- Screen size: 6.4-inch OLED (2400 x 1080)
- Refresh rate: 90Hz
- CPU: Google Tensor with Titan M2
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB
- Rear cameras: 50MP wide (f/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2)
- Front camera: 8MP (f/2.0)
- Battery size: 4,614 mAh
- Size: 6.2 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches
- Weight: 7.3 ounces
- Colors: Stormy Black, Sorta Sage, Kinda Coral
The Google Pixel 6 is perhaps the top Android smartphone for 2021. After all, both Android and the Pixel 6 are manufactured by Google. Running Google’s most recent version of its mobile operating system, Android 12, the new Pixel 6 (and its larger brother, the Pixel 6 Pro) should carry features better than any other smartphone.
The Pixel 6 is priced aggressively at $599, given that it includes a flagship CPU, an OLED display, wireless charging, and starts with 128GB of storage. It faces heavy competition from the iPhone 13 Mini and OnePlus 9, but fortunately, it is no slacker.
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are both Gorilla Glass and aluminum marvels that outperform the Pixel 5. However, the Pixel 6 has a weaker camera than the 6 Pro. While both phones include a new 50MP primary camera and an improved ultra-wide camera, the Pixel 6 Pro is the only one with a periscope zoom telephoto camera. Additionally, the Pixel 6’s screen has a lower refresh rate and resolution, as well as less RAM than the 6 Pro.
While the Pixel 6 is smaller than the Pro, it is far from a pocketable device. For starters, there’s the weight, which comes in at 207g, just 3g less than the Pixel 6 Pro, which features a substantially larger screen – 6.5 inches versus 6.2 inches on the Pixel 6.
If you loved the Pixel 5’s size, the Pixel 6 is a brick in comparison. Additionally, it lacks the elegance of the Pixel 6 Pro, as it lacks a curved screen and polished sides.
Despite its lack of elegance in comparison to the Pro and curved-screen phones like the OPPO Find X3 Pro, the Pixel 6 maintains a premium feel. Made with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and Gorilla Glass 6 on the back, it appears and feels secure thanks to its metal alloy frame and IP68 water and dust protection.
There is undeniably a finesse missing from the regular Pixel 6 that you may expect from a somewhat more expensive phone. Its blasted aluminum frame is not particularly svelte. It feels thicker than the Pixel 6 Pro due to its less tapered edges, despite the fact that both measure 8.9mm.
You can get the Pixel 6 in Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral, and Stormy Black colors. With their horizontal, elevated camera bezels, all three variations are stunning.
It features a 6.4-inch screen with a 20:9 aspect ratio. While the Full HD resolution of 1080 x 2400 is not as sharp as top-end flagships, it is competitive in its price range thanks to a pixel density of over 400 PPI, and the fact that it is displayed on high-quality 90Hz OLED technology is a plus.
While the Pixel 5 was a rehash of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 3’s camera, the Pixel 6 features completely new wide and ultra-wide cameras.
At the far left of the Pixel 6’s camera strip is a 50MP 1/1.31 sensor with 1.2-micron pixels, omnidirectional phase-detection autofocus, laser autofocus, and optical image stabilization. With a 26mm wide-angle lens and Google’s smart camera software, the main camera should be your main tool for most tasks.
The secondary ultra-wide camera features a fixed-focus lens and 12MP resolution. Despite the lack of awe-inspiring specifications, the new ultra-wide module benefits from bigger pixels than the Pixel 5 – 1.25 micron versus 1-micron – and a competitive f/2.2 aperture and 114-degree field of view.
The Pixel 6 Pro’s telephoto periscope camera is our favorite, which the Pixel 6 lacks. Given the significant cost savings, this is an understandable exclusion. No camera phone from 2021 that costs as much as the Pixel 6 includes a high-quality periscope zoom camera.
The new Pixels’ shooting modes include classics such as Astrophotography, Night Sight, Panorama, and Photosphere, in addition to more basic options such as Photo, Video, and Portrait. Motion, a new mode for the series, offers Action Pan photographs that maintain a moving object crisp while blurring the backdrop, as well as Long Exposure photos.
The video is captured at 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, and the default user interface allows for easy toggling between Bluetooth and on-device microphones, which is really convenient. While you can shoot RAW images, there is no out-of-the-box manual camera capture option, while a slew of third-party programs, including the Lightroom Mobile app, are available in the Google Play Store.
