Oct 26th, 2021

After seeing the Pixel 4 series flop pretty dramatically, it opened the door for Samsung to really take over as the default Android option for the masses. Everywhere you turn, someone, somewhere is likely holding a Galaxy phone, and those who want the best of the best are likely using the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Now that the Pixel 6 Pro has arrived, Google is taking the fight to Samsung (and others) as it tries to offer the best Android phone out there. So how do the Pixel 6 Pro vs Galaxy S21 Ultra stack up?

Pixel 6 Pro vs Galaxy S21 Ultra: Spec Comparison

Google Pixel 6 Pro Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Price $899 / $999 / $1099 $1199 / $1249 / $1379
Screen size 6.71-inches 6.8-inches
Resolution 3120 x 1440 3200 x 1440
Density 512 ppi 515 ppi
Processor Google Tensor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM 12 GB 12 / 16 GB
Storage 128 / 256 / 512 GB 128 / 256 / 512 GB
Battery 5003 mAh 5000 mAh
OS Android 12 Android 11
Rear camera Triple cameras: 50MP, f/1.85,1.2μm (wide), 12MP, f/2.2,1.25μm (ultra-wide), 48MP, 0.8μm, f/3.5, OIS (telephoto) Quad-cameras: 108MP, f/1.8, OIS (wide), 10MP, f/4.9, OIS (periscope telephoto), 10MP, f/2.4, OIS, (telephoto), 12MP, f/2.2, PDAF (ultrawide)
Front camera 11.1MP, f/2.2, fixed focus 40MP, f/2.2
Bluetooth v5.2 v5.2
NFC Yes Yes
Dimensions 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
Weight 210g 227g
Water Resistance IP68 IP68
Wireless Charging Yes Yes
Special features 33W fast charging, 21W wireless charging, 120Hz Refresh Rate, in-display fingerprint sensor, WiFi 6E, sub-6 and mid-band 5G, Titan M2 25W fast charging, 15W Qi/PMA wireless charging, In-display fingerprint scanner, WiFi 6e, sub-6 and mid-band 5G, 120Hz refresh rate

Pixel 6 Pro vs Galaxy S21 Ultra: Breaking it down

Spec-for-spec, there’s really not all that much about the Pixel 6 Pro vs Galaxy S21 Ultra that is different. But there are a few areas (other than just the cameras) where you might be more intrigued by Google’s option. The first of which is the price, as Google is getting super-aggressive in an attempt to make a dent in the market.

The Pixel 6 Pro starts at just $899 for 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with $100 increases if you want more storage. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is still being offered for $1199 for the 12GB / 128GB configuration through Samsung, but since the device has been out for awhile, you can regularly see some pretty great discounts.

Google opted for a slightly-smaller 6.71-inch display AMOLED display, with slight curves, and a fast 120Hz refresh rate. This might appeal to those who think that the 0.09-inch difference could make an impact on your day-to-day use.

Battery life between these devices is pretty much the same, with the Pixel 6 Pro including a 5,003mAh battery and the Galaxy S21 Ultra using a 5,000mAh battery. Both devices are rated to last all-day, but we’ll be giving the nod to the Pixel 6 Pro with Google’s Adaptive Battery software, along with better optimization compared to the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Extra features are also pretty similar with both devices including 120Hz refresh rates, in-display fingerprint scanners, support for Wi-Fi 6E, along with support for both sub–6GHz and mid-band 5G networks. Where the Pixel 6 Pro pulls ahead again is in the charging speeds, as it’s rated for up to 33W wired charging compared to 25W on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Wireless charging is also faster on Google’s option with its 21W wireless charging speeds, while the S21 Ultra is limited to 15W.

The real story though, comes right where you expected: the cameras. Google is using a triple camera setup with a wide, ultrawide, and telephoto sensors. The Galaxy S21 Ultra also uses three of the same types of lenses, but adds in a 10MP periscope telephoto lens for good measure. Samsung and Google are great at adding a bunch of software features and tweaks to the camera app and photo gallery app for tweaking and editing images.

Even one of the Pixel 6 Pro’s flagship features, Magic Eraser, is already available on Samsung phones courtesy of Object Eraser. And while you won’t really be able to take pictures of the moon with the Pixel 6 Pro like you can with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, that’s more of a gimmick feature than anything else.

Where Google really excels is in processing and software, and this continues to be the case for the Pixel 6 Pro. Pictures taken with Google’s 2021 flagship are going to be absolutely incredible and won’t need too much tweaking or editing unless you switch over to Pro Mode. That’s not to say that the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a slouch by any means, as it’s offered the best camera experience in an Android phone for the better part of the year. But Samsung still has a tendency of over-saturating its images, and while the company has gotten better over the years, it’s still no match to what Google has managed to do.

Pixel 6 Pro vs Galaxy S21 Ultra: Which should you buy?

This is going to be a tougher comparison whenever the Galaxy S22 Ultra (or whatever it’s called) is finally unveiled. But for the time being, even with the discounts that are going around for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the Pixel 6 Pro is the option we would choose. Not only are you getting fantastic hardware and the first true “Google phone”, but you’ll also enjoy software updates as soon as they are available. And everything else matches up pretty well against the best Samsung phone of the year.

Google Pixel 6 Pro

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