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iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Which will be the better camera phone?

 iPhone 15 Pro vs Pixel 7 Pro
iPhone 15 Pro vs Pixel 7 Pro

An iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro face-off figures to be an especially interesting showdown this fall, given Apple's recent trend to shifting more premium features to its iPhone Pro devices. That certainly happened with last year's iPhone 14 Pro release, and rumors point to the iPhone 15 Pro once again receiving most of Apple's attention.

There are some changes expected across the iPhone 15 lineup, such as the switch to USB-C connectivity. But the iPhone 15 Pro could also be in line of some exclusive updates, such as a more durable material and a new chipset that's rumored to be the most energy efficient and powerful ever included in an iPhone.

While most of the attention will be focused on the upcoming Pixel 8 Pro — see our iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Pixel 8 Pro comparison for an early look at how those phones might compare — the Pixel 7 Pro remains a good yardstick, with which to measure new flagships. After all, Google's Pro flagship is one of the best camera phones you can buy, going toe-to-toe with Apple's current Pro models. Naturally, we're interested to see if the new iPhone can overtake Google's current phone.

That's what this iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro comparison aims to find out. While we won't know exactly how these phones will match up until the iPhone 15 Pro's September release, we can rely on rumors about Apple's upcoming phone to get a pretty good sense of how these two models might compare.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Specs

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Price

The Pixel 7 Pro already undercuts its iPhone counterpart on price. That gap could grown even larger if rumors of an iPhone 15 price hike prove accurate.

As of this writing, the Pixel 7 Pro costs $899, though Pixel 7 deals can help you save on the Pro model. The Pixel 7 Pro costs $100 less than the current iPhone 14 Pro, and rumors suggest the iPhone 15 Pro might see a hike from that $999 starting price. The most common assumption is that the iPhone 15 Pro will cost $100 more than its predecessor, creating a $200 gap with the Pixel 7 Pro.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Design

The rumored iPhone 15 Pro blue shade
The rumored iPhone 15 Pro blue shade

It'd be difficult for two conventional smartphones to look more different than the iPhone and Google's Pixels, and that's likely to continue when the iPhone 15 Pro makes its debut.

While Apple is expected to make some changes to the look of its phone — the sides are expected to become more rounded and the Lightning port is likely to make way to USB-C — the iPhone 15 Pro should still look a lot like its predecessor. And that's going to provide quite the contrast to the Pixel 7 Pro and the horizontal camera bar that spans the back of the phone to house the phone's triple camera array. The iPhone 15 Pro's three rear cameras are likely to remain set apart in a separate block in the upper left corner of the phone.

An Action button is reportedly coming to the Pro models of Apple's iPhone 15 lineup, replacing the mute switch. With the Action button, you'll be able to select customizable shortcuts — think the ability to launch a specific app with the press of a button — giving the iPhone 15 Pro a feature the current Pixel models really can't match.

An alleged iPhone 15 Pro case, showing off a new button on its left side
An alleged iPhone 15 Pro case, showing off a new button on its left side

Apple is also reportedly switching to titanium sides for its Pro iPhones, turning to a material that's both lighter and more durable than the stainless steel used in the current iPhone 14 Pro. At 7.3 ounces, the iPhone 14 Pro weights 0.2 ounces less than the Pixel 7 Pro, suggesting an even bigger gap in weight once the iPhone 15 Pro arrives.

Rumored iPhone 15 Pro colors have Titan Gray and Dark Blue joining the Space Black and Silver options held over from last year's model. That compares to Obsidian, Snow and Hazel color options for the Pixel 7 Pro.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Display

Google Pixel 7 Pro display view
Google Pixel 7 Pro display view

We'd expect the iPhone 15 Pro display to remain much smaller than the 6.7-inch screen on the Pixel 7 Pro. Apple's regular Pro phone is expected to keep its 6.1-inch screen size, reserving the larger display real estate for the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max. Like the Pixel 7 Pro, though, we'd bet the iPhone 15 Pro will have an adaptive refresh rate that lets its display ramp up to 120Hz when there's a lot of on-screen activity. In other words, don't look for any big differences there.

The display aspect we'll be paying attention to is just how bright the iPhone 15 Pro is compared to the Pixel 7 Pro. When we tested Google's phone, we measured peak brightness at 927, which is in line with the 993-nit peak for the iPhone 14 Pro for SDR. However, with HDR turned on, the iPhone's brightness reached as high as 1,448 nits. We'd expect the iPhone 15 Pro screen to be just as bright.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Cameras

Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max macro mode photos
Google Pixel 7 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max macro mode photos

Most iPhone/Pixel battles come down to cameras, and an iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro comparison figures to be no different The question, though, is just how Apple plans to improve the camera setup on its upcoming models after making substantial changes for the iPhone 14 Pro.