The upgraded chipset is one of the Pixel 6’s most intriguing features. Rather than the conventional Qualcomm SoC (system-on-chip) used in Pixel phones (or any other Android device), the Pixel 6 is driven by Google’s own Tensor processor.
Tensor should give Google better control over the device, which is likely one of the reasons why the tech giant has now committed to providing at least five years of security upgrades. However, Google has only committed to three years of genuine Android updates, which is worrying. Not that three years is insignificant (it is by Android standards), but I had hoped this would be the first Android phone to ever compete with iPhones in terms of software support.
The Titan M2 coprocessor is paired with the Tensor SoC and is responsible for the phone’s security.
It’s critical not to focus entirely on the performance aspects of Tensor, as this does not appear to be Google’s primary priority, and there are plenty of phones available that place a higher premium on pure performance. It lags below the A15 Bionic processor in Geekbench results, and while it just barely outperforms the Exynos 2100 in single-core performance, it falls short in multi-core.
Except for the responsiveness difficulties stated previously, There’s no need to worry about real-world performance. The games run flawlessly and are on a par with those on higher-end Qualcomm-powered devices. Additionally, there is 5G capability, as well as 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. Keep in mind that there is no way to increase that amount, so choose carefully.
What I’m most excited about with Tensor is how it powers some of the lesser functions that have previously been available on Pixel phones. Auto-translation capabilities, for example, are excellent, as are the live captions that appear while watching movies. Tensor appears to accelerate their appearance. Similarly, it’s the case with the superb Voice Recording software, which can correctly transcribe conversations practically instantly.
Tensor is also assisting the camera in the background. Here, AI and machine learning capabilities contribute to the accuracy of features such as the Magic Eraser.
Another distinguishing feature of the Pixel 6 is the Android 12 operating system. Android 12 and the Material You theming engine represents a significant improvement in terms of the software’s appearance, and it does seem new and fresh. Icons and default programs now match the colors of your wallpaper, and a lot of widgets have been redone to look fantastic. It’s just unfortunate that Google offers so few of these new widgets, with apps like Gmail, Calendar, and others continuing to use the old layout.
There is a new appearance for the fast settings shade that makes those settings more visible due to larger icons, as well as a particularly excellent Security panel that includes a password checker and device safety tips, as well as better access to smart home controls. While some of the new pieces require some adjustment, overall, this is a slick upgrade that finally introduces something fresh in terms of appearance.
While Android 12 will be available on previous Pixel phones (as well as other Android devices, though not all features will be available everywhere), it feels as if it was developed exclusively for these Pixel phones.
Throughout the testing process, the Google Pixel 6 has consistently carried me through the day with between 5 and 10% of the battery remaining.
If you really put it to the test with strenuous applications, particularly gaming, it depletes a little faster than I expected, but standby time is amazing. If you forget to charge it overnight, it will just lose a few percentage points in the morning.
When it comes to charging, Google notes that this supports up to 30w, but you’ll need to supply your own adapter as the box only comes with a cable. You can purchase an adapter capable of 30-watt charging directly from Google or third-party manufacturers.
I was able to charge to 50% in 36 minutes, but a full charge from 0% to 100% took 115 minutes. I like that you can charge halfway rather rapidly, which should benefit the battery’s long-term health. It is not, however, one of the fastest charging smartphones available.
Qi wireless charging is also available, however, you’ll need one of Google’s new Pixel Stands to take advantage of the quicker 21w charging speeds.
The Pixel 6 is Google’s best phone to date. However, it does not imply it is ready to overtake Apple and Samsung’s flagships as the greatest phones available.
The Pixel 6’s cameras are as fantastic as ever, and the new editing tools include some pleasant additions. Having said that, I believe the iPhone 13 shoots better images in general, particularly in low light, an area where earlier Pixels excelled. Tensor also appears to be a nice addition to the Pixel portfolio, though the true worth of its machine learning expertise will become apparent over time.
I wish the Pixel 6’s battery life was more reliable. Given that Google can now commit to longer-term security upgrades, it would be sensible to emulate Apple’s approach to software updates as well.
With the addition of Tensor and Android 12, the Pixel 6 is a strong contender to become your next phone. Android users looking for the finest experience with Google’s software would be wise to consider upgrading to the newest Pixel.