pixel 6 vs iphone 13.jpg

Just a few years ago, it was hard to imagine that Google and Apple would have smartphones that offer similar yet different experiences. Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have attractive prices at $599 and $899, respectively. The iPhone 13 lineup starts at $699 and spans price points with a total of four models — the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

We think you’ll be surprised that even though one phone runs Android and the other runs iOS, the Pixel 6 and iPhone 13 have a lot in common. That said, they’re not identical, and there are some features like iMessage that are very specific to either platform.

So, should you get an iPhone 13 or Pixel 6? Let’s take a closer look.

Get an iPhone 13 if you…

4-iphone 13 underscored review

Are tired of feeling left out of iMessage groups

Apple’s messaging platform, iMessage, is not only convenient because it’s built into the default Messages app across all Apple devices, but it’s also the cause of social envy. If someone sends you a message and the outgoing message bubble turns blue, you’re an iPhone user. If it turns green, well, people don’t like to talk about green bubble users. In fact, green bubbles are often left out of group conversations. It’s not fair, and it makes little sense, but it happens.

And as of right now, owning an iPhone is the only way to take part in iMessage conversations while on the go.

Want to take advantage of MagSafe

Let’s be honest — MagSafe is one of the best additions to Apple’s iPhone lineup in the last few years. The technology premiered on the iPhone 12 and is simply a circle of magnets on the back of the device to ensure compatible wireless chargers and other accessories are properly lined up.

Apple even has a MagSafe battery pack that extends the battery life of your iPhone 13 through wireless charging. The best part? Once you’re done topping off your iPhone, you can just remove the battery pack.

You care about taking great photos and videos

Apple’s iPhone is known for taking some of, if not the very best, photos you can get from a smartphone, and this year’s iPhone 13 family is no exception. The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max have a new macro photo option that allows you to take photos within a few centimeters of the subject.

Another first is a new Cinematic Video mode for all iPhone 13 phones, which adds depth of field to videos, allowing you to change and alter the focal point while filming or editing clips. This capability is something normally reserved for high-end movie productions, and iPhone 13 users now have it in the palm of their hands.

Key specs for iPhone 13 Mini and 13:

  • Display: 5.4 inches or 6.1 inches
  • Camera: Rear, 12-megapixel wide and 12-megapixel ultrawide; front, 12-megapixel
  • Processor: Apple A15 Bionic
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
  • Colors: Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight and Product Red

Key specs for iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max:

  • Display: 6.1 inches or 6.8 inches
  • Camera: Rear, 12-megapixel wide, 12-megapixel ultrawide and 12-megapixel telephoto; front, 12-megapixel
  • Processor: Apple A15 Bionic
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
  • Colors: Graphite, Gold, Silver or Sierra Blue

Get a Pixel 6 if you…

4-pixel 6 pixel 6 pro review underscored

Are invested in Google products and services

Between Google’s search engine, Gmail and YouTube, it’s hard to imagine the internet without the tech giant. Naturally, all those services are built right into both Pixel 6 models with Android.

In addition to the staple online services Google provides, the rest of Google’s hardware and smart home platforms are also integrated into its Pixel devices. For example, you can control all your Google Home devices using the Google Assistant or the built-in Home controls, allowing you to do things like adjust your Nest thermostat or view your Nest Cam Video Doorbell on your Pixel 6 with just a couple of taps.

Want the latest version of Android at all times

Because Google created both Android and the Pixel, Pixel phones are able to receive Android updates before every other Android device. This means that being a Pixel user allows you to always receive the latest and greatest version of Android. It also means you’ll be privy to everything from the monthly security updates and quarterly Pixel feature drops, to testing out the next version of Android through Google’s public beta program, to getting major updates on day one of availability. And you know you’re constantly using the latest and greatest version of Android.

For the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro that specifically means you’re using Android 12, complete with a totally new Material You design, which is arguably Google’s biggest redesign to Android. On top of the new look, there are also new privacy improvements and new camera features — like Magic Eraser — that can, true to its name, magically erase items from your pictures.

You care about taking great photos

Wait, we just said the iPhone was for someone who cares about taking great photos, so why say the same thing about the Pixel 6? Because, truth be told, both take some of the best photos you can get from a smartphone. With the Pixel 6 you’ll get a 50-megapixel main camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. The Pixel 6 Pro has the same camera offering but adds a 48-megapixel telephoto lens.

Either phone is capable of taking iPhone-level photos with the same ease of use as the Camera app. However, we’re partial to the Pixel 6 Pro’s added telephoto functionality that lets us zoom in on a shot without degrading the overall photo quality.

Key specs for Pixel 6:

  • Display: 6.4-inch display
  • Camera: Rear, 50-megapixel wide and 12-megapixel ultrawide; front, 8-megapixel
  • Processor: Google Tensor chip
  • Storage: 128GB or 256GB
  • Colors: Sorta Seafoam, Stormy Black or Kinda Coral

Key specs for Pixel 6 Pro:

  • Display: 6.7-inch display
  • Camera: Rear, 50-megapixel wide, 48-megapixel telephoto and 12-megapixel ultrawide; front, 11.1-megapixel
  • Processor: Google Tensor chip
  • Storage: 128GB or 256GB
  • Colors: Sorta Sunny, Stormy Black or Cloudy White

Let’s recap

There’s more to the debate between the iPhone 13 and Pixel 6 outside of the standard iOS or Android argument. Both Google and Apple have created entire ecosystems of services and products that round out the experience of the respective platforms.

We’d also call out that neither of these phones is a slouch and both feature the latest in terms of phone processors tech. Apple’s A15 Bionic is the latest in-house chip after several generations and gives you a runway for really any tasks. Google’s first custom chip, the Tensor, powers the 6 and 6 Pro and offers a smooth experience within clean Android.

Either phone will take stunning photos you’ll be proud to share online or have a large printout hanging on your wall. iMessage is a clear advantage that Apple has over, well, everyone, but for massive users of the Google Home and Nest products, the Pixel 6 can’t be beaten.