iPhone 13 mini from a Pixel 6 Pro user’s perspective: This is why people buy iPhones?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
iPhone 13 mini from a Pixel 6 Pro user’s perspective: This is why people buy iPhones?
This story's been a long time in the making and had to be written despite the fact that Google quite literally just launched Android 13, which like all previous updates, is supposed to fix the Pixel 6.

Clearly, one person didn't have the immense amounts of patience to wait for the Pixel 6 Pro to become the phone that it was always meant to be, so some two months ago, I went on eBay and got myself an iPhone 13 mini.

Not the bigger and more "normal" iPhone 13, or the more expensive and Pro-er iPhone 13 Pro, but the smallest and most affordable iPhone 13… mini. You know - to replace the biggest, most expensive, and best Pixel - the Google Pixel 6 Pro.

I know I could've focused on virtually every aspect and difference between the two phones, but in order to make this switch story easier to digest, I'd like to pay attention to the things that stand out the most when going from a Pixel 6 (Pro) to an iPhone 13 (mini). Of course, some software and even hardware comments will be valid for all Pixel 6 and iPhone 13 models.

Switching from Pixel 6 Pro to iPhone 13 mini: Apple's mature hardware running circles around Google's bold new choices

When the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro came out, they were supposed to be not just a new page in Google's old book of phones but rather a whole new book altogether.

Unfortunately, Tensor, Google's first original chipset, made in collaboration with Samsung, and a few tough-to-swallow hardware mixups like the fingerprint reader and ambient light sensor on the Pixel 6 series were a really bad introduction to Google's new story.

As I've written before, Tensor isn't nearly as capable as the latest and greatest Apple chips when it comes to raw performance. It also has a tendency to heat up under normal loads and basic tasks like 4K video recording. The big 5000 mAh battery in the Pixel 6 Pro also has a very hard time trying to make up for the losses made by the very inefficient Tensor-Android 12 combo.

  • Apple's A15 Bionic processor makes the humble 60Hz iPhone 13 mini run like the smoothest 60Hz phone that's ever existed; heavy-duty tasks like quick video editing and exporting are completed in no time and without any throttling
  • The iPhone 13's ambient light sensor and auto-brightness works flawlessly
  • Face ID (which I couldn't tolerate before) feels like the best unlocking method after the hit-or-miss Pixel 6 fingerprint reader experience
  • Battery life on the tiny iPhone 13 mini is sensational for the size of this phone, averaging 4-5h of SoT, which shockingly isn't far behind the Pixel 6 Pro, which has a cell that's over twice as big

Is Apple's somewhat stagnant hardware blowing my mind? Not at all. But what blows my mind is that it just works. You know - as Apple users love saying.

Switching from Pixel 6 Pro to iPhone 13 mini: iOS "just works" and Android 12 just… didn't

Android 12 (as found on Pixel) was and is arguably the biggest issue on the Pixel 6 series. I'm not going to go over the super-long list of bugs that the Pixel 6 Pro has experienced and continues to experience, as we've covered them in many stories.

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What I can say is that if Android 12 on Pixel 6 Pro feels like a fancy new Starbucks drink with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, and a bunch of different flavors that don't necessarily work together, iOS on iPhone 13 is like a simple, yet tried and tested, traditional cup of cappuccino.

Sure, iOS 15 is more or less the same old boring grid of apps I left behind (as my main phone) years ago, and it certainly doesn't hold a candle to Android when it comes to flexibility and customization (iOS 16 is set to change that), but the fact that the iPhone 13 doesn't freeze for two whole minutes for no reason at all; doesn't reload widgets all the time, and can run its camera app smoothly at all times and no matter how hard I push it, feel pretty game-changing for someone who's been using a Pixel 6 Pro...

I know this doesn't have much to do with the Pixel, but Apple's AirDrop and iCloud syncing in combination with my Mac are the cherries on top (yet far from the reason I switched to iPhone).

Apps also run generally smoother on iOS, and I'm not even talking about specific and niche applications. Spotify and Twitter are two great examples of super-popular apps I use daily, and that run much better on Apple devices. At least compared to Pixel.

Switching from Pixel 6 Pro to iPhone 13 mini: What you gain and what you lose - do you want a compact phone or a cameraphone?

Here's one for the fans of bullet points! Remember that the following is in addition to the pros and cons I've laid out in the above-mentioned sections.

Compared to Pixel 6 Pro, iPhone 13 mini:

  • Will help you develop a whole new appreciation for light and compact phones over something big like the Pixel 6 Pro - it can be fully operated with one hand, and I can even pinch-to-zoom in Google Maps with one hand while walking down the street; carrying the iPhone 13 mini in your pocket is a total game-changer after a phone like the Pixel 6 Pro
  • Has much better video quality than the Pixel 6 Pro - day or night, no matter the camera, no matter the resolution; Cinematic Mode is very underrated and truly fun and powerful
  • iPhone 13 mini chargers noticeably faster than Pixel 6 Pro (1:25h vs 2:00h or longer for Google's flagship) and supports MagSafe accessories like the MagSafe battery pack, which can give you more than one extra charge on the go
  • Has a better vibration motor than the Pixel 6 Pro (although the Pixel's is one of the best amongst Android phones)
  • Is cheaper than the Pixel 6 Pro - new, refurbished, or used

Compared to iPhone 13 mini, Google Pixel 6 Pro:

  • Has a far superior photo quality overall compared to the iPhone 13 mini and a class-leading 4x periscope zoom camera, which I love and hate to give (this is where the “almost” in the title comes from!); Pixel 6 Pro takes better selfies than the iPhone 13 mini
  • Comes with superior speaker quality than the iPhone 13 mini
  • Has a much more immersive display for watching longer YouTube videos and shows
  • Looks better than the iPhone 13 - that's my opinion, but the Sorta Sunny Pixel 6 Pro is probably the best-looking phone I've ever owned

In the end: Apple's "slow" approach to innovation wins me over Android's rushed novelty

As it turns out, Apple's decision to prioritise the core user experience over flashy hardware and software upgrades is paying off. At least when comparing the iPhone to Google's attempt at an Android iPhone.

I myself called the then-unreleased Pixel 6 Android's iPhone, and almost a year later, I can say with certainty that the Pixel 6 Pro is just another Android phone with great potential and a great lack of consistency in performance.

I was more than ready to go full-time Google when I paid €900 for my Pixel 6 Pro back in October. I was excited about Google's design and camera evolution, but in the end even this wasn't enough to make up for the inconsistent experience of using a Pixel in 2021-2022.

I paid about €450 for an almost new iPhone 13 mini, and it was the best decision I could make at the time if I wanted a reliable phone that didn't cost a fortune. So, yes, Apple's "slow innovation" wins for now. For now, my Pixel 6 Pro remains up for sale!

I genuinely wish Google luck with the Pixel 7 series, but why not even before that? I've now installed Android 13 on my Pixel, and I hope this time around, most of the issues I've had in the past will be addressed. At least that's what some reports are suggesting! Of course, you'll be the first ones to know if Android 13 has "fixed" the Pixel 6, so stay tuned.

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