Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro review: Solid phones, great software, perfect pricing

The Pixel 6 is the most intriguing phone Google has procreated in years. Not exclusively is it a return to premium design with eye-catching colorings and up to a 120 Hz screen, it’s also powered by the company’s first portable processor — Tensor. With it, Google is promising serious improvements in AI performance and photography, including better enunciate acknowledgment and Assistant features.

Google too lastly improved the Pixel’s camera hardware instead of simply relying on its processing smart-aleckies. That’s not to say it’s overlooked software this year. The Pixel 6 is stuffed to the brim with special photography modes. The best thing about the Pixel 6 serials, though, is the amazingly low starting cost, and it stirs the few detriments easier to forgive.

Design

I’m rupture over the Pixel 6′ s motif. Compared to the last few contemporaries, these are an arresting change of gait. The two-tone palette is pretty, especially on the smaller Pixel 6, which has more amusing hue options. It also has a flat screen with a matte finish on its backs while the Pro has pleasantly bowed, glossy fringes and feels a lot like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

The Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro held in mid-air with their screens facing the camera.David Imel for Engadget

Google’s horizontal camera barroom here is polarizing. I don’t knowledge it, but I know many beings think it’s sickening. In its security, it not only lives large sensors, but it also attains for a more symmetrical intend than the corner camera protrusions on every other flagship. And as a bonus, it doesn’t wobble when resting on a tabletop.

Aesthetics and style are all subjective, but nobody can disagree with hard amounts. At 207 grams( or 7.3 ounces ), the Pixel 6 is heavier than the Galaxy S21 and the iPhone 13, though not by much. The Pixel does have a larger 6.4 -inch screen, though, and I care it was smaller since previous generations( and other business) all present a one-hand-friendly size. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 Pro weighs 210 grams, which is much lighter than the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Display, audio and fingerprint sensor

Both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have lovely OLED screens. The standard modeling has a 6.4 -inch 1080 p panel that runs at 90 Hz, while the Pro expends a 6.7 -inch display that get between 10 Hz and 120 Hz will vary depending on what you’re doing.

Most flagship telephones have just adopted OLED by now, and in general offer excellent image quality. The new frontier for presentations is refresh frequency, and the Pixel 6 Pro’s 120 Hz screen is as buttery as the iPhone 13 Pro and Galaxy S2 1 Ultra’s. Scrolling through Twitter, Instagram and sections on the internet is satisfyingly fast.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro held in mid-air with its screen facing the camera.David Imel for Engadget

The Pixel 6’s 90 Hz refresh rate does make it feel a little slower, but you won’t notice if you haven’t been spoiled by 120 Hz screens. If you’re upgrading from an older phone, the 90 Hz panel will be an self-evident improvement. Plus, this thing payments just $600, so no objections now, peculiarly since the iPhone 13 is $200 more and moves at 60 Hz.

I’m too not going to complain much about the Pixel 6’s loudspeakers, which are decent. Vocals were clear in Steve Aoki and Jolin Tsai’s Equal in the Darkness, though the assortment could chime messy at times and shortage bass. Lil Nas X’s Industry Baby held up a little better.

Under the Pixel 6’s parade is a fingerprint sensor, and unfortunately it’s slow and finicky, especially compared to in-screen readers on recent Galaxy and OnePlus devices. You also can’t log in with your digit when the screen is off, wanting unlocking your phone is a two-step process: Wake the screen, then scan your print. Google could stand to take notes from Samsung now. Place your thumb on the screen of an S21 and you almost immediately see your home page.

A close up on the Pixel 6 Pro's in-display fingerprint sensor.David Imel for Engadget

If you’re mad that the fingerprint sensor was relocated, Google said it was mainly to keep the phone’s rear gazing uncluttered, while still offering some organize of assure biometric authentication.

Android 12 and Assistant features

What indeed defines the Pixel 6 suffer is its application — an arena Google has always exceeded. With Android 12′ s new Substance You UI, the Pixel 6s feel as moderately inside as they do outside. The most obvious flourish is its ability to theme the entire interface around a shade palette it removes from your wallpaper. We’ve discussed this many times in our previous coverage of the Android 12 beta, so I won’t go on and on about it now, but it impels the OS feel more cohesive.

Android 12 presents many brand-new peculiarities that we’ve once experimented, like revised widgets, camera and mic privacy toggles, but the company has modernizes that are exclusive to Pixels as well. The most impactful of these are the improved pronunciation identification algorithms. Transcriptions are more accurate, renditions are integrated in more specific areas of the OS and the keyboard is easier to use hands-free.

As someone who detests typing on a phone, I adore the new singer keyboard. It’s better at understanding my saunter harangues and putting punctuation. Now taped text glances more natural, rather than being a long block of words. The plan will even retroactively add punctuation to previous decisions while you’re speaking. That said, Assistant still isn’t perfect, and often contributes stages where they don’t belong. And maybe this is more of an accusation of the path I speak, but Google seems to think everything I say is a question.

