Here's how Google Pixel stacks up against the OnePlus 3 and Axon 7

The Pixel and Pixel XL start at $649, yet there are less expensive and just as capable devices available.

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(Image: James Martin/CNET)

Google on Tuesday declared itself a hardware company, unveiling its own Wi-Fi product, a new Chromecast Ultra, Google Home, Daydream View, and two new phones.

Why pay a premium when every phone runs the same apps?

When you start talking about a $400 to $600 difference in price, the mystique and perceived advantages of a brand and OS platform starts to look a bit silly.

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There's little doubt that Google's newest smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, are tempting. Both devices are designed and built by Google and include some features you won't find on other Android devices, including the Nexus line (for the time being).

However, there's a downside to Google's new hardware initiative: the price. Gone are the days of inexpensive Nexus phones, maxing out around $500. Google's Pixel line starts at $649 and max out at $869, depending on model and storage amount.

For someone looking for a capable Android phone on a budget, let me present you with the OnePlus 3 and Axon 7. Both of these devices are loaded with features and far less expensive than the Pixel line.

Below is a chart comparing the specifications of each device:

Spec OnePlus 3 Axon 7 Pixel/Pixel XL
Display 5.5-inch 1080p Full HD 5.5-inch Quad HD 5-inch Full HD/5.5-inch Quad HD
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Memory 6GB 4GB 4GB
Storage 64GB 64GB 32GB or 128GB
Expandable Storage No Yes No
Camera 16-megapixel rear/8-megapixel front 20-megapixel rear/8-megapixel front 12.3-megapixel rear/8-megapixel front
Operating System Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 7.1 Nougat
Daydream Ready No Yes Yes
Battery 3,000mAh 3,250mAh 2,770mAh/3,450mAh
Dimensions 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm 151.7 x 75 x 7.9mm 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5mm/154.7 x 75.7 x 8.5mm
Price $399 $399 $649/$769 32GB. $749/$869 for 128GB.

The OnePlus 3 and Axon 7 are respectable devices in their own right, with the Axon 7 having a slight advantage over the OnePlus 3 thanks to its QHD display and Daydream compatibility (pending a software update from ZTE).

Performance wise, it's hard to say exactly how much faster the Snapdragon 821 processor or what camera performance is like on the Pixel.

Google really talked up the Pixel's camera performance, touting DxOMark's rating of the Pixel camera as earning the highest score for mobile camera ever. But, as we've seen in the past, when Google has touted Nexus camera performance as finally competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple, we were let down.

Until we have units and are able to thoroughly test Google's boasting, we can't directly compare the Pixel, OnePlus 3, and Axon 7.

On the spec sheet, at least, all three of these devices are comparable to one another. With the biggest difference between them being the amount of money you have to spend, and for some, that's more than enough to stay away from Google's latest wares.

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