Best Google Pixel Phone (2022): Which Model to Buy, Cases and Accessories, Feature Drops

The Pixel 5 isn’t quite worth its high price, especially since its software support window ends soon (October 2023). Amazon currently sells the Pixel 4A 5G for the same price as the Pixel 6A, and while it’s a good phone, it should be cheaper. You’re better off sticking with the Pixel 6A. As for older Pixels, they’re not worth picking up. They’re just too old (and the Pixel 4 suffers from poor battery performance). Many of those devices will stop getting software updates soon if they haven’t already. Buy one of the newer models.

Cases and Accessories We Like

Official Google Case

Photograph: Google

The revamped case for the Pixel 7 series feels more durable than ever before, and you can match them with your Pixel’s color. The thermoplastic elastomer feels nice to touch, and there are raised edges on the front to protect the screen. The Pixel 7’s case is made with more than 30 percent recycled plastics, and the polycarbonate shell uses 77 percent recycled plastics. There are metal buttons for power and volume and they’re 100 percent recycled aluminum. The cases for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6A are similar but slightly different.  

It’s slim, has a nice texture, retains clicky buttons, and has accurate cutouts for the ports and speakers. What’s not to love? Well, it’s a bit dull, but I still think it’s one of the more attractive cases in Spigen’s lineup. The edges aren’t raised drastically, so don’t expect much screen protection. 

Of all the Pixel cases I’ve tried, this feels the best. It has a wonderful texture that’s pleasant to touch, and the case keeps a slim profile. The buttons remain clicky, and the ports are well-exposed. It’s affordable, but the front edges aren’t raised. There’s a good chance the screen will hit the ground when you drop it.

Caseology Tempered Glass Screen Protector

Photograph: Caseology

Pixel phones don’t have a great track record with screen durability—they scratch easily. We tested this protector originally for the Pixel 5A, but it’s not available anymore. Caseology does sell it now for the Pixel 7, Pixel 6, and Pixel 6A. Installation is easy, and it includes a squeegee to get rid of air bubbles. You get two screen protectors for the price, including a microfiber cloth, a wipe, and dust removal stickers.

This is another easy-to-apply tempered glass screen protector. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 version comes with two protectors, but Spigen only includes one for the Pixel 6A. Boo. You get a whole cleaning kit to wipe down your phone, an alignment tool that helps you get the application right, and a squeegee to get rid of the air bubbles. 

You get only one screen protector here and it’s very expensive. That’s because Zagg claims that the protector is 5 times as strong as traditional screen protectors. I haven’t seen too many scuffs on my Pixel 6A yet, but take this with a grain of salt. It’s easy to apply with the included application tool, but Zagg doesn’t include a squeegee at this price so you’ll have to use your fingers to push the air bubbles out. It comes with a dust sticker, a wet wipe, and a microfiber cloth.

Photograph: Moment

The Pixels have great cameras, but you can take them further by using third-party lenses like these from Moment. Slap on a fish-eye lens for a fun, distorted photo effect. Use a 58-mm telephoto to get even closer to your subject. Whatever lens you pick, you’ll need a Moment case with for the system to work. Unfortunately, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro cases aren’t compatible with the lenses. Still, I like these cases because they have magnets embedded inside—they’ll work with Moment’s various MagSafe mounts, like one for tripods, video lights, and mics.

It’s not the best clear case I’ve ever used, but it’s pretty darn nice for the price. The buttons are clicky, the Pixel’s color comes through clearly, and the rear doesn’t feel too sticky as some clear cases tend to. 

Want a kickstand to prop your Pixel up? This Spigen case has one built in and it does the trick, though unfortunately, you can keep your device up only in landscape mode—not great for hands-free TikTok. It has a thick bumper offering nice protection around the edges, though there’s not much of a lip sticking out, so you’ll still want to pair it with a screen protector. 

Google Pixel Stand (Gen 2)

Photograph: Google

Of the Pixels we recommend in this guide, wireless charging is available only on the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro. Google’s very own Pixel Stand is one of the best wireless chargers around because it’s simple. The base doesn’t slide around, the phone stays put, and it enables some fun features, like turning the screen into a digital photo frame and quick access to Google Assistant. It’s made of 39 percent recycled materials, with mostly ecofriendly packaging too. Our Best Wireless Chargers guide has more options. It’s also available at Best Buy.

This charging adapter is all you need to recharge your Pixel, whichever model you have. The newest high-end Pixel phones don’t come with chargers in the box, so if you don’t have any spare USB-C chargers, it’s worth picking one up. This one’s prongs don’t fold up, but it’s still really compact. 

This dual-layer case from Otterbox feels really tough, yet it’s fairly slim. The edges around the camera module and front screen are raised, the buttons are easy to press, and the headphone jack and USB-C port are protected from the elements. This one offers a step up in protection compared to the above picks. 

It takes some effort to install this case on the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, but once you do, it’s arguably the most protection you’ll find for your Pixel. There’s an inner two-piece polycarbonate shell that snaps over and under the Pixel, and then a thick synthetic rubber slipcover goes over for extreme durability. The buttons are surprisingly clicky, and it’s not as thick as I expected it to be (it does make the phone very wide, though). It’s made of 50 percent recycled plastic, and there’s a holster you can pop it in to carry your Pixel with pride on your belt.

Hidden Tricks to Try If You Get a Pixel

Wait Times.

Video: Google

There are some key features exclusive to Pixels that you won’t find on any other Android phone. Some of these are only available on select Pixels—the ones powered by Google’s Tensor chips are more capable since it’s the company’s own silicon. Here’s a quick breakdown:

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