OnePlus 10 Pro vs Google Pixel 6 Pro: Excellent Samsung alternatives in North America and beyond
If you’re on the lookout for a new Android flagship phone in the US, and for whatever reason, don’t want to go for a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, then OnePlus and Google are the two most obvious alternatives in town. But make no mistake — both companies’ latest offerings, the OnePlus 10 Pro and Google Pixel 6 Pro are excellent, excellent flagships that can hang with Samsung’s best offering, and even win some areas. These are not mere “alternative options,” but really good options that anyone who takes their smartphones seriously should consider when making a new purchase.
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OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S22: Specifications
|Specification||OnePlus 10 Pro||Google Pixel 6 Pro|
|Dimensions & Weight||
|RAM & Storage||
|Battery & Charging||
|Security||Optical in-display fingerprint scanner||Optical in-display fingerprint sensor|
|Front Camera(s)||32MP, f/2.2/0.8µm||11MP, f/2.2/1.22μm|
||Android 12 with Pixel Launcher|
OnePlus 10 Pro vs Googe Pixel 6 Pro: Hardware and Design
OnePlus and Google both deserve props for designing smartphones that look a bit different from the rest of the pack, and it’s all stemming from the camera module design. The OnePlus 10 Pro has a giant ceramic plated module whose left side curves and blends seamlessly into the aluminum frame. It’s not the first phone to have done this (Samsung famously did so with the Galaxy S21 series first) but the OnePlus 10 camera module is striking and visually stands out nonetheless.
Not to be outdone, Google’s Pixel 6 series uses a rectangular strip that runs across the entire width of the phone’s back. The strip sticks out a bit and resembles a visor — if you are familiar with the X-Men, then it is like Cyclops’ visor in particular.
I think both of these designs look great and give these otherwise typical curvy glass-aluminum sandwich devices character. There’s a clear design vision here with these phones, not like a plain old boring Galaxy S21 FE or a budget Xiaomi phone. The rest of the package is great too.
Both phones sport 6.7-inch OLED panels with WQHD+ resolution and refresh rate up to 120Hz, but while the Pixel 6 Pro’s screen is very good, the OnePlus 10 Pro panel is better, arguably best in class. OnePlus’ panel is an LTPO 2.0 panel, meaning its refresh rate can dynamically change between 1Hz to 120Hz. The Pixel 6 Pro’s panels can only cycle between 60Hz and 120Hz. This means the OnePlus 10 Pro screen is more battery efficient. It can also get much brighter, with a maximum brightness of 1,300 nits, while the Pixel 6 Pro’s screen gets just about 500 nits.
Okay, to be fair, that number gap (500 to 1,300) sounds gigantic, but in real-world use cases, you won’t notice it indoors, as screens do not need to go anywhere near that brightness. You will only notice the Pixel 6 Pro display is a bit dim when you are outside under direct sunlight.
Both phones pack an under-display fingerprint scanner, but the Pixel loses here too. OnePlus’ optical scanner is much faster than the Pixel 6 Pro’s. Again, the Pixel 6 Pro’s fingerprint scanner isn’t terrible by any means, it’s just not as good as OnePlus’.
The OnePlus 10 Pro runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, while the Pixel 6 Pro runs on Google’s own proprietary Tensor SoC. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has more raw processing power, but the Tensor SoC is arguably smarter and better fine-tuned for doing Pixel things. That’s because Google built Tensor and designed the chip to prioritize machine learning tasks. And it works — the Pixel 6 Pro has the best voice dictation of any phone/computer I’ve ever used, as well as some very fun camera tricks that require deep machine learning. I’ll talk about these more in their respective sections. Just know that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is a faster chip and can display graphics at higher framerates, but Tensor is more clever.
