The Pixel 6 Pro falls short on 5G speeds when compared to the Galaxy S21

Google Pixel 6 Pro Rf Antenna Top
Google Pixel 6 Pro Rf Antenna Top (Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • PCMag compared the Pixel 6 Pro modem to Qualcomm's using the Galaxy S21.
  • The test compared the connection and speeds on Verizon and T-Mobile, two of the largest U.S. carriers.
  • The comparison shows that the Pixel 6 Pro modem falls short of Qualcomm in most circumstances.

Google touts its impressive AI chops with its new Tensor chip, but one area that the company won't be able to boast about is the Pixel 6 Pro connectivity.

PCMag ran a comparison between the Pixel 6 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S21 to see just how the modem paired with Google's new chip holds up against the competition. The tests were conducted on Verizon and T-Mobile's networks to see how the phones paired on two of the best carriers in the U.S.

Interestingly, PCMag found that the Pixel 6 Pro was doing something weird with how it reported signal strength, particularly with T-Mobile 5G and LTE. That said, the tests indicate that the Galaxy S21 reported better signal strength than the Pixel 6 Pro in most cases.

Similarly, the Galaxy S21 displayed better speed results when on T-Mobile's Ultra-Capacity 5G and Verizon's 5G mmWave. On the latter network, the S21 would hit or top 2Gbps when the Pixel 6 Pro would just reach above 1Gbps.

Source: PCMag (Image credit: Source: PCMag)

Our Jerry Hildebrand also noticed that the signal and speeds on his Pixel 6 Pro seemed a lot worse when compared to the Galaxy S21 on T-Mobile's network.

PCMag notes that the Pixel 6 Pro uses a Samsung modem while U.S. variants of the Galaxy S21 use the X60 modem, similar to the iPhone 13. They also note that the modem is just one piece of the puzzle; there are other things to factor in, such as software and antenna placement. Interestingly, the Pixel 6 Pro has been found to have a curious mmWave antenna placement on the top edge under a bit of plastic, while the Galaxy S21 has two on either side.

No doubt, the Pixel 6 Pro will still provide good speeds depending on your area and the network. However, PCMag's test suggests that you're likely to find better speeds from some of the best Android phones using Qualcomm's latest chips and modem, and the gap may widen with the launch of next year's flagships.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.