Apple iPhone 13 Pro vs. Google Pixel 6 Pro: An Update

Posted on December 21, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Mobile with 79 Comments

I’ve been using an iPhone 13 Pro since this past Saturday and trying to compare it to the frustrating Pixel 6 Pro. And this comparison has proven more difficult than I’d imagined it would be. And while this is unusual for me, I’ve struggled with how to communicate what it is I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and what it would take for me to keep the iPhone and move forward with it.

And I’ve tried. I started writing an article that explained some key differences between the two platforms related to things like system fonts, notifications, and the like, and I babbled through some off-the-cuff version of that conversation during Monday’s First Ring Daily. But the more I think about this—and, believe me, I am absolutely overthinking this—the more I believe that I’m overcomplicating the discussion. Maybe there is a higher-level way of looking at this comparison.

For example, looking at my Pixel 6 Pro review, I can see that I highlighted 6 pros and 5 cons. How does the iPhone 13 Pro compare to those accolades and complaints, respectively?

Hm.

Pro: The best value in flagship smartphones. This one is no contest: the Pixel 6 series handsets cost significantly less than their Apple and Samsung flagship rivals. How much less is a matter of perspective: the Pixel 6 Pro I purchased costs $899, while the iPhone 13 Pro I purchased costs $999, a difference of $100. But the Pixel 6 Pro also matches up more closely to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which starts at $1099, or $200 more. But one of the things I don’t like about the Pixel 6 Pro is its size and bulk, and that’s why I went with the smaller iPhone. The non-Pro Pixel 6, meanwhile, starts at just $599, which is an even better value, but it doesn’t feature a three-lens camera system like the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro, so it’s out of the running (for me). Plus, you might argue that the Pixel 6 lines up more closely to the iPhone 13, which starts at $799. Either way, the Pixels are the better values.

Pro: Terrific three-lens camera system with an excellent telephoto zoom. It’s still a bit early for me to weigh in on the camera quality of the iPhone 13 Pro, but my gut feeling is that it will be similar overall to that of the Pixel, with each camera system being better in some ways and worse in others. For straight-up photography, however, the Pixel most likely comes out ahead, if barely. It has the superior telephoto lens, plus several unique Pixel-only features, and I can already see a weird sharpening effect on my iPhone shots. However, the iPhone is generally understood to be superior for video, something I’ve not tested yet. Overall, I think it’s fair to say that both handsets provide terrific three-lens camera systems. So this one is probably a bit of a wash.

Pro: Excellent performance. While the Pixel’s first-generation Tensor system on a chip (SoC) is still a bit of an unknown, Apple’s A15 Bionic is widely considered the very best mobile SoC in the market. Real-world, they both perform terrifically. But I’ll point out that I’ve had many issues with hanging apps on the Pixel, plus one instance in which I couldn’t even get the display to come back on. The iPhone is rock-solid. And given Apple’s history here, it’s hard not to believe that this point goes to the iPhone.

Pro: Gorgeous high refresh rate display. Both handsets offer a 120 Hz variable rate display that can adapt to the needs of the content you’re viewing to provide the best-possible battery life. I’m one of those people who can’t really see the difference between a 60 Hz and 120 Hz display, however, so this one is a tie, both for me and for anyone else for whom this does matter. (And the Pixel display has others issues the iPhone lacks, as noted below.)

Pro: Customized and optimized Android 12 with incredible AI functionality. This is indeed a major advantage for the Pixel 6 Pro, but only when compared to other Android handsets. When compared to the iPhone and iOS 15.x, things are a bit more complicated. Apple obviously doesn’t allow other companies to license and muck-up iOS, and the system one gets on the iPhone 13 Pro is identical to that they’d receive on other iPhones. I guess the way I’d frame this one is that Google is trying to match the beauty and consistency of the iPhone/iOS experience with its customized and optimized Android 12 version on the Pixel 6 series. And it while it has some advantages over Apple’s entry, it also falls short in some areas, most notably the consistency bit. Android 12, especially the version on Pixel, is a big step forward, but it has to be just to keep up with iOS. So this is a tie in my book.

Pro: Unique Pixel-only features. Here, again, the comparison is only with other Android-based handsets, and there’s no easy way to compare this to what Apple does with the iPhone.

Looking over that list of Pixel 6 Pro, um, pros, the only item that truly stands out for Pixel is the first point about value. The rest of it is pretty much a wash or not applicable.

But what about the cons?

