As much as I look forward to the reveal of Apple’s big iPhone every year, I am more excited this year by theand with . I’ve been a happy iPhone owner for years, so this feeling comes as a surprise.
Part of this is due to Apple’s lack of sparkleupgrades. Make no mistake: the iPhone 13 is awesome. Better screens? Yeah. Better cameras? Yeah. Longer battery life? It’s here. ? Sign me up now. (On second thought, I’m not tall and these agreements with carriers come with many caveats.)
But overall it has been a dormant year for the company in terms of, at least. Of course that little notch is the swell and the holy smoke, have you seen the dramatic videos you can take with it? ? I love these features, and can’t say I didn’t feel my skin tingle when I watched them in action. But aside from the routine improvements to things like the processor and features I mentioned earlier, there were a slew of features that have remained remarkably unchanged, like the and dimensions for beginners. CNET’s Patrick Holland even said in his that the phone is not drastically different from the iPhone 12.
Read more: CNETand review
from googleon the other hand, which launched on October 19, seems like a doozy and seems to represent a huge leap forward for Google in terms of design, performance, and features. Now that it’s launched, the only thing I see holding it back for some people is 5G. As far as we know, , which is the super-fast flavor of 5G provided by some carriers – and that’s unfortunate for a flagship phone. But if you’re not worried about mmWave or if it’s not available where you live, that might not be a problem for you.
Anyway, here’s why Google’s Pixel 6 makes me look beyond the iPhone 13, but be sure to check out our Pixel 6 and 6 Pro reviews.
Pixel 6 design: vibrant and bold
Take a look at the Pixel 6 and you will see that it has undergone a drastic design makeover and shines. Gone are the squircle camera bump and the Pixel 5’s modest color palette. This design makes way for a camera bar that spans the width of the phone, with vibrant colorways and shiny metallic highlights.
As a renowned mobile software developer, Google previously designed its phones to let the Android mobile operating system take center stage. In the eyes of the user, the hardware was meant to disappear in the background, serving as a mere vehicle for Android. But for 2021, Google seems to be shedding that design philosophy in favor of a bolder, more eye-catching look. The Pixel 6’s hardware is visually distinctive, and it’s clear Google is playing to stand out in the competitive premium phone arena this year.
Pixel 6 processor: SoC Tensor
But there may be more to the Pixel 6 than it looks. Under the hood, Google says, it outfitted the Pixel 6 series with a bespoke system-on-a-chip known as the Tensor, which CEO Sundar Pichai touts as Pixel’s biggest innovation to date. It was designed in-house by engineers at Google, which means it was tailor-made for Android just like Apple does with its own mobile processors.
Google has been silent on performance and it remains to be seen if Tensor can keep up with Apple’s chips, but I think it has a good chance now that it has more control over the design and development of its processor. . Hopefully with this control he could also, allowing you to keep a Pixel 6 for more years with security updates. Previous Pixel phones were guaranteed three years of support, which is significantly less than the six years of support the iPhone 6S received or the four years of support Samsung now provides to its Galaxy phones.
Either way, this represents another “seismic break from the past,” as CNET’s Brian Bennet put it. Keep in mind that last year’s Pixel 5 ran on the mid-range Snapdragon 765G processor, which is a step below the Snapdragon 865 built into flagship phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S20, to allow Google to keep a check on the price.
Pixel 6 software: Android 12
Another thing that excites me is the software. The Pixel 6 comes with, making it one of the first phones to feature the updated mobile operating system – and that’s to be excited about. You’ll be able to do cool things like take scrolling screenshots (finally!), A minute-by-minute privacy dashboard, and the OS customization is lovely. But other than that, Google has announced that the Pixel 6 series will rely heavily on AI, and the Pixel 6 could be the most AI-centric phone Google has ever made. This could translate into things like better language translation and even better computer photography for Pixel’s already excellent cameras.
Specs aside, I’m perhaps more excited about Pixel this year as Apple has crossed that threshold where greatness is expected, if not guaranteed. Google, meanwhile, still has a lot to prove in the smartphone business. The Pixel’s market share is tiny compared to that of Apple’s iPhones. Or maybe it’s the fact that the iPhone and iOS already underwent a redesign in 2017 with the iPhone X, when Pixel’s transformation is long overdue. But now Google is doing things that many of us have been waiting for years – and with this new direction, I’m hoping Google’s Pixel has the potential to be a heavyweight lineup.