Google’s 2020 flagship — the Pixel 5 — is about ready to hit store shelves. The Pixel line is what we call “the iPhone of Android”. It’s made by Google, it comes with the cleanest version of Android — the way Google intends it to look and feel — it gets updates on day 1, and it’s a camera champion.It seems that, this year, Google decided to abandon the race of “who’s going to make a more expensive flagship”. Instead of pushing for a $1,000 price, the Pixel 5 sits comfortably at $700. It’s perfectly positioned to rival the likes of OnePlus, the new Galaxy S20 FE, and even the Apple’s base iPhone.
So… how does it stack up against the currently-available iPhone 11?
Pixel 5 vs iPhone 11 specs
- Pixel 5 processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
- Pixel 5 memory: 128 GB storage, 8 GB RAM
- iPhone 11 processor: Apple A13 Bionic
- iPhone 11 memory: from 64 GB, 4 GB RAM
Comparing the hardware of an iPhone to any Android device is always a bit of an apples-to-oranges thing. Apple makes its own processors and it builds its own operating system to work exclusively with its hardware. Google buys chips from Qualcomm, but it still does have the benefit of being… you know, Android’s sole developer.
But, with the Pixel 5 and iPhone 11, we do have some very big differences in terms of hardware.
The Apple iPhone 11 is powered by the best chip you can find on an iPhone as of right now — the Apple A13 Bionic. It’s not a downgrade, there were no corners cut — it’s the same chip that hums in the iPhone Pro line.
The Google Pixel 5 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G. Not the flagship-grade Snapdragon 865 or 865+… but an upper-midrange edition.
Is that bad? Not necessarily. As previously mentioned — Google’s vanilla Android runs pretty snappy, even if you don’t have a top-tier processor. But then again, it’s kind of odd that Google chose to downgrade its flagship line.
When it comes to raw productivity, the iPhone will be in the lead.
In terms of memory, the Google Pixel 5 does come in the lead. Its starting storage space is 128 GB, which is double what the iPhone 11 offers for the same amount of money. And, in the RAM department, the Pixel 5 has 8 GB of RAM, the iPhone 11 — 4 GB of RAM. That, again, ties into how the operating systems of the devices work. Android is pretty open to multi-tasking, so it needs all that memory for a pristine user experience, whereas iOS has no qualms with freezing apps in the background and managing with a smaller memory pool.
One thing that the Pixel 5 has going for it is its connectivity — the Snapdragon 765G gives it support for 5G, while the iPhone 11 still caps out at LTE.
Pixel 5 vs iPhone 11 camera
- Pixel 5 main camera: 12.2 MP wide angle, 16 MP ultra-wide angle
- Pixel 5 selfie camera: 8 MP
- iPhone 11 main camera: 12 MP wide angle, 12 MP ultra-wide angle
- iPhone 11 selfie camera: 12 MP
Google’s Pixel line is often praised for its great cameras. It’s not just about the hardware — Google does wonders with computational photography. As soon as you press that shutter button, the phone goes hard at work to take multiple exposure shots, stitch them together and give you the best possible image it can get. Light, dark, high dynamics, no matter the scene — they are pretty impressive.
Apple also has its own image processing in place, and the iPhone 11 is a pretty good shooter — a staple in the industry, if you will. It will be extremely hard to compare and judge these phones once we get a Pixel 5 in our hands, that’s for sure.
Both of these phones come with a dual camera module — the Pixel 5 has a 12.2 MP main camera and 16 MP ultra-wide camera; the iPhone 11 has a 12 MP main and 12 MP ultra-wide shooter. On the front, the Pixel has an 8 MP selfie camera, and the iPhone goes up to 12 MP again.
On the video front, the iPhone’s processor shows its power again. The iPhone 11 can shoot up to 4K at 60 FPS. The Pixel’s 4K video is limited to 30 FPS.
Pixel 5 vs iPhone 11 display and design
- The Pixel 5 has an OLED screen with 90 Hz refresh rate
- The Pixel 5 has slimmer bezels, no notch
- The iPhone 11 has an LCD panel locked at 60 Hz
When it comes to screen sizes, you will have pretty much the same real estate on both phones. The Pixel 5 has a 6-inch screen with a 19:9 aspect ratio, the iPhone 11 has a 6.1-incher with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Meaning, the iPhone 11 is ever so slightly taller and slimmer in shape.
The Pixel does have slimmer bezels than the iPhone — its screen-to-body ratio is 88.76%, while the iPhone’s is 80%. This means that the Pixel 5 will be slightly more compact than the iPhone 11.
For 3 years now, Apple has insisted on sticking with its Face ID sensors in a cutout at the top of the screen. A.k.a. “The Notch”. The Pixel 5 only has a small cutout for the selfie camera in the top-left corner of the screen, leaving more surface area for an actual screen.
But for the actual killer difference — the Google Pixel 5 has an OLED panel with a 90 Hz refresh rate. This means deeper blacks, more vibrant colors, and very, very smooth animations that just please the eye. The Apple iPhone 11 still has an LCD panel and is locked at 60 FPS. Apple’s color calibration is still outstanding, but when it comes to motion and contrast, OLED is just better than LCD.
With the removal of the huge forehead that was on the Pixel 4, Google also removed all that face-recognizing tech. The Pixel 5 is back to fingerprint unlocking with a scanner pad situated on the back of the phone. This is… up to taste — many people out there have never been fans of back-mounted fingerprint scanners.
The iPhone 11 has Apple’s Face ID lodged in that Notch, so unlocking and iPhone is merely a matter of looking at it.
There’s also the small issue of personalization. The iPhone 11 comes in 6 different colors — from vibrant to understated. The Pixel 5 comes in… well, two — a dark green and a black.
Pixel 5 vs iPhone 11 expectations