Con: In-display fingerprint reader is slow and unreliable, and there’s no Face Unlock. To be fair to the Pixel, my experience using the in-display fingerprint reader has improved, in part because of the November update and in part because I’ve gotten used to it, and I know better where to press, and how, and for how long. But the fact remains that it’s still unreliable and too often requires multiple sign-in attempts. By contrast, the iPhone’s Face ID facial recognition system remains the standard by which all such systems must be compared, and it has never once required any fiddling. So a clear win for the iPhone, right? Not exactly: living as we do in the COVID era, it’s only a matter of time before I need to sign in to the iPhone while wearing a mask, and that won’t work as well. Why Apple didn’t provide a power button-based Touch ID function, as it does on my iPad Air, is unclear. So I’ll still give Apple the edge—COVID hopefully won’t last forever—but it’s a slight edge.

Con: Too big, too heavy. This is one of my biggest gripes about the Pixel 6 Pro, and one of the reasons I didn’t go with the larger iPhone 13 Pro Max is that it’s even heavier and denser than the Pixel. (The other reasons are the additional expense and the fact that the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max both have the exact same camera system for the first time ever.) Anyway, the iPhone 13 Pro is a bit thick and heavy for its size. But it still solves the “too big, too heavy” problem nicely. The point goes to iPhone.

Con: Fast charging is too slow. This is an odd one. The Pixel 6 Pro charges at up to 22-watts via a USB cable, which is slightly better than the iPhone’s 20-watts, at least on paper. But the Pixel 6 Pro also takes two hours to fully charge because the second 50 percent goes much more slowly than the first. The iPhone 13 Pro, meanwhile, fully charges in about 90 minutes with a 20-watt charger, and there are reports that it can charge at up to 27-watts with a 30-watt charger. Point: iPhone.

Con: Adaptive brightness works poorly. This may or may not be at least partially fixed by the December Pixel update I’ve still not yet received, but suffice to say that the iPhone has absolutely no display issues at all. Point: iPhone.

Con: Impractical curved display edges. I don’t just dislike displays with curved edges, they are objectively inferior to flat displays. And, sorry, Pixel fans, but the Pixel 6 Pro has a display with curved edges and the iPhone does not. Point: iPhone.

Add that all up, and it’s pretty clear that the iPhone wins the day. In fact, I find it interesting that the iPhone doesn’t suffer from any of the cons that dog the Pixel.

Yes, I know this isn’t how I or anyone else would make a decision, at least not entirely. But it’s still an interesting comparison. And it’s one that I will keep working on.

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Comments (79)

79 responses to “Apple iPhone 13 Pro vs. Google Pixel 6 Pro: An Update”

  1. Steve McCartney

    I think it's a perfectly reasonable way to look at things and it's good that the Pixel cons are more or less "fixed" by the iPhone. The test will come once you have a list of iPhone cons and you ultimately decide which list of cons you can live with. I am also essentially down to iPhone vs Pixel as my choices - I did my iPhone experiment prior to the Pixel 6 release and ended up with Pixel. It will be interesting to see where you ultimately land.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Yeah. The iPhone's "cons" list is definitely on my mind.


      Increasingly, I'm thinking that me having both makes sense on a lot of levels. But the day-to-day thing is uncertain.

  2. tobiulm

    Paul I can cleary understand you. For me and a lot of others it's absolutely not understandable that Google made the 6 and the 6 Pro nearly the same size and weight. Also the curved display is a nonsense in my sight. I was near of ordering one but than looked into a shop to "test" the real device in my hands bevore buying and was completely disappointed of it's size. I really like the form factor of the iphone/iphone pro and the google pixel 5. It's a shame that none of the other device makers is producing compact high end smartphones any more. I'm looking forward to read more aboute your experiences with the iphone. Stay safe and have a nice holiday.

  3. msimiliano

    Try it again when I have installed the last update. I believe you will see a great improvement, at least on my Pixel 6 it did.


    • Paul Thurrott

      For sure. Am waiting very impatiently for that.


      https://www.thurrott.com/mobile/android/260444/where-is-the-december-update-for-the-pixel-6-series


      https://twitter.com/thurrott/status/1473652455011495946

  4. yoshi

    I think the most frustrating part of it all is that Google was finally re-inventing the Pixel. All new design, in-house processor, updated lenses, lower prices, etc. Google was FINALLY doing it. This was going to be it.


    But, no. Same typical hardware issues that have plagued nearly every Pixel device. Why they continue to shoot themselves in the foot, and why we keep buying these things, is beyond me.

