By Andrew Romero & Damien Wilde
November 16, 2021
There is a lot to love on both devices, especially with everything Android 12 has to offer users. So, we're just going to hit the highlights. If you want to learn more or watch our full video breakdown, you can tap the link below!
The main differentiation that has to be mentioned is size. Of course, the Pixel 6 is much larger than the Pixel 5, and whichever is better just depends on you. Coming in at 6.4 inches, the Pixel 6 looks and absolutely feels bigger than the Pixel 5's 6-inch display. Even though the Pixel 6 is large, there are features to ease the transition. That being said, some of us just like a smaller phone. Another factor is the design. The Pixel 5 had sort of a humble, unassuming look to it with defined rounded corners and a sleek look. The Pixel 6 on the other hand - while still sleek - is definitely a little more robust and louder. Though, metal and glass are back in full swing giving the Pixel 6 a premium feel.
As far as internals go, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5 both have the same amount of RAM - 8GB. Where they do differentiate is the processor that makes it all run. Google has gone with the brand new Tensor chip instead of a Snapdragon processor, which is found in the Pixel 5. UFS 3.1 is used on the Pixel 6 compared to the Pixel 5's UFS 2.1, making for better performance of certain tasks like loading times and file transfers. Side-by-side, the difference is noticeable but negligible.
While both can and do run Android 12, there are a good amount of features that will be Pixel 6 only. Many of the camera features rely on the Tensor chip to process information correctly; something that the Pixel 5 does not have. The Pixel 6 will also receive several years of updates all the way to Android 15, while the Pixel 5 will get updates up to and including Android 14. This falls in line with Google's upgrade promise to both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5.
Battery life is where the lines become a little more blurred between the two devices. The Pixel 5 had a healthy all-day battery that was dependable. The Pixel 6 is very much in line with that as well. Even though the capacity on the Pixel 6 is much bigger, the Tensor chip tends to be a little more power-hungry, meaning the Pixel 6 will still get you a whole day of battery, but not much more.
The Pixel 6 takes a huge jump in camera sensitivity with 50MP compared to the Pixel 5 and its 12.2MP. This gives better clarity, depth, and some beautiful natural bokeh. Though, both are similar in the sense of array setup. Both Pixel devices have a main sensor and ultra-wide sensor, giving a little variation. The Pixel 6 Pro is going to be your best bet if you want a telephoto lens to pair with the two main sensors. Becuase of the Tensor chip, processing times are much faster on the Pixel 6 for things like HDR and shooting 4K video.
Should you upgrade?
Again, it's up to you in the end. There are several benefits to making the switch to a Pixel 6 like small performance upgrades and camera features enabled by the Tensor chip. Though, in everyday use these small performance bumps become neglegable and you would never notice when using your device. The Pixel 5 will still be able to take advantage of many of Android 12's new features out now and in the future. Though, the price of the Pixel 6 is a very good deal at just $599, making it hard to say no if you do want to upgrade.