Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro Review
It’s not every day that a new smartphone seems like a completely fresh start. Every new smartphone, it’s said, is just an incremental upgrade over the previous model. In actuality, Apple has created 15 versions of the iPhone, and the novelty you obtain from spending hundreds of dollars every couple of years to upgrade hardly alters your daily routine.
Although Google’s new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro don’t split in half or have particularly unusual looks, they are nonetheless newer than a regular phone. Among the many improvements they provide are improved cameras and materials as well as new technology and software. They also have fresh ideas about what a smartphone should be able to perform for you.
It’s new for Google, but it doesn’t mean it’s any better or worse than what you can get from a slew of other smartphone manufacturers currently. A fresh start for Google’s smartphone aspirations, the $599 Pixel 6 and $899 6 Pro represents a new beginning for the corporation that has spent five generations of Pixel phones without making an impact in the smartphone market.
As a consequence, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro aren’t as polished as you might anticipate, and they don’t perform as well as Google says they will. They’re still among the greatest phones you can purchase, and maybe the best Android phones you can get right now, despite their flaws.
Google’s new Pixel phones are a departure from the company’s previous designs, and they follow in the footsteps of other renowned Android phone makers. A standard glass and metal sandwich slab with an aluminum frame and slick back is used instead of the funky textured finishes with bright splashes of color. I miss the quirkiness and personality of previous Pixel phones’ elements. At this time, they don’t measure up to Apple and Samsung in terms of quality. If you look closely at the seams, it’s easy to spot a few rough edges.
Both phones have a similar front design to many other large Android phones on the market; to my eyes, they most closely resemble a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or Note 20. TCL’s phones are known for having a unique bar at the top of their back that houses the cameras.
Three two-tone hues (black, red, or green) are available for the Pixel 6, however the Pixel 6 Pro is only available in black, white, or gold. Instead of being thick and matte black, the metal sides of the normal 6 are thin and polished to a high sheen on the 6 Pro. When it comes to design and build quality, it’s hard for me to say which is better: the 6 or the 6 Pro.
Compared to Google’s previous efforts, these designs lack personality and playfulness.
The camera bar, which runs the length of the back of each phone, is the most noticeable design detail. Large, prominent, and distracting, it doesn’t quite mix in with the rest of the phone’s design. In contrast to other phones’ camera bumps, this one doesn’t rock when you set it down on a table or desk.
However, a lot of these design complaints are essentially academic, since you’re going to cover up any rough edges or uninteresting colors on either phone with a case. Because both phones are large and have glass backs, this is a great idea, considering they’re both quite slippery. Our sample device fell hard enough to break the Gorilla Glass Victus panel on its screen when it was dropped from a desk, wireless charger, couch arm, or table. There are a number of third-party cases available for the Pixel 6 that are better than Google’s translucent recycled plastic ones.
It’s really the size of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro that bothers me the most about their design. In addition to being difficult to use with only one hand, they also don’t fit well in many of my pant pockets and are often misplaced. Previously, Google supplied both small and large versions of its phones, but the size difference between the two in this sixth generation is so minimal that it doesn’t really matter. A large phone is excellent if you’re a lover of the iPhone Pro Max, but those of us who aren’t will miss out.
On the plus side, the screens on both phones are rather large. 6.4-inch OLED display with 1080p-wide resolution on the Pixel 6; 6.7-inch OLED panel with 1440p wide resolution on the Pixel 6 Pro, respectively. Unlike the Pixel 6 Pro, the Pixel 6’s screen is completely flat, whereas the 6 Pro’s screen curves inward toward the frame. Despite my preference for the 6’s flat screen, I found the 6 Pro’s curves didn’t create any errant touch difficulties in my testing, which may make a curved screen difficult to operate.
Outside in direct sunlight, the 6 Pro has a somewhat brighter screen than the 6. They don’t have any issues like odd color reproduction or flickering at low light settings that afflicted prior Pixel phones.
Even the top smartphones from Apple and Samsung have flaws, such a minor color shift at an angle or a perceptible shadow under the curved sides of the 6 Pro when using a very pale backdrop. The screens of these phones are the one area where the lower price tag of these devices shines through. They’re fine, but they don’t measure up to the competition’s flagship models.
However, the displays aren’t the finest we’ve ever seen.