  5. mcduo

    Using Apple Watch with an iPhone drastically improve the use of FaceID when wearing a mask.


    you don’t notice the difference once you wear the watch and you have unlocked the phone one with the passcode.

  6. owenm

    I am interested to hear about the experience using Google apps and services on the iPhone. If I switched I will want to remain in Google's smartphone ecosystem

    • Paul Thurrott

      I do use a lot of Google apps and services. The only daily downside so far has been Gmail: the fonts are just too tiny to even use the app, so I've started experimenting with Apple Mail. But overall, the Google stuff works great on iPhone.

  7. Travis

    If you are wearing an Apple Watch you can set the iPhone to unlock if you have the watch on. This helps if you are wearing a mask.

    • retcable

      Yes, and it works well. I just bring my iPhone 13 Pro up to look at it and it unlocks with my Apple Watch immediately.

      • mclark2112

        And the Watch unlocks the Mac too. I have, however, found that the watch unlock on the iPhone doesn't work 100% of the time, but it is close and a useful feature.

  8. wunderbar

    I gave up on Google made phones years ago. Google makes Android, yes, but Google is very bad at making quality hardware, and I feel like too many android enthusiasts just gloss over the consistent software issues that Google has on its own phones.


    And those same enthusiasts like to talk about how Pixel phones are "stock" Android, which frankly isn't true. There is no such thing as "stock" Android anymore. The Pixel line is Google's skin on Android, just like how One UI is Samsung's Android implimentation.


    I've been running Samsung phones for several years now, and their phones, frankly, are better than Google's in almost every way. And considering that they get the same longevity of software support that Google's phones get now, that's a non issue. Sure, Android version updates might come a couple months later, but they come faster than most other OEM's.


    And One UI isn't bad. There are a few duplicate apps still, but it really isn't bad. I actually have grown to prefer it to Google's UI, since there are actually options to customize it.


    Google is just not good at making phones.

  9. paul_nelson

    I have had zero issues with my Pixel 6 Pro, it is by far the best phone I have owned and, as with yourself, I have owned every Nexus and Pixel phone along with a few Galaxy models and early iPhones (the last one I owned was the iPhone X)


    I will not return to iPhone and be semi locked in to the Apple eco system ever again! Apple charges far too much for its handsets and only the reason it can is because people will pay the price. If they released the next one and absolutely no one bought one, they would soon be on sale.

    • Daishi

      And I’ve used a couple of Androids, then a couple of Windows Phones, back to a couple more Androids and then to iPhone and I’m never going back to the Google data mines ever again. Personally I’d rather get my hardware and software from companies that make their money from selling hardware and software instead of ones that give them away free or at cost because they get their cash from taking your user data to feed into their ad engine.

      • paul_nelson

        You get the OS for free from Apple, every company uses user data for one reason or another.


        It's your choice where you get your phone from doesn't change the fact that you're paying over the odds for it.

    • macguy59

      You sound like another irrational Apple hater

  10. rob_segal

    No iMessage for the web is holding me back from getting an iPhone. I do most of my messages from a laptop. A phone keyboard is just too small and voice typing never worked well for me. I use a Mac now, but I would like to keep the Windows option open. An iPhone without iMessage on the web would make me feel stuck. This is the biggest con for iPhone for me.

    • jmountjoy

      As someone that uses Windows for work purposes, I find a lack of iMessage on the web a monumental pain in the butt. Not hugely frequently as when I’m on my work laptop, I’m typically working. But occasionally I receive work related messages on my phone and picking up the phone is an annoyance significant enough to weigh on my mind.

  11. Greg Ibendahl

    One thing I've noticed over the years is how Apple gets the little things right, at least within their own ecosystem. As an example, this fall I accidentally left my phone in the car at work. About 25 yards from my car, I get an Apple watch notification that I had left my phone behind. That was pretty neat and it certainly saved me a long walk.

