iPhone 15 vs Pixel 8: what are the key differences?

Apple iPhone 15 vs Google Pixel 8
(Image credit: Future)

Looking for a new smartphone? There are plenty of options out there right now, however, two new contenders are crying out for your attention. 

With the recent announcements of both Apple’s iPhone 15 and the Google Pixel 8 stepping into the ring, it’s time to take a look at how they shape up next to one another.

We have yet to get our hands on either the iPhone 15 or the Pixel 8 so these are early comparisons. As soon as we do, naturally, we will be sure to share our thoughts after some in-depth testing. For now, let’s go through the key specifications and announcements for both new phones. 

iPhone 15 vs Pixel 8: price

The 6.1-inch iPhone 15 is on sale starting at $799 / £799 for the version with 128GB of storage, moving up to $899 / £899 for the 256GB variant, and $1099 / £1099 for the 512GB model. 

The slightly larger 6.2-inch Pixel 8 has launched at £699 / $699 / AU$1199 for the 128GB version, while £759 $759 / AU$1299 will get you the 256GB version.

It’s hard to say which phone is better value for money until we have had a chance to do some hands-on research, of course. Until then the main takeaway is that the Pixel 8 will set you back slightly less while still providing plenty of features. 

iPhone 15 vs Pixel 8: design

Apple iPhone 15 Colours

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone is available in five colours: Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, or Black. The Pixel 8 offers just three shades to choose from: Hazel, Obsidian or Rose.

The two are similar in display size; the iPhone’s display comes in at 6.1 inches, while the Pixel 8 is a tiny bit bigger at 6.2.

Overall measurements for the iPhone (hwd) are 147.6 x 71.6 x 7.80 mm, and it weighs 171 grams. The Pixel 8 is slightly taller and thicker, measuring 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9 mm, and a little heavier at 187g.

iPhone 15 vs Pixel 8: display

Apple’s new iPhone 15 features a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display. It has a 2556 x 1179 pixel resolution at 460 PPI and also features Apple’s Dynamic Island at the top of the display, which provides useful notifications and information. The average brightness of the iPhone 15 is rated at 1000 nits, while the peak brightness is quoted as being 2000 nits

Display brightness affects HDR performance as the brighter the display will allow for brighter highlights and contrast to darker scenes. Higher brightness is extra-useful with phones in that it improves intelligibility in bright light, most obviously outdoor sunlight. This is something Apple has improved this year – in low light, it probably won't be any brighter than the old model, but take it outside and the sensors will kick in and the brightness will increase to compensate.

The Google Pixel 8 has a 6.2-inch Actua OLED display with a 2400 x 1080 resolution at 428 PPI. An average brightness rating is not stated for the Pixel 8, however, it is rated at up to 1400 nits (HDR) and 2000 nits peak brightness. 

It's also worth noting that the iPhone supports Dolby Vision, whereas the Pixel supports HDR10+.

iPhone 15 vs Pixel 8: features 

The iPhone 15 is made from aluminium with a colour-infused glass back. It features Apple’s A16 Bionic chip, with a 6-core CPU and a 5-core GPU. The chip also boasts a 16-core Neural Engine.

The Pixel 8 is also cased within aluminium housing and features a Google Tensor G3 processor alongside a Tital M2 security coprocessor. 

The processor featured in the Pixel 8 is only the third generation Tensor Chip whereas Apple has produced many more iterations of their chip, so it is likely that the iPhone will be more powerful. We tested out both the Pixel 7 and the iPhone 14 and we thought the iPhone was the smoother performer, although that could also be down to iOS.

On the wireless connectivity front, the iPhone 15 is compatible with Wi-Fi 6 while the Pixel 8 supports Wi-Fi 7. Both phones are compatible with Bluetooth 5.3.

iPhone 15 vs Pixel 8: camera

Google Pixel 8

(Image credit: Future)

Pixel and iPhone are the two highest-regarded phones when it comes to camera performance. 

Google looks like it has more editing features with the magic eraser and audio magic eraser for video now, but the iPhone tends to take more natural and detailed shots. 

The iPhone 15 has a two-camera setup consisting of a 48MP main camera with an F1.6 aperture size and 26mm focal length, alongside a 12MP ultrawide lens with an F2.4 aperture size and a 13mm focal length. There’s a 12MP front-facing selfie cam as well. 

The iPhone 15 offers 0.5x, 1x, and 2x optical zooms and can also record in up to 4K 60FPS or 1080p 240FPS.

The Google Pixel 8 also features two rear cameras. There’s a 50MP Octa PD wide lens with an F1.68 aperture alongside a 12MP ultrawide lens with autofocus and an F2.2 aperture. The front camera is a 10.5MP dual PD selfie camera with an F.2.2 aperture. 

iPhone 15 vs Pixel 8: battery

Apple’s quote for the iPhone 15’s battery life is up to 20 hours of video playback, 16 hours if that’s streamed content. They also state 80 hours of audio playback. In terms of charging, you should be able to achieve a 50 per cent charge in just 30 minutes with a 20W or higher adapter (available separately).

With the Pixel there are fewer benchmarks provided. Google claims users will get beyond 24-hour battery life during regular use, with up to 72 hours with Extreme Battery Saver mode. As with the iPhone, the Pixel 8 can achieve a 50 per cent charge in 30 minutes using the Google 30W USB-C charger, also sold separately. 

iPhone 15 vs Pixel 8: sound

The iPhone 15 is capable of Apple Spatial Audio playback as well as Dolby Atmos support. 

We have been fairly impressed with the sound from previous Apple iPhones, so we are not expecting anything too dissimilar from the latest version. 

In comparison, Google’s Pixel 8 features spatial audio capabilities. On the hardware side of things, the phone features stereo speakers and three microphones. 

We also found the sound of the Pixel 7 and 7a models to be satisfactory for watching movies, though lacking somewhat when it came to music playback. It’s worth noting that the 7a was an improvement, so hopefully, the Pixel 8 will continue this trend. 

iPhone 15 vs Pixel 8: initial thoughts

Right now, both phones look very capable. However, with both having very different specifications and neither having passed through our test rooms yet, we can't sensibly state how they'll compare in the real world. Further testing will, of course, help us decide a clear winner.

We will get our hands on both phones as soon as possible, put them through their paces and report back with our comprehensive findings. 


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Staff Writer

Ainsley Walker is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied music journalism at university before working in a variety of roles including as a freelance journalist and teacher. Growing up in a family of hi-fi enthusiasts, this naturally influenced his interest in the topic. Outside of work, Ainsley can be found producing music, tinkering with retro tech, or cheering on Luton Town.