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Pixel 6 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max speed test might surprise you

Published Oct 27th, 2021 7:16PM EDT
Pixel 6 iPhone 13
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The Pixel 6 series features Google’s first homegrown System-on-Chip (SoC): the Tensor. Years in the making, the Tensor received plenty of attention during Google’s launch event.

Now that the Pixel 6 phones have started shipping, we’ve started seeing the first benchmark results involving the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

What’s even more interesting is the Pixel 6 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max real-life speed test that we’ve all been waiting for. That’s because it’s the first time that Apple’s latest flagship SoC has a rival from Google.

Benchmarks vs. real-life speed tests

With each new generation of handsets, we look at benchmarks and real-life speed tests to see how powerful the new devices are. The iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic is no match for Android when it comes to benchmarks. The Snapdragon 888 in the Galaxy S21 series scores lower than the iPhone 13 Pro. And the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro’s Tensor score slightly lower than the Snapdragon 888.

But benchmarks do not tell the whole story. That’s where real-life tests come in. These are a tradition for some YouTubers who have created “standard” speed tests for new phones. They involve having the new devices open the same series of apps twice. The first time, the phones run through the same sequence of apps, loading each app for the first time. In the second lap, the phones load the apps from memory. The phone that completes the two laps the fastest is the winner.

iPhone 13 Pro Max Speed Test
iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra speed test. Image source: YouTube

The iPhone 13 Pro Max beat the Galaxy S21 Ultra a few weeks ago, which is hardly a surprise. It’s also a tradition for the newest iPhone to outperform Android. It’s rare for Androids to come out on top, and when it did happen, it was because Androids had more RAM to play with.

Pixel 6 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

As you can see in the image above, the iPhone 13 Pro Max finished almost 10 seconds faster than the Galaxy S21 Ultra in PhoneBuff’s test in early October. The YouTube channel put the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro through the same ordeal, and you wouldn’t be wrong to expect similar results. The iPhone 13 Pro has the better chip, so it has to outrun the Pixel 6 Pro.

Pixel 6 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max Speed Test
Pixel 6 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max speed test. Image source: YouTube

But it turns out that the Pixel 6 Pro is quite a surprise. Google’s Tensor loaded apps faster than the A15 Bionic initially. When the resource-intensive apps appeared, the iPhone took the lead. Apple’s phone then finished both rounds before the Pixel 6 Pro.

Even so, the Pixel 6 Pro was less than five seconds slower than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. This is a massive departure from the Pixel 5 real-life speed test.

The Pixel 6 phones should match the real-life performance of the Galaxy S21 and all Snapdragon 888 phones. And that means the new Pixel 6 phones will also be almost as fast as the iPhone 13 in real-life use. After all, we’re only looking at a few seconds here. You’d need to own both handsets to tell the difference.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.