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iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Pixel 8 Pro: Worthy of the Pro moniker?

Both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Pixel 8 Pro are awesome devices, but which is best for you?

iphone 15 pro max and pixel 8 pro on a purple background
Image: KnowTechie

The iPhone 15 Pro Max and Pixel 8 Pro are two of the best smartphones you can currently get. Besides the iOS vs Android debate, Apple and Google are uniquely positioned in the smartphone market.

Both companies have complete control of the underlying operating system, utilize custom processors in their devices, have great update policies, and are well-optimized.

While there are a lot of control similarities, Apple and Google have a very different approach when it comes to their implementations. Regardless of the process, the result is fantastic devices, which is a win for the user.

Both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Pixel 8 Pro are fantastic devices and the best one for you will likely come down to what you value most in a smartphone. Let’s break it all down to see which device is best for you.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Pixel 8 Pro: Price, availability, and specs

Apple released the iPhone 15 Pro Max on September 22, 2023, in three configurations. The 256GB version retails for $1,199, the 512GB version costs $1,399, and the 1TB version sells for a whopping $1,599.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max comes in four colors: natural titanium, blue titanium, white titanium, and black titanium. 

The Pixel 8 Pro was officially released on October 12, 2023, and is slightly less expensive but starts with less storage. The 128GB version is $999, the $256GB version is $1,059, the 512GB costs $1,179, and the 1TB version retails for $1,399.

The Pixel 8 Pro comes in three color options: bay (blue), obsidian (black), and porcelain (white). 

Being some of the more popular devices on the market, you can find the iPhone and Pixel just about anywhere a smartphone is sold.

They can be found at just about every primary carrier, as well as smaller MVNOs. They can also be purchased through authorized retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy, as well as the respective manufacturer’s sites.

 
 
Display:
6.7-inch, OLED, 2796 x 1290, 120Hz
Display:
6.7-inch LTPO OLED, 2992 x 1344, 1-120Hz
Chipset:
A17 Pro
Chipset:
Tensor G3
Ram:
8GB
Ram:
12GB
Storage:
256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
Storage:
128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
Front Camera:
12MP f/1.9
Front Camera:
10.5MP f/2.2
Rear Camera:
48MP f/1.78 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12MP f/2.8 telephoto with 5x optical zoom
Rear Camera:
50MP f/1.68 main, 48MP f/1.95 ultrawide, 48MP f/2.8 Telephoto with 5x optical zoom
Battery:
4441mAh
Battery:
5050mAh
Charging:
USB-C quick charge, 15W MagSafe, 7.5W Qi wireless, 4.5W reverse wired
Charging:
USB-C quick charge, Qi wireless, battery share
Connectivity:
Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.3, USB-C
Connectivity:
Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, USB-C
IP Rating:
IP68
IP Rating:
IP68
Dimensions:
6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32 inches
Dimensions:
6.4 x 3.0 x 0.3-inches
Weight :
7.81 ounces
Weight :
7.5 ounces
Operating System:
iOS 17
Operating System:
Android 14
Software Support:
Six to eight years of OS updates until 2029 - 2031
Software Support:
Seven years of OS and security updates until 2030
$1199
$999
Display:
6.7-inch, OLED, 2796 x 1290, 120Hz
Chipset:
A17 Pro
Ram:
8GB
Storage:
256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
Front Camera:
12MP f/1.9
Rear Camera:
48MP f/1.78 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12MP f/2.8 telephoto with 5x optical zoom
Battery:
4441mAh
Charging:
USB-C quick charge, 15W MagSafe, 7.5W Qi wireless, 4.5W reverse wired
Connectivity:
Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.3, USB-C
IP Rating:
IP68
Dimensions:
6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32 inches
Weight :
7.81 ounces
Operating System:
iOS 17
Software Support:
Six to eight years of OS updates until 2029 - 2031
$1199
Display:
6.7-inch LTPO OLED, 2992 x 1344, 1-120Hz
Chipset:
Tensor G3
Ram:
12GB
Storage:
128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
Front Camera:
10.5MP f/2.2
Rear Camera:
50MP f/1.68 main, 48MP f/1.95 ultrawide, 48MP f/2.8 Telephoto with 5x optical zoom
Battery:
5050mAh
Charging:
USB-C quick charge, Qi wireless, battery share
Connectivity:
Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, USB-C
IP Rating:
IP68
Dimensions:
6.4 x 3.0 x 0.3-inches
Weight :
7.5 ounces
Operating System:
Android 14
Software Support:
Seven years of OS and security updates until 2030
$999

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Pixel 8 Pro: Design

iPhone 15 Pro max colors on a purple background
Image: KnowTechie

Apple and Google are both capable of creating beautiful and well-built devices, and that expertise is on full display with these two phones.