In fact, here’s an example of the above paragraph as rewritten by the brand-new articulation keyboard 😛 TAGEND

“As someone who detest typing on phone calls, I cherish the new expres keyboard. It’s better at understanding my rambling speeches and putting punctuation. Now transcribe text glances more natural rather than being a long block of words. The method will even retroactively add punctuation to previous decisions while you’re speaking. That said, assistant still isn’t excellent and often includes stages where they don’t belong. And maybe this is more of an prosecution of the acces I speak, but Google seems to think everything I say is a question”

What constitutes hands-free typing even easier is the ability to say things like “Send, ” “Clear, ” “Delete” and “Undo.” I especially love that you can say “Hey Google, type” to trigger the addres keyboard, so there’s no need to touch the screen to reply to your friends. The Pixel 6 too helpfully proposes dictations for things like prancing to the next province in a organize or providing the subject of an email. Plus, you can add emoji by saying “smiley face emoji” or “peach emoji”.

The new keyboard too makes it easier to fix mistakes. You can’t do this hands-free unless you want to clear everything and to get started, but at least you don’t have to exit voice typing state to select a typo and then tap the communication button to start dictating again. The mic will remain on so you can repeat something with more careful enunciation, and you can use bids like “Delete” to get rid of stray words.

The improvements to voice dominates are especially important for those with physical or motor disorders, and this might make it easier to communicate if you have limited mobility.

Screenshots showing examples of the new voice keyboard on the Pixel 6, as well as the help page showing more commands that can be used, like Cherlyn Low/ Engadget

Google also expanded its Quick Phrases feature, which let you to say things like “Stop” or “Answer” in response to horrifies or bawls. This feature reeled out first on Google’s speakers and exposes, and now on the Pixel 6 you can also say “Stop, ” “Snooze, ” “Answer” and “Decline.” I know it seems like a child update, but I recognize every little addition that establishes hands-free interaction with my phone easier.

Another advantage Pixels have over other phones is Google’s time-saving aspects like Duplex and Call Screening. On the Pixel 6, Google is introducing new Wait Time and Direct My Call tools that tell you how long you’ll have to wait for a customer service rep and proselytizes voice-based menus into on-screen alternatives. Though it’s supposed to work with the top 5,000 toll-free US business figures, I didn’t insure wait times appear for Bank of America, even though it is demo up for Capital One, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and DoorDash.

The Pixel 6 accurately turned DoorDash’s menu into tappable buttons, extremely, though it simply works in English. “Press 1 to continue in English” saw, though “Para continuar en espanol, o prima dos” did not , nor did the option to continue “en Francais.”

The company has also integrated its rendition engine into more specific areas of the Pixel 6, like Live Transcribe and the keyboard. You no longer have to use the app or search engine to change what you need before copying and gluing it into a message.

When I opened a conference with our video farmer Brian, the phone detected that he had be drawn up in German and asked if I wanted it to move. Once I concurred, Brian’s message of “ich liebe dich” was replaced with “I love you.” As I typed out my reply, a separate text field loomed above the keyboard with my terms in English being translated into Deutsch. This also worked with the brand-new articulation typing, although sometimes it reverted to the old-time discussion keyboard( the microphone icon glances different in the latest version ).

Three screenshots showing the Pixel 6 offering to and translating a message from German to English, and the keyboard simultaneously converting English words to German.Cherlynn Low/ Engadget

Only a few lingos like German, Chinese( Simplified ), Japanese, French, Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Russian and English are supported at this time. Most chat apps are compatible, extremely, like WhatsApp, Signal, Line, Twitter, Google Chat, Snapchat and Android Content. Though, Instagram meanings weren’t driving when I tried it.

Another area where translation is baked in is Live Captions, which provides subtitles for anything playing through your phone’s loudspeakers. In general Google’s presentations still aren’t very accurate and convicts comes out stilted. In Interpreter Mode, Brian and I had a conversation where I spoke Chinese and he spoke Korean and simply couldn’t make sense of what the other was saying unless we told it to decode both communications to English instead. But it’s not like any other translation software is better.

The phone’s Tensor chip treats all these things instantly, and since it’s all done on-device you can use the features without an internet joining. Lens in particular was very fast at determining Korean characters on a volume and correctly capitalizing the author’s words. And, though it struggled with my handwritten Chinese attributes, it remains reasonably speedy at showing its English interpretation.

There are a lot of little software updates throughout Android 12 that I don’t have the time or infinite to go into here, but I’ll quickly shout out new insurance facets like the Anti-Malware and Phishing tool. When person is sending out a suspicious message in WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram, Google will throw up a urge sheet like it does in Chrome, reminding you not to transmit sensitive information online to people who might not be who you think they are. It won’t prevent these messages from reaching you, but it’s at least a reminder to be careful( and a great way to diss your friends ). There’s also a brand-new insurance hub that allows you recognize what apps are using your personal data the most.

