Best Google Pixel Phone 2022: Top smartphones tested and ranked

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Since we reviewed the first generation many moons ago, our team of reviewers have found that Google’s Pixel range has revolutionised the camera phone market, with each new model pushing forward what kind of snaps we expect to be able to get out of our smartphones.

However, whole the Pixel range might have started off simple, there are currently multiple devices available at varying price points all with different feature sets.

We’ve reviewed all the Pixel phones, past and present, and we know what makes them tick. We’ve compared all the cameras, batteries and displays along with thoroughly running them all through our rigid performance tests.

This list covers multiple Pixel phones at some very distinct prices, so whatever you’ve got to spend there should be something here for you.

Google has already announced that the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will be coming later this year, likely around September or October and that they’ll be powered by Tensor 2. We know very little else about these upcoming phones yet, but keep an eye on our dedicated rumour round-ups for all the latest information as it gets released.

We also have other best lists for those after something a little less specific. Our best camera phone round-up focuses on a device’s photographic and videography skills, while our best cheap phone and best mid-range phone lists focus solely on more affordable options depending on your budget.

How we test

How do we test Google Pixel phones? Every Google Pixel phone included in the below list has been properly tested and used for an extended period by one of our product experts. We don’t review phones based purely on specs or a manufacturer’s claims – we use them as our everyday device for at least five days and usually for much longer.Our review process includes a mixture of real-world tests, along with more than 15 measured tests and industry-standard benchmarks. We believe this gives the most rounded view of a device.

Pixel 6 Pro

The best flagship Pixel phone

Pros

Wonderfully clean, future proof Android 12 softwareGreat translation and photo editing servicesAll round brilliant rear camera

Our pick for the best Google is the Pixel 6 Pro – the current flagship of the series and a perfect combination of features and affordability. This is very much of a rival to devices like the Galaxy S22 Plus, but it’s slightly more affordable (and often on sale) while offering a slicker software experience and one of the best cameras around.

All the phones featured here boast smooth, clean and frequently updated software. As Google makes both the phone and the underlying Android software, Pixel phones get updates as soon as Android releases them so you’ll be first in line for Android 13 when it arrives later in 2022. This is a rare treat on Android, which in our experience is extremely slow to get updated when new versions come out.

There are a number of reasons why you’d pick the Pixel 6 Pro over the cheaper phones on this list. First off it’s the only model with a 6.7-inch 1440p, 120Hz display meaning it’s bigger, sharper and faster than the Pixel 6 and 6a. It’s certainly the best display on this list, so if that’s a priority you should focus on this model.

It’s also the only version with a triple camera array. Both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have excellent main and ultra wide cameras, but with the Pro, you’re also getting a 48MP telephoto zoom. It’s not the very best telephoto zoom we’ve used even if it’s the best on the list.

The Pixel 6 Pro is the only phone here to offer 256GB storage, has a better 11.1MP front camera and uses the superior Gorilla Glass Victus on both the front and back. This made it feel notably more rugged than some of the cheaper phones on this list during our tests.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson

Full review: Google Pixel 6 Pro review

Pixel 6

The best mid-range Pixel phone

Pros

So many great software featuresNice array of coloursStrong camera hardware for the price

Cons

Some jank in the softwareThe display lacks the 120Hz refresh rate of many similarly priced rivalsA couple of odd design choices

If your budget won’t stretch to the Pixel 6 Pro, or you simply don’t think any of the extra features there are worth it, then the Pixel 6 is a fantastic choice. 

It has the same fantastic 50MP main and 12MP ultra wide camera as its bigger brother and this phone can capture some exceptional snaps in all manner of conditions, based on our tests.

The screen might only be 90hz and 1080p, but it remains bright and colourful and easy to see even on brighter days. You’ve also got some features often missed at this price, like wireless charger and an IP rating for added durability.

Battery life isn’t the strongest skill of the Pixel 6, however throughout testing all these Pixel devices we’ve never been truly impressed by their endurance. They’ll all make it through a day – just don’t expect them to go much further.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full review: Google Pixel 6 review

Google Pixel 6a

The best affordable Pixel phone

Pros

Lovely small form-factorReliable camera for the priceGoogle’s excellent software

Cons

60Hz display feels slow compared to the rivalsSlow to fully charge

The latest addition to the Pixel family is a fantastic little device that packs a good camera, Google’s excellent software and a compact design that’s not too common at this price point.

The Pixel 6a isn’t the one to choose if you want the very best camera, but if your budget is a little more restrictive and won’t stretch to the pricier Pixel 6 options it remains an excellent choice we thoroughly recommend after in-depth testing.