  12. bobnetgeek

    From a similar mission/comparison as Paul's, I recently received a new work phone, an iPhone 12. Prior to that, I was using my Galaxy S21 Ultra personal phone with my work number, and just forwarded my personal number to the work number. (Just didn't want to carry two phones!) So I thought I would give iPhone a shot as my work phone--the last iPhone I had was a 4, so wanted to see how far Apple had come. Yes, for me, just getting past those small "differences" was the hardest part; sometimes the way iPhone IOS does things just doesn't make sense to me, as compared to Android OS. Yes, while there were a few great iPhone features, here are my beefs: First, not being able to order via web sites (like ordering audible audio books from Amazon, you have to separately go to their website to order on an iPhone). Second, the fact that Apple does not have the quality map graphics that you have from Google. Just try zooming the map, pixelization city! Maps on Apple Carplay were primitive as well. At least I could install Google Maps on my iPhone, and work around it. Another difference was the absence of some of the navigation features, like no history autofill available in completing webforms or email, a feature that Android offers. Also, many applications I use are not even written for IOS, goodbye to my beloved Walabot and misc tech apps. Hardware-wise, I would say that most of the core features (camera, proc speeds) were similar, so similar at the core for either system. The biggest bummer for me was the small size of the iPhone 12, as compared to the large display on my S21. The bottom line--I ultimately went back to my S21 for my work phone, based on needing my apps and the phone size, the size was the biggest bummer. Maybe if work could have afforded the iPhone 13 Pro, it would have been a different outcome...still, the restrictions that Apple puts on development, while ensuring quality, also stifles feature evolution. It's sorta like what happens in Linux--open source code/features can evolve, while closed systems cannot change as quickly. Sure, you have the geniuses at Apple making a solid and stylish product, but no match for the millions of Android users and phone providers who have contributed their innovations over time. The funniest thing to me was in talking to other folks who have only used iPhones, they had no idea as to what they couldn't do, compared with Android. Apple's walled garden has a steep price, but one that they didn't know that they were paying! All that aside, for those of us who balance our work/personal cellular lives, one of the cool iPhone 12 features for those of us who don't want to carry two phones, is that you can put on service/number on a the physical SIM, and then point your other service to the iPhone's E-SIM. In this way, you can have both personal and work numbers on one phone. The IOS keeps them separate across services, so pretty neat. No, Galaxy phones don't support this yet, although I believe the new Pixel does.

  13. Chris_Kez

    My understanding is that Apple has their device designs locked down two or more years ahead of release. I don't think it was realistic to expect them to add a Touch ID power button to the iPhone 13 line in response to COVID. Even if they could re-engineer the thing just one year prior to release, they would have needed to decide in summer 2020, just a few months into the outbreak in the states, that mask-wearing was here to stay to for the long-term. Very few people expected that.

    Now, you could argue that perhaps they should have already been working on multiple biometric options, given that millions of people in Asia were already regularly wearing masks pre-COVID, but that is an added cost not just to the BOM but to the overall design and engineering considerations.

    Personally, I think it would be cool if the apple on the back of the device was a Touch ID sensor, and was an adjunct to the Face ID sensor on the front. The only downside there is you then need every single case to have a hole in the back, and that is just not attractive. I guess you have a similar problem with a hypothetical Touch ID power button on the side-- you need every case to provide a large opening so you can get your finger on it. I assume there are Android phones that have done this without incident.

    As far as complaining about the Apple Watch being a $400 "solution" to the Face ID + mask problem, I would say that the Apple Watch is a great device on its own. The phone unlock is just a bonus feature. It's not like Apple created the Watch just so people would have a very expensive secondary unlock mechanism.

    • digiguy

      We'll see if Apple is indeed going to implement another solution that does not require a watch in the future, or if they consider that the incentive to buy an Apple watch is worth the hassle of face id only, even if masks were there for the next few years....

  14. minke

    Among professionals here in the USA iPhones command over 90% of the market (I've seen reliable statistics on this), and among creatives it is probably 99%. When was the last time you saw anything but an iPhone in the hand of someone creating a website, or in a YouTube video, or writing a blog? I hardly know anyone who owns an Android of any type (I own a Pixel). There's a synergy (a favorite term among professionals) when everyone uses the same apps, uses iMessage, buys the same accessories, etc., that prompts people within this group to continue to purchase iPhones. When they say "phone" they mean iPhone, and chances are very good they will also purchase Macs, and Apple Watches, and maybe even use Apple services. There is a reason that almost all smartphone profits are in the Apple sphere--they command the loyalty of the people with the money.

  15. darkgrayknight

    Between these two phones, I'm not getting either one. I'll stick with the Samsung Note 9 for awhile yet, while I wait for Microsoft Surface Duo 3 or a reduced price Surface Duo 2 as I like the dual screen form factor and I like the non-Google, non-Apple devices. My wife has a OnePlus 7 Pro and it has been fairly great. I like the modular idea for phones, though I haven't seen anything quite decent enough yet. I still miss Windows Phone.

