Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G network speed tests on T-Mobile and Verizon
Google outed a unique Pixel 6 series that is not only powered by a homebrew Tensor chipset that makes it the only phone in the US whose 5G connectivity is provided by a Samsung Exynos modem.
The Exynos 5123b modem specs are few and far between, but Google has probably undergone the same process of tailor ordering and carrier network testing with it as Samsung and Apple do with Qualcomm's X60 modem in their newest S21 and iPhone 13.
Qualcomm, however, offers unsurpassed modem architecture, band filtering and carrier aggregation technology, as it recently demonstrated for the umpteenth time during its Technology Summit keynote. Thus, it would be interesting to compare how the Pixel 6 series fares against the king in 5G connectivity speeds, Samsung's S21 series.
This is exactly what storied network analyst Sascha Segan from PCMag has done, pitting the Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra T-Mobile and Verizon connectivity, here are the key findings:
- The verdict? Almost any way you cut it, the Galaxy S21 series did better than the Pixel at capturing 4G LTE signal. In all situations the S21 side-by-side reported better signal strength, generally between 2-5dBm.
- When the Pixel is on 5G, it doesn't report 4G signal strength properly. It does, however, often report a signal strength called NRRSRP, which we see in the non-standalone contexts in 5G today.
- The biggest differences appeared on Verizon mmWave, where the Pixel 6 Pro struggled to make it much over 1Gbps where the S21 approached or broke 2Gbps.
The caveat, however, is that the tests were done in a dense urban area like New York, whereas the Pixel 6 Pro performed better the lower the bands got. On Verizon's superfast mmWave 5G network the speed difference was almost double, while on T-Mobile's "Ultra Capacity" 5G network that uses Sprint's mid-bands the S21 Ultra won in 6 out of 7 tests. When it comes to slow low-band 5G, the one with the farthest range, the Pixel 6 Pro seemed to provide a more stable connection.