iPhone 15 vs. Pixel 7 face-off: Which flagship phone could win?

Image of iPhone 14 next to Pixel 7.
(Image credit: Future)

Update: Check out our Apple Event live blog for the latest from Cupertino on the iPhone 15 and more.

We’re not too far off from getting all the juicy tidbits about the upcoming iPhone 15 series, which we're expecting to see during Apple's Wonderlust event on September 12. That’s probably why it makes sense to dial in on an iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 7 face-off because they closely could match each other in terms of their size, cameras, performance, and price.

Sure, there are already leaks about the forthcoming Pixel 8, but it’s the Pixel 7 that will be directly competing against the iPhone 15 when Apple’s new smartphone is released.

Pricing is especially intriguing between these two contenders, primarily because the Pixel 7 is already undercutting the competition by fetching for as low as $449. That’s crazy affordable for a phone with flagship caliber specs. In comparison, the iPhone 15 is reportedly going to sell for $799 — the same price point as the current iPhone 14. That’s a substantial difference on paper, but ultimately it’s going to come down to the iPhone 15’s performance and features to snag a win in this face-off.

What’s nice about the iPhone 15 is that the leaks hint to some features that were reserved for the Pro models last year — like the Dynamic Island. Other expected iPhone 15 changes include a refreshed design with curved edges, USB-C connectivity, and upgraded cameras. These changes may not be as bold as the ones rumored for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, but should be enough to satisfy people who want a high-end smartphone without spending a fortune.

In this iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 7 comparison, we’ll detail everything we know about them to ultimately see which could come out on top.

iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 7: Rumored and Real specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPhone 15 rumored specsPixel 7
Display6.1-inch OLED6.3-inch OLED
Refresh rate 60Hz90Hz
Rear cameras48MP main + 12MP ultrawide50MP main + 12MP ultrawide
ChipsetA16 BionicTensor G2
Battery3,877 mAh4,355 mAh
Charging20W (wired), 15W (wireless)30W (wired), 20W (wireless)
Water/dust resistanceIP68IP68

iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 7: Price and availability

iPhone 15 rumored green color

(Image credit: Weibo)

As we’ve stressed already, pricing plays a critical role in this phone face-off. The Pixel 7 typically retails for $599, but Google’s given it a generous discount to make it $449 now. It’s no surprise why it takes the runner up spot in our best cheap phones list — with only the Samsung Galaxy A54 beating it out for the top position.

Knowing that the Pixel 8 is on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see how much more of a discount the Pixel 7 could get. We presume Google would love to sell out of its current stockpile of Pixel 7 phones, so there could be an incentive to give it an aggressive discount as we move closer to the Pixel 8’s announcement this fall.

Although it’s not official yet, we shouldn’t see a change to the iPhone 15’s price this year. Similar to its predecessor, it will more than likely cost $799. While it’s not iPhone SE cheap, the iPhone 15 sits in that ‘just right’ area where you wouldn’t be spending a fortune on a smartphone — nor would you be getting a crappy one either.

All things point towards an iPhone 15 announcement during the September Apple Event. Given Apple's usual patterns, we can expect the phones to release on September 22.

iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 7: Design and display

iPhone 15 concept by 4RMD

(Image credit: 4RMD/YouTube)

Depending on your preference, either design could appeal to your taste. Between them, however, the iPhone 15 should be the easier one to operate one-handed — more so if the leaks of it reverting back to a design with curved edges. Due to its expected smaller footprint, you won’t be forced to stretch out your fingers as much when trying to reach all four corners of its display.

As for the Pixel 7, it’s still fairly comfortable, but the taller size does make it challenging to hold. We still love the contrast of its glass frame and metal trim, but there’s no denying that it’s a fingerprint magnet. Although, the way Google overlaps the brushed metal frame into the camera array on the back gives it this subtle industrial look that we like.

The Pixel 7 offers an IP68 rating, which means it can be submerged under water for a period of time. We anticipate that the iPhone 15 will also offer the same rating, seeing that the current iPhone 14 has it.

In an interesting twist, the iPhone 15 should share a similar USB-C port — swapping out Apple’s longtime Lightning port. This is without a doubt a significant change iPhone owners will need to be mindful about, given how they’ll probably need to acquire brand new accessories to charge it.

When it comes to their displays, the Google Pixel 7 features a 6.3-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2400) OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. In our testing, its 926 nit brightness made it visible outdoors under sunny conditions — besting the iPhone 14’s peak output of 757 nits. 