Battery, memory, and other components
Both phones pack a 5,000 mAh cell (the Pixel 6 Pro actually has a 5,003 mAh battery but let’s not be pedantic here), which is about as large as a modern flagship phone battery can get right now. Wireless charging is available for both phones, but the OnePlus 10 Pro can charge wirelessly faster at up to 50W than the Pixel’s 25W. Wired charging, too, is a major win for OnePlus — the 10 Pro can top up at up to 80W speeds and the charger is included with the box (although US models get a 65W charging brick due to local restrictions, and there’s a whole separate discussion to be had on how the 65W is better than the 80W charging). The Pixel 6 Pro can charge 30W maximum and the charger is not included, so there’s no winning here.
As for RAM, the OnePlus 10 Pro starts at 8GB but offers a 12GB version, while the Pixel 6 Pro only comes with 12GB RAM. Still, I’d say even the 8GB RAM OnePlus 10 Pro feels faster than the 12GB RAM Pixel 6 Pro. Both phones have storage options of 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB.
Each phone also feature excellent haptics and pretty good stereo speakers, and there’s IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating for both. OnePlus 10 Pro also has an alert slider, a physical toggle that allows users to quickly change the phone from mute to vibrate or sound on.
OnePlus 10 Pro vs Google Pixel 6 Pro: Cameras
The OnePlus 10 Pro’s triple camera system is headlined by a 48MP, f/1.8 main camera with a 1/1.24-inch Sony sensor; a 50MP ultra-wide sensor with a crazy wide native 150-degree field-of-view, and an 8MP telephoto lens that can do 3.3X optical zoom.
The Pixel 6 Pro, meanwhile, features a 50MP, f/1.9 Samsung GN1 sensor with a 1/1.31-inch sensor; a 12MP ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture but a limiting 114-degree field-of-view; and a 48MP Periscope zoom lens that can do 4x optical zoom.
In terms of main camera hardware, it’s a very close call, both are great sensors, but I’m partial to the GN1 sensor used by the Pixel because it has a larger image sensor, which increases light intake, as well as produces more real bokeh. Factor this with Google’s image processing, which has always been one of the best in the business (if not the best), and I just think the Pixel 6 Pro’s main camera captures superior photos. The OnePlus 10 Pro’s main camera is still very, very good, however.
Moving to the ultra-wide, it’s about whether you want a wider, sweeping view at the sacrifice of image sharpness or a tighter, sharper shot. The thing is, the Pixel 6 Pro’s ultra-wide framing is so tight, that it almost can’t count as ultra-wide.
For zoom shots, the Pixel 6 Pro’s 4x optical on paper doesn’t seem that much longer than the 3.3x optical of the OnePlus 10 Pro, but because the Pixel uses Periscope lens technology, it’s 4x zoom is just sharper and closer to a true lossless shot than the OnePlus 10 Pro’s telephoto 3.3x zoom. This isn’t that noticeable if you keep the zooming range short like 3.3x to 5x. But move to 10x, 20x and the Pixel 6 Pro’s zoom shots are clearly sharper and better.
It’s not all about hardware, however, as both phones are heavy on computational photography now. For OnePlus, this is “expert color grading” made by Hasselblad engineers, as well as a very intuitive manual video mode. For the Pixel, it’s full-on Tensor-powered machine learning, letting it execute a bunch of awesome photography tricks like adding realistic motion blur around a subject (to make someone or something seem like they’re moving at high speed), or erase unwanted background distractions with the Pixel’s “object eraser.” Google’s algorithm is also uncanny at identifying human faces and scenes and optimizing photos to best shoot the vibe.
For video recording, the OnePlus 10 Pro can shoot up to 8K while the Pixel 6 Pro tops out at 4K, but most people won’t need 8K videos. If we stick to 4K, I think the Pixel 6 Pro’s main camera produces better videos, but its ultra-wide videos really suffer from noise. The OnePlus 10 Pro’s ultra-wide videos look much better.
Both phones are perfectly fine for selfies and produce images that are well-detailed day and night. Overall, the OnePlus 10 Pro camera system is very good, but the Pixel 6 Pro camera is among the very best. In fact, I personally rank the Pixel 6 Pro as either the second or third best camera system alongside the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (number one is the Vivo X80 Pro).
