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Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: Design
- Tri-tone glass sandwich vs solid color bioresin/metal design
From the get-go, the Pixel 6 design is radically different compared to the Pixel 5. The previous generation Google flagship featured a hybrid aluminum body with a thin bio resin plastic skin on top, giving it a very distinct look and feel.
The Pixel 6, on the other hand, is using the more traditional glass sandwich design, with Gorilla Glass Victus over the screen and Gorilla Glass 6 covering the back. The Camera Bar stretches through the whole width of the phone’s body. The color scheme is a three-tone one, as opposed to the solid color design from the last generation, and there’s an eye-catching colorful element above the camera system, accentuating the pastel nuance of the bigger element below the camera system.
Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: Display
- 6.4-inch flat Full-HD+ 90Hz vs 6-inch flat Full-HD+ 90Hz
- 411ppi vs 432ppi
The Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch OLED panel with a 90Hz display refresh rate and Full HD+ resolution (1080 x 2400 at 411 ppi). For comparison, the Pixel 5 comes equipped with a 6.0-inch OLED panel with the same 90Hz display refresh rate. The resolution is the same once again – Full HD+ (1080×2340) but the smaller diagonal translates in a higher pixel density of 432ppi.
Just like the Pixel 5, the Pixel 6 features a flat display but the bezels look thinner in the new model. Fans of curved displays and 120 Hz refresh rates should shift their attention toward the Pixel 6 Pro, as this model comes with the aforementioned specs.
Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: Hardware and performance
- Custom made Tensor chipset vs Snapdragon 765G
The hardware side of things brings another twist to the story. Google decided to divorce Qualcomm and develop its own silicon named Tensor. It uses two Arm Cortex-X1 CPUs at 2.8 GHz to handle processing-heavy tasks, two 2.25 GHz A76 CPUs, and four efficiency cores – ARM Cortex A55.
The Pixel 5, on the other hand, has been criticized for using a midrange chipset – the Snapdragon 765G to be exact. And while this SoC offers decent performance, it’s not on par with top-tier silicon found in “real” flagships.
But, with Google phones, it’s not always about performance. The Google Tensor allows the Pixel 6 and the AI Assistant on board to perform more tasks, entirely on-device. This means they are faster, much faster in fact, but also more secure… presumably.
The Pixel 6 has just insane speech recognition — it gets grammar, intent, and intonation. So, you can really dictate your messages or even notes to the phone. Also, the new implementation of Live Translate is just next class with its speed and accuracy.
In other words — if you are buying a Pixel to get that “Google experience”, a Pixel 6 makes much more sense than a Pixel 5 purchase.
Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: Camera
50MP (Wide) + 12MP (Ultra wide) vs 12.2MP (Wide) + 16MP (Ultra wide)
The Pixel 5 comes equipped with two main cameras – a 12.2 MP main shooter (1/2.55″ sensor, 27 mm-equivalent (standard-wide) f/1.7-aperture lens, dual pixel PDAF, OIS), and a 16 MP ultrawide camera (1.0µm sensor, 107-degree field of view f/2.2-aperture lens). The main camera uses the IMX363 sensor from Sony, and it’s pretty outdated hardware. Thankfully, Google image processing software algorithms are pure magic, and image samples taken with the Pixel 5 look amazing.
At first glance, the photos seem very similar. It is when we begin pixel-peeping that we see small differences — the Pixel 5 is sharpening pictures digitally and details just seem a bit more jagged. The Pixel 6’s sensor retains sharpness, but it looks more natural. Also, depending on scene, the Pixel 6 handles dynamics a bit better, with more natural midtones, where the Pixel 5 seems to make colors a bit colder.
The Portrait Mode seems to be the same hit-and-miss performance on both phones. It’s worth noting that the Pixel 6 can go in to 2x crop for Portrait Mode, the Pixel 5 is limited to 1.3x, which is barely a zoom.
Neither phone is a zoom monster. They both tap out at 7x zoom — and none give us outstanding results. But, it’s fair to say, with the massive software sharpening that’s going on in the background, both give you a useable picture at 7x. We’d just avoid it unless absolutely necessary.
Moving on to night shots — and yeah, Pixels are popular for their Night Sight. The Pixel 6 does improve on an already working formula with less noise, better colors, and a lot more exposure. It does take a while for a Night Sight photo to develop, so take a breath and don’t move. Also, for some scenes, I kind of preferred Night Sight off — the Pixel 6’s massive sensor can handle it.
The selfie cameras, again, perform very similar on both phones:
Google emphasised that it worked to improve the video capture on its new Pixels. And yeah, even from a quick test, we can see that the Pixel 6 is better than the Pixel 5 — dynamics are handled better, the video is brighter but with no burnouts, colors are more accurate and the overall picture is a bit warmer and livelier. Stabilization seems to perform similarly on both phones and details seem to be pretty close, too.
Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: Battery
The Pixel 5 comes with an ample 4,000 mAh battery on board, a significant step-up, compared to the Pixel 4. It’s worth mentioning however that the Snapdragon 765G chipset is not exactly power hungry and contributes to the good battery life seen throughout benchmarks.
The battery inside the Pixel 6 has been upgraded to a capacity of 4,614mAh, which is a substantial upgrade compared to the Pixel 5. We did our homework and performed all the necessary battery testing on the new Pixels, and here are the results.
Web browsing test:
Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: Price
The Pixel 5 price at launch was $699, making the phone kinda affordable, especially compared to other flagship phones, but still a bit on the pricey considering the hardware.
The Pixel 6, on the other hand, launched at $599 with already better specs than Pixel 5 — I mean even by equivalent 2020 vs 2021 standards.
So, which one should you buy? The big question that never gets old. This one is a no-brainer, really. The Pixel 6 is better in almost every imaginable way, and it is also cheaper (at launch). Of course, the price of the Pixel 5 is now much lower, if you can find one — Google doesn’t officially sell it anymore, but you can probably find new old stock somewhere at retailers.