You may remember that Apple upgraded the main sensor on last year's Pro models to a 48MP shooter, giving the 50MP main camera on the Pixel 7 Pro plenty of competition. Apple's unlikely to make such a dramatic change for the iPhone 15 Pro, and the biggest planned improvement could be an iPhone 15 Pro Max exclusive — Apple's looking at a periscope-style telephoto lens with an improved zoom that should better compete with the Pixel 7 Pro's 48MP telephoto lens. The Pixel delivers a 5x zoom, and most rumors expect the iPhone 15 Pro Max to upgrade to a 6x optical zoom at the very least.

But that doesn't tell us much about how the regular iPhone 15 Pro cameras will compete against the Pixel 7 Pro. One potential upgrade could be a new Sony sensor for the iPhone 15 Pro that's larger and therefore able to capture more light. However, some rumor mongers have suggested this change won't appear until the iPhone 16 Pro in 2024.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Performance

A17 Bionic chip
A17 Bionic chip

There's little debate about which will be the better performing phone. The current iPhone Pro models already blow away the Pixel 7 Pro in terms of performance, partly because the latter's Tensor G2 chip places more of an emphasis on machine learning than raw speed. (The Tensor G3 figures to improve that balance, but it's the Pixel 8 Pro that's going to reap the benefits of that, not the Tensor G2-powered Pixel 7 Pro.)

The gap figures to grow with the arrival of the iPhone 15 Pro, which we're expecting to run on a new A17 Bionic chipset. This will be a mobile system-on-chip built on a 3nm process, compared to the 4nm A16 Bionic. The smaller chip means the transistors will be more densely packed, which typically leads to gains in both performance and power management. Early A17 Bionic benchmarks are certainly promising.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Battery life and charging

iPhone 15 Pro renders
iPhone 15 Pro renders

The Pixel 7 Pro's battery life is one of the phone's few disappointments. In our battery test involving continuous web surfing over cellular until a phone runs out of power, the Pixel 7 Pro's 8 hour-plus result is nearly 2 hours behind the average smartphone's time. So there's a big opportunity for the iPhone 15 Pro here to build on the iPhone 14 Pro's 10 hour and 13 minute time.

Apple could be turning to a bigger battery to help out. One rumor suggests the iPhone 15 Pro is going to use a stacked battery with a capacity of 3,650 mAh. That compares to the iPhone 14 Pro's 3,200 mAh cell. Factor in the reported power efficiency of the A17 Bionic chip and we could be looking at a very long-lasting phone in the form of the iPhone 15 Pro.

The new iPhone could also improve upon the iPhone 14 Pro's modest 20W charging speeds. The arrival of USB-C ups the potential for faster charging speeds, and that's a feature Apple is likely to emphasize on its pricier Pro models. At any rate, we'd expect the phone to beat out the Pixel 7 Pro's 23W charging speed.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Software and special features

The Pixel 7 Pro currently runs Android 13, though it will be first in line for an update to Android 14 when that software makes its imminent debut. That will be the first of three guaranteed OS updates for Google's flagship, a sore spot since Apple generally extends software support for five years. The iPhone 15 Pro is going to ship with iOS 17 installed, and we'd expect the phone will still be able to run iOS 22 in five years' time.

The Tensor G2 chip inside the Pixel 7 Pro gives Google's phone a bit of an edge here, since the Tensor core on the chipset can power some pretty impressive features that tap into artificial intelligence. These include call screening and live transcription features that are available in some form of the iPhone, though in more limited implementations.

Even though the Pixel 7 Pro is going to miss out on new Tensor G3-powered capabilities slated for the Pixel 8 phones, those features have a tendency to trickle down to old Pixel models via software updates. We would expect some capabilities found in the Pixel 8 Pro to make their way the Pixel 7 Pro later on, though we'll have to wait for the new Pixel launch to see what those capabilities might be.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Outlook

Given the iPhone 15 Pro's likely edges in performance and battery life, any comparison with the Pixel 7 Pro should come down to cameras. Even though it's about to be replaced by a successor of its own, the Pixel 7 Pro remains a formidable camera phone. We're curious to see just how the iPhone 15 Pro takes Google's device on, if the big telephoto lens improvement is limited to the Pro Max model.

Other areas, like display brightness and software features, will go a long way toward determining if Apple's new phone can clear the bar set by the Pixel 7 Pro. We'll find out in a month or so whether the iPhone 15 Pro can beta what's out there now as it looks ahead to coming phones from Google and others.

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