing the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a provided by the manufacturer, I was surprised by how much I liked their designs. They are sleek and stylish without any of the flashiness of the latest phones from OnePlus.
There's a tactile quality about all of Google's products with soft lines that beg to be caressed. It's quite a contrast to the harsh look of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Powering up the two Pixels, their excellent screen quality nearly blinded me. The Pixels appeared sharper and clearer than the screen on the iPhone.
But after using the Pixels for a few days, I began to long for the slightly softer colors on the iPhone. I chalk up my preference for the iPhone display to Apple's True Tone technology, which adjusts the brightness and color automatically.
Apple boasts about the speed of the iPhone 12 Pro Max's A14 Bionic chip. After transitioning from an iPhone 7 Plus recently, the Pro Max's speed was a revelation when it came to browsing the web. But I was surprised to find that in real-life usage, the Pixels were faster than the iPhone.
The Pro Max is undoubtedly fast enough, but the Pixels were just a touch quicker opening apps and navigating through the operating system.
I love the giant screen on the Pro Max because it's big enough to replace my iPad for watching movies.
Sascha Brodsky / Ach5
For day-to-day use, I preferred the smaller sizes of the Pixels, which made me realize that there's such a thing as too big when it comes to screens.
Pictures often come down to personal preference once you go beyond the technical specifications. Both the Pixels and the iPhones have huge megapixel counts and the latest software to process photos. In the end, I liked the photos that the iPhone took better but your mileage may vary so be sure to try both out in a store if you are deciding between the models.
Both the Pixels and the iPhone took fantastic pictures, but I preferred the more natural look of the Pro Max images.
I also found the Pixel camera app to be far more clumsy to use than the one that's included in iOS.
Battery Life: iPhone
The Pro Max and the Pixels both lasted through a full day of use. But by bedtime, the Pixel 5 was drained while the iPhone had some charge left to spare.
Apple's MagSafe accessories are a stylish and practical line of magnetic widgets that enhance your phone.
Google doesn't have quite the same selection of accessories for its Pixel line, although third parties make plenty of exciting gadgets.
The cases that Google makes for the Pixels are some of the nicest I've ever handled. They have interesting fabric textures that feel great in hand and protect the phones well.
The silicone case for the Pro Max is kind of tacky by comparison.
The Pixel 5 offers a reverse wireless charging feature that lets you turn your phone into a wireless charging pad. The iPhone has wireless charging, but that's it.
As much as I enjoyed using the Pixels, I was glad to return to the familiar confines of the iPhone operating system at the end of the day. The apps for iOS are just much better than anything you can get for Android.
After spending time with the Pixels, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed using them. The Pixels and the iPhone are all solid devices with terrific cameras and speedy processors. But at the end of the day, I'll stick with my iPhone 12 Pro Max thanks to its combination of a fantastic screen, highly tuned software, and excellent battery life.