    • aretzios

      Having had the Note 9 and Note 10+, I have to say that my current phone, the Note 20 Ultra 5G, is really great; virtually all the Cons identified for Pixel 6 disappear with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. I know that the Samsung skins are maligned, but this is not the case with Samsung One, which I think is one of the best Android UIs out there.

    • singingwolf

      I miss windows phones too.

  16. geoff

    I remember having this dilemma myself when choosing what comes next after many years of Windows phones. (And I' jump right back to Windows phones in a heartbeat if that option was available.)


    In the end, the proprietary plugs and connectors and accessories for iPhones was just a hurdle I couldn't make. That sense of lock-in is maddening. That sense of over-pricing built on lock-in never leaves. So I went Android.


    I'm not completely sure i made the right call, but that's where it landed at the time, and I'm still with Android. Inertia probably has a significant part in that.


    My internal compromise at the time was a commitment that I would never buy a Pixel. Google's stance on privacy and data harvesting is simply not acceptable, and I'm not going to support them directly by buying a Pixel. Given the obvious Android advantages Google has when making a Pixel, and the equally obvious low volumes of Pixels sold, I suspect many other people feel the same way. I will never own a Pixel.


    My next phone? I don't know. Seriously, there is absolutely nothing out there that screams 'buy me'. I'm a gadget fan, I'm a long time IT pro, I'm a person who buy things, I'm a person who gets genuine enjoyment from using great technology. But I have absolutely zero interest in phones right now, and haven't for years.

    My next phone? Perhaps something foldable from Samsung in a few years time when they have some reliability and longevity. Perhaps.

    I admit I can't see the benefits of a foldable phone, but hey, at least they're trying something fresh, even if it is (mostly) a pointless novelty.


    If I had to buy a new phone today, I'd choose something - very quickly - that was cheap enough and good enough from whatever was on the shelf at my favorite local shop. I'd do the same for a new kettle or stapler or desk lamp, with about the same level of enthusiasm.


    The next wave of phones needs to arrive soon. This is boring.

    • macguy59

      Somewhat in the same boat but my biggest yawn is the camera’s. Camera’s on flagship phones have been good for years. Even low end phones will take a good shot in good lighting so using camera updates to sell a phone does nothing for me

    • Paul Thurrott

      It's probably very healthy to view this thing for what it is, a tool.


      I try. And part of my rethinking with smartphones now is looking at it through that lens. What really needs to be there, what's really important, etc.

  17. brettscoast

    Excellent write-up Paul. There are some stark differences between the iPhone 13 and the Pixel 6. I would be interested to see a future post once you have installed\applied the updates to Pixel 6 to see if these fixes make any significant improvement to the issues dogging the device. The comparisons between these two flagship phones I find fascinating.

  18. rmlounsbury

    I think the tool that best fits your need is the one that should win. As Paul is transparently pointing out with this article series that is a tough question sometimes. I've had the same back and forth ever since Windows Phone was clearly headed to the grave.


    I do think that in general if privacy & overall consistency is your deal then iOS is probably your best option. If you like to tinker, want to integrate with something outside of Apple then you probably want to go with Android.


    I'd love to see Microsoft invest more into their Android launcher. I'd also love to see Microsoft more rapidly bring features and more cohesive expriences to the Duo (maybe even a docked mode).

    • wright_is

      With regards to privacy, you are correct. And that is one of the main reasons I switched to iPhone this time round (my last iPhone was a 3GS, having gone through Windows Phone and Android in the meantime).


      Price was also a factor, the premium Android handsets were always much cheaper, but over the last 3-4 years, that has changed, Huawei and the other Chinese makers went with upmarket prices (or were pushed from the market by US sanctions) and Samsung and Google seemed to be hell bent on outdoing Apple on pricing, in the wrong direction, even though you were still paying extra with your data and privacy, on top of them being overpriced.


      Google seems to have pulled the Pixel 6 back from the edge, but it has too many problems.


      I saw some reviews of the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro and they included a gallery of over 1,000 shots (I can't remember which site that was now), but going through the shots, it was pretty even, the Pixel were a little more saturated and the Apple more natural and sometimes the Pixel was better in a specific circumstance and sometimes the iPhone. I'd say 60% were close enough not to be able to say one was better than the other, whilst the remaining 40% was split 25/15 for the iPhone, for my personal taste (more realistic, less obviously "AIed"). But that is a personal taste thing and I think, in general, you can't really say either of them is bad in any situation.