Their quick refresh rates, which range from 90Hz on the Pixel 6 up to 120Hz on the 6 Pro, provide for a smooth scrolling experience. It’s a good thing that Google is following suit here, as fast refresh displays have become standard on high-end smartphones. Unless I tested the phones side by side, I couldn’t tell the difference between the 90Hz and the 120Hz models—both phones operate well.
The fingerprint scanner located under the display is less user-friendly. In spite of its convenient location, the fingerprint reader on the Pixel 3 is significantly slower than other fingerprint scanners, including those on the rear of prior Pixel phones. In dark environments, the screen lights up when you scan a finger because it’s optical, which is disruptive. Occasionally, the phone’s fingerprint reader misreads my finger and requires many attempts to unlock it.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that the fingerprint scanner is the sole biometric authentication available on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, and it’s just not very good.
Google’s new Tensor chip is one of the most crucial features of the Pixel 6 duo. For the first time, Google is building a proprietary CPU, following in the footsteps of Apple and eschewing commodity chips from Qualcomm or MediaTek.
With the Tensor processor, the camera, speech recognition, and gaming aspects of the phone may all be improved with AI-based customization.
According to Google, the new CPU is on par in terms of performance with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, and I can attest to that. There are no stutters or hang-ups while switching between apps, and the UI is devoid of sluggishness. Only Twitter exhibited stuttering on both phones, and that was an anomaly. However, the Tensor chip won’t be able to compete with the latest Apple CPUs, but it’s still a significant improvement over the processor in the Pixel 5 last year.
In comparison, the Pixel 6 has 8GB of RAM, while the 6 Pro has 12GB of RAM. Streaming applications don’t shut aggressively in the background as they did on prior Pixel phones, thus the 6’s lower RAM didn’t cause problems in daily use.
Batteries were not significantly different between the two phones. In most cases, I went to bed with 35-40 percent battery remaining after a full day of use, even while using the camera often, and using the always-on display option. Users who don’t put in much effort may be able to get away with using it for two days. Because the batteries are so large, the phones are able to last longer on a single charge.
Wireless and rapid cable charging are supported by both versions, however none comes with a charger in the package. A 30-watt brick from Google costs $25 and will be available soon for $79; however, I haven’t had a chance to test the quick wireless charger from Google yet.
Even if you use a strong charger, neither phone charges very rapidly even if you do use it. This slows down charging to protect the battery cells’ lifespan, and since the battery is huge, it might take a long time for it to get a full charge. However, because to the long-lasting battery life, you’ll probably just need to recharge while you’re asleep.
The Pixel 6’s haptic feedback is flawless, with exactly the proper amount of clicky sensation.
The Pixels’ haptic feedback is another area where they shine. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro offer subtle, clicky reactions that provide just the appropriate amount of sensation for me, while bad, buzzy haptics may destroy a phone experience for me. It’s a lot of fun to type on the keyboard or use the UI in this way.
Both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have decent, dual stereo speakers that are loud enough to stream music or video and clear enough to take speakerphone or video conversations. Goodbye, Google Pixel 5 pseudo-speaker with a vibrating screen.
In spite of Google’s claim that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have 5G connection, the specifics around it aren’t nearly that clear-cut. The Pixel 6 is limited to sub-6 5G on unlocked and T-Mobile devices, whereas Verizon and AT&T models are more costly and enable the faster but more limited millimeter-wave (5G).
If you buy the Pixel 6 Pro, you can be assured that it will be able to use both sub-6 and mmWave 5G networks. Compared to the unlocked, T-Mobile, or Verizon variants, AT&T’s model is more expensive since you have the pleasure of being a subscriber of AT&T.
T-5G Mobile’s network was used to test unlocked Pixel 6 and 6 Pro models on Google Fi. On T-Mobile, I was able to receive speeds of 300 to 400Mbps in certain regions of New York City, which is far quicker than I got on LTE in the same places.
There are also new sensors, lenses, sensors, and capabilities in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro camera systems. For the first time since 2017, Google has improved the camera hardware in the Pixel range, and this time, it’s substantial. Compared to the Pixel 5 and previous models, the Pixel 6 Pro has a considerably bigger primary camera sensor, as well as ultrawide, wide, and telephoto cameras.
