Picture quality has always been the biggest strength of the Google Pixel lineup, but Apple has come back in a big way with its latest iPhone models, taking the crown away from Google. With a major update to its setup in the Pixel 6 series, the comparison with iPhone 13 Pro tells a very different story.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max has been considered, for the most part, the best camera on a smartphone today with excellent software processing and video quality. The outdated hardware of recent Pixels such as the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5a just couldn’t hold up, even against some of the latest Android phones. As we praised in our review, though, the Pixel 6 Pro’s new camera array really steps up in a big way.
SuperSaf put the Pixel 6 Pro up against the iPhone 13 Pro Max to show how these phones compete on their cameras through standard shots, video, night mode, portraits, and more.
Starting with their primary cameras, the verdict here is that the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are pretty much on par with one another, with Pixel primarily winning out on its strong dynamic range. It did lose some points, though, on the lens flare that is all-too-common with light sources, something we also took issue with primarily on the telephoto lens.
Further in the comparison, Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max compare low light performance, with the Pixel doing a better job of capturing light and the iPhone having sharper details. With the ultrawide camera, Google got points for its stellar processing, but the iPhone for having a wider angle. Google also fell behind a bit for its lack of a macro option which the iPhone 13 series adopts. On the zoom front, the Pixel’s 4x telephoto lens shows its utility both in terms of detail at further zoom levels and being able to zoom in further at 20x. The iPhone did seem to perform better when zooming in during low-light conditions, though.
Portrait Mode is an area where Google’s offering clearly fell behind, usually failing to capture edges as accurately, probably thanks to the iPhone’s Lidar sensor. The Pixel clearly wasn’t too far behind, but Apple obviously did a better overall job. It was noted, though, that the Pixel’s skin tones were more accurate, and the same was true in selfie shots. The ultrawide selfie camera also put some points in Google’s favor.
On the video front, the iPhone 13 Pro Max put up a decisive victory over the Pixel 6 Pro’s camera, but it was a much closer competition this time around. Live HDR on the Pixel helped Google keep up for the most part, but Apple’s HDR was certainly stronger overall. Apple’s stabilization also seemed to be working just a bit better. Both devices held up very well on the front-facing camera, interestingly with the Pixel having better stabilization on selfie mode. Autofocus was roughly identical on both.
What’s the overall verdict here? Google hasn’t caught up fully in this department, but its valiant efforts have closed the gap considerably. The Pixel 6 Pro seems to offer better dynamic range, skin tones, and zoom, but the iPhone 13 Pro Max has better overall video, ultrawide shots, and Portrait Mode with macro being a nice bonus.
More on Pixel 6:
- Pixel 6 Pro Review: The flagship Google needs right now is the one buyers deserve
- Google helps debut Japanese music video shot with the Pixel 6
- The best smartwatches to buy for the Pixel 6 since Google still hasn’t made its own
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