Phones

iPhone 11 Pro vs Pixel 4: Battle Of The Next-Gen Cameras

It’s likely to be the final round of the annual camera wars once the Pixel 4 debuts next month. Google has a strong track record for putting the best cameras on a mobile device, and they just might take the lead once again when their latest flagship is finally released. With an impressive triple-camera array aimed at professional photographers, the iPhone 11 Pro looks to be the smartphone to beat this year. It’s an exciting time indeed for mobile photography warriors.

Comparing these two phones might be premature, but thanks to the Pixel 4 being the most leaked smartphone ever, there’s already plenty of information for a side-by-side review. We’ll update this with verified specs once Google themselves announces them this coming October.

iPhone 11 Pro vs Pixel 4 Comparison Chart

ModeliPhone 11 Pro 64GBPixel 4
Simple Mobile - Apple iPhone 11 Pro (64GB) - Silver  
PriceCheck Price  
Rating
 

 
Display5.8″ OLED Super Retina XDR5.7″
Resolution2436 x 1125 pixels2280 x 1080 pixels (TBC)
Pixel Density458 ppi540 ppi (TBC)
Maximum Refresh Rate60 Hz90 Hz
Height5.67″TBA
Width2.81″TBA
Thickness0.32″TBA
Weight188 gTBA
System ChipApple A13 BionicSnapdragon 855
ProcessorNot disclosedTBA
RAMNot disclosed6 GB
Internal Storage64GB, 256GB, 512GB64GB, 128GB
Expandable MemoryNoneTBA
Front Camera12MP with Face ID8.1MP
Rear CameraWide 12MP, Ultrawide 12MP, Telephoto 12MPWide 12.2MP, Telephoto 16MP
Fingerprint SensorNoneYes
ColorsSilver, Space Gray, Gold, Midnight GreenJust Black, Clearly White, Oh So Orange
Water ResistanceIP68TBA
Battery Capacity3,046 mAh2,800 mAh
Audio PlaybackUp to 65 hoursTBA
Video PlaybackUp to 18 hoursTBA
StreamingUp to 11 hoursTBA
Fast ChargingYesTBA
Wireless ChargingYes (with separate purchase)TBA
PortsLightningUSB-C
ReleaseSeptember 2019October 2019

Design

Both phones look fantastic, with a minimalist modern vibe.

iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Pixel 4 XL Design
There are quite a few similarities in the designs of these phones. (Left: iPhone 11 Pro Max / Right: Pixel 4 XL)

One look should tell you that these are among the best looking smartphones this year, though in slightly different ways. With color choices from Space Gray to Midnight Green, the iPhone 11 Pro sets an industrial tone featuring curves cut with surgical precision. On the other hand, Google opted for cheeky colors — Just Black, Clearly White, and Oh So Orange — giving the Pixel 4 a much younger, perkier feel. Still, both handsets sport matte finishes, proofing the back from fingerprint marks while also making them more secure to grasp. Another similarity between the two are the rectangular bezels surrounding each phone’s rear cameras. Both stick out ever so slightly but it should hardly be noticeable.

Perhaps the biggest letdown about the iPhone 11 Pro is that, aside from the intimidating three-camera array at the back, it looks very similar to last year’s iPhone XS, while being thicker and heavier. Increasing its dimensions a tad is a fine price to pay for more battery life and faster performance, but there are practically no other exciting changes in how the iPhone 11 Pro looks viewed upfront. When you’re spending this much on a smartphone, you’ll want to invest in a case no matter how tough Apple says its glass is, so it would’ve been nice to have a clear design feature that makes the iPhone 11 Pro stand out from previous generations.

In comparison, the improved aesthetics of the Pixel 4 from the Pixel 3 is a much bigger leap. Gone are the fingerprint divot and two-tone glossy back, resulting in a sleeker, fresher look. The top and bottom bezels look even thinner than before. Where the iPhone 11 Pro has glossy metallic sides around it, the Pixel 4 opted for a matte black band, further improving grip. Videos leaking purported models of the Pixel 4 mention how compact and lightweight it is and confirm how comfortably the matte finish feels in your hands.