      Setting up the Home Screen on the iPhone is probably the only frustrating experience so far. I always work from the bottom to the top - my most used apps are at the bottom and the less used ones at the top - that doesn't work well with the iPhone, you have to put "filler" in at the top, then put the apps you want at the bottom, but push things around and an app will spring to the next page, bumping everything there down as well! But that is generally a one-off thing that you don't do on a regular basis, so once everything is in place and locked down, it works fine.

      • rmlounsbury

        Photography will also have a personal bent to whether or not you like what a specific phone produces for final picture quality. I tend to think iOS ends up being too cool with the resulting photos and Samsung ends up being hyper-saturated where Pixel ends up being a nice middle ground to me.


        As for the Pixel 6, Google does have a long history of problems with the Pixel series. So, hoping that they would nail it on the first generation of a device that is entirely of their own design is probably optimistic at best. Which is why I ended up on a Pixel 5a and not a 6. My hope is that now that Google has their own Tensor chips they will get QA for Pixel under control after the Pixel 6 (which is v1 of Google's top-to-bottom designed phone).


        In my world I prefer Android simply because it integrates best with Windows and the Microsoft eco-system. I'll probably end up on a Duo 2 if they drop the price later this year and Microsoft actually shows interest in the device (e.g. Android 12L being announced and monthly updates show actual improvement in the software story for Duo).

      • Donte

        "With regards to privacy, you are correct. And that is one of the main reasons I switched to iPhone this time round"


        Umm yeah Apple privacy is pure marketing BS! They use the privacy gimmick because they make 99% of their revenue off of hardware and services tied to that hardware. They want your data just as much as Google or Facebook does, but they want to keep it for them, to sell you more stuff.


        They just gave the communist government of China 250 billion to access those markets. The same government that is the worst violator of human rights and privacy. Apple threw billions of people under the bus to make more $$$$.


        Also the Google myth of them selling your data needs to die. They put you in a bucket and sell ads that target the buckets. Yes they put in you in that bucket by gathering data on you when YOU use their free products. Its anonymized to hell and back by AI and super computers because they would need a army of humans to do that.


        Facebook actually sells your identifiable data. They have been caught more than once.

      • Oreo

        One thing on price: if you factor in longevity, I am not sure this is true. I bought my iPhone 7 when it came out and I am still using it as my daily driver. Just battery life is getting short (although I had the battery replaced a few months ago), but apart from that I have zero issues. I will replace it next year, giving it a service time of 6 years.


        For Android the decision matrix is much more complicated. E. g. when my sister bought her last Android phone, she had to decide between an older Samsung flagship with better specs and an entry-level “then-current” Samsung phone with worse specs. The price was more or less the same. The decision seems simple at first. But then she told me that the older phone phone would no longer get Android updates.

        • rmlounsbury

          The story around Android updates is improving as major manufacturers have added more years to the major OS and security update window. Of course, that is more a problem due ARM only supporting chips for X number of years so Android vendors don't have a lot of choice here. There is Fairphone that is trying to get out to 6 years but that is a heavy lift without support from the chipmaker.


          The new Pixel phones with Google's own chip pushes that window out to 5 years and future "a" series phones I'd imagine will get Google's chip as well which should extend their update lifespan to the same 5 years.


          But, at the end of the day Android has to support a number of different chips and vendors where as Apple owns the hardware and the software. If you want an Apple-like experience with updates on Android your only choice is going to be Google. Maybe other OEM's if Google decides to license the Tensor SoC out to third parties.

        • wright_is

          The problem is, most people don’t know or care about updates. As long as the device works, everything is okay.


          200€ for 6 years is what a lot of people I know calculate.


          My brother in law replaced his Galaxy S3 mini last year!

          • Oreo

            No, but people do care about longevity, and I think on average most iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) outlast their Android equivalents. Many iOS devices get passed down to e. g. children. Receiving the latest version of iOS is part of that equation.


            My daughter uses my parents’ old iPad 2. Works fine, even though it is super slow.

            • wright_is

              I can only say what I see, and that is people buying cheap or mid-range Android devices and keeping them for 6 years or more.


              A friend of my wife’s uses a hand-me-down, 6 year old Android phone, that was gifted to her, because she can’t afford anything better.

  19. Remtiwk

    I also switched from Android to iPhone 13 here. Aside from a few learning curves, and some annoyances at iOS notifications, I couldn't be happier.

