Google Pixel 5 vs. iPhone 11: Should you buy Android’s best or iOS’s finest?

Google Pixel 5 is Google’s flagship smartphone. Lacking some of the advantages of more expensive Samsung or Apple phones, it still gets the fundamental points right. Its camera is unsurprisingly excellent, and it comes with very smooth software, a sharp touchscreen, 5G support and a much larger battery (compared to the Pixel 4). It’s also reasonably priced at $700, making it a direct competitor to last year’s iPhone 11, which also starts at $699.

However, which phone is better: Pixel 5 or iPhone 11? We pit the two devices against each other, looking at how they compare in several categories. This should tell you everything you need to know about these two smartphones.


Google Pixel 5 Apple iPhone 11
Size 144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm (5.70 x 2.77 x 0.31 inches) 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm (5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches)
Weight 151 grams (5.33 ounces) 194 grams (6.84 ounces)
Screen size 6.0-inch OLED capacitive touchscreen 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD
Screen resolution 2340 x 1080 pixels (432 pixels per inch) 1792 x 828 pixels (326 pixels per inch)
Operation system Android 11 iOS 14
Storage 128 GB 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
microSD card slot That Not
Tap to pay services Google Pay Apple Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 Apple A13 Bionic
working memory 8 GB 4 GB
Camera Dual lens wide 12 megapixel, ultra-wide rear 16 MP, front 8 MP 12MP and 12MP wide-angle rear dual lens, 12MP TrueDepth front
Video 4k at 60 fps, 1080p at 30 fps 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
port USB-C, 3.1 Lightning connector
Fingerprint sensor Yes, rear No, FaceID instead
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 4,080 mAh

Fast charging (18W)

Wireless charging

Reverse wireless charging

3,100 mAh

Fast charging (18W charger sold separately)

Qi wireless charging

Application market Google Play Store Apple App Store
Network support Verizon, Google Fi T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Colors Black only, Sorta Sage Purple, white, yellow, green, black, red
Prices $699+ $699+
Review rating 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Design, screen and durability

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

You might expect the latest Pixel to look like last year’s Pixel 4, but the Pixel 5 actually looks more like the mid-range Google Pixel 4a. Gone are the ugly forehead and chin bezels, and in their place is a neat edge-to-edge display that houses a punch-hole selfie camera in the top left corner. It also replaces the Pixel 4a’s plastic body with aluminum, giving it a sturdier build as well as a sleeker look. It may not be particularly exciting compared to some of the other flagships released this year, but it’s comfortable to hold and is commendably light.

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As for the iPhone 11, it looks good, but it doesn’t come without any surprises if you’ve held an iPhone X or later. It has a distinctive notch at the top of the display, while the rest of the display is edge-to-edge, albeit with slightly thicker bezels than the Pixel 5. Its frame is also made of aluminum.

The iPhone 11 is also a bit disappointing when it comes to the quality of its 6.1-inch display. It offers a relatively low number of 1792 x 828 pixels. By comparison, the Pixel 5 has 2340 x 1080 pixels and a slightly smaller 6-inch screen. This makes its screen noticeably more vivid and detailed than the iPhone, an effect that is further enhanced by the fact that its screen is OLED, while Apple uses an LCD panel. Additionally, the Pixel’s display is further enhanced with a 90Hz refresh rate.

Both smartphones have the same IP68 rating, which indicates the possibility of immersion in water as deep as 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes. Regardless, with a more vivid display and a slightly more attractive look, the Pixel 5 takes this opening round.

Winner: Pixel 5

Performance, battery life and charging

Charger for Google Pixel 5Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The iPhone 11 and Pixel 5 are fairly evenly matched in terms of price, but not in terms of performance. The iPhone 11 packs the same powerful A13 Bionic processor as the 11 Pro, and while it only comes with 4GB of RAM, that’s more than enough to get the best out of the A13. Even if the phone is now a year old, it will still hold up to anything you can throw at it.

The Pixel 5 comes with twice the amount of RAM as the iPhone 11. But since iOS and Android smartphones use RAM differently, don’t put too much weight on it. The Pixel 5 also uses a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip, but it will fall behind the iPhone in sheer power. That’s not to say it’s a failure, but a newer, flagship processing chip could have offered more. On the other hand, the Pixel 5 comes standard with 128 GB of internal memory, while the iPhone 11 comes with only 64 GB. You’ll have to pay $50 more for the 128GB version, making it more expensive than Google’s phone.

Longevity is something that bothered the Pixel 4, but the Pixel 5 comes with a very generous 4080mAh battery. That makes it more capable than the iPhone 11’s 3,100mAh cell, and our review found it easily lasted a full day of heavy use, as well as two days of light use. Our review found that the iPhone 11 ends a day of heavy use with about 15% capacity left, so even with a smaller battery it’s still pretty reliable.

