Pixel 9 Pro XL vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Expectations



Google is resurrecting the Pixel XL model! When the new Pixel 9 series drops on August 13, the lineup will consist of three devices: the vanilla Pixel 9, a Pixel 9 Pro model, and a bigger Pixel 9 XL model. It seems that Google has decided to emulate what Apple and Samsung have been doing for the past couple of years.So, the Pixel 9 Pro XL. What kind of beast is it, and where does it stand. From what we understand, it’s the iPhone 15 Pro Max alternative, and today we’re going to pit those two against each other. Will this new model be able to challenge the Pro Max? Let’s find out!

Bear in mind that this is a preliminary comparison and that it’s based heavily on industry insiders, leaks, and rumors. We will update it with official info and benchmarks once we lay our hands on the new and sparkly Pixel 9 Pro XL.

Pixel 9 Pro XL vs iPhone 15 Pro Max differences explained:

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

XL is the new Pro Max
It’s obvious what Google is trying to do with the Pixel 9 Pro XL. And that is to offer a compact Pro model in the face of the regular Pixel 9 Pro, while the XL takes the place previously occupied by the Pixel 8 Pro. Confused? There is nothing to worry about. Think of the Pixel 9 Pro XL as Google’s answer to the Pro Max.The size of these two phones is expected to be very similar, as are the weight and materials used. We’re talking about your typical glass and metal sandwich, and even though we’re getting titanium with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the overall feel is very similar.

We’re not sure whether or not Google will try to go down the titanium rabbit hole with the Pixel 9 Pro XL, but the end result should be pretty much the same.

The main design difference lies in the shape of the camera system on the back. Apple uses the same square design pioneered with the iPhone 12 series, while Google follows the design language first started with the Pixel 6—the Camera Bar.

In terms of colors, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is available in:

  • black titanium
  • white titanium
  • blue titanium
  • natural titanium

The Pixel 9 Pro XL is expected in:

The display panels of both phones are quite similar, both in size and specs. We’re talking about flat AMOLED panels with 6.7-inch diagonals and 1-120Hz dynamic refresh rates. There could be a difference when it comes to brightness, but we need to run our lab tests to be sure. The Pixel 8 Pro scored very high in our display test, so we expect good brightness numbers from the Pixel 9 Pro XL as well.

Performance and Software

Where’s that AI coming from?
The world is AI, and even though we’re stretching this abbreviation a bit too much, it’s true that modern smartphones constantly add new AI features to the table. Apple is a bit late to the party and will get AI things going with the iPhone 16 series and iOS 18, while Google has a head start with its AI-oriented approach.

Hardware-wise, the Pixel 9 Pro XL is expected to rock the fourth generation of Google’s in-house Tensor chip, the G4. We expect it to be heavy on AI, as on-device AI is becoming something of a buzz word.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with the A17 Pro chipset, which doesn’t have any dedicated AI portions of silicon, but we expect it to still be faster than the G4, especially in synthetic benchmarks. Speaking of which, we’ll add some hard numbers once we run all the tests on the Pixel 9 Pro XL.

The RAM situation is not that relevant when we compare Android and iOS devices but still, the Pixel 9 Pro XL is expected with more RAM (12 and 16GB) than the iPhone 15 Pro Max (8GB). The base storage of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, on the other hand, is more, starting at 256GB.


Algorithms vs lenses
We expect the Pixel 9 Pro XL to sport the same camera system as its predecessor, the Pixel 8 Pro. Namely, a triple camera system that consists of a 50MP main camera, a 48MP ultra-wide snapper, and a 48MP telephoto zoom camera with 5x optical zoom. The difference will most likely come in the form of new AI-driven algorithms for post-processing.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max, on the other hand, is a known variable with its triple camera system, sporting a 48MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and a 12MP telephoto. Of course, specs are just specs, and we will add some comparison samples when we have the Pixel 9 Pro XL in our geeky hands. Meanwhile, you can check out the Pixel 8 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max comparison to get a basic idea, as the camera hardware between the 8 Pro and 9 Pro XL is expected to be nearly identical.

Battery Life and Charging

The Pixel 9 Pro XL is expected to have a beefy 5,100mAh battery, which, while not groundbreaking, is a substantial capacity. The previous model comes with 50 mAh less, and there are other variables in this equation, such as the Tensor G4 chip and its efficiency, as well as the display. We can’t say anything with certainty at the moment, so you’ll have to wait for some benchmarks.

What we can say is that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is holding its own despite the small, by modern standards, 4,422mAh battery inside.

Well, when it comes to charging, neither of these phones will be breaking records. The iPhone 15 Pro Max tops at 27W, and the Pixel 9 Pro XL is expected to support up to 33W of wired charging, so yeah. Not the fastest ones out there.

Audio Quality and Haptics

This section will be populated by some real-life experience once we have the Pixel 9 Pro XL close to our ears. What we can say, though, is that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is doing a decent job with very detailed and balanced sound, and the almighty Taptic engine give is a nice, tight and strong vibration profile. Your move, Google!

Specs Comparison

Which one should you buy?

As always, this question is multi-layered and not an easy one to be answered. On one hand, we have the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which is the current iOS champion, but on the other hand, we’re expecting the iPhone 16 series to drop soon, and catch up with the AI stuff Apple has been missing lately.

The Pixel 9 Pro XL shuffles a bit the naming scheme for Pixel phones and occupies the top spot as the ultra-premium Google flagship, and it’s a great deal with the seven year support and all the AI stuff onboard (plus all the AI stuff that will inevitably come to the device with each and every feature drop).

Of course, the Pixel 9 Pro XL isn’t official yet, and we can’t recommend it with a hand on our hearts. Stay tuned for the full comparison and the final verdict soon.

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