To the average iPhone user, all Android devices are created alike. Or so you might think. The Android ecosystem is now so vast and pervasive – not to mention versatile – that it is simply not possible. Show me, you scream…well, here goes…
Today, we’re going to pit two flagship Android phones against each other to see which one comes out on top – the Google Pixel and the Honor 8 from Huawei. Some might say this isn’t an apples to apples comparison (sorry, iPhone users), but despite Google entering the device manufacture domain this late in the race, they have the ‘apparent’ edge considering that they own Android. But does that even count? Let’s have a look-see.
Naturally, because most of us are typically click-happy campers, this would be the first spec to look into. The Honor 8 comes with a 12 megapixel rear camera, but the Pixel sports a 12.3MP one. While that might sound like the votes should go to Google, camera resolution isn’t everything, especially when the difference is so minor.
Besides, Honor 8 has a dual camera like the one on iPhone 7 Plus, the major difference being that the former’s design is a flat-back one, which means your lens is less susceptible to scuffing and scratches. The Pixel, of course, only has a single camera on the rear.
One key feature – and I think this is the clincher for this category – is that you can change the focal point on an image after the shot has been taken. How cool is that? Here’s what it looks like:
This one feature alone beats whatever Google Pixel has to offer – including unlimited photo storage, in our opinion. Think of all those out-of-focus photos you can correct after you’ve taken them.
Under the Hood
From a tech specs perspective, the Pixel has more RAM (4GB) than the Honor 8 (3GB), but the latter clocks 2.3 GHz against the Pixel’s 2.15 GHz. Internal memory for both is 32GB, but obviously you can get more from Pixel if you’re willing to pay more. We’re only comparing the 32 GB models to get as fair a comparison as possible. One advantage with the Honor 8 in this respect is that it has expandable memory, unlike the Pixel. If you want more memory on the Pixel you’re going to have to shell out more for the 128 GB variant.
Both have Fingerprint ID, GPS and the usual sensors, but the Pixel comes with an additional barometer and magnetometer that’s useful for several apps like 3D Compass, Metal Detector, Altimeter, Air Pressure and so on.
The Pixel, of course, has Qualcomm’s SnapDragon 821 processor, while the Honor 8 comes with the Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 950. We don’t have any benchmarking data comparing both, but the 820 didn’t fare too well against the Kirin 950 in this benchmark test. So, unless Qualcomm can significantly improve performance with the 821, Kirin is the clear winner.
Both phones have similar connectivity capabilities, such as WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and Type-C reversible port for charging and data transfer.
As far as the battery goes, the Honor 8 carries a non-removable 3,000 mAh pack, and the Pixel has a 2,770 mAh battery. However, the Pixel gives you 26 hours of talk time against the Honor’s 20 hours.
And let’s not forget that Google has a distinct advantage in owning Android. The Honor 8 comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but Google is keeping the Android 7.1 Nougat for it’s own phones, for now at least. However, the Nougat does carry over a significant number of features from the Marshmallow so except for a few key differences, you won’t see much of a change in terms of UI, functionality and so on. Some might disagree, but not if you’re the average user that doesn’t really care for “exclusive” features.
Last, but not least, there’s Google Assistant, the latest version of Google’s voice-controlled artificial intelligence program that carries all the advantages of Google Search, Google Voice, Google Maps and so much more. This one feature alone can tip the balance in favor of Google Pixel – if that’s important to you.
Design, Appearance and Display
This is not a technical comparison by any means, but the Honor 8 seems to have far more esthetic appeal than the Google Pixel. The all-glass design with metal frame on the Honor 8 is as stunning as the polished glass and metal back on the Pixel, but I guess it would finally come down to individual preference.
The Honor 8 comes in four colors – Pearl White, Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue, Gold – while the Google Pixel is available in three colors with very odd descriptions: “quite black,” “really blue” or “very silver.” Come on, Google, seriously?
Display-wise, the Honor 8’s 5.2-inch screen tops the Pixel’s 5-inch screen, and both have comparable resolutions – 441ppi and 424ppi, respectively. The Pixel has an AMOLED screen and the Honor 8 has an IPS LCD screen, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. AMOLED brings brighter colors and deeper blacks, as any Samsung high-end smartphone user will know, but IPS LCD has more natural colors and greater sharpness. Again, as with the look of these phones, it’s a user preference thing rather than one being better than the other.
Ah, yes, the all-important price factor! When it comes to pricing vis-à-vis specs and performance, Honor 8 looks like the clear winner with prices as low as $349 – nearly half that of the Pixel’s $650 starting price. However, there are various other factors to consider, such as brand perception (Google obviously has an edge), your need for Google Assistant, your specific memory needs (unlimited photo storage versus expandable memory), intended usage (are you in it for the camera, the speed or just the color options, for example), service availability, responsiveness of their respective tech support services and so on.
The Honor 8 is clearly comparable with the Google Pixel in most aspects, but at the end of the day, price does matter to a lot of people. From that viewpoint, the Honor 8 does have a significant edge over Google Pixel. But the ultimate choice is yours, and it depends on the various factors we’ve outlined.
Here’s a graphic version of what we’ve just shown you, courtesy specout by GRAPHIQ:
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