If there’s one area that’s criminally underrated by reviewers and smartphone buyers, but greatly impacts the experience of gaming, watching movies and listening to music on your phone – it’s speaker quality.
How good the stereo effect is, how punchy the bass is, how clear and loud the sound coming from your smartphone is – it all matters.
We have a list of the phones with best speakers you may be interested in checking out, and with a new arrival in the face of the Google Pixel 6 Pro now in our hands, it was time to measure its speaker quality against the top dog 2021 flagships, particularly Apple‘s iPhone 13 and Samsung’s Galaxy S21.
And the result – the Pixel 6 Pro produces notably better sound than the iPhone 13 Pro, and absolutely destroys Samsung’s latest S21 flagships, even the Galaxy S21 Ultra. But hey, let’s get into the deets…
The Pixel 6 Pro speakers produce rich, wide and punchy sound
The Pixel 6 Pro has by far the most exciting-sounding speakers on a (semi-) mainstream 2021 flagship smartphone.
We deservedly praised this phone in our Pixel 6 Pro review for its fresh design, fantastic 120Hz OLED display, solid battery life, performance and of course, its sound quality.
The Pixel 6 Pro’s stereo speakers consist of a down-firing main speaker and the earpiece, producing very wide, spacious stereo sound with punchy bass. The speakers are also satisfyingly loud and clear. Watching movies and YouTube videos, playing games or listening to songs on this smartphone is an absolute joy.
And while other smartphone market hogs like Apple with its iPhone 13 series arguably aren’t matching or beating the Pixel 6 Pro’s speaker performance, to be fair, the iPhone 13 Pro is pretty close…
The iPhone 13 Pro speakers sound more narrow, slightly more tinny, but still very good
Although the iPhone 13 series still features some of the best speakers on a mainstream phone, compared to the Pixel 6 Pro the iPhone 13 Pro produces less exciting and spacious sound, perhaps a bit less punchy too.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a good amount of punch here, but the stereo effect just isn’t as big as on the Pixel 6 Pro, and it appears that the mids are slightly less present on the iPhone 13 Pro, meaning the sound feels a bit more tinny and less “exciting”.
But that’s just when we compare the iPhone 13 Pro directly against the Pixel 6 Pro. Generally, the iPhone 13 Pro speakers don’t disappoint when compared to most other smartphones.
It’s also worth noting that this is a subjective thing and some people might actually prefer how the iPhone 13 Pro sounds instead. Sound from the iPhone 13 Pro may not exactly have the “exciting” quality of the Pixel 6 Pro, but it is very focused and clear.
Kudos to Apple for not glossing over the speaker quality, because some other manufacturers do, and things could be worse. Way worse…
The Galaxy S21 Ultra speakers are disappointing
Even if we skip the Galaxy S21 Plus and jump right to the biggest, most expensive Samsung Galaxy S21 flagship, it still disappoints in the speaker department, and falls behind the cheaper competition from Apple and Google that we just covered.
The sound coming from the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s speakers is tinny, quieter, without any punch, hint of bass or “excitement”.
Why would Samsung choose to sacrifice the speaker quality on an otherwise excellent Android flagship, with great cameras, S Pen support and other bells and whistles, is anyone’s guess.
Until you hear the Galaxy S21 series against a phone with actually good speakers, like its competition – the iPhone 13 series and the Pixel 6 Pro, you may not realize just how much you’re missing out on. But you are.
So if you watch movies and videos on your phone, or game on it, don’t settle for lackluster sound and go with Apple or Google’s flagships.
But we’ll end on a positive note by staying hopeful that the upcoming Galaxy S22 will deliver a better audio experience than its predecessor. May it blast the competition! And I don’t mean by exploding.