Google has plucked some of the big features from the 6 and 6 Pro to bring down to the 6a. The Tensor chip, for example, enables AI skills like the smart translator and Magic Eraser in the camera. Magic Eraser lets you remove unwanted guests from pictures with the help of AI, and it’s a very useful feature we really like. 

Tensor is the first smartphone SoC chip designed by Google, and it’s really the star of the show. It enables the Pixel 6a to play the latest games and run everyday tasks with ease. The performance here is pretty much on par with the 6 and 6 Pro, which for a phone at this price is impressive.

Wireless charging is missing, but there is an IP67 rating for added durability  – a feature often left out of phones like this.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full review: Google Pixel 6a review

Pixel 5a

The best Pixel phone with a Qualcomm chipset

Pros

New low price now under $400Camera over-performsAndroid 12 and guaranteed updatesVibrant display

Cons

Feels old hat now Pixel 6 is hereOnly 60z display

Our final pick is the Pixel 5a – a device that Google only released in the USA and Japan. If you’re in other territories the Pixel 4a is another good choice, especially if your budget is low and you can find it on sale.

The Pixel 5a is a small phone only slightly larger than the Pixel 6a, capable of taking pictures that pop in all manner of conditions. It lacks the performance of the 6 series phones based on our experience using it, but the mid-range Snapdragon 765G chipset used here is still capable of most everyday tasks.

Outside of these sacrifices there’s an IP67 rating, 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. All specs you’d also find on the Pixel 6a.

Reviewer: Chris Smith

Full review: Google Pixel 5a review

We also considered…

Pixel 5

A simpler flagship from Google

FAQs

Do these Pixel phones come with a charger, or do you need to provide your own? None of the phones included in our Best Pixel Phone list comes with a charger in the box, so you’ll have to provide your own. They all come with a USB-C cable and work with the PD charging standard. Is the Tensor chipset good for gaming? Google’s Tensor chipset is very capable and plays games just fine in our tests. You will, however, get better GPU from more recent phones with Apple’s A-series chips or a recent 8-series Snapdragon version.

Trusted Reviews test data

You can see a summary of the test data we collected reviewing all the Pixel phones in this list in the table below.

Geekbench 5 single core

Geekbench 5 multi core

1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)

30 minute gaming (intensive)

30 minute gaming (light)

1 hour music streaming (online)

1 hour music streaming (offline)

Time from 0-100% charge

Time from 0-50% charge

3D Mark – Wild Life

Pixel 6 Pro

1046

2914

7 %

20 %

12 %

5 %

3 %

67 min

35 Min

6615

Pixel 6

1040

2858

8 %

12 %

9 %

2 %

1 %

115 min

35 Min

6595

Google Pixel 6a

1043

2900

7 %

10 %

9 %

1 %

1 %

105 min

40 Min

Pixel 5a

564

1556

11 %

6 %

2 %

116 min

39 Min

Comparison specs

You can compare the core specs of all the Pixel phones in this list using the table below.

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

CA RRP

AUD RRP

Manufacturer

Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Rear Camera

Front Camera

Video Recording

IP rating

Battery

Wirless charging

Fast Charging

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

ASIN

Operating System

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Resolution

HDR

Refresh Rate

Ports

Chipset

RAM

Colours

Stated Power

Pixel 6 Pro

£849

$849

Google

6.7 inches

128GB, 256GB

50MP + 12MP + 48MP

50MP

Yes

IP68

5003 mAh

Yes

Yes

3 x 0.4 x 6.5 INCHES

210 G

Android

2021

1440 x 3120

Yes

120 Hz

USB Type-C

Google Tensor

12GB

Stormy Black, Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny

Pixel 6

£599

$599

Unavailable

Unavailable

Unavailable

Google

6.4 inches

128GB, 256GB

50 MP

8 MP

Yes

IP68

4614 mAh

Yes

Yes

2.9 x 0.4 x 6.2 INCHES

207 G

Android 12

2021

15/10/2021

1080 x 2400

Yes

90 Hz

USB-C

Google Tensor

8GB

Stormy Black, Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral

Google Pixel 6a

£399

$449

€459

Google

6.1 inches

128GB

12MP + 12MP

8MP

Yes

IP67

4410 mAh

Yes

71.8 x 8.9 x 152.2 MM

178 G

Android 12

2022

21/07/2022

1080 x 2400

Yes

60 Hz

USB-C

Tensor

6GB

Sage, White, Black

18 W

Pixel 5a

Unavailable

$399

Google

6.34 inches

128GB

2 x 12.2-megapixel main and ultra-wide angle

8-megapixel

Yes

IP67

4680 mAh

2.9 x 0.3 x 6.1 INCHES

183 G

B09DV93S9K

Android 11 (with 12 available out of box)

2021

17/12/2021

2400 x 1080

Yes

60 Hz

USB-C, 3.5mm audio

Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

6GB

Mostly Black

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