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Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S21: preliminary comparison

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The Pixel 6 info in this comparison is based on leaks and rumors. The images of the Pixel 6 in this article are renders by Front Page Tech.
The latest leaks about the yet-unannounced Pixel 6 are leading us to think that it’s time for Google to come back to the flagship battle and that the Pixel 6 will hopefully be Google’s ‘real flagship’. With how things are looking right now, we are bound to expect that Google is ready to step up with the big boys again.

On the other hand, we have the Galaxy S21, the smallest of the most recent flagship series by Samsung, which boasts the latest and greatest processor and versatile cameras, and retails at $799. So, in this article, we will compare these two phones in terms of design, display, and performance, in order to help you if you’re wondering which one you should upgrade to.

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Google Pixel 6 vs Galaxy S21: Design

Alright, let’s discuss the design first, and the difference between the Pixel 6 and the Galaxy S21 in terms of overall looks. First off, we have the Pixel 6’s recent internet shock… yes, we mean the leaked Pixel 6 renders, showing off an interesting new love-or-hate design. This new look will make the Pixel 6 stand out from previous Pixels, making it instantly recognizable. According to the leaked renders, the phone’s camera bump on the back will stretch horizontally across the entire width of the rear panel, and the phone’s back will reportedly brag with not one, not two, but three different colors.

Keep in mind that the colors on the real thing may differ from the renders, but the design itself has been confirmed by two reputable leakers. The front of the phone has slim bezels and a centered punch-hole camera.

The Galaxy S21’s design is far from boring as well, and also, instantly recognizable. The phone comes in four colors: Phantom Violet, Phantom Pink, Phantom White, and Phantom Grey, and boasts an eye-catching approach to smartphone camera bump design.

In terms of actual sizes, the Pixel 6’s sizes have not leaked yet, but we can expect, given the fact it will have a bigger sibling, that it will probably have a 6-inch screen and will be around the size of the Galaxy S21. For reference, the Galaxy S21’s size is 5.97 x 2.80 x 0.31 inches (151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm), with a display size of 6.2 inches diagonally. Another Pixel 6 leak states the phone will come with an under-display fingerprint sensor, something its predecessor did not have, and Galaxy phones have had for a while.

Google Pixel 6 vs Galaxy S21: Display

Judging by the renders, the Pixel 6 has slimmer bezels now, compared to its predecessor. However, little is known about its actual display size or the refresh rate. The Pixel 5 has a 90Hz refresh rate, but Google might have decided to pump things up and grace the Pixel 6 with a 120Hz refresh rate.

The Galaxy, on the other hand, has a smooth 120Hz adaptive refresh rate for its beautiful 6.2-inch AMOLED screen. Its display is flat, sports an FHD+ resolution, and offers a pleasant viewing experience with its crystal clear 424PPI pixel density.

For reference, here’s how the Galaxy S21 and the Pixel 5’s display measurements compare with each other. Of course, some improvement in the display with the Pixel 6 is something one will reasonably expect: 

Google Pixel 6 vs Galaxy S21: Hardware and performance

Here, we have a very interesting situation. According to the latest rumors, the Pixel 6 will be powered by a mysterious in-house developed chipset. The processor is codenamed Whitechapel, or GS101, where ‘GS’ stands for Google Silicon.

This chip is rumored to be made in Samsung’s factories using a 5nm process, meaning it should be able to deliver a performance similar to that of the Snapdragon 888 and the Exynos 2100. If that’s the case, we will most likely have a ‘real flagship’ this time around.

The Galaxy S21, on the other hand, features industry-leading Snapdragon 888 (or Exynos 2100 outside of the States and Korea), which delivers premium, ultra-fast performance with no stutters whatsoever, capable of withstanding whatever it is you throw at it. If Google manages to achieve similar performance, things will get really interesting here.

For reference, here’s how the Galaxy S21 and the Pixel 5 fared in benchmarking tests. Keep in mind the new chipset in the Pixel 6 should technically deliver better results for the Pixel:

Performance Benchmarks:

*Please note that we have the Exynos version of the Galaxy S21.

In terms of other specs, there are no leaks on the Pixel 6’s yet. The Pixel 5, for reference, has 8 gigs of RAM and 128 gigs of internal storage, and so does the Galaxy. 8GB of RAM is plenty for everything you might need: from multitasking to gaming, so no worries here.

Google Pixel 6 vs Galaxy S21: Cameras

The camera department is again another aspect where these two phones might be really close in performance. Pixel phones are famous for their gorgeous image processing capabilities, and despite usually having lower-resolution camera lenses, Pixel phones rarely struggle with coming up with great photos in every situation.

For now, we know the Pixel 6 has two cameras on the back, but their specs are unknown at the moment. For reference, the Pixel 5 sports a 12.2MP main shooter and a 16MP ultrawide sensor, and it is unclear whether these numbers will be upgraded this year.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S21 has a triple camera system with a main 12 MP sensor, a 64MP zoom camera (no telephoto lens though), and a 12 MP ultra-wide. The phone manages to deliver well-exposed images with great quality and a fantastic dynamic range. It is also sharp on details.

It remains to be seen how the Pixel 6’s cameras will perform and what improvements Google has planned in this department. For now, you can look through some photo samples taken for our Google Pixel 5 vs Galaxy S21 comparison:

Google Pixel 6 vs Galaxy S21: Battery life

The Pixel 6’s battery size hasn’t leaked yet; however, the Pixel 5 and its 4,080mAh battery cell did deliver good performance for day-to-day usage. With moderate usage, it can go for a day and a half with room to spare, and if Google is able to keep this performance with the Pixel 6, it would be great.

The Galaxy S21 has a 4,000mAh battery cell as well, capable of lasting a day with moderate usage, so it did perform well in our battery tests, but, let’s say, battery life is not its strongest selling point.

Here you can look at some of our battery benchmarks with the Pixel 5 and the S21, for reference:

*Keep in mind we have tested only the Exynos-powered Galaxy S21 at the moment. The Pixel 5 supports 90Hz high refresh rate, while the Galaxy 120Hz.

Google Pixel 6 vs Galaxy S21: Price

If Google has prepared the Pixel 6 for the flagship scene it may come with a higher price tag than its predecessor’s $699. And we know that if the new processor can match up the Snapdragon 888’s capabilities, Google will be in a perfect position to rejoin the flagship battles.

For now, let’s bet on at least a $699 retail price for the Pixel 6, or maybe even $799, to match the Galaxy S21. However, keep in mind that no leaks have disclosed any info on the Pixel 6’s price as of now.

Conclusion

We’ve said it multiple times in this article: Google may be working on a flagship phone this time around, something Google fans have been waiting for since the Pixel 5 was released. Will it be able to be up to par with the powerful Samsung Galaxy S21?

Which phone turns out to be better will depend a lot on how the Whitechapel chip in the Pixel 6 behaves, but until we can test that out ourselves, we remain open-minded.

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