After years of collaborating with OEMs to create Google-branded Nexus devices, Google has gone the way of Apple and decided to make its own hardware.
Since Apple and Google released their flagship hardware in September and October 2016, respectively, the debates have raged on—should you buy an iPhone 7 or a Pixel?
A quick Google search will give you hundreds of quality technical comparisons between the two flagship options. These reviews are important, but there’s a seldom-discussed comparison that you probably haven’t considered—the secondary market value for each device.
A Brief Recap of the Technical iPhone vs. Pixel Debate
It’s not hard to find people comparing the design and technical specs for iPhones and Pixels. Before going into a comparison of their secondary market value, here’s a quick summary of the comparisons most people focus on:
- Price: Nearly identical. About $650 for a 32GB iPhone 7/Pixel, and $770 for a 32GB iPhone 7 Plus/Pixel XL
- Design: If you’re accustomed to iPhone design, you’ll feel at home with a Pixel. As expected, build quality is excellent in both cases.
- Display: Apple’s high-res LCD display may seem a step behind the Pixel’s OLED screen. However, the average user would be hard-pressed to be disappointed in either.
- Camera: Both Apple and Google claim to have revolutionized the smartphone camera. Both options are excellent, but Apple low-light performance gives it an edge in many comparisons.
If you want to get deep into the technical details, there are plenty of articles out there. However, the takeaway here is that you can’t go wrong with either device.
The real concern in an iPhone vs. Pixel debate should be the quality of your investment—how will the device retain its value in the secondary smartphone market moving forward?
Will Google Unseat Apple in the Secondary Market?
There’s a reason iPhones are so valuable in the secondary market year-in and year-out. Consistency in their release cycle, pricing and demand have led to sheer dominance in the secondary market. So, if you want a sure thing as far as future trade-in value goes for your new device, the iPhone 7 seems like the clear winner.
But if you’re willing to take a chance, initial evidence is pointing to success for Pixel in the secondary market as Google looks to emulate Apple’s model. Time will tell if they follow the same annual release cycle, but it’s clear that consistency is essential for secondary smartphone market success.
The reason consistency is key is because international buyers are purchasing these secondary phones by the thousands. Every week these secondary vendors are spending millions of dollars and paying close attention to fluctuating device values.
The last thing these buyers want is to be left with millions of devices they have to sell at a loss. With iPhone consistency, they can rely on consistent demand and plan according to release cycles.
Even though it’s only been a couple months since Google released the Pixel, it seems the flow of secondary devices will be better than some other Android manufacturers.
We’re seeing strong demand for Pixels in the secondary market at values between $400 and $500—comparable to the iPhone. The market for secondary Pixels will show its true colors about 6 months after initial release, but there’s reason for optimism at the moment.
The real difference between secondary iPhones and secondary Pixels is sales volume. Sure, Pixel is selling well. But you can only buy them from Verizon, Best Buy and Google itself whereas you can buy an iPhone from just about every electronics retailer you can imagine.
As Pixel sales volume continues to ramp up and people start switching to new devices, we’ll get a better picture of Google’s chances against Apple in the secondary market.
The Secondary Smartphone Market Comparison is Apples to Oranges - For Now
Smartphones have become such integral parts of our lives and such large investments that we can’t afford to ignore the future secondary value of our devices. Imagine you buy a $700 Android device that is comparable to an iPhone, but only receive $70 toward a new device 2 years later.
Was it really a wise investment when you could receive $200+ for an iPhone trade-in over the same time frame?
Apple’s dominance in secondary smartphone market value makes device comparisons an apples-to-oranges discussion in most cases. But with Google stepping into the device manufacturing arena, all signs point to a battle for long-term, secondary market value.
Only time will tell if a Google Pixel will be a better investment than an iPhone, but it’s hard to bet against Apple’s secondary market dominance. When you go to purchase a new smartphone, don’t forget to look beyond initial value and consider your return on investment down the road.
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