Google Pixel 7 Pro Hands-On with the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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We recently had the chance to play with Google’s new Pixel 7 smartphone and now its larger Pixel 7 Pro as well. Just how does the Pixel 7 Pro compare to the latest iPhone 14 Pro Max?

Here’s a quick and incredibly basic rundown of using the Pixel 7 Pro and also the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Not an exhaustive review by any means (there’s already a tonne on the web), but some quick thoughts on these devices.

The Pixel 7 Pro is the premium version of Google’s latest smartphone lineup, offering a larger 6.7-inch QHD+ LTPO OLED display with 512 ppi and a 120Hz refresh rate. The bright screen is gorgeous with vibrant colours and crisp text. Compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, I actually like the display of the Pixel 7 Pro a better, but there’s no True Tone support. Both displays are very bright but the iPhone is brighter in sunlight on paper.

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When it comes to holding each phone in the hand, the Pixel 7 Pro, like the smaller Pixel 7 is quite slippery. The curved edges make it more slippery than the iPhone 14 Pro Max and its tried, tested and true design (dare I say: boring?) for the past three years. But when it comes to colours, Deep Purple on the iPhone 14 Pro Max looks gorgeous versus the ‘Snow’ colour of the Pixel 7 Pro.

Design-wise, the Pixel 7 Pro doesn’t look offensive by any means, but the steel bar on the back that houses three cameras is smoothly integrated as one wide bump. This means putting the phone down on the table doesn’t make it lopsided like the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s now larger camera bump.

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Chrome on the Pixel 7 Pro showing, while Safari on the iPhone 14 Pro Max doing the same (photo taken by the Pixel 7):

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The Pixel 7 Pro and its Tensor G2 chip results in a quick phone to use that’s fast and fluid. iPhone 14 Pro Max with its A16 Bionic also feels very fast (but not noticeable versus the iPhone 13 Pro Max).

The Pixel 7 Pro has Fingerprint Unlock on the display to unlock your phone, while debuting Face Unlock that’s similar to Face ID. Apple needs a fingerprint unlock method for the iPhone badly, because it’s not always convenient to point your face at your phone.

This year’s iPhone 14 Pro Max saw one of its biggest upgrades coming through software, with the Dynamic Island. It’s pretty neat seeing the Dynamic Island show various notifications and with Live Activities debuting with iOS 16.1, it’s awesome for live sports scores.

Both the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have always-on displays. For iPhone users, this is new and makes it really easy to find your iPhone in the dark.

Here’s the Pixel 7 Pro next to its little brother, the Pixel 7. Both have the Camera Bar, but the Pixel 7 Pro gets polished stainless steel and an extra camera:

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You also get a larger 6.7-inch display on the Pixel 7 Pro versus a 6.3-inch screen on the Pixel 7:

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The Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max each include three cameras on the back, while software helps make for improved photos. It’s hard to really distinguish if one camera is better than the other, when asking non-pixel-peepers which photos they like best.

Pixel 7 Pro at sunset in low light:

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iPhone 14 Pro Max at sunset in low light:

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There’s one area where the Pixel 7 Pro has the iPhone 14 Pro Max beat, and that’s the integration of Google Assistant, which blows Siri out of the water. “Hey Google, read me the news” and you will start hearing audio news clips. Ask Siri the same phrase, and it will only show some news headlines. “Read me Canadian news” works with Google Assistant but Siri again just shows headlines.

Ask another variation such as “tell me the latest news” doesn’t work. Only “I want to listen to the latest news” worked. That’s Siri for you 11 years later, folks.

Google Assistant on Pixel 7 Pro with Tensor G2 can understand everything you say. Siri can’t and will at times play a random song from Apple Music because it’s still not great. It’s incredibly infuriating and Apple needs to make major improvements. Siri’s oddball decisions make me swear under my breath, it’s that frustrating.

Siri rant aside, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is still our preferred phone of choice, because we’re so tied down into the Apple ecosystem. But Google also offers lots of apps for heavy users of its apps on iPhone. The iPhone 14 Pro Max construction still feels more like a premium device (it comes with a premium price tag and the rights to your soul).

That being said, the Pixel 7 Pro still looks good, has some nice cameras, plus an excellent display and will be the first to get Android updates. Android 13 is fairly simple to navigate compared to iOS 16. We’d recommend this phone to someone looking for their first Android experience.

Pricing for the Pixel 7 Pro starts at $1,179 for 128GB storage, while an iPhone 14 Pro Max with 128GB is $1,549, which is 31% more. Sadly, there are no 512GB or 1TB storage options in Canada for the Pixel 7 Pro (the U.S. gets 512 GB options).

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