Google Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 5: Should you upgrade?

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are easily the most alluring Pixel phones ever released. On paper, the Pixel 6 looks mighty impressive with a dual camera setup, the Tensor chip, 5G connectivity and more at a very attractive price. But is it worth switching from the GooglePixel 5 to the Pixel 6? Or should you keep using your Pixel 5 for another year or so? let’s find out

The Pixel 5 was never a flagship phone, instead Google positioned it as a premium mid-ranger. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 is a proper flagship Android, with specs to back those claims. What makes the Pixel 6 an attractive deal is its price – it’s available for $599, which is actually $100 less than the Pixel 5 when it first launched in the US last year.


Before we talk about the main differences between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5, below is a table showing the differences from spec to spec.

phone Pixel6 pixels 5
chipset Google tensor Snapdragon 765G
R.A.M. 8GB 8GB
storage 128, 256GB 128GB
advertisement 6.4″ FHD+ (1080×2400, 20:9) 90Hz OLED 6.0″ FHD+ (1080×2340, 19.5:9) 90Hz OLED
battery 4614mAh, 30W wired charging, up to 21W Wireless charging 4080mAh, 18W wired charging, up to 10W Wireless charging
reversing cameras 50MP f/1.85 primary (82° FoV with OIS), 12MP f/2.2 ultra wide (114° FoV) 12.2 MP f/1.7 (77° FoV with OIS), 16 MP f/2.2 ultra wide (107° FoV)
Front camera 8MP f/2.0 (84° field of view, fixed focus) 8MP f/2.0 (83° FoV, fixed focus)
connectivity 5G, WiFi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2, NFC 5G, WiFi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
Dimensions 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm, 207g 144.7 x 70.4 x 8.0mm, 151g
Colours Stormy Black, Art Coral, Art Seafoam Black only, sorta sage
Price Starting at $600 Started at $699

Google Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 5: design and display

On the Pixel 6 you’ll find a 6.4-inch OLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. The Pixel 5 has a smaller 6-inch 90Hz OLED display, making it more compact and portable. Size difference aside, the Pixel 6 uses a newer-gen Samsung OLED panel, which should offer significantly better brightness, color, and contrast.

The only other minor difference is the placement of the punch-hole selfie camera on the two phones: it’s at the top center of the display on the Pixel 6, while you’ll find it in the left corner on the Pixel 5.

The larger display (and body) also means the Pixel 6 is significantly larger and heavier than the Pixel 5: 207g vs. 151g.

Unlike the Pixel 5, which has an aluminum back with a “bioresin” coating, the Pixel 6 has a glass back. That means you have to be more careful with the phone as a fall on the pavement can end in tears. The Pixel 6 also has a pronounced horizontal camera bar, placed in the top third of the phone’s backplate.

Both handsets are waterproof with an IP68 certification; The Pixel 6 also features a fingerprint-resistant coating. The Pixel 6 has an in-display fingerprint scanner, while the Pixel 5’s fingerprint sensor is on the back. Neither phone has a headphone jack.

The Pixel 6 is available in three colors: Stormy Black, Kinda Coral, and Sorta Seafoam. The Pixel 5 is available in Just Black and Sorta Sage.

Google Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 5: Hardware and Specifications

Last year’s Pixel 5 was launched with a 7nm Snapdragon 765G SoC and Adreno 620 GPU, a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon chip that includes 5G connectivity (a first for the Pixel line ). This year, Google is using its own 5nm Tensor chip, which is what makes the new Pixel phones so special.

The Google Pixel 6 Tensor SoC features an eight-core CPU with a pair of Arm Cortex-X1 (2800 GHz) and Arm Cortex-A 76 (2.25 GHz) cores and four Arm Cortex-A55 cores -Cores (1.8GHz). On the Google Pixel 5 you’ll find an older octa-core CPU with two Arm Cortex A76 cores; one clocks at 2400MHz, the other at 2200MHz; Six ARM Cortex-A55 cores (2400 MHz) round off the SoC.

Tensor is the superior chip here and powerful enough for most users. While the Google Tensor SoC may underperform the Samsung Galaxy S22 or iPhone 13 on benchmarks, it relies on heterogeneous computing to perform various tasks. Compared to the Pixel 5, however, the Pixel 6 is the clear winner. Google claims its flagship offers “up to 80% faster performance” than the Pixel 5. On the GPU front, Google says its 20-core Tensor GPU is up to “370% faster” than the Pixel 5’s Adreno 620 GPU.