  20. owenm

    We Android users have to set aside some of our biases against iOS. Android has boasted for years about being the superior OS and getting features first. I feel like that isn't the case anymore (or at least doesn't matter). I would be perfectly happy using the latest hardware regardless of which OS.

  21. mike2thel73

    If it wasn't for Google's implementation of the in-screen fingerprint reader I would be rocking a pixel 6 non-pro.


    I purchased an apple iPhone 13 pro max and I'm not looking back.


    Bye droid

  22. Truffles

    Does anyone have an idea of how "sticky" smartphone purchase choices are? For instance, do non-tech people seriously consider swapping and changing between Apple and Android each time they get a new phone?


    Among my group of friends, a price difference of +-$100 spread across a 2 year product working life doesn't really matter because middle aged people tend to be in a position where they can value time above money.


    Swapping only seem to be considered when the user has had software/hardware problems that have caused a serious loss of faith in the brand, and that tends to result in a one-way drift toward Apple. Other than that, friends who are Apple users or Android users tend to just stay Apple users or Android users.

    • Oreo

      It is moderate. On iOS the biggest sticking factors are Messages and FaceTime. They made my sister switch from Android to iOS. (Plus, even though she is not technically inclined, update policies and longevity were a bit factor for her.)


      She was concerned about using all the Google services she got accustomed to. On iOS that's a non-factor: simply download Gmail, and Gmail on iOS works more or less like Gmail on Android. Google Maps: check. I don't think she is attached to Chrome, though.

    • wright_is

      I think there is more fluctuation within Android than between Android and iOS. Although I know people who have swapped back and forth, myself included, I've been through iOS, Windows Phone, Android and back to iOS, now.


      But on the Android side, I went through Samsung, htc, LG & Huawei (Nexus), Huawei and back to Samsung, before jumping back over the fence to Android.


      2 years is a very short time. Most people I know tend to keep their phones for between 4 and 6 years (yes, mostly without updates, which really makes me cringe). Many are even on hand-me-downs, my daughter just took my Galaxy S20+ (which should have another 2 years of updates) to replace my old Huawei Mate 10 Pro, which she has used for 2 years after I gave it to her (and hasn't had updates for most of that time) and she would have carried on using that, until it stopped working, if I hadn't pushed the Galaxy on her.


      For most people, it is just a device for WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram etc. and if it can do that without too many troubles, there is no need to waste money on replacing it. They just don't know or care about security and the need to keep it updated.


      For that type of user, Apple is probably the better bet, in terms of security updates, but the initial cost is too high. A new Android phone for $200 for 6 years is still cheaper than an iPhone for $899 for 6 years, even if it will become a security nightmare after a couple of months and slow as molasses after a year or two.


      I think we don't realize, what a privileged position we are in, when we can afford new phones every 2 years, or less, especially when those are flagship or mid-range phones ($400+).

      • Paul Thurrott

        > I think there is more fluctuation within Android than between Android and iOS. 


        I bet that's accurate.


        It's not impossible or even difficult, but there are a lot of small differences that are kind of odd.

  23. SvenJ

    This is going to be interesting. The differences between high end iPhones and Pixels are more a matter of preference and familiarity than much else. I have an iPhone 12 Pro Max (primary and saw no reason to upgrade) and a Pixel 6 Pro (for fun). Couple of observations. The phones are very comparable in size. Pixel is a bit taller but narrower than the iPhone, but by mm only. Guess I get if Paul thought the Pixel was too bulky the Pro Max iPhone would have been about the same. Unlocking: I have had very little issue unlocking the Pixel. I've found that a firm press and wait for the haptics works every time, with four registered digits. I haven't got the Dec update either (probably thankfully, my network still works). On the iPhone, here is a reason to try an Apple watch. If you are wearing a mask, it looks for indications you are, gets as much info as it can, then checks to see if your watch is nearby, being worn, and unlocked. Then it unlocks the phone and lets you know on the watch it did so, display and haptics, with the option, on the watch, to relock the phone. If you relock, it defaults to PIN for the next unlock. It's workable.

    • SvenJ

      For those noting the watch is a 'Apple solution', that may be a point, but I expect most that use it had one before that mitigation was created. I wear a watch anyway, and having an iPhone, the Apple Watch is the natural companion for many. Not sure Apple could implement something similar if your choice is Fitbit or WearOS (yea you could opt for that). The other alternative of course is to stick a fingerprint reader somewhere and make you buy a new phone. Not sure I'd recommend one just for this normally. I only suggest Paul get one because he tries things for a living. You can get an SE starting at $279, though Paul would likely find the larger $359 case more to his liking.

