Both of them 5.5 inches in diagonal, the displays on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL couldn't be any more different.
The iPhone 7 Plus sports a FullHD IPS LCD panel, perhaps for the last generation before a rumored transition to AMOLED. That means a 401ppi pixel density and a standard arrangement of equal number of red, green and blue subpixels per pixel.
The Pixel XL, on the other hand, like many a Nexus before it, relies on an AMOLED display. The Android realm requires big-name flagships to sport QHD resolution and the Pixel XL complies, making for a 534ppi pixel density, though with the caveat that it uses a diamond pixel arrangement, with half as many (though larger) red and blue subpixels as green ones.
In terms of brightness, the iPhone 7 Plus can go much higher than the XL in manual mode, and even more so in Auto. There's no beating the Pixel XL's infinite contrast, but the iPhone does a really great job for an LCD panel. Apple's phablet can also be as dim as 2.4nits, so it should be easier on your eyes in the dark, compared to the Pixel's 6.7nits.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
As for sunlight legibility, you'd expect the Pixel to excel and it does indeed. With a sunlight contrast ratio of 4.164 it's among the best in our all-time chart, right up there with the dead Galaxy Note7. The iPhone 7 Plus isn't quite up to the same standard, though it is one of the best LCDs in this respect. That said, the smaller iPhone 7 fares markedly better under direct light.
Color reproduction is where the two devices differ immensely. The latest-gen iPhone is the single most accurate smartphone screen we've tested with an average DeltaE of 1.3 and a maximum DeltaE of 2.7. Compare that to the Pixel XL's average 5.4 and red way off with a DeltaE of 13. That's in the default mode, though - from developer options you can enable an sRGB mode where average DeltaE drops to 2.6, still not as good as the iPhone. Whether color accuracy is vital on a mobile display, is a different matter, it's just worth knowing that the iPhone 7 Plus is the leader in this respect.
Apple calls the display on the iPhone 7 Plus a Wide color gamut display, which is the company's way of saying it supports the DCI-P3 color space, 25% wider than the commonly adopted sRGB color space. That way the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus join the iPad Pro 9.7" and recent iMacs in supporting the DCI-P3 color space aiming for a standardized color reproduction across the entire product portfolio.
The Pixel XL doesn't bother with accuracy, but is big on VR. Launched alongside the smartphones, the Daydream View headset is the fanciest of them all - it's designed with comfort and fashion in mind, comes in a variety of colors, and even has wireless controller to go with. Not to mention it will work with multiple phones and not just the Pixels. As for Apple - it's at least a year until we see any efforts in this area, if at all.
Display winner: Pixel XL. AMOLED punch or sRGB accuracy, it's your call. Add to that the higher resolution and VR support and this one is easily in the Pixel's favor. The iPhone's unparalleled color accuracy just isn't enough.
The iPhone 7 Plus packs in a 2,900mAh battery, the largest on an iPhone to date. Meanwhile, the Pixel XL retains the 3,450mAh capacity of the Nexus 6P, though a year later the SoC should be more efficient, and the display is now a little smaller.
The iPhone 7 Plus scored a combined endurance rating of 75 hours in our proprietary test sequence, while the Pixel XL's result is 3 hours more. The numbers in the individual tests show a few principal differences though, and depending on your usage pattern, one phone may last you substantially longer than the other.
Take voice calls for example. The Pixel XL took more than 33 hours to deplete its battery in our 3G call test - that's some 85% longer than the iPhone 7 Plus.
With the display on, the two phones take one victory each in our two tests. The iPhone 7 Plus outlasts the Pixel XL by more than 4 hours in the Wi-Fi browsing discipline, while also beating the 6s Plus by an hour and a half. The Pixel XL's 9:20h endurance isn't disappointing, strictly speaking, but the iPhone 7 Plus is simply outstanding.
Not so in video playback, where the Pixel XL will be left playing for more than 3 hours after the iPhone 7 Plus has called it quits. It's not a calss-leading result, the 11 hours, but it's more than enough, while the iPhone is somewhat underperforming in this respect.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.
Battery life winner: Tie. Depends on your usage patterns, obviously, but in summary the iPhone lasts longer in web browsing, while the Pixel excels at video playback and voice calls.