Google Pixel 6 vs OnePlus 9: Which Should You Buy?


Now that the Pixel 6 has been officially unveiled, it’s time to start looking at how it stacks up against other smartphones in the market. The most intriguing comparison comes when looking at the Pixel 6 vs OnePlus 9, as many Pixel fans flocked to OnePlus after 2020 came and went without a proper flagship.

Google Pixel 6 vs OnePlus 9: Spec Comparison

Google Pixel 6 OnePlus 9
Price $599 / $699 $599 / $699
Screen size 6.4-inches 6.55-inches
Resolution 2340 x 1080 2400 x 1080
Density 411 ppi 402 ppi
Processor Google Tensor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM 8 GB 8 / 12 GB
Storage 128 / 256 GB 128 / 256 GB
Battery 4600 mAh 4500 mAh
OS Android 12 Android 11
Rear camera Dual cameras:
50MP (main)
12MP (ultra-wide)
48MP, EIS, f/1.8, 1.12 μm (main)
50MP, f/2.2, freeform lens (ultra-wide)
2MP (monochrome)
Front camera 12MP 16MP, Fixed focus, f/2.4, 1.0 μm
Bluetooth v5.2 v5.2
NFC Yes Yes
Dimensions 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm
Weight 207g 192 g
Water Resistance IP68 N/A
Wireless Charging Yes Yes
Special features 33W fast charging, 21W wireless charging, 90Hz Refresh Rate, in-display fingerprint sensor, WiFi 6E, sub-6 and mid-band 5G, UWB, Titan M2 65W fast charging, 15W Qi wireless charging, in-display fingerprint sensor, WiFi 6, sub-6 and mid-band 5G, 120Hz Refresh Rate

Pixel 6 vs OnePlus 9: Where Google Has The Edge

From a spec-for-spec comparison, it definitely looks as though OnePlus has the edge. But when you dive a bit deeper, it doesn’t take long to see that lead shrink up. The dual-camera system on the Pixel 6 is expected to be pretty incredible, even if the spec sheets say that the OnePlus 9 has a third camera. While that’s technically true, it’s not like the third camera on the Pixel 6 Pro, and is instead, just a 2MP monochrome sensor.

The Pixel 6 is also slightly shorter than the OnePlus 9, but is also a bit wider, thicker, and heavier, but it should still make for a comfortable experience. We have faster 21W wireless charging speeds in the Pixel 6, compared to the 15W Qi charging in the OnePlus 9.

The biggest difference, other than the cameras and software, comes via the processor. In the Pixel 6, we have the Google Tensor chip, paired with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. Google claims that the performance of this will be comparable to flagship devices, but we’ll have to wait and see if those claims are true once we get the Pixel 6 in hand.

For comparison, the OnePlus 9 uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset, and offers the same 8GB / 128GB configuration. Google gets the leg up here with the Tensor chip in terms of security as the SoC also integrates Google’s Titan M2 security chip. The company is claiming that this is the most secure Android device in the world, which would make sense. Now that Google is in control of the hardware from top-to-bottom and doesn’t need to rely on Qualcomm, it presents a situation that Google has always wanted.

Finally, we have to talk about software. The Pixel 6 ships with Android 12, including Google’s new Material You dynamic theming engine. This will help to create a truly unique theme across your entire device, including the settings menus, icons, and the UI on the whole.

Currently, the OnePlus 9 is running OxygenOS 11, based on Android 11. But as we’ve detailed in the past, OnePlus is going through a few growing pains and struggles in the software department. Because of this, OnePlus’ software efforts have been merged with Oppo, and whenever the next update arrives, it will be under the ColorOS umbrella.

Google Pixel 6

Pixel 6 vs OnePlus 9: OnePlus Hangs Around

Even though the OnePlus 9 has been out since March, it still ranks as one of the best Android phones out there. Add in the fact that OnePlus has seemingly dropped the price down to match the Pixel 6, and it’s an even better value than before.

Despite over-heating problems that plagued the device at launch, OnePlus seems to have gotten most of the bugs worked out. Putting it plainly, the OnePlus 9 is still a powerhouse for those who want a flagship device in a more compact form factor. The Snapdragon 888 and 8GB of RAM is more than sufficient for handling pretty much anything you could throw at it, including playing your favorite games or just trying to multi-task.

Where the OnePlus 9 holds a lead over the Pixel 6 is in two key areas. For one, it offers much faster charging speeds thanks to OnePlus’ Warp Charge 65T. This provides 65W charging speeds (with compatible chargers), and can get you from 0-100% in less than an hour.

Another area is in the display itself. While Google and OnePlus both left the superior LTPO displays to the Pro models, both the Pixel 6 vs OnePlus 9 offer faster refresh rates. But while the Pixel 6 comes in at 90Hz, the OnePlus 9 offers a 120Hz refresh rate. Again, this isn’t a variable refresh rate like the 9 Pro, but you can still manually switch between 60Hz and 120Hz.

Ignoring the 2MP monochrome sensor, OnePlus has made great strides to provide a solid camera experience on the OnePlus 9. The Hasselblad partnership was a step in the right direction, but subsequent software updates continue to improve image quality and processing. We’ll have to see just how well these devices match up in day-to-day usage.

OnePlus 9

Pixel 6 vs OnePlus 9: Which Should You Buy?

If OnePlus had not done the smart thing and dropped the price of the OnePlus 9 to match the Pixel 6’s $599 cost, this would have been a no-brainer. And in some facets, it’s still a no-brainer as Google will finally be able to flex its muscles between on-device machine learning and image processing. Plus, we have Android 12 with Material You and don’t have to wait for the ColorOS integration to make its way to the OnePlus 9.

There’s really nothing wrong with the OnePlus 9 from a hardware perspective, as it remains one of the most impressive devices of the year. But the tribulations of what has transpired over the past 8 months may leave you feeling a bit wary of the future.

In any event, go with what you feel comfortable with, but if we had to choose, we’d definitely go with the Pixel 6.


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