      • wright_is

        Interestingly, I have a Polar watch and it is linked with Apple Health, but the Polar shows about 3 times as many steps at the Apple app. Everything else seems to correspond between the two apps.

        • SvenJ

          Wife uses a Fitbit for that sort of health tracking, but also has an Apple watch for all it does. She believes the Fitbit more. Actually she thinks it's more accurate. Not sure what the deal is with Apple's distance tracking. I just feel good when it suggests I've done well. Never concerned me if it was right or not.

        • macguy59

          Wonder how each is measuring your stride vs the actual distance ?

    • wright_is

      But $500 (German prices) or more for an additional device to enable you to unlock the phone when wearing a mask is a bit steep. ;-)


      I am seriously thinking about a Watch, but it is a lot of money - if I am going to get one, it would be a 6 or 7 for the additional sensors.

      • Donte

        I doubt anyone buys the watch just for this feature. It unlocks your Mac's as well when you get near them.


        I have had their watch since version 3, currently have a 6. For me its a watch first (always have worn one) then its best use is a fitness/health tracker, then Apple Pay and yes the unlocking feature is great. That said where I live masks are no longer required in 99% of the places I got to including grocery stores so its use for me would have been great in 2020 but not really needed now.

      • Daishi

        Yeah, the Apple Watch unlock

        is a very Apple solution to the problem of FaceId and masks. Just spend another couple of hundred dollars on another Apple device and you can solve the problem (about 80-90% of the time in my experience). But then, to lean into anecdata for a moment, I find myself at least as often wearing gloves when wanting to use my phone as wearing a mask and the combination of FaceId and firm, deliberate presses with leather gloves works ok most of the time, but the same can’t be said of any fingerprint reader.


        I’d also suggest that the one point in this comparison that the Pixel wins, value, is probably achieved with a very Google solution. Namely, they don’t care about making money from hardware sales because almost all their money comes from their ad business and they will make money off Pixel phones the same way they do off all the other devices out there using Android that they give away for free. By scraping user data.

        • jmountjoy

          Kudos on an oft overlooked point. “Cost” being misconstrued as “value”. Value can include the (less than perfect - admittedly) Apple privacy policy. And the ability to walk into a store and get a device checked over by a product specialist. Sure, the retail stores and suggested upgrades to “fix a problem” likely cover the cost of running the stores. But I’ve personally visited an Apple store and had free replacements for AirPods Pro and a first gen Smart Keyboard for a 4 year old iPad Pro.


          Could Google achieve a similar level of customer service online / via mail replacement service? Arguably. But the same day replacement of products that have developed faults has great value for me personally.

        • drewtx

          "Yeah, the Apple Watch unlock, is a very Apple solution to the problem of FaceId and masks. Just spend another couple of hundred dollars on another Apple device and you can solve the problem".

          An alternative interpretation is that saw the need (unlocking Phones while wearing a mask) - and they were able to implement an alternative solution that was delivered free to their many customers who already had iPhones and Watches.

          • jwdixonjr

            Most folks on Iphone or in the Apple ecosystem will likely have the iWatch - thankful for the watch unlock when wearing a mask. Great solution. Plus convenient for unlocking your laptop too :)

            • wright_is

              Given the number of iPhones sold, compared to the number of watches, I’d say a small percentage of iPhone users have a Watch (estimates seem to suggest around 10%).

          • freezal

            Android has smart unlock as well (least I do on my phone S20 ultra) so my watch (currently Samsung but have used others) unlocks my phone, as well as my car my home etc.

  24. will

    I am a little surprised not to see Outlook on the Home Screen for the iPhone 😉

    • txag

      I have the Outlook app on my phone. I don't like it much, and might just dump the Outlook account as another account in the iOS mail app.

  25. Panos Dionysopoulos

    My last upgrade I went with the note 20 plus partly because I was so invested in the android infrastructure and partly because I really missed having the stylus. Now with the way the apple pencil works I wish I had waited and bought an iPhone 13 Pro. If I wasn't still paying this phone off I'd probably move to the iPhone next year. I imported the very first iPhone when it came out (weirdly that's how I came across your writings to begin with in a Google search link-jumping sort of way) and I feel like it's a good time to switch, even with all the money I've spent in the play store, it's not worth it for the irks any more

  26. Prohibido_por_la_ley

    How much commission did Apple pay you were to write this nonsense?

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