OnePlus 10 Pro vs Google Pixel 6 Pro: Software
Once upon a time, the OxygenOS software that runs on OnePlus phones felt very similar to the stock Android running in Pixel phones. But that’s not the case now, as OnePlus has shifted a bit of its personality to match its cousin ColorOS (the China version of OnePlus 10 Pro, in fact, straight-up runs ColorOS), and the Pixel 6 Pro ships with a revamped Pixel version of Google that looks quite different from any other forms of Android.
In short, I love what Google has done with the Pixel 6 Pro’s version of Android. Using a weirdly named theme of “Material You,” the UI is more customizable than before and is designed to cater to the tastes of the user. If you use a pink wallpaper, for example, expect the UI color elements to shift to accommodate the pink. Everything has a whimsical look, from the large oval-shaped shortcut toggle buttons to the always-on display clock that stretches almost the entire screen.
Ironically, many of these features were offered in OnePlus’ OxygenOS long ago, like the ability to change UI color themes. I still like OxygenOS a lot, as it’s packed with shortcut gestures (I love being able to control music playback directly on a sleeping screen without even needing to turn on the display), but this time around, the Pixel 6 Pro just has a better personality.
Pixel’s software is also, as mentioned earlier, smarter. I mentioned earlier the voice dictation is awesome and it’s worth saying again: the Pixel’s voice dictation is significantly better than any other computing device I’ve used. And Google designed Gboard to support this too, so I can use my voice to type without ever touching the keyboard. And I’d say voice dictation accuracy is well above 90% (compared to, by my estimate, roughly 70% accuracy on Siri). The phone even knows when to insert punctuation. And this is all tied to Tensor because other phones running Android can’t understand my speech nearly as well. The Pixel 6 Pro’s ability to turn my voice to text is uncanny and game-changing — I legitimately type a lot less often when I’m using a Pixel.
The OnePlus 10 Pro’s software is fine, but the Pixel 6 Pro’s software feels like a mini evolution, offering a glimpse of what the future of smart devices can do for us.
OnePlus 10 Pro vs Google Pixel 6 Pro: Performance and Battery Life
With roughly the same battery and screen size, you’d think battery life would be about equal — but no, because the OnePlus 10 Pro panel is more energy-efficient, I notice a bit better battery life in the OnePlus 10 Pro — it’s enough to last a full 12-hour day, while the Pixel 6 Pro often will fall short by an hour or so. Keep in mind I am a heavy user, so for others, these phones should be an all-day phone. The fact that the OnePlus 10 Pro can charge much faster is another advantage.
As for performance, it’s a close one. The OnePlus 10 Pro feels like a faster phone — it unlocks faster, apps launch slightly faster, and animations zip around. The Pixel 6 Pro isn’t slow per se, but it’s not super fast either. And there have been some random app crashes here and there. However, the Pixel 6 Pro’s intelligence — like the ability to passively identify music playing nearby me, or the aforementioned amazing voice dictation, really enhances the overall smartphone experience.
The OnePlus 10 Pro is more powerful, but the Pixel 6 Pro is smarter and more personal.
OnePlus 10 Pro vs Google Pixel 6 Pro: Which one should you buy?
Although both phones launched at $899, there are consistent deals for the Pixel 6 Pro, that shave a bit of money off the price. And indeed, right now, at least on Amazon, the Pixel 6 Pro is about $50 cheaper than the OnePlus 10 Pro. To recap, the OnePlus 10 Pro has an objectively better display, fingerprint scanner, charging speeds, and raw processing power. But the Pixel 6 Pro has a better main camera, a much better zoom camera, and more intelligent and personal software.
Both phones are very good, but I would personally pick the Pixel 6 Pro for the superior camera and the smarter software. Being able to dictate an entire paragraph by voice and then verbally command the Pixel 6 Pro to send the message never gets old.