These are the best Pixel phones in June 2021: Pixel 5, Pixel 4a, and more!

These are the best Pixel phones in June 2021: Pixel 5, Pixel 4a, and more!

Google Pixel phones are often ranked as the “god tier” of the best Android devices, often earning praise from reviewers and users alike. After all, Google makes Android, so a phone made by Google running Android should be the perfect Android phone, right? Well, some people would definitely agree. While Pixels have slowly made their way to the mainstream, there’s still a lot of improvement needed to get there. While that happens though, they still have their charm. It’s not a coincidence they consistently become fan favorites and they’re often considered among the best smartphones. You can’t truly experience Pixel phones without trying one out, though. So if you’re interested in getting a Google Pixel phone, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Pixel phones you can currently get.

From flagship devices like the Pixel 5 to cheaper ones like the Pixel 4a, Google’s lineup has gotten extensive enough to warrant making a list.

Navigate this guide:

Best Overall: Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5 on a desk

The Google Pixel 5 is Google’s top-of-the-line flagship for 2020. They made an odd decision with it though. Instead of putting a Snapdragon 865 on it, like any other 2020 flagship, they decided to put a Snapdragon 765G on it in order to not make costs astronomical. It paid off. With the previous Pixel 4 phones starting at $799 and most other 2020 flagships coming in with price points over $1,000, the Pixel 5 at $699 wasn’t actually the craziest thing ever. Now, even with 2021 phones out, it still manages to keep some of its shine.

It was praised by reviewers and users alike, and it comes with an awesome display and camera, and most importantly, at one of the cheapest price points for a Pixel flagship. It truly is one of the best Pixel phones out there.

    Google Pixel 5
    The Google Pixel 5 is Google's current flagship, running a Snapdragon 765G, 8 GB of RAM, a dual rear camera setup, and a 90Hz display.

Best for Most People: Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G on a yellow background

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with the Google Pixel 5, you might do just fine with the Pixel 4a 5G. Or even if you do want some of them, actually. See, the thing about the Google Pixel 4a 5G is that it’s actually closer to the Pixel 5 than it is to the regular Pixel 4a. It has the same Snapdragon 765G, the same dual rear camera setup, and the same software, with the main differences actually coming down to RAM, storage, battery, and display, all of which got a slight downgrade. The phone is also bigger than both the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a.

It’s one of the best Pixel phones to get if you’re looking into something to get into the Google ecosystem, don’t want to break the bank, and still want to get the absolute most out of it.

    Google Pixel 4a 5G
    The Google Pixel 5 comes with the same Snapdragon 765G CPU and same dual rear camera as the Pixel 5, but cuts corners elsewhere for a nice, more budget-friendly experience.

Best Mid-Range: Google Pixel 4a

google pixel 4a 5g on a red background

The Google Pixel 4a is dipping well into the mid-range territory. While the Pixel 4a 5G sort of did (and even the flagship Pixel 5 for that matter), the Pixel 4a is the option Google pitches for those looking into getting a phone on a tighter budget. It features a Snapdragon 730G SoC, a tiny 5.8-inch display, and a single 12MP camera on the rear, which manages to punch well above its weight thanks to the stellar camera processing that’s become a hallmark of Pixel smartphones.

The best part of all? It’ll run you $349, making it an excellent deal for those looking for one of the best mid-range phones in the budget segment, as well as one of the best cheap Android smartphones overall.

    Google Pixel 4a
    The Google Pixel 4a comes with a Snapdragon 730G SoC, a decently sized battery, a compact frame, and everything you could possibly want out of a phone that costs $350.

Best Older (Large): Google Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 XL on a piece of wood

Not a fan of the fact Google didn’t release a smartphone with a Snapdragon 800-series chipset? If so, you might want to look at Google’s last “true flagship” phones, the Pixel 4 series. The Pixel 4 XL in particular was a pretty good option back in the day. It launched with the Snapdragon 855 CPU, which was ballin’ fast then and is actually still fairly respectable well into 2021 (the recently-released Snapdragon 860, which powers phones like the POCO X3 Pro, is based on this silicon). We also have 6 GB of RAM, no display notch (and Google’s Soli sensor which was retired with the Pixel 5), and a 3,700 mAh battery.