Apple’s going to need to respond with something more serious if the iPhone 15 stands at matching the Pixel 7’s display. It’s slated to feature a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, which is essentially the same as the one found on the iPhone 14. That would also mean a resolution of 2532 x 1170 pixels. While we’re hoping for a brighter panel, it seems as though it’ll be stuck at the same slow 60Hz refresh rate.

That means animations and scrolling won’t look as smooth compared to the Pixel 7. But despite that, we’re looking forward to seeing the Dynamic Island making an appearance. It was reserved for Apple’s iPhone Pro series, but leaks have shown that the iPhone 15 will be getting this valued feature. Not only does it handle notifications better, but it would also open up mini players that we’ve found to be of tremendous value.

iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 7: Cameras

Google Pixel 7 vs iPhone 14 cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple is rumored to bring a “three-stacked” sensor to the iPhone 15, which could boost its low light performance. Analysts have said that it should be getting a Pro-like camera, breaking down to a 48-megapixel main camera paired with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide snapper.

This would be a huge upgrade for what’s effectively the cheapest model in the bunch, since its predecessor is currently packing a 12-megapixel main camera. Naturally, it’ll be interesting to see what new AI-enhancements will be applied to photos to make them better on the iPhone 15, but we’re confident it’ll be a strong performer nonetheless.

One of the key reasons to buy a Pixel 7 is its ability to capture outstanding photos. The 50-megapixel main camera and 12-megapixel ultra wide combos were outstanding with their performances. We saw in our Pixel 7 review how it produced realistic color tones that were true to life, while its Night Mode propelled low light shots to come out pretty bright.

When it comes to video, the Pixel 7 tops out at 4K 60 FPS, which is the standard amongst flagships today. The iPhone 15 should at the very least offer the same video capture, given that’s exactly what the iPhone 14 shoots at now.

In our Pixel 7 vs. iPhone 14 camera shootout, the results turned out to be much closer — with the iPhone 14 coming out on top by a smidgen. Apple could very well widen the gap if the purported camera upgrades do end up becoming reality.

iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 7: Performance

This could be the one area where we could see a one-sided affair because Apple’s rumored to bring the A16 Bionic to the iPhone 15 We’ve already seen how the A16 Bionic powered iPhone 14 Pro Max decimated the Tensor G2 power Pixel 7 Pro in various synthetic benchmark tests, so it’s almost guaranteed that the iPhone 15 will post similar results.

For example, the iPhone 14 Pro achieved scores of 1,882 and 5,333 respectively on GeekBench’s single-core and multi-core tests — whereas the Pixel 7 got scores of 1,054 and 3,021. The A16 Bionic chip in the iPhone 14 Pro also yielded better graphics processing performances, so we can only imagine that the iPhone 15 will post similar results.

Even though benchmark tests are never the sole indicators of a phone’s overall performance, it does prove that Apple’s silicon delivers top-notch performance — so the advantage would probably go to the iPhone 15.

iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 7: Battery life and charging

Pixel 7 hands-on

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The power efficiency of Apple’s A16 Bionic chip may also spur the iPhone 15 to produce longer battery life as well. That’s because the A15 Bionic powered iPhone 14 pulled in a time of 9 hours and 28 minutes in Tom’s Guide’s battery test. However, you have to bear in mind the 60Hz refresh rate of its display.

We suspect that the iPhone 15 will have a longer lasting battery life due to the power efficiency of the A16 Bionic — paired with perhaps the same 60Hz display refresh rate. Regardless of whatever ends up in the iPhone 14, we can’t overlook how the Pixel 6 lagged behind with a time of 7 hours and 13 minutes in our testing.

Despite the Pixel 7’s disadvantage here, it should be the faster device to charge if the iPhone 15’s new USB-C port doesn’t boost its wired charging rate. The iPhone 14 currently has a 20W charging speed, versus the Pixel 7’s speedier 30W one. 

iPhone 15 vs. Google Pixel 7: Outlook

Looking ahead, there’s a good chance that the iPhone 15 could come out on top with this head-to-head comparison. We’ve seen how the iPhone 14 stacked up against the Pixel 7, so Apple’s new iPhone should widen the gap even more when it officially comes out.

Even though the outlook doesn’t paint a favorable picture for the Pixel 7, it’s hard to dismiss how it’s probably going to be substantially cheaper. Already, the $350 difference between the iPhone 14 and Pixel 7 is huge, but imagine if that increases with the release of the iPhone 15. While the Pixel 7 may not seem as the stronger candidate in the overall category, we know that some people would still be inclined to choose it for the savings.

John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.