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With performance leadership and a capable all-day battery, we give this to the iPhone. The Pixel 5 offers more internal storage, and while it has a very strong battery, the iPhone’s stronger specs allow it to pull ahead in this regard.

Winner: iPhone 11


Google Pixel 5 cameraAndy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both phones have dual-lens rear cameras. The iPhone 11 has a dual 12-megapixel ultra-wide and wide-angle lens, while the Pixel 5 has a 12-megapixel wide lens and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens. Both have fairly modest specs, at least compared to premium smartphones. However, Google and Apple are the two best phone makers for camera software, so you end up with two excellent cameras.

Compared to previous models, the iPhone 11 camera has been improved with features such as Smart HDR and faster autofocus. It also benefits from semantic rendering, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to give meaning to each image and enhance overall dynamics. This makes it much easier to simply point the phone at things and take photos, leaving you with excellent photos in most situations.

Given the pedigree of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4a, the Pixel 5 had a lot to live up to, but it certainly didn’t disappoint. It uses Google’s artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to capture beautiful photos regardless of the conditions, while the addition of a 16MP ultra-wide lens gives it extra versatility. Google has also added several new features, such as cinematic video and the ability to use night vision in portrait mode. All of this adds up to the Pixel 5 being one of the best camera phones out there, even if it doesn’t offer a huge generational leap compared to the Pixel 4.

Both the iPhone 11 and Pixel 5 can shoot 4K video at 60 fps, although the iPhone 11 can shoot 1080p footage at a faster 240 fps. This is only a minor advantage, so since the Pixel 5 offers a better all-round camera, we’re giving it a narrow win in this round.

Winner: Google Pixel 5

Software and updates

iPhone 11Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The iPhone 11 runs iOS 14, while the Pixel 5 runs Android 11. Choosing which of these operating systems is better is like choosing between chocolate and cheese: each has its own pros and cons, making it difficult to compare them directly. Still, iOS 14 is very easy to use and secure, while having an undeniably iconic design. Android 11 is much more customizable, offers a wider selection of apps and provides a convenient always-on display.

Compared to other Android smartphones, the Pixel 5 is one device that will provide you with regular updates and a decent lifetime of support. Taking this together with different operating systems, we have to declare another indecision.

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Winner: Undecided

Special features

Qualcomm 5G at CES 2019Robyn Beck/Getty Images

While the two phones have been pretty even so far, the Pixel 5 boasts one thing the iPhone 11 doesn’t: 5G support. It’s compatible with frequencies below 6Hz and the faster mmWave 5G, so Google’s phone will provide the highest possible download speeds in areas with a 5G signal.

This puts the iPhone 11 at a bit of a disadvantage, but Apple’s phone has a few more modest special features. Its TrueDepth camera supports Face ID, which can be used to unlock the phone, for payment or ID, and Apple’s fun Animoji. It’s worth noting that the Pixel 4 came with a face unlock system, but the Pixel 5 ditches that and reverts to a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

Face ID also lets you use Animoji and Memoji, which are carefree avatars you can create to use during FaceTime calls (and in messages). The iPhone 11’s night mode camera feature is also one of the best on the market, while its dual speakers allow for pretty decent surround sound.

Lastly, the Pixel 5’s display allows for a 90Hz refresh rate, while the iPhone 11 can only muster 60Hz. It doesn’t make a significant difference, but it’s noticeable, especially when combined with the higher resolution. When you consider that along with 5G support, this round ends up being a slim win for Google’s phone.

Winner: Google Pixel 5

Price and availability

The iPhone 11 is available unlocked directly from Apple and is also widely available from all major carriers. It starts at $699. The 128GB version will set you back $749, while the 256GB version bumps the price up to $849.

The Pixel 5 is available from Google for $699 and will ship in the US starting October 29. It will be supported by Verizon, Google Fi, and AT&T, and you’ll be able to buy it from Amazon.

Check out some of the best Google Pixel and iPhone deals we’ve found ahead of Cyber ​​Monday.

Overall winner: Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5 from the frontAndy Boxall/Digital Trends

The iPhone 11 may not be too far behind, but the Pixel 5 is a better smartphone overall. It has a slightly more modern design, the screen is much sharper and clearer, it offers double storage as standard, and it also supports 5G. That doesn’t mean the iPhone 11 isn’t worth paying attention to. Its performance and battery life at least match a Google phone, while if you prefer iOS to Android, this is clearly the way to go.

Still, the Pixel 5 is the winner here. It continues Google’s growing tradition of providing a modern, hard-to-beat basic smartphone experience, and its camera remains one of the best in the business. It is undoubtedly one of the best Android phones in the business.

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