Google Pixel 6 vs Apple iPhone 13: Which affordable flagship should you buy?
The two biggest names that come to mind when speaking of tech are Apple and Google. Tuns out, both companies also make some pretty great phones! Apple launched the iPhone 13 a couple of months back and it offers great value for the asking price of $799. On the other hand, Google also launched its flagship smartphones for 2021 — the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro with the latter starting at $699. With a price difference of just $100, it’s an interesting competition between the two devices. Both phones offer flagship specifications at a relatively affordable price. So, which one should you pick? Well, here’s a comparison of the Google Pixel 6 vs the Apple iPhone 13 to help you decide!
Google Pixel 6 vs Apple iPhone 13: Specifications
|Google Pixel 6||Apple iPhone 13|
|CPU||Google Tensor||Apple A15 Bionic|
|Sensors||Fingerprint sensor (under-display), Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor||Face ID, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor|
|OS||Android 12||iOS 15|
|Colors||Sorta Seaform, Kinda Coral, Stormy Black||Starlight, Red, Blue, Pink, Midnight|
|Price||Starts at $699||Starts at $799|
Build and Design
There’s not a lot separating the Pixel 6 from the iPhone 13 in terms of build quality. Both phones have an aluminum rail sandwiched between layers of glass. The Pixel 6 has Gorilla Glass Victus on the front while the iPhone 13 has Ceramic Shield. The iPhone 13 is thinner, lighter, and more compact which means it’s going to be easier to use as well as carry around in your pocket or purse. They have a premium exterior since both Apple and Google have not compromised on the materials used in the construction of the two devices. Both phones are also IP68 dust and water-resistant. You shouldn’t be worried about picking up either device since they’re both solid.
While the way both phones are built is similar, they look quite different from one another. The iPhone 13 goes for a more conventional look and is similar to the iPhone 12 barring the diagonally placed cameras. It’s quite basic and is similar to what we’ve been seeing on modern-day phones. A plain glass back with a camera module house on the upper left corner. The Pixel 6 takes a different approach here. Google has given the phone a two-tone finish with a large camera bar separating the two colors. The phones also have different back panel and mid-frame shapes, and that affects how comfortable you would be holding the phones.
The colors are nice and playful and the camera bar really adds character to the phone. It spans across the entire width of the phone similar to what we saw on the Nexus 6P from a few years back. This sort of look is quite unique which makes the Pixel 6 score high in terms of design. Looks and design are extremely subjective so the winner in this department should ideally be chosen by you. Some may like the clean and proven design of the iPhone 13 while some may prefer the bolder look of the Pixel 6.
Before we get into the particulars of the display, the first thing you would notice while looking at both phones is that iPhone 13 has a notch but has slimmer bezels, while the Pixel 6 has a hole-punch but with thicker borders. Again, this comes down to personal preference. A lot of people seem to hate the notch since it’s an eyesore while you’re viewing content on the screen. Others don’t mind it since it’s just there and you get used to it in a couple of days. Well, I belong to the second category. Apple has reduced the size of the notch this year by about 20% but of course, it’s still very much there and is certainly worse than a hole-punch.
The Pixel 6 does have a more immersive display since there’s no big notch, but the bezels are quite thick and uneven. This shouldn’t be an issue for most people, but it’s something worth mentioning. The Pixel 6 also offers a larger canvas in the form of a 6.4-inch AMOLED display versus the 6.1-inch panel on the iPhone 13. A larger display means you can view more content and it’s a better experience while watching movies and shows.
On the other hand, a smaller display with slim bezels on the iPhone 13 means the phone is compact and relatively easier to use one-handed. If you don’t watch a lot of content on your phone, the iPhone 13’s 6.1-inch OLED display should serve you well. Even if you do watch a lot of content, it’s going to look better on the iPhone 13’s display thanks to the support for Dolby Vision. However, the Pixel 6 hits right back with its 90Hz refresh rate display which makes scrolling and gaming a lot smoother.
Both phones offer good displays that have their own pros and cons. Pick the Pixel 6 if you want a larger display that’s also smoother while scrolling and gaming, and doesn’t have a notch that might be interrupting. Pick the iPhone 13 if you want a more compact display with corners that you can reach with the thumb of your hand, provided you’re okay with the notch.
Since both the iPhone 13 and the Pixel 6 are flagship phones, they have top-of-the-line internals to power them. The iPhone 13 gets Apple’s A15 Bionic while the Pixel 6 has Google’s new in-house Tensor SoC. Over the past few years, Apple’s chipsets have been ahead of the competition in terms of raw performance. Google is trying to catch up with the Tensor, especially in terms of processing computational algorithms.
