AH Awards: Best Smartphone Of 2021 – Google Pixel 6

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Google showed us that they can compete with everyone

Google’s Pixel smartphones have always been good, but in 2021, Google raised the bar even further with the Pixel 6. Going from a decidedly “mid-range” smartphone in the Pixel 5 last year, to a true flagship phone in the Pixel 6 this year. All at the same price.

In our review of the Pixel 6, back in October, we stated that this was the “new value king in the world of smartphones”. And we still stand by that, two months later.

This is the sixth-generation Pixel from Google, but it really seems that this is when Google really stepped into its own. Creating what many believe is the best smartphone ever, and at a very competitive price. This is why we are giving it the AndroidHeadlines Award for the Best Smartphone of 2021.


It does everything well, at a lower price

In 2021, we started to see a lot of smartphones coming down in price. For instance, the Galaxy S21 series was $300 cheaper across the board, compared to the Galaxy S20 series from last year. Google kept the same price for the Pixel 6 – just $599. But made it a high-end device that can compete with these thousand-dollar phones. Without sacrificing features or performance. That really caught a lot of people’s eyes.

Google also showed us how good their own chipset can really be, in 2021. Google debuted its Tensor SoC for the Pixel smartphones. It’s manufactured by Samsung and is right on par with the other high-end chipsets on the market. It’s still early for Tensor, but it looks really impressive so far.

With the launch of Tensor, it means that Google now can control the entire Pixel experience from the processor to the software. Similar to what Apple is able to do with the iPhone. That is likely going to make the software a lot more smooth, and provide more software updates down the road.


What really tipped this award in Google’s favor this year was the upgrade to the camera on the Pixel 6. Google finally upgraded the sensors on the back of the Pixel 6 this year. Previously, it had used the same 12-megapixel sensor for the past four generations of Pixel phones. This year, we have a 50-megapixel main sensor and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor. The upgraded sensor isn’t night-and-day better, but when you go to zoom in or crop, you really notice the difference and added details.

Google also added in some new camera features this year, and one that really caught everyone’s eye was Magic Eraser. It’s technically a feature that Adobe’s Lightroom has had for years, but now it’s available on your phone. In the built-in gallery app. It uses software plus some AI magic to erase things from your photos. It works really well, and allows you to get rid of those photo bombers.

Google finally seems to be taking its smartphones seriously, and instead of just wanting to put out a phone for developers, it’s a phone for everyone. And that’s why we’re giving the Pixel 6 the AndroidHeadlines Award for Best Smartphone of 2021.