A focus shot of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro's camera bars.Cameras

Google’s software has helped it make the most of the outdated cameras on its older Pixels, but this time around the company endowed its flagships with much better hardware. The Pixel 6 has a 50 -megapixel main sensor that uses pixel-binning to achieve a resolution closer to 12 megapixels( the hell is bigger and let in more light-colored ). Accompanying this is a 12 -megapixel wide-angle camera with a 114 -degree field of view, and the Pro lends a 48 -megapixel telephoto lens to the mix that has 4X visual zoom. It also has a 11.1 -megapixel wide direction selfie camera that shoots in 4K, while the Pixel 6 has only one 8-megapixel sensor that surfaces out at 1080 p. These sensors aren’t just sharper, they’re also bigger with large pixels, which forms for brighter, cleaner photos.

In almost every situation, the Pixel 6 Pro’s photos were mostly on equivalence with the iPhone 13 Pro, and the comparing here cooks down to personal wish. They both develop snappy, colorful illustrates. Apple tends to deliver more-saturated images with a green-yellow cast, while Google has a more neutral examine. The iPhone contends with fringing when shooting anything against a light source, but it also renders rosier surface sounds compared to the Pixel, which washes my subjects out in low light.

That’s disappointing, by the way, given the Pixel 6 also boasts Google’s Real Tone processing. It’s part of the company’s Image Equity program, which is built on research and feedback from photographers and people of color to get more accurate exposure for different surface tones.

This isn’t a feature you can turn off, so it’s hard to see how effective it is. All I can say is: I’ve photographed parties of alternating scalp colors in my testing and have yet to encounter any serious issues or self-evident improvements.

In addition to baking Real Tone into its algorithms, Google also introduced a batch of special camera features, including Magic Eraser, Motion Mode, Face Unblur and Speech Enhancement for selfie videos.

Most of these are hit or miss, except Face Unblur, which employs likeness from both the wide and main cameras to stitch together photos with crisp faces each time. I wasn’t expecting to be wowed, but Face Unblur is functioning properly. I fired the camera in rapid sequence while Brian stood in front of me and energetically shook his head from side to side. Every single shot had his face in perfect focus.

The rest of an updated version, like Speech Enhancement, Magic Eraser, Long Exposure and Action Pan in Motion Mode, simply work in the right circumstances. Magic Eraser doesn’t ever identify photobombers or perfectly being withdrawn. But in some cases, like my picture of a torrent enclose by trees, it accurately foreground two people on the bank and seamlessly replaced them with foliage.

Pixel 6 camera mode samples. A composite showing a picture of a stream before and after Google's Magic Eraser removed two people sitting on the bank.Cherlynn Low/ Engadget

I’m too a fan of Action Pan and Long Exposure, which add a motion blur gist to your fast-moving subject and let you capture light ways. When they toil, the results are eye-catching. But while they’re easy to use and don’t require you to hold still for too long, Action Pan can’t handle anything faster than a cyclist and the blur can be exaggerated. Long Exposure delivered some delightful shots of cars going down a roundabout, but doesn’t offer enough sees for known photographers.

Finally, while pronunciation enhancement mode does muffle some ambient sound in videos shot with the figurehead camera, my articulate wasn’t all that much clearer than without the mode on.

Generally, much like Google’s astrophotography mode, these features are only supportive in specific situations that most people won’t encounter often. The implements that have a greater impact on your photos are Magic Eraser and Face Unblur, and despite some oddities they’re both quite effective.

Performance and battery life

Despite Tensor being Google’s first portable microchip, its performance is surprisingly good. I barely noticed a difference between the Pixel 6 and Apple and Samsung’s latest flagships, and it directed League of Legends: Wild Rift while screen recording without edition. According to Geekbench 5’s CPU marks, though, the iPhone 13 Pro with its 3.2 GHz A1 5 Bionic chip was acces faster than the Pixel 6( which is clocked at 2.8 Ghz ), notching a multi-core score of 4,809 over Google’s 2,802. The Surface Duo 2, with a Snapdragon 888 processor( 2.84 GHz ), came in at 3,485.

Side view of the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro standing face to face, focusing on their camera bars.David Imel for Engadget

With two ARM X1 “Prime” cores, two big cores and four little high-efficiency cores, Tensor’s design is similar to Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 888, though with an additional X1 core. But the proceed here is Google’sTPU, or Tensor Processing Unit, which is a scaled down version of what the company exploits in its data centre, and it’s designed to speed up AI chores. To is equitable, Apple and Qualcomm offer same coprocessors: the Neural Engine and Hexