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The best Google Pixel 6 alternatives: 5 phones to consider before you buy
The Google Pixel 6 series is here! The standard model looks like a very reasonably priced flagship device, while the Pixel 6 Pro brings plenty of premium features to the table. Looking for something a little different or just wondering what else is out there? You’re in luck, as this is our rundown of the best Google Pixel 6 alternatives.
The best Google Pixel 6 alternatives
1. Samsung Galaxy S22 series
The Samsung Galaxy S22 series is one of the best Pixel 6 alternatives, bringing four years of OS updates and five years of security updates. But there’s more to these phones than simply offering an incredible update commitment.
These phones come with an Exynos 2200 SoC or Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, 120Hz OLED panels, wireless charging, water-resistance, and 8K video recording. The S22 Ultra is also equipped with a 5,000mAh battery, QHD+ display, and a quad rear camera setup consisting of a 108MP primary shooter, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a pair of telephoto cameras. Meanwhile, the standard Galaxy S22 is smaller than ever with a 3,700mAh battery, 6.1-inch FHD+ screen, and a 50MP+12MP+10MP rear camera trio.
The middle child is the Galaxy S22 Plus, and it shares the S22’s camera system but offers a 6.6-inch FHD+ screen and a 4,500mAh battery. So you won’t be short of choices if you want a recent Samsung flagship.
2. Apple iPhone 13 series
Apple’s latest iPhones are worth a look if you’re open to iOS and want a well-rounded flagship experience. One of the biggest perks is that these phones regularly get five or more years of software updates, ensuring that you’re running the latest iOS version years down the line.
All four iPhone 13 models bring Apple’s beefy A15 processor, wireless charging, and IP68 water/dust resistance. So you’re covered there in terms of excellent additions. But things differ when we come to screen and camera details, to name a few.
Our verdict: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review
The iPhone 13 Mini and standard iPhone 13 pack 60Hz OLED screens with dual 12MP rear cameras. Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max offer 120Hz OLED screens, add a 12MP 3x telephoto camera, and bring autofocus to the ultrawide camera (enabling macro mode photos and videos). The Pro Max also comes with a huge battery, and we thought endurance was fantastic on this device.
3. OnePlus 10T
You could argue that Google specifically aims at OnePlus with the Pixel 6 series pricing. Now, the OnePlus 10T has arrived, and it’s priced to compete with Google’s affordable flagship.
The OnePlus 10T offers 155W wired charging in the US and 150W charging internationally, but there’s not actually a hardware difference this time. It runs on a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC with a 50MP primary camera, but you won’t find Hasselblad branding on the 10T. The performance-based flagship is also in line for three years of OS updates and four years of security patches — a year short of the new Pixels for security updates but still pretty good.
More reading: OnePlus 10T review
As you’d expect, the OnePlus 10T makes the most of its internals. It offers up to 16GB of RAM with an optional performance mode that tests the limits of what OnePlus can do. Unfortunately, only the North America model offers an IP rating, and it’s only IP54 at that. Nevertheless, the OnePlus 10T is still worth considering as a Pixel 6 alternative — especially if you’re after raw power.
4. Google Pixel 6a
The Pixel 6a is finally available for purchase, and it’s tough to find a better Pixel 6 alternative at a lower price. It’s stayed put at $450 and is closer to the Pixel 6 family than ever.
You’re still getting that Pixel software experience, but this time the mid-ranger packs a Google Tensor chip onboard. The Pixel 6a also packs a hybrid dual rear camera setup that blends the tried and true 12.2MP lens from the Pixel 5 with the 12MP ultrawide from the Pixel 6 series. Google tapped a 4,410mAh battery and kept the durable IP67 rating. So there’s a lot to like here.
Our thoughts: Google Pixel 6a buyer’s guide
While there are plenty of improvements on the Pixel 6a, it’s not perfect. Google ditched the Gorilla Glass back panel in favor of a 3D thermoformed composite, and the 6.2-inch display only offers a 60Hz refresh rate (no 90Hz or 120Hz here). The Pixel 6a’s solid battery is also limited by slow 18W wired charging, and there’s no wireless charging. Some of these downgrades are understandable, but things like 18W charging are real disappointments in 2022.
5. Sony Xperia 1 III and 5 III
The Sony Xperia 1 III continues the recent run of excellent Sony flagships, and it’s worth a look if you value premium features and photography. Starting with the former, the flagship offers a Snapdragon 888 SoC, a 6.5-inch 4K OLED panel at 120Hz, a 4,500mAh battery, 30W wired charging, wireless charging, and a water-resistant design.
Verdict: Sony Xperia 1 III review
Switch to the camera side of things, and the Xperia 1 III brings the heat here too. There’s a variable telephoto camera for the first time in the industry, switching between native 3x or 4.4x zoom. You’ve also got a 12MP primary camera and a 12MP ultrawide lens with autofocus. Toss in a comprehensive camera app and a dedicated Cinema Pro app, and you’ve got a full-featured photography experience here.
Sony’s phone also stands out from other 2021 flagships by virtue of its 3.5mm port. So audiophiles should be happy with this phone.
The company also offers the more compact Xperia 5 III, trading a 6.5-inch 4K panel for a 6.1-inch FHD+ screen. This device also drops wireless charging, but almost everything else is intact here, including that variable telephoto camera and 3.5mm port.
Sony has since launched the Xperia 1 IV, but its prohibitive price limits its prospects as an alternative to the well-priced Pixel 6 series.
Google Pixel 6 alternatives: Honorable mentions
- Oppo Find X5 Pro (£1,049): Oppo’s phone isn’t available in the US, but this is one of the better 2022 flagships. The Find X5 Pro offers a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, a 5,000mAh battery, and quick 80W wired charging. You’ve also got premium extras like an IP68 rating, 50W wireless charging, and a 120Hz QHD+ OLED screen. The phone doesn’t have a long-range zoom camera, but it swaps this for a 13MP 2x telephoto camera and a pair of impressive 50MP shooters.
- Xiaomi 12 Pro (£1,049): The Pixel 6 Pro is a high-end device, but Xiaomi has its own top-end flagship in the Xiaomi 12 Pro. The two phones bright 120Hz QHD+ OLED screens, ~5,000mAh batteries, and 50MP primary cameras. However, Xiaomi’s phone also packs a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, 120W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, a 50MP ultrawide camera, and tips the scales on performance.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE ($699): The Galaxy S21 FE may not be the incredible value of the previous S20 FE, but it’s still a great way to test the Galaxy ecosystem on a budget. The device launched at $700, which is easier to swallow than the standard Galaxy S21. The phone serves up a 4,500mAh battery, Snapdragon 888 SoC (or Exynos 2100 in global variants), wireless charging, and a 120Hz OLED screen. You’re also getting a flexible rear camera system and a lengthy commitment to updates.
These are our favorite Google Pixel 6 alternatives. Are there any other devices you’d recommend? Let us know via the comments section below.