The iPhone 13 Pro Max is one of the greatest big phones on the market, but Google’s first phone with an in-house chipset, distinctive design, and a fresh new camera system, the Pixel 6 Pro, has arrived.
So, should you go with the iPhone 13 Pro Max or the Google Pixel 6 Pro?
If you’re stuck in that situation, this is the place to come for answers. We’ll look at the design and size differences, compare the cameras, discuss battery life, and discuss the differences between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
Design, display and size comparison
While both the iPhone and the Pixel are on the larger side, the iPhone feels a little more substantial, with a considerably wider body that also weighs a little more (240g vs 210g on the Pixel).
The iPhone also features flat sides that look lovely but aren’t very ergonomic, making it difficult to obtain a good grip, especially if you have a small hand. The Pixel, on the other hand, is slimmer and has tapered sides for a more pleasant grip.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max and Pixel 6 Pro are both premium flagships with a polished design and solid build quality. They’re both made of glass (Apple’s is called the Ceramic Shield, while Google utilizes Qualcomm’s newest Gorilla Glass Victus on both the front and back), but the metal used in the middle is different. The iPhone has a gleaming stainless steel frame, but the Pixel has an aluminum frame.
These two phones don’t have a headphone jack, but they both boast IP68 water resistance for added piece of mind if you get your phone wet.
Both phones feature a 6.7-inch display, but the Pixel’s aspect ratio is somewhat different, with the Pixel’s screen being slightly higher and narrower. The Pixel’s display is also somewhat tapered on the sides, whereas the iPhone’s is fully flat.
Aside from that, they both look great: they both employ LTPO OLED technology for deep blacks and wide viewing angles, and they both get brighter over the day for better outdoor visibility. For an additional smooth experience, both have a variable refresh rate that ranges from 10Hz with static content to 120Hz when scrolling or playing a compatible game.
Display measurements and quality
|MAXIMUM BRIGHTNESSHIGHER IS BETTER||MINIMUM BRIGHTNESS (nits)LOWER IS BETTER||COLOR TEMPERATURE (Kelvins)||GAMMA||DELTA E RGBCMYLOWER IS BETTER||DELTA E GRAYSCALELOWER IS BETTER|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max||1051|
|Google Pixel 6 Pro||777|
The notch on the iPhone is an obvious distraction since it houses the complicated Facial ID technology, but the Pixel does not enable 3D face recognition and can get by with a more delicate punch-hole display. The Pixel uses an optical fingerprint scanner embedded into the display for biometrics.
Performance, storage and benchmarks
The iPhone comes equipped with Apple’s latest and finest A15 Bionic chip, while Google employs its first-ever in-house chip, dubbed “Tensor.” Google’s own silicon has been in development for years, and we’re excited to see how well it performs in practice.
So far, we’ve done CPU benchmarks with the global GeekBench software; here are the results:
|NAME||HIGHER IS BETTER|
|Google Pixel 6 Pro||1042|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max||1734|
The Google Tensor isn’t a flagship CPU, as you can see. Instead, its CPU performance is closer to that of an upper mid-range chip or the best Snapdragon chips from last year. The difference between the Pro Max and the iPhone is astounding, as the Pro Max annihilates the Google Tensor.
You should also be aware that neither phone has a microSD card port, so you won’t be able to expand the internal storage. Both phones come with 128GB of native storage as standard, with a 256GB option available for an additional fee on both. For demanding users, the iPhone also has 512GB and 1TB storage options.
GPU and Gaming performance
But what about gaming and GPU performance? That is one area where the iPhone really shines, as demonstrated by the 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme stress test. You can see not only the early performance, but also when and how these chips throttle, in this 20-minute test.
The iPhone, like the Pixel, soon throttles to its normal speeds after 2 or 3 minutes, and those nominal speeds are almost twice as fast on the iPhone as they are on the Pixel, so if you want the finest graphics performance, Apple has a clear advantage.
Cameras have become the distinguishing element of today’s flagship phones, and both the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the Pixel 6 Pro deliver with enhancements all around.
Camera specs at a glance:
- Wide camera — 12MP, f/1.5 on iPhone vs 50MP , f/1.9 on Pixel
- Ultra-wide camera — 0.5X, 12MP, f/1.8 on iPhone vs 0.5X, 12MP, f/2.2 on Pixel
- Zoom camera — 3X zoom, 12MP, f/2.8 on iPhone vs 4X zoom, 48MP, f/3.5 on Pixel
- Front camera — 12MP on iPhone vs 11MP on Pixel
The big news is that, after years of using the same sensors, Google is switching things up in the Pixel 6 series with newer, larger sensors. New sensors have been added to the iPhone, as well as quicker apertures, which have boosted the iPhone’s light gathering capabilities.