Display

The iPhone 11 Pro will arguably have a better-looking display.

iPhone 11 Pro Display
It’s tough to imagine another display beating the iPhone 11 Pro’s Super Retina XDR.

Apple extols how the Super Retina XDR display on the iPhone 11 Pro is “the brightest, sharpest iPhone display ever” and it’s an undisputed claim. Even though tests confirm this with an average reading of 750 nits and above, seeing it in action by viewing it under direct sunlight is something else. Other flagship phones, which can’t even break 700 nits, will look positively dim in comparison, even in max brightness settings.

Even though the iPhone 11 Pro has the smallest screen among this generation of iPhones, its 5.8″ display still packs more pixels than the iPhone 11 while retaining the 458 ppi density found in the iPhone 11 Pro Max. There are still plenty of people who prefer compact phones — likely the biggest reason Apple continues to offer two sizes for its very top-end models — and they’re going to love how amazing the Super Retina XDR is over the Liquid Retina LCD of the iPhone 11. It’s one of the two best reasons to get a Pro version (more on the second reason later) and it makes it really tough for any other flagship phone to claim the display crown.

We’ve yet to receive the exact specifications of the Pixel 4 other than the 5.7″ display size. Rumors and leaked photos suggest that its resolution will 2280 x 1080 pixels, which is just a slight bump over the Pixel 3’s 2160 x 1080. Pixel density might see more of an increase though, considering how the Pixel 4 XL is purported to have a 540 ppi screen. Perhaps an even bigger deal is the possibility of a 90 Hz refresh rate, which is likely considering the success of several Android flagships sporting silky smooth animations courtesy of their 90-120 Hz displays. These specs are exciting to keep tabs on and will prove essential in deciding this segment.

Performance

The iPhone 11 Pro looks to be the smartphone to beat this year in terms of speed.

iPhone 11 Pro Performance
A beefier A13 Bionic chip powers the amazing camera array and display of the iPhone 11 Pro.

Already, numerous benchmarking sites have confirmed that the iPhone 11 Pro reigns in every test, cementing Apple’s claim that the Apple A13 Bionic chip is the fastest ever. It’s around 20% faster than the previous A12 chip and consumes almost 40% less power, with a Neural Engine performing machine learning processes up to 20% faster as well. Other current top-end offerings from Android posted benchmark scores that are significantly behind the iPhone 11 Pro, and it’s unlikely for the Pixel 4 to be the exception.

Still, there’s a chance that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip powering the Pixel 4 breaks all expectations. One reason to cling to hope is the rumored increase to 6 GB of RAM, a 50% jump from the Pixel 3’s 4 GB. Nevertheless, expect that the Pixel 4 will place among the fastest smartphones this year, especially with a leaner, pure Android experience free from the usual bloatware that other manufacturers pump into their reskins.

Cameras

The Pixel 4 just might have better cameras than the iPhone 11 Pro.

Pixel 4 Cameras
Google has a track record for making us wow with the cameras of the Pixel.

If there’s any phone that can beat the professional grade cameras of the iPhone 11 Pro, it’s the Pixel 4. Previous iterations of the Google Pixel have outperformed their Android and iPhone contemporaries with its combination of topnotch sensors, computational photography, and AI. There aren’t any verified photos taken with the Pixel 4 yet, but there’s plenty to be excited about what we do know right now.

First off, a new telephoto lens with a 16 megapixel sensor joins the 12.2 megapixel wide angle at the back. This can allow you to take detail-rich photos with up to 8x zoom. New modes for astrophotography and motion photography are also rumored to be included. Given the excellent quality of the Pixel 3’s night sky photos, the Pixel 4 just might set a new standard for night mode shots, as it’s said that it will be able to track stars and brighten them, while reducing the typical graininess resulting from low-light conditions.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 Pro has what are arguably the best cameras on a smartphone today. It’s able to capture fantastic looking photos with massive improvements in its camera software and capabilities. All three 12-megapixel sensors are able to work together to merge separate raw images into the best version possible through the power of the A13 Bionic chip. It also utilizes what it calls Smart HDR technology which uses algorithms and machine learning to determine your image’s highlights and shadows and enhancing their level of detail depending on whether they’re in the foreground or background. The result: richer colors, fuller textures, and sharper contrasts.

