We hinted at it from the very beginning - we are not really here to pick a definitive winner - we wouldn't be able even if we wanted to. Those switching from one camp to the other are always going to amount to a very small number to be able to make a dent in either one's sales, at least the way we see it. That said, it's always curious to examine the state of the art of both platforms - a comparison made all the more interesting this year with Google's extended influence over the hardware side of things.
HTC-made, HTC-influenced, or HTC-designed - the Pixel XL is not stunning to look at, while the iPhone is more or less the same for a third year in a row, so neither is likely to win a beauty pageant. For one reason or another we're not seeing Google being able to convince the fashion-obsessed to pick up a Pixel over an iPhone, at least not on the first try.
As for the measurable stuff, the Pixel's display is sharper, but not as bright, better in direct sunlight, yet not as color-accurate - it's all about which one ticks the boxes that matter to you. Same in battery life - voice call and video playback endurance go in Google's favor, the iPhone 7 Plus outlasts the Pixel XL in web browsing.
On to the camera department, and you couldn't have missed it - we're raving about the Pixel's image quality. In all circumstances you can count on the Pixel to produce great output - main or selfie cam, bright daylight, or low light, stills or video - it's superb. Sure, the iPhone has a great camera (two of them actually), but with its muted colors, uninspiring low light performance, and odd HDR processing it just fails to stand up to the universally great Pixel.
We had a few chats with the assistants too - the Google one (for lack of actual name) and Siri. While they both are very good at voice recognition, neither is ready for prime time just yet. Simple requests they can handle with ease, but try to enter into a conversation, and you might regret not typing your query in the first place. Oh, well.
So in the end, other than the Pixel XL's exceptional camera, it's hard to name an area where one contender has a great advantage over the other - if picking between these two is really a dilemma to anyone in the first place. If you are among the select few with an open mind and not too deeply invested into either platform you can't go wrong with either - just pick the one that has advantages better aligning to your needs.