The iPhone 13 will still perform better in intensive tasks like video editing, rendering, and gaming. However, day-to-day tasks like running social media and messaging apps, casual gaming, watching videos/movies, etc. should ideally feel similar on both phones. The Tensor isn’t too good with graphics performance so if high-end gaming is your priority, the iPhone 13 is the one to pick. Apple’s hardware and software integration has gotten stronger over the years which has resulted in apps being better optimized for the iPhone. This is only Google’s first attempt at making their own hardware and software, so we can hope that it gets better with time.
Needless to say, the software on both phones is very different. The Pixel 6 runs Android 12 and will receive three years of major Android version updates and five years of security patches. The iPhone 13, on the other hand, runs iOS 15 and should ideally get five to six years of software support going by Apple’s track record. It again comes down to personal preference as to whether you want an OS that’s customizable to a large extent or one that gets the basics right and is better optimized.
Without getting too much into specifications and numbers (you can find them in the specs table above), the cameras on both the Pixel 6 and the iPhone 13 are right up there among the best smartphone cameras. Both phones have two lenses — a standard wide accompanied by an ultra-wide. The Pixel 6 has a higher resolution sensor which captures more details. It’s also marginally better at low-light photography compared to the iPhone 13. Google’s Night Sight mode is quite magical and captures more light than the night mode on the iPhone 13.
That’s not saying the iPhone 13 is bad by any means. It’s still got a solid set of cameras that are arguably more consistent than the Pixel 6. Edge detection in portrait mode seems more accurate on the iPhone and in general, colors capture by the iPhone 13 seem more natural. The Pixel 6 outputs images with slightly boosted colors and contrast. Selfies are good on both phones but the iPhone 13 edges out the Pixel 6 in this department by a slight margin. In terms of still images, the Pixel 6 captures photos that are pleasing to look at which probably makes it a better pick for the average consumer.
One area where the iPhone 13 does better is videography. The Pixel 6 has improved considerably from previous generations in terms of capturing videos. However, it still loses to the iPhone 13 in this department. The iPhone 13’s video looks more crisp, stable, and better in terms of colors. The iPhone 13 can also shoot in 4K 60fps via all three cameras onboard, something that the Pixel 6 can’t do.
Overall, you’ll be happy picking up either phone in terms of camera performance. The iPhone 13 is more consistent, but if still images are all you care about and you want photos that can be readily posted to Instagram, the Pixel 6 is a great pick.
Battery Life and Charging
The iPhone has never been about numbers and the battery capacity on the iPhone 13 further amplifies that notion. You’re going to get a day’s worth of battery life out of the iPhone 13 with ease even if you use your phone a lot. That’s how well the new A15 chip and the software on the iPhone 13 are optimized. You’re going to get similar battery life on the Pixel 6 too which is great, but considering that it has a much larger battery, we were expecting more.
The Tensor chip isn’t really an endurance champion and the 90Hz display can also drain more battery especially in apps that make use of that high refresh rate. Both phones will not disappoint you though as you can get through till night without needing the charger with either phone. Speaking of charging, the iPhone 13 supports fast-charging up to 20W while the Pixel 6 can go up to 30W. Both phones have wireless charging too with the iPhone 13 capping out at 15W via MagSafe and the Pixel 6 going till 21W. A huge advantage that the Pixel 6 has over the iPhone 13 is that it charges via USB-C instead of the proprietary lightning connector on the iPhone.
Pixel 6 vs iPhone 13: Which one should you buy?
The Pixel 6 is cheaper by $100 compared to the iPhone 13 and there’s not a lot of differences between the two phones. Both of them have great cameras, good battery life, a nice display, and a flagship processor. It all boils down to the age-old Android vs iOS debate, doesn’t it? Well, kinda. The iPhone 13 is better at gaming, taking videos, and has a compact form factor. It’s also got additional features like AirDrop, Continuity, Hand-off, etc. that you’ll appreciate if you’re into the Apple ecosystem.
The Pixel 6 has a bigger display with no notch, an equally good set of cameras, a unique design, and it runs on Android 12 with the new Material You overhaul. It’s one of the best Pixel phones made to date and if you think the pros we mentioned fit your bill, you can easily pick one up and save a hundred bucks. You’ll certainly be happy with it. You can even check out our Pixel 6 review or our iPhone 13 review to know more about the devices. If you’re already into the Apple ecosystem and like iOS, the iPhone 13 is worth the extra $100 for its simplicity and added horsepower.
Which one are you going to buy — the Pixel 6 or the iPhone 13? Let us know in the comments below! You can check out the best Pixel 6 deals and the best iPhone 13 deals if you plan to buy either phone and also the best Pixel 6 cases and the best iPhone 13 cases to protect the device.