Both devices have 6.7-inch displays and very similar overall dimensions. The iPhone 15 Pro Max measures 6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32 inches and weighs 7.81 ounces. The Pixel 8 Pro is slightly bigger at 6.4 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches and weighs 7.5 ounces. 

Apple went with a boxier titanium frame, ceramic shield on the front, and Corning-made glass on the back.

The left side of the device has the volume and action buttons, while the right side has an additional button with multiple actions. The bottom of the device reveals a USB-C connector!

Apple has officially caught up with the times and the Lightning port is now dead.

Apple is in the process of switching all of its devices and accessories to USB-C, ahead of the new European Union (EU) law requiring all consumer devices to come with a common charging port, which goes into effect in 2024.

Flipping over the iPhone reveals its triple camera. Apple’s setup neatly tucks the camera lenses into the upper left-hand corner with each lens prominently displayed.

Google has more rounded edges for a slightly less boxy frame.

The Pixel 8 Pro has a frame made from aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and the back. Google placed the power and volume buttons on the right-hand side, and the USB-C port is located at the bottom.

The biggest design difference is with Google’s camera setup. Google places its triple rear camera setup in a visor. This camera visor is a rectangular bar that runs the entire width of the device and is made from the same polished aluminum as the frame.

Both the iPhone and Pixel have an IP68 rating, giving them great protection against dust and water. They also come with great-sounding stereo speakers and dual sim capabilities (although the iPhone is eSim only).

Design Winner: It’s a tie. Both devices use premium materials and lean heavily into their design language.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Pixel 8 Pro: Display

The user interacts with the graphical user interface and application.
Credits: Google

The iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Pixel 8 Pro have two of the better displays on the market.

Apple uses a Super Retina XDR 6.7-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2,796 x 1,290. This always-on display has an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. And with up to 2,000 nits of peak brightness, even sunlight won’t defeat it.

Google stuck a 6.7-inch Super Actua display with a resolution of 2,992 x 1,344 in the Pixel 8 Pro. This LTPO display dynamically changes refresh rate from 1-120Hz for responsive interactions.

The display is always-on capable and reaches a higher peak brightness of 2,400 nits.

The Pixel 8 Pro can technically get brighter and has more pixels per inch, 489 vs 460, but you likely won’t notice too much of a difference in day-to-day use.

What you will notice is at the top of the display. The Pixel 8 Pro uses the standard hole-punch camera at the top of the display. On the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the notch is gone and Apple has incorporated Dynamic Island at the top of the display. 

Dynamic Island is a unique feature allows it to hide the front-facing camera and Face ID tech in plain sight. The feature can react to different apps to show information, such as the folder art for whatever song you are listening to.

Display Winner: Tie. Both devices have gorgeous, responsive OLED displays with dynamic refresh rates and high peak brightness levels.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Pixel 8 Pro: Performance

Apple iPhone 15 Pro max cameras
Image: Apple

The iPhone 15 Pro Max ships with Apple’s custom A17 Pro chipset. This new chipset features a six-core CPU (two performance and four efficiency cores), a six-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine.

The iPhone also comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage. 

Google also uses a custom SoC, the Tensor G3. It has nine cores and Arm’s beefy new Immortalis-G715s GPU. Google says it has tuned the Tensor G3 chipset to optimize AI.

The Pixel 8 Pro also comes with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of UFS 3.1 storage.

Apple and Google have tuned their custom chipsets with different priorities, but there is only one winner here.

If you are going by core count, you would think that the Tensor G3 is more potent, but Apple’s implementation is significantly stronger than Google’s.

The difference between these two chipsets is easiest to see when comparing benchmarks. In AnTuTu 9, the A17 Pro scores 1,545,034, while the Tensor G3 gets 1,089,187. That’s nearly a 50% increase between the two chips.

In real-world usage, the iPhone is snappy and chews through anything you could need it to do. Tasks like web browsing, gaming, and video editing perform exceptionally well.

The Pixel 8 Pro is not nearly as performant, but you likely won’t notice it when performing routine tasks. It will slow down when performing complex AI tasks, and the device does tend to get warm. Luckily, there are no issues when playing the latest games.