It should be noted that the iPhone 11 Pro finally takes night time and low light photos with quality and vividness comparable to the Pixel 3. The difference between shots taken when Night mode is on or off is huge, and is a big point in Apple’s favor for those looking to capture dramatic evening moments or moody compositions. Of course, this means that the Pixel 4 may yet take another leap forward to quickly reclaim this category.

Storage, Battery, and Other Features

The iPhone 11 Pro has the lead on storage and battery capacities over the Pixel 4.

iPhone 11 Pro Battery
You can get as much as 512 GB of storage with the iPhone 11 Pro.

Devoted iPhone fans should finally rejoice that Apple has heard your plea for longer battery life. With a bigger 3,046 mAh battery, the iPhone 11 Pro can last up to 4 hours longer than last year’s iPhone Xs. This is the biggest increase that the iPhone has ever experienced, and Apple isn’t shy about letting you know. It should finally have enough juice to let you use it for a full day without a trip to the charging dock. The longer battery life isn’t just the result of a physically bigger component, too. Further streamlining the display, CPU and GPU’s power efficiency allowed Apple to squeeze more out of every bar.

It remains to be seen how the Pixel 4’s speculated 2,800 mAh battery fares given that a 90 Hz display must represent a significant bite out of its power rationing. However, considering that other 90-120 Hz Android flagships are able to post respectable results in battery tests, we should be able to expect a full day’s use from a fully-charged Pixel 4.

Storage-wise, it’s a bit disappointing that both phones’ starting internal memory is just 64GB. This is even more true for the iPhone 11 Pro, with its high initial price point. Still, you can splurge to get up to 512GB of storage, which should be plenty for professionals and creators who are purposely getting a Pro model to shoot 4K videos and ultrawide angle scenery. Normally, Android phones trump iPhones in this aspect since they still include a slot for expandable memory, but it seems the Pixel 4 won’t have that feature so users will have to make do with up to 128 GB.

Finally, there are a few exciting new features that the Pixel 4 is rumored/announced to have, the topmost of which is motion-sensing technology through a built-in radar. Google calls it Soli, and it’ll primarily work via a sensor located at the top bezel in the front, next to the selfie camera. You’ll be able to control the Pixel 4 with hands-free gestures, such as swiping to skip songs or silence alarms and incoming phone calls, and turning the lock screen on just by reaching for the device. It’ll also work together with the new face unlocking security feature that’s being introduced in the Pixel 4: once the phone recognizes your face it will automatically unlock to your home screen, saving you an upward swipe that the iPhone requires. We’ll know more about this innovation once Google fully launches the Pixel 4 on October 15, 2019.

Verdict

The iPhone 11 Pro is a true top-end phone but the Pixel 4 might offer better value.

For the first time, Apple felt that their current iPhone offering is powerful enough to add “Pro” to its name. And it’s completely justified. A three-prong attack consisting of a gorgeous, vibrant display, dazzling camera tools, and the A13 chip providing both brains and brawn propel the iPhone 11 Pro to the top of this year’s list of best smartphones. With speed that just extended its lead over competitors, as well as much improved battery life, it’s difficult to recommend another device if you’re looking for the best camera on a smartphone this year.

Well, that just might change once October rolls around, as the Pixel 4 has the potential to upstage the iPhone and other top Android models with an even more impressive mobile photography device. Holding off on upgrading your current handheld until the Pixel 4 is launched will be a prudent and wise move, since even though the price points for Google’s flagship are still unknown, it’s very likely to be more affordable than the iPhone 11 Pro. New photography modes as well as never-before-seen tech could also push the Pixel 4 ahead, and we’re excited to see its full capabilities. Make sure to stay updated with our ongoing comparison of these two premium smartphones by bookmarking this page!

Last update on 2019-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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