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The Pixel 7 is far more compelling than the iPhone 14

OPINION: This week Apple unveiled a host of new tech including the iPhone 14 family of phones, AirPods 2 Pro, the Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch SE 2 and Apple Watch Ultra.

And while I found plenty to get excited about with the Apple Watch Ultra and Pro models of the iPhone 14, I struggled to get truly excited about the base iPhone 14 for one key reason: there’s a far more interesting flagship just around the corner. I speak of course of Google’s already soft unveiled Pixel 7.

The Pixel 7 is the hotly anticipated follow up to one of my favourite phones to appear in the last 12 months, the Pixel 6. The phone was soft unveiled at Google’s I/O 2022 event, where it teased the look of the handset and its Pro sibling alongside the Pixel Watch and Pixel Tablet.

While Google didn’t reveal anything about its specs at the event, I think it’s already more exciting than the iPhone 14 for a few reasons. First, because of how much I’ve loved using the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro since we got them in for testing.

Both phones offer best in class camera performance, great screens and a few features you won’t find anywhere else thanks to the use of Google’s home-made Tensor silicon. The coolest feature I’ve used regularly include the phone’s ability to real-time translate, notate conversations and Magic Eraser.

The latter is a photography mode that lets you remove unwanted people or objects from photos in the camera app retroactively. I’ve used it on more than one occasion to salvage photos at key events like my anniversary. The feature is also exclusive to Pixel phones, as it relies on the Tensor chip’s machine learning powers.

With Google teasing that it’s going to utilise it’s next-gen Tensor 2 silicon to further improve the Pixel 7’s camera performance and add yet more exclusive new features, this automatically makes it more interesting than the iPhone 14 in my eyes.

The iPhone 14 Apple Far Out event

The second reason I think the iPhone 14 isn’t as compelling as its fast approaching Google rival is a simple one. Specifically, that the iPhone 14 is a very boring update.

The chassis looks identical to the iPhone 13, it’s powered by the same A15 Bionic chip (not the new A16 Bionic found inside the Pro mode), and features an identically sized 6.1-inch screen which hasn’t been updated to feature a fast variable refresh rate, Promotion screen. In 2022 this is a weird omission as Android phones that cost radically less now have fast refresh screens as standard.

As far as I can tell, Apple has only upgraded the camera for the jump up from the the iPhone 13. Apple has added autofocus to the front camera, while making a number of hardware and software upgrades to the rear camera to help boost low-light performance.

Don’t get me wrong, if Apple’s claims ring true when we get the iPhone 14 in for testing, they’ll be welcome as low light was a key area the iPhone 13 struggled to compete with the best camera phones when we reviewed it last year. But it still doesn’t do enough to make the iPhone 14 exciting in the same way the Pixel 7 is, in my mind.

That’s why I can’t help but feel Apple’s iPhone 14 is a dull release that may well be overshadowed in the very near future.

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