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Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Which affordable flagship should you buy? – XDA Developers

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Samsung has established itself as one of the leaders of the Android smartphone space. Barring an occasional misfire, the company has consistently produced some fantastic flagship smartphones. So whenever another Android manufacturer produces a flagship, it gets compared to the Samsung flagship. As a part of the same tradition, now it’s the turn of Pixel 6 to get this treatment with the Galaxy S21.
This article will pit the Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 to see how the two flagships stack up against each other.
Navigate this guide:
Google Pixel 6
There is nothing extraordinary about the design of either Pixel 6 or Galaxy S21. But both smartphones look great and have a premium look. While the Pixel 6 is a glass sandwich, Samsung has opted for a plastic back on the S21, unlike other S21 series phones.
The plastic back of the S21 has a matte finish and doesn’t look cheap. While glass certainly looks better, plastic has an advantage in terms of durability. And as most people use a case with their phone, the back is anyway going to be hidden. While we are on the topic of cases, make sure to check out our handpicked best Pixel 6 cases and Galaxy S21 cases if you end up buying one of these phones.
Although the Pixel 6 is the smaller phone in the Pixel 6 series, it’s still a massive phone with a 6.4-inch screen. On the other hand, the S21 feels reasonably smaller with its 6.2-inch screen and better screen-to-body ratio. Thanks to its plastic back and smaller overall footprint, the Samsung phone is also over 35 grams lighter than the Pixel.
While both the Pixel 6 and the Galaxy S21 use AMOLED panels, Samsung has gone with a 120Hz screen, whereas the Pixel 6 has a 90Hz display. In addition, the S21 screen gets slightly brighter than the Pixel 6.
Overall, the Galaxy S21 has a slight advantage on the display front with its higher refresh rate screen and brightness. That said, most people won’t be able to tell the difference between a 90Hz panel and a 120Hz panel.
Samsung Galaxy S21
Instead of relying on Qualcomm for a smartphone chip, Google developed its own chip this year based on Samsung Exynos 2100. This Tensor chip powers the Pixel 6, and it’s a pretty good first attempt. Like all flagship-grade chips, it can handle everything with ease, and you won’t have to worry about lag or stuttering. The chip also helps Google offer several machine learning and artificial intelligence-backed features right on the device, which won’t be possible on other smartphone chips.
Samsung has gone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC in the US, and other markets get the Exynos 2100 SoC. Snapdragon 888 is a top-notch processor, and we have already seen its excellent performance in several phones this year.
In addition, both phones have 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of onboard storage.
Google Pixel 6
The Pixel phones are known for their prowess, but Samsung flagships aren’t slackers either in this department. As a result, both the Pixel 6 and Galaxy S21 take amazing photos, and picking between them depends on which aesthetic you prefer. For example, the Pixel 6 photos have high contrast and a cooler white balance, whereas the Galaxy S21 photos have an oversaturated look and high brightness.
In terms of raw camera specifications, you get a 50MP primary shooter (takes 12.5MP photos), a 12MP wide-angle camera, and an 8MP selfie shooter. The Galaxy S21 has a 12MP primary camera, a 12MP wide-angle shooter, a 64MP telephoto shooter, and a 10MP selfie camera.
All in all, S21’s telephoto shooter gives the phone one advantage over the Pixel 6, which, unlike the Pixel 6 Pro, doesn’t have a telephoto camera. So if you like to take a lot of photos with the telephoto camera, you are better off with the Samsung phone.
Samsung Galaxy S21
The Pixel 6 houses a 4,614mAh battery, whereas you get a 4,000mAh battery with the S21. This difference in the battery size impacts how long the two phones last. While both phones will easily power through an entire day on a single charge, the moderate user will be able to steal another half day on the Pixel 6, which is harder on the S21.
The Galaxy S21 has a slight edge in fast charging capabilities as the phone supports 25W fast charging. While the Pixel 6 comes with an advertised fast charging speed of 30W, the phone can only charge up to at 21W. Meaning the S21 will charge quicker than the Pixel 6 with a compatible fast charger.
In terms of connectivity, the S21 supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G on all three major operators—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon—in the US. On the other hand, Pixel 6 supports mmWave 5G only on AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile users get stuck with sub-6GHz 5G support.
On the software front, the Pixel 6 runs stock Android 12 out of the box. The Galaxy S21 comes with Android 11 with One UI. But it is already receiving the Android 12 and One UI 4.0 update.
In addition, the Pixel 6 and the S21 will both get three years of Android updates. But the Galaxy S21 will only get four years of security patches, compared to five years for the Pixel 6.
Google Pixel 6
Google has priced the Pixel 6 quite aggressively. It starts at $599 for the 128GB version. On the other hand, the S21 retails beginning at $799. This difference in pricing gives Pixel a significant edge over the Samsung phone.
There are three color options for the Pixel 6—Stormy Black, Kinda Coral, and Sorta Seafoam—whereas the S21 comes in four colors—Phantom Violet, Phantom Gray, Phantom White, and Phantom Pink.
Given the price difference between the Galaxy S21 and Pixel 6, the Google phone certainly seems like a better purchase. But if you prefer a 120Hz display or telephoto shooter and can snag the Samsung phone for cheap during a sale, it’s also an excellent buy. On the other hand, if you don’t care for these two things, the Pixel 6 is a pretty well-rounded package at a great price.
Which of the two phones are you planning to buy? Let us know in the comments section. Meanwhile, don’t forget to check the best deals on the Pixel 6 and the Galaxy S21 to save some money. We’ve also picked the best screen protectors for the Pixel 6 and the Galaxy S21, which can help you safeguard those AMOLED displays from scratches.


XDA » Buying Guides » Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Which affordable flagship should you buy?
Gaurav has been covering technology for over a decade now. He has done everything from blogging about Android to reporting the latest from the world of Internet giants. When he is not writing about the tech companies, he can be found binge-watching new TV series on the web. You can reach Gaurav at [email protected]
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Exclusive: Google Pixel 6 Pro renders with triple camera setup and curved display – Digit

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The Google Pixel 6 Pro is expected to launch sometime later this year alongside the Pixel 6. The Pixel 6 Pro has been leaked with some of its key information out in the open including some high resolution renders that we have obtained from popular tipster OnLeaks. With the Pixel 6 lineup, Google is looking to double down its efforts in the smartphone market and could launch a completely redesigned Pixel smartphone for 2021. While the information on the Pixel 6 Pro is scarce at the moment, we do get a first look at how the phone might end up looking like. Here’s everything we know about the Pixel 6 Pro.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro features a 6.67-inch curved display that also has a punch-hole cutout in the centre for the selfie camera. The screen has minimal bezels on the sides and also features an in-display fingerprint sensor. The display could be a top-of-the-line AMOLED panel that may or may not support a high refresh rate.

Google Pixel 6 Pro has a horizontal camera island on the back that extends from the left edge to the right edge. It is also slightly protruded and houses triple cameras. The phone measures roughly 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9 millimetres and has an overall thickness of 11.5 millimetres including the camera bump.

The Pixel 6 Pro has dual stereo speakers that consist of a top and bottom speaker unit. The phone also supports wireless charging and will likely support fast wired charging as well.
We currently have no word on which chipset will be powering the Pixel 6 lineup but we expect to know more about the phone in the second half of 2021.

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