The release of the Google Pixel 6 is the latest flagship smartphone range to hit the market and rounds out the biggest smartphone releases of 2021.
It has Pixel's most advanced cameras with some eye-catching new features, but while Google has previously been at the forefront of camera tech, it's no easy feat to compete with flagships from Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi in today's market.
Read on to find out if undercutting the price of its competitors in the 6 Series really represents value for money.
Browse some of thebest phonesfrom our tests or see how much you could save with our summarybest mobile phone deals.
Premium smartphone cameras at a glance
Take a look at how Google's new cameras compare to key competitors from Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi.
|model||Preis||main camera||Main camera video||Selfie-Camera||Selfie-Camera-Video|
|Google-Pixel 6||£599||50Mp (Wide), 12Mp (Ultra Wide)||4K (60fps)||8Mp (wide)||1080p (30 fps)|
|Google Pixel 6 Pro||£849||50 Mp (Wide), 48 Mp (Tele), 12 Mp (Ultra Wide)||4K (60fps)||11,1 Mp (ultrabreit)||4K (30 fps)|
|iPhone 13||£779||12 MP (wide), 12 MP (ultra wide)||4K (60fps)||12MP (wide)||4K (60fps)|
|iPhone 13 pro||£949||12 Mp (breit), 12 Mp (Tele), 12 Mp (Ultra-Wide)||4K (60fps)||12MP (wide)||4K (60fps)|
|Samsung Galaxy S21||£769||12 Mp (breit), 64 Mp (Tele), 12 Mp (Ultra-Wide)||8K (24 fps)||10Mp (wide)||4K (60fps)|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra||£1.149||108 Mp (wide angle), 10 Mp (periscope telephoto), 10 Mp (telephoto), 12 Mp (ultra-wide)||8K (24 fps)||40Mp (wide)||4K (60fps)|
|Xiaomi Mi 11||£749||108 MP (wide), 13 MP (ultra wide), 5 MP (macro)||8K (30fps)||20Mp (wide)||1080p (60 fps)|
Google Pixel 6 (£599) - the cheapest flagship
The Google Pixel 6 has dual cameras on the back of the phone with up to 7x digital zoom. The camera system has a larger sensor than the Pixel 5 and claims to bring you more colour, detail and light into your images. It also has an ultra-wide lens to capture a wider view and some cool features and modes to reduce blur and increase detail. The camera tech isn't as advanced as the flagships from Apple, Samsung, or Xiaomi, but maybe that's to be expected given the lower price.
Other features include the Google Tensor - Google's first in-house made chip, which aims to give you a smoother and more efficient experience than ever before (up to 80% faster than the Pixel 5, according to Google). Google claims the 4,614mAh battery should last all day, and the phone comes with the toughest Gorilla Glass for twice the scratch resistance and has IP68 protection.
Google has announced security updates for Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro for five years to protect your privacy and keep your phone longer. All of this suggests that this is a phone that should last. Find out if it fully lives up to all of these claimsGoogle Pixel 6 im Test.
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Google Pixel 6 Pro (£849) - Google's Best Cameras
The Pixel 6 Pro has a few small differences from the Pixel 6. These start with the cameras: there's an additional telephoto lens for up to 20x digital zoom, which greatly improves the quality of your zoomed-in images and videos. The selfie camera is an ultrawide lens, rather than the Pixel 6's wide-angle lens, to give your images more latitude.
Outside of the cameras, the Pro has a larger 6.7-inch screen with a resolution of 3,120 x 1,440, which might suit those who use the phone for long periods of time. But with the same battery as the Pixel 6, will it handle the attempt to power the processor and high-resolution screen? You can find out that and more in our expertGoogle Pixel 6 Pro Test.
iPhone 13 (£779) and iPhone 13 Pro (£949) - Film mode makes headlines Camera makeover
In the iPhone 13 series, the number and size of cameras hasn't changed from the 12, but we've seen some nifty new camera features. The wide-angle camera's additional sensor claims to capture 47% more light to enhance the detail of your images, especially in low-light conditions. Photographic styles can be personalized to your liking and saved for easy access. These allow you to boost or mute colors while keeping skin tones natural. Cinema mode could be a game changer in smartphones.
With Dolby Vision HDR, you can create professional-looking videos using storytelling techniques by automatically changing the depth effects and focus of your video. Sensor-shift image stabilization is included, so you don't have to worry about handheld only taking pictures or videos as slight camera shake shouldn't occur. Apple claims you won't compromise on the selfie camera either, where you can take advantage of all those extras.