Performance Winner: The iPhone 15 Pro Max’s A17 chip smokes the competition, bringing the most performance in a mobile processor to date.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Pixel 8 Pro: Camera

Pixel 8 Pro Cameras
Image: Google

The triple-camera system in the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Pixel 8 Pro is superb. The most significant differences here are in software, with Pixel skewing towards cool tones and iPhone aiming for a warmer image.

The iPhone comes with a 48MP f/1.78 primary lens, a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, and a 12MP f/2.8 telephoto lens that has 5x optical zoom and up to 25x digital zoom. The front-facing camera is a 12MP f/1.9 TrueDepth camera. 

The Pixel 8 Pro has a 50MP f/1.68 primary camera, a 48MP f/1.95 ultrawide camera, and a 48MP f/2.8 telephoto lens that has 5X optical zoom and a digital zoom of up to 30x. The Pixel 8 Pro also has a 10.5MP f/2.2 front-facing camera.

Both devices can record 4K and 1080p video at up to 60 fps. They also have optical image stabilization and cinematic modes.

The Pixel 8 Pro incorporates a few AI tricks, such as Magic Eraser to remove unwanted visual elements from your photo and Audio Eraser to remove unwanted video audio. 

These devices are excellent and are going to trade blows depending on the scenario, but the Pixel 8 Pro is going to edge out the iPhone 15 Pro Max when it comes to still photos. The iPhone is going to perform better when video recording.

Camera Winner: Tie. Both phones have superb camera systems, with the Pixel slightly better at stills and the iPhone somewhat better for video use.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Pixel 8 Pro: Software

The user interacts with an iphone touchscreen
Images: KnowTechie

The iPhone 15 Pro Max runs on iOS 17, and the Pixel 8 Pro ships with Android 14. This isn’t going to be a who does it better piece, as both iOS and Android are well-established and have ardent fans.

Apple makes iOS, and Google makes Android. This means both devices will be well-optimized to use their respective software.

iOS and Android have an enormous app library so that you will find just about every major app on both devices.

The iPhone will come with iMessage and FaceTime and use iCloud for backups. The Pixel 8 Pro uses Google’s Messenger and Google Drive for backups.

When it comes to software support, both of these devices are top-notch.

Apple has routinely supported its iPhone devices for six to eight years. Google has increased its software support with the Pixel 8 series and now gives seven years of OS and security updates.

Software Winner: Tie. Both operating systems are robust and responsive, and it goes down to personal preference between iOS and Android.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Pixel 8 Pro: Battery life

A person takes a photo with a pixel 8
Image: Google

The iPhone 15 Pro Max ships with a 4,441 mAh battery that should easily last you a full day. You get up to 25 hours of streaming video playback and up to 95 hours of audio playback.

It is fast-charging capable and will give you up to a 50% boost in about 30 minutes using a 20W adapter. It is also capable of MagSafe wireless charging up to 15W and Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W. 

The Pixel 8 Pro comes with a 5,050 mAh battery, which will get you through a full day, but not much more.

It is also fast-charging capable using a 30W USB-C charger and will give you a 50% boost in about 30 minutes. It is Qi-certified, and supports reverse-wireless charging.

Battery Life Winner: Tie. Both devices here can handle a full day of normal usage, even with how powerful their chipsets are, and both charge quickly via USB-C or wireless charging.

Which is right for you?

How can you pick a winner when both devices are competent and a blast to use?

Your choice is likely to be determined by your preferred operating system. If you are open to switching or this is your first smartphone, then your decision becomes a lot tougher. 

The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers exceptional performance, good battery life, great cameras, and a beautiful display.

It also is well-integrated within the Apple ecosystem and efficiently works with the Apple Watch, AirPods, and MacBooks. It also has FaceTime and iMessage, which could be a determining factor for many people.

If camera capabilities are your top priority, the Pixel 8 Pro will be the winner. It also has decent performance, a fantastic display, and good battery life. The AI features are nice to have and promise long-term software support.

In the end, both devices are fantastic.

If we had to pick, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the ultimate winner in this comparison because the iPhone has historically been more reliable than the Pixel series. If something does happen, you can always bring it to your local Apple Store to get looked at.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro & 15 Pro Max
4.5

The Apple iPhone 15 Pro, with its advanced features, elevates the smartphone experience. It boasts a 48-megapixel main camera, a titanium frame for enhanced durability, and a new touch-sensitive volume control. With a larger battery and thinner bezels, it offers a seamless user experience.

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Steve is a tech enthusiast and an avid gamer. He loves writing about, tinkering with, researching, and reviewing the latest technology. When not doing something tech related, he enjoys spending time with his family, running, and hiking.

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