Tensor includes various optimizations for Google’s AI and ML tasks, helping it offer improved security (thanks in part to the included Titan M2 chip), an improved compute photography experience, and better efficiency. Needless to say, we’re disappointed that Google will only commit to three years of OS upgrades, as the Samsung Galaxy S22 will get four years of Android upgrades and an additional year of security updates.

Another notable improvement over the Pixel 6 is that it comes with faster UFS 3.1 storage, while the Pixel 5 uses a slower UFS 2.1 NAND. The former is also available with up to 256GB of storage, while the Pixel 5 was only available in one storage variant: 128GB. However, Google no longer offers unlimited Google Photos backups with the Pixel 6, which was available with the Pixel 5.

Related: Google Pixel 6a vs Pixel 6: Is Google’s New A-Series Phone Better Value?

Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: Cameras

The Pixel 5 didn’t raise the bar for mobile photography or introduce new groundbreaking camera features. This year, however, Google has given the Pixel 6’s cameras a major overhaul. The main camera gets a massive upgrade in size and resolution, coming in at 50 megapixels (MP) with OIS and an aperture of f/1.85.

The sensor has been hard-coded to capture pixel-binned 12MP photos despite the higher resolution. The larger sensor still has advantages, as it helps the Pixel 6 “capture 150 percent more light,” allowing images to be captured with more detail and vibrant colors.

The ultrawide camera has also been updated, although it’s now a slightly lower resolution: 12MP versus 16MP on the Pixel 5. The Pixel 6’s wide-angle camera also has a wider field of view (FOV) at 114° compared to the 107° FOV from Pixel 5 makes it a little more useful.

Unfortunately, neither the Google Pixel 6 nor the Pixel 5 has a telephoto lens; If you’re a smartphone photographer, check out the Google Pixel 6 Pro as it offers 48MP with an f/3.5 aperture.

The custom image signal processor (ISP) in Google’s Tensor chip plays an important role in extracting the best possible image quality from the Pixel 6 cameras. Also, Google may offer new camera features like Magic Eraser, Motion Mode, Real Tone and Face Unblur, all of which are currently exclusive to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The Pixel 6 should also offer better video capture quality than the Pixel 5 due to the better ISP.

The 8-megapixel selfie camera on the front stays the same on both devices, but the Tensor custom ISP should offer some improvements here too.

Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: Connectivity.

The Pixel 6 features a newer 5G modem than the Pixel 5, offering faster and better 5G connectivity. All US Pixel 6 models also support mmWave and C-Band. Although the PIxel 5 could theoretically work with C-Band with a software update, Google announced that it would not push an n77 update.

The Pixel 6 also supports the latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 standards. On the Pixel 5 you’ll find Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0. Both phones have NFC.

Google Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 5: software and updates

Although Google hasn’t caught up with Apple when it comes to software updates, both the Google Pixel 6 and its predecessor are likely to receive updates for years to come.

The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro ship with Android 12. Both phones are guaranteed to receive Android updates until at least October 2024; Security updates are guaranteed until at least October 2026.

The Pixel 5 ships with Android 11. It will receive Android and software updates at least until October 2023. That’s a far cry from the usual iOS upgrade policy for iPhones, but Google might surprise us with additional security updates.

Needless to say, we’re disappointed that Google will only commit to three years of OS upgrades, as the Samsung Galaxy S22 will get four years of Android upgrades and an additional year of security updates.

Google Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 5: battery life and charging

The Pixel 6 has a larger battery than the Pixel 5 and charges faster, both wired and wireless. While the Pixel 5 has plenty of stamina thanks to its 4,080mAh battery, the Pixel 6 has a much larger 4,614mAh battery. It also supports 30W wired charging and 21W wireless charging, versus the Pixel 5’s meager 18W wired and 12W wireless charging speeds.

You have to buy a charger separately for the Pixel 6 because Google no longer includes one in the box. However, when paired with a 30W USB-C charger, the Pixel 6 can go from 0 to 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes.

Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: Which should you buy?

At $599, the Pixel 6 offers incredible value that few other smartphones in this price range can match. If you can find a good deal on a new or refurbished Pixel 5 on eBay or another trusted retailer, it might be worth a shot, but we’d recommend waiting until the $449 Pixel 6a hits the stores on July 28, 2022 market is coming.

Buy Google Pixel 6:

See at Amazon. See the Google Store

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