Both phones take fantastic images throughout the day, with a few variances in how they manage colors and dynamic range:
It’s clear that the iPhone favors warmer colors, whereas the Pixel favors more muted, cooler tonalities. The iPhone photographs jump a little more, while the Pixel shots are a little moody. Although it is a personal preference, yours truly like the iPhone’s design with the added warmth. Also, keep in mind that the iPhone now has a new Photographic Styles option that allows you to create a “Pixel” effect by selecting the “Cool” profile and getting a very similar look.
The ultra-wide camera has the same color difference as the regular camera, but the iPhone’s 0.5X 13mm lens captures a far wider view than the Pixel’s 0.7X 17mm lens. The iPhone’s advantage of having such a wide lens is that you can fit more in the frame and do things like video yourself in very tight situations, whereas the Pixel’s lens isn’t as wide, but it does come with the benefit of less distortion.
When it comes to zoom, the iPhone has a slight advantage at 3X zoom, when the iPhone uses its native camera and the Pixel employs digital zoom, but the Pixel kills the iPhone at 4X and 15X zoom. What the Pixel achieves with a 4X lens and how it leverages it to greater lengths is simply amazing; it’s a fantastic achievement.
In low light, we notice a similar tendency in color: warmer iPhone photographs versus more muted, toned-down Pixel photos. Photographs from the Pixel also tend to look flat because it works too hard to bring out the shadows, resulting in images with less contrast. The Pixel has been tricked by incandescent street lamps on a few times, resulting in photos with a yellow-greenish tinge, but the iPhone now tends to perform a better job in certain situations, preserving the original colors a little better.
Another significant difference is the camera’s quickness while taking night photos: the iPhone takes a second or two, seldom three, whereas the Pixel takes twice as long in what is a lengthy and tiresome procedure. Apple has also changed course with the iPhone 13 series, opting for a more natural-looking effect for nighttime shots rather than striving to brighten them as much as possible. Notice how the helicopter image appears on both phones; the darker look of the iPhone is what my eyes were perceiving, whilst the Pixel shot appears to be more stunning, but it is a little better and brighter than reality.
Although neither phone has a 3.5mm headphone port, it isn’t surprising these days.
Which of these two has a better loudspeaker setup is more intriguing and unclear. Both phones have a bottom-firing main speaker and an earpiece-mounted secondary speaker. The iPhone has a more bass-heavy sound, whereas the Pixel can get rather loud and punchy. Both of these phones have superb loudspeaker quality and are among the best on the market. If you really want the best, a true front-firing dual speaker configuration can provide a lot more, and the current champion in audio quality on a smartphone is the Asus Rog Phone 5, and these two aren’t quite on par.
When comparing the two devices’ specifications, you’ll notice that the iPhone has a 4,352mAh battery inside, while the Pixel 6 Pro has a 5,000mAh battery.
However, simply comparing battery sizes may be misleading because iOS and Android manage battery life in very different ways. To determine which of these two has better battery life, we must put them both through our series of independent battery tests.
Officially, both companies claim that these phones would last all day, but we’ve found that the iPhone can easily go two days between charges with moderate use.
In our tests, the iPhone clearly outperforms the Pixel in almost every category.
The iPhone scores over 19 hours on our web browsing test, compared to a little more than 13 hours on the Pixel, a nearly 50% difference.
In our 3D gaming test, the Pixel battery drained surprisingly quickly, with the 120Hz option hitting the battery the hardest. If you’re not looking for a big competitive advantage, it might be a good idea to game at 60Hz instead, as you’ll save a lot of battery life. The iPhone, on the other hand, can maintain a good battery life even when running at 120Hz, which is astounding.
Both phones do not come with a charging brick and simply come with a cord when it comes to charging (Lightning to USB-C cable in the case of the iPhone, and USB-C to USB-C in the case of the Pixel). You’ll have to buy one separately unless you already have a suitable fast charger.
Surprisingly, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is capable of quicker charging speeds than Apple claims. While Apple claims it can charge at up to 20W, we and others have found that it can actually accept up to 27W charging speeds, so if you want to take use of those greater charging speeds, we recommend obtaining a 30W charger. The Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, offers 30W fast charging, and you can either buy Google’s official 30W charger or a somewhat less expensive option from Anker.
Both phones offer wireless charging; the iPhone employs the MagSafe standard, which has a circular arrangement of magnets on the back of the phone that allow compatible chargers to latch to it neatly, whilst the Pixel uses standard Qi wireless charging.
Wireless charging on the iPhone maxes out at 15W, while the Pixel 6 Pro enables slightly quicker speeds of up to 23W.