If you can grab one today, it’s still one of the best Pixel phones you can currently get.

    Google Pixel 4 XL
    The Google Pixel 4 XL is still a very respectable, albeit older, smartphone running a Snapdragon 855 CPU, a 90Hz display, and Google's Soli gesture system and face unlock for a Pixel experience still perfectly relevant in 2021.

Best Older (Compact): Google Pixel 4

Google Pixel 4 in 2 colors in hand

If you’re looking for a more compact option, then Google’s Pixel 4 might just fit the bill. It’s roughly around the same size as the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 5, carries the same Snapdragon 855 SoC as the bigger model, and doesn’t skimp on specifications elsewhere. There are tradeoffs that come with having a smaller phone however, and one of them is the battery. The Pixel 4’s battery sits at 2,800 mAh, which was actually a contentious point back when it came out, with reviewers slamming the phone’s poor battery life, further worsened by the fact that it carries a 90Hz display.

Still, if you’re willing to look past that, the Pixel 4 is still a very respectable device in the compact territory.

    Google Pixel 4
    The Google Pixel 4 is one compact little beast, running the same specifications as the XL model and not skimping out on anything except size and battery. If you're looking for a performant Pixel on the compact size, this might be the one to get.

Best Budget (Large): Google Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL

I’m usually not a guy to tell other people to get older smartphones. It’s always better to get something newer from a software support standpoint — and the Pixel 3 is a fairly old phone by this point. It launched in 2018, it’s the predecessor to the Pixel 4, it launched with Android 9, and Android 12 will be the last update it gets, meaning that it reaches its EOL very soon. However, if you’re just looking for something you can test drive to try out the Pixel ecosystem and don’t want to break the bank while doing it, then the Pixel 3a XL is probably a good enough option. It has a Snapdragon 845 SoC, a big display (with a big notch), a 3,700 mAh battery, and 4 GB of RAM.

I wanted to recommend the Pixel 3a series in this category, but it’s actually more expensive right now than either of the Pixel 3 smartphones. It’s one of the best Pixel phones to consider if you want to try out the Google ecosystem for the first time, but unless you’re planning to get a custom ROM running on your phone, we’d recommend going for a newer device as soon as you can.

    Google Pixel 3 XL
    The Google Pixel 3 XL featured a chunky notch as well as top-of-the-line specifications for its time, and while it has seen better days, it's definitely worth a look if you're looking for smartphones on a budget.

Best Budget (Compact): Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 in 3 colors

Again, if you’re not a fan of bigger displays and want something that’s light and pocketable, the Google Pixel 3, the regular version, should be able to fit into that role pretty well. The same Snapdragon 845 CPU is in tow, but the screen size gets a bump down to 5.5 inches (in an 18:9 form factor instead of the notched panel in the XL), and the battery gets a bump down to 2,915 mAh instead of 3,430. The same time-related issues that plague the XL model are also present in the smaller model, including the lack of updates. Although, you can grab a custom ROM from our forums if you plan to keep using this in the long term.

The Google Pixel 3 is one of our best choices for compact devices that don’t break the bank.

    Google Pixel 3
    The Google Pixel 3 is a very old flagship by this point, but with a Snapdragon 845 CPU, a capable camera, and constant support, it's far from the worst purchase if you're looking for something that doesn't break the bank.

This is pretty much it for our list of the best Pixel phones you can get right now. The most logical choices you can get right now include the Google Pixel 5 which is, for better or worse, the best phone you can get right now as far as Pixel phones go. If you don’t have $700 to pony up on a smartphone though, then you might be well served by either of the Pixel 4a phones or, heck, even the Pixel 4 or the Pixel 4 XL.

What do you think about this list?

About author

Arol Wright
Arol Wright

Diehard technology enthusiast, and an Android purist by nature. While I have a soft spot for smartphones, I'm deeply interested in everything techy, be it PCs, gaming consoles, gadgets, you name it. Please direct all inquiries/tips to [email protected]