There is a wide-angle camera on both phones, as well as an ultra-wide one. In front of an optically stabilized f/1.85 lens, a 50-megapixel sensor is hard-coded to create photographs with a resolution of 12.5 megapixels. Because of this, you won’t be able to capture the full 50-megapixel resolution, and the photographs generated aren’t much clearer or more detailed than comparable 12-megapixel cameras, including the Pixel 5.
The Pixel 6 Pro’s telephoto lens is the most entertaining to use.
So far so good, although it’s not as excellent as Apple’s greatest, but it’s still a very nice camera. Choosing between the Pixel 6 and the iPhone 13 Pro is a matter of personal choice, something we’ve been saying about smartphone cameras for a while now.
High contrast, a tiny overexposure, extraordinary clarity, and a colder white balance characterize the Pixel 6 photos. Changing the white balance in the camera app is simple enough, but adjusting the sharpness needs a little extra post-processing effort. Google’s fake portrait mode, which blurs the backdrop so much that the person seems like a cardboard figure in a diorama, has remained substantially untouched.
I’d want Google to improve the time it takes for its night mode to shoot a picture. As amazing as the night mode is, it takes a long time to capture the details in dark environments, and the subject or the photographer might grow impatient, resulting in fuzzy images. When capturing night scenes, the iPhone’s night mode required half the time of the Pixel.
There’s a considerable disparity in color and processing between the ultrawide camera and the primary camera on the Pixel 6’s main camera, making it the phone’s weakest link. The iPhone 13 Pro’s ultrawide camera has macro capabilities, while this one does not.
The Pixel 6 Pro’s telephoto camera, on the other hand, is superb. For the first time, I’ve truly liked using a telephoto lens on a smartphone, and that could be enough to convince me to upgrade from the normal 6. The iPhone 13 Pro’s 3x telephoto lens has a substantially greater reach than the 4x zoom on the iPhone 13 Pro, but the 10x zoom on Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra is far more practical for everyday use.
This is in addition to clear, detailed shots with superb subject separation that need minimal usage of software-based portrait settings from the telephoto. Fun to use and a game changer for what you can accomplish with your phone, it’s a must-have accessory.
High contrast, some overexposure, and a lot of detail are hallmarks of the Pixel aesthetic.
Google claims to have improved the Pixel 6’s video capturing capability, but the iPhone remains the benchmark. Shooting 4K 60fps without the phone overheating is possible, but there is still considerable artifacting and wonkiness when using picture stabilization, and the video image processing is very different from how the Pixel handles still photographs. In video, the saturation of colors such as reds and oranges is boosted to the maximum, similar to how Samsung used to process colors many years ago. rnr
Pixel 6 features an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with an 84-degree field of vision, but Pixel 6 Pro has an 11-megapixel front-facing camera with a 94-degree field of view. Both have wide-angle lenses. The 6 Pro’s frame can contain more people, and the clarity of the images is substantially higher.
The Tensor processor in the Pixel’s camera and pictures app allows for a few clever software tricks. A simple press on the Magic Eraser tool removes undesired individuals or objects from a taken shot, and you may even choose specific items to eliminate them. It’s a great tool, but it’s not going to be able to replace Photoshop any time soon. It’s not required to acquire a Pixel to do this, as third-party applications can do the same thing.
New motion capture options, which let you replicate panning motion or a lengthy exposure with a single press of the shutter button, are more intriguing to me, though. You don’t need a tripod to freeze a moving item like an automobile against a hazy backdrop or to catch traffic light streaks.
The Pixel 6 makes it as simple as taking a selfie to create these types of photographs, which usually needs years of skill and a slew of expensive equipment.
In addition, Google has made a great deal out of changes it made to its image processing algorithm this year to better accommodate darker skin tones, which it calls Real Tone. As a photographer, I’m pleased to see Google addressing the issue of image processing bias, which has been a problem for decades. Real Tone processing is built into the Pixel’s image processing pipeline and cannot be turned on or off at will, according to Google’s claim
This camera has been tested by journalists Nicole Nguyen at the Wall Street Journal and Julian Chokkattu at Wired, and their findings are intriguing. I recommend you check out their stories. A quick glance at each shot reveals that it’s still doing Pixel things: strong contrast, with a dash of overexposure to compensate for it, and highly fine details. Even if you have darker complexion, you may not be able to pull off the appearance.