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
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
- Wonderfully clean, future proof Android 12 software
- Great translation and photo editing services
- All 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
The best mid-range Pixel phone
- So many great software features
- Nice array of colours
- Strong camera hardware for the price
- Some jank in the software
- The display lacks the 120Hz refresh rate of many similarly priced rivals
- A 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
- Lovely small form-factor
- Reliable camera for the price
- Google’s excellent software
- 60Hz display feels slow compared to the rivals
- Slow 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
The best Pixel phone with a Qualcomm chipset
- New low price now under $400
- Camera over-performs
- Android 12 and guaranteed updates
- Vibrant display
- Feels old hat now Pixel 6 is here
- Only 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…
A simpler flagship from Google
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.
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
Google Pixel 6a
You can compare the core specs of all the Pixel phones in this list using the table below.
First Reviewed Date
Pixel 6 Pro
50MP + 12MP + 48MP
3 x 0.4 x 6.5 INCHES
1440 x 3120
Stormy Black, Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny
2.9 x 0.4 x 6.2 INCHES
1080 x 2400
Stormy Black, Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral
Google Pixel 6a
12MP + 12MP
71.8 x 8.9 x 152.2 MM
1080 x 2400
Sage, White, Black
2 x 12.2-megapixel main and ultra-wide angle
2.9 x 0.3 x 6.1 INCHES
Android 11 (with 12 available out of box)
2400 x 1080
USB-C, 3.5mm audio
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G