Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Which flagship should you buy?

Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Design

The Porcelain Google Pixel 8 Pro on the basement stairs

Both Google and Apple now have clearly established design languages, and their latest devices don't deviate from the norm. The Pixel 8 Pro builds on the aesthetic introduced in the Pixel 6 series, offering a wide camera bar at the back that runs the width of the phone. The metallic bar does a great job distinguishing the design of the phone, and it blends seamlessly into the mid-frame.

The Pixel 8 Pro gets a matte coating that makes it easy to hold and use the phone, and a big change this year is the switch to a a flat display. This makes a noticeable difference when using the phone, and I like that Google is willing to try something new. Like previous years, the Pixel 8 Pro is available in interesting color options, and the blue variant in particular stands out. Overall, I like the subtle changes to the design of the Pixel 8 Pro, and it's one of the best-looking phones available today. That said, you will need to invest in a good Pixel 8 Pro case

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island on red background

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

On that note, there's virtually no difference in the design of the iPhone 15 Pro to its predecessor. It uses the same camera island with rings around the individual modules, you get the same Dynamic Island cutout at the front that does a great job showing contextual information, and the sides are flat — just like previous iterations.

That said, the sides have beveled edges that makes it a little easier to hold the phone, and the size is a smidgen shorter than last year, leading to excellent in-hand feel. Oh, and there's a new Action Button that takes over from the dedicated mute toggle, and it can be customized to launch a slate of actions, including toggling the flashlight, launching the camera, triggering a Focus mode, and so on.

While the design hasn't changed much, the iPhone 15 Pro has a titanium chassis that gives it an entirely different feel to the steel-backed designs of years past. It has a dull luster that looks great, and while titanium isn't as good a conductor of heat, you shouldn't see any overheating issues on the device.

Both phones have IP68 dust and water resistance as standard. On the whole, I prefer the design of the Pixel 8 Pro, but the iPhone 15 Pro looks just as good, and if anything, the design is instantly recognizable.

Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Screen

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island showing timer

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Switching over to the screen, the Pixel 8 Pro has a 6.7-inch OLED panel that goes up to 120Hz, and Google made a lot of interesting changes this year, including increasing the brightness to 2,400 nits. 

The iPhone 15 Pro has a much smaller 6.1-inch OLED screen, and it also does 120Hz. While it isn't as bright as the Pixel 8 Pro — going up to 2,000 nits — you don't notice a difference between the two in daily use. 

You get better pixel density on the Pixel 8 Pro as well, and it's covered by a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus 2. Dynamic Island on the iPhone 15 Pro is distracting at times, but it is much better than the older design, and it has plenty of usability. 

Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Hardware

iPhone 15 Pro Max review

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Google didn't make many changes to the underlying hardware of the Pixel 8 Pro, with the Tensor G3 offering a similar set of cores. Instead, the search giant turned its attention to the neural engine, and the G3 has a much more powerful AI module that unlocks a whole new set of use cases.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro has the A17 Pro, and it is a powerhouse of a platform. It is the only mobile platform to be built on a 3nm node, and it is outstanding at gaming and any intensive tasks — it is on another league against the Pixel 8 Pro in this regard. The Pixel 8 Pro is no slouch at gaming, but it just doesn't have the same caliber of hardware as current-gen Qualcomm designs, much less the A17 Pro. It is decent at gaming, but push it to any noticeable degree and it starts to throttle.

Google is also on the backfoot when it comes to storage, with the base model of the Pixel 8 Pro coming with just 128GB of storage — that just isn't enough. I've been using the phone on and off for just over two months ago, and I've already used up 90GB of storage. The iPhone 15 Pro is in a similar situation, with the base version also limited to 128GB.

One area where the iPhone 15 Pro stands out is the charging front; it now comes with USB-C as standard, and that means you can use any USB PD charger with a standard USB-C cable to charge the device. This is a big deal at least for my own use case, and I've been able to use the iPhone a lot more than usual as a result.

Other than that, both devices have all the usual connectivity options. The Pixel 8 Pro comes with the latest Wi-Fi 7 standard, while the iPhone 15 Pro is still on Wi-Fi 6E — it will be another year before it switches over. You also get Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, and high-res audio codecs. Both phones have standout vibration motors, delivering great feedback while navigating the UI and using the keyboard.

Google Pixel 8 Pro in the porcelain colorway

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Battery life is nearly identical on both devices, and they manage to last an entire day without too much of a hassle. Even with heavy use, I was able to get my Pixel 8 Pro to the end of the day with just under 10% left over, and Google's device has a slender lead in this area over the iPhone 15 Pro.

Neither manufacturer offers a charger in the box — the most you get is a USB-C to USB-C cable. So you will need to buy a charger, and there's no shortage of those available — we've rounded up the best GaN chargers in the market today.

Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Cameras

Google Pixel 8 Pro camera bar in the porcelain colorway

Both phones are among the best at taking photos and videos. Traditionally, Google had an edge in this area in previous years, and that's the case with the Pixel 8 Pro as well. Thanks to new imaging hardware along with a slew of changes to the tuning algorithms, the Pixel 8 Pro takes outstanding photos and videos. This is the main reason why I continue using the phone as my daily driver even though it isn't anywhere as fast as some of the early 2024 launches, like the Vivo X100 Pro.

The iPhone 15 Pro also does a stellar job, but it doesn't quite measure up to the Pixel 8 Pro in demanding scenes. That doesn't mean you don't get a good photo — far from it — but when you look at things like color accuracy and managing noise levels in situations where there's little to no light, the Pixel 8 Pro does a much better job.

Of course, iPhones have always had an advantage when it comes to videos, and the iPhone 15 Pro is no different. That said, Google made a lot of positive changes in this area, and the introduction of Video Boost makes a huge difference. Once you select the mode in the camera, shoot a video, and upload it to Google Photos, Google then uses its AI wizardry to boost color saturation, details, and minimize noise levels, leading to videos that look amazing. The feature is at its best when taking videos in low-light situations, and you see a genuine difference.

Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Software

The customizable lockscreen of the Google Pixel 8 Pro

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Google is doing all the right things on the software side. While Android 14 doesn't introduce a lot of standout features, it has a multitude of small tweaks that make a difference in daily use. The interface is clean and modern, and there's absolutely no bloatware. You get the usual Google services installed out of the box, but most of these can be uninstalled if you don't want to use any.

Google also added a ton of AI features with this generation, and they're legitimately useful. The likes of Magic Audio Eraser do a great job filtering sounds out of videos, and Video Boost is outstanding; it alters the contrasts and boosts color vibrancy after the fact, and it is a unique feature that you don't get anywhere else — not even the standard Pixel 8.

The iPhone 15 Pro doesn't lean in to AI, but iOS 17 has a ton of useful stuff. Focus mode does a good job with notification management, the interface is fluid, and you get a lot of extras. You miss out on extensive customizability, and the interface is a bit sterile — there's no quirkiness like what you get with Material You — but on the whole, this is a familiar design that has aged well.

When it comes to software updates, Google clearly has the advantage — the Pixel 8 Pro will get seven years of guaranteed software updates, and that's more than any other phone today. The iPhone 15 Pro will get at least five platform updates, so it isn't too far behind what Google offers.

Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel 8 Pro

I've always been partial to Pixels, and while there hasn't been any shortage of hardware issues with devices in the past, the Pixel 8 series is largely devoid of any drawbacks in this area.

The Pixel 8 Pro has an outstanding AMOLED screen, one of the best cameras of any device available today, and decent hardware combined with all the extras you need. The best part is that it will get seven years of guaranteed software updates, and that makes it a standout choice if you need a device that will last nearly a decade.

If you're interested in iOS, the iPhone 15 Pro is the obvious choice. It is easier to hold and use than the Pro Max variant, and while you don't get all the latest camera tech, there's still more than enough to take outstanding photos and videos in just about any scenario.

With both devices costing the same, it all comes down to what software ecosystem you want to use. If you're comfortable with Android, you will love what the Pixel 8 Pro has to offer. And if you're keen on trying out iOS, the iPhone 15 Pro is a stellar choice.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • fuzzylumpkin
    Neither of these.
  • edubfromktown

    S23+ would be my recommend if you want something similar in size to Pixel 8 Pro. If you can tolerate a bit larger and more square-cornered display, S23 Ultra.

    S23+/Ultra mobile phones are faster in practical usage (other than snapping photos some of the time), have better battery resiliency, faster charging, offer more customization options, etc. than Pixel 8 Pro.

    The only noteworthy downsides in my opinion:
    Camera and app integration is not quite the same as Pixel (especially in less than ideal situations)
    7 years of software updates and security patches vs 5 years (including Android 17).
    OneUI Android updates and security patches are not released as quickly and staggered across different Samsung hardware platforms instead of "all (supported) Pixel phones" at once.
  • Bkdodger1
    Both I'm rocking the P8P and iPhone 15PM best of both worlds
  • ras47
    I cannot stand Samsung's version of Android. I appreciate the Piixel's cleaner version. I mostly use my iPhone 14 Pro these days but I keep a Pixel 5 as a backup/change-of-pace phone.
  • mustang7757
    Rocking the pixel 8 pro and iPhone 14 max
  • fuzzylumpkin
    ras47 said:
    I cannot stand Samsung's version of Android. I appreciate the Piixel's cleaner version. I mostly use my iPhone 14 Pro these days but I keep a Pixel 5 as a backup/change-of-pace phone.
    When people say this, I do wonder when the last interaction they had with it was. For a lot of people, it was pre One UI.
  • bassplayrguy
    AC News said:
    The Pixel 8 Pro is one of the best Android phones you can get at the moment. The iPhone 15 Pro is the best iPhone available today. Undecided between the two? We're here to assist.

    Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Which flagship should you buy? : Read more
    Pixel for sure.