The iPhone 13 Pro features Apple's most advanced cameras, with all the features of the iPhone 13 plus some exciting additions. It has an additional telephoto camera on the back of the phone to improve the quality of zooming in and out even in night mode. The ultra-wide camera can focus to just 2cm for high detail and is said to capture 92% more light.
Would you like to find out more? Check out our independentsiPhone 13andiPhone 13 proReviews.
Samsung Galaxy S21 (£769) and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (£1,149) - AI stabilization for the smartest videos
In early 2021, Samsung released the S21 series. They are among the most expensive smartphones on the market with the most advanced cameras.
Both models let you film in 8K, which is the highest resolution in a Samsung phone. It has AI stabilization to stop shaky videos and all the extras you would expect like portrait, selfie and night modes. It features a massive 30x digital zoom and even lets you record with the front and rear cameras simultaneously. Director's View Video allows you to switch between cameras while recording from different perspectives.
The S21 Ultra has all of these features and more. It has larger pixels that are said to absorb more light to improve the quality of your images. Its main wide-angle camera has a whopping 108 megapixels and the two telephoto cameras have up to 10x zoom capabilities. A bright night sensor is included to improve image quality even in low and dark light.
To learn more about these flagships, read our fullSamsung S21andS21 UltraReviews.
Xiaomi Mi 11 (£749) and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (£1,199) - serious contenders
Perhaps more famous for high-spec cheap phones, XIaomi also has expensive flagships that come with all the bells and whistles. The Xiaomi Mi 11's camera setup is impressive on paper. It has three on the back of the phone, including a 108MP widescreen camera and a 6x zoom. Xiaomi states that the Mi 11 is made with cutting-edge movie software for movie lovers.
You can record videos in 8K and edit your videos forever with eight film filters. For photos, night mode improves light and reduces overexposure, and AI Erase 2.0 lets you remove objects or people from the background of your images.
The Mi 11 Ultra has a telephoto lens for impressive zoom capabilities and a sharper portrait mode. It also has an Ultra Night Photos algorithm for Xiaomi's best low-light images and a super-large sensor for the best focus. The integration of the ultra-wide 48Mp lens means your shots have more in view.
read thisXiaomi Mi 11and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra reviews to find out if this series is for you.
How we test the quality of cell phone cameras
In our reviews, cameras make up 20% of the overall score.
We're approaching our camera test to answer this question: will this phone be able to capture the perfect shot?
The question is simple, but it's a particularly technical test as camera quality can vary wildly depending on the environment the phone is in. That's why we test each phone in 10 different shooting environments and measure it against a variety of criteria. For example, we use mannequins with different skin tones to see how well the camera captures all skin tones, and we shoot different objects to see how well the camera captures texture and detail.
Taking pictures is only part of what a camera can do. We also look at how well a phone records video and how well image stabilization works so you know if your phone is recording clips with the same high quality as its videos.
Learn more abouthow we test our phonesor visit usmobile phone reviewsto start surfing.
Does the Google pixel 6 Pro have a better camera than iPhone? ›
First, the Pixel 6 Pro has a 4x optical zoom, while the iPhone 14 Pro only has 3x. Second, the iPhone's Ultrawide has a "0.5x" magnification, while the Pixel's is more narrow at 0.7x. The takeaways are that, generally speaking, the iPhone's zoom does better up to 3x, but the Pixel wins out at longer lengths.Is Pixel 6 Pro a lot better than Pixel 6? ›
The 6 Pro also has a better, higher-resolution, wider-angle selfie camera, so you can squeeze more people into shots. Lastly, the Pixel 6 also has a little less RAM (8GB vs. 12GB) and a smaller maximum storage option (256GB vs. 512GB) compared with the Pixel 6 Pro, as well as a slightly smaller battery.What is the maximum camera resolution for Pixel 6? ›
Video recording at up to 4K, 60FPS
Thanks to their powerful Tensor processor, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are capable of recording videos at up to 4K resolution and 60 frames-per-second, and in HDR.
But does that lower price mean you'll have to seriously compromise camera performance? Both phones have 50-megapixel main-camera sensors, backed up by 12-megapixel ultrawide lenses. The Pixel 6 Pro takes things further with the addition of a 48-megapixel telephoto zoom, which gives an impressive 4x zoom.Which is the No 1 camera phone in the world? ›
1. Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max.
|Excellent battery life||Slow charging (20W)|
|Cinematic video mode|
The Pixel's shot is brighter but less sharp than the iPhone's. It's really impressive that the phones are able to capture such good photos at night, and they're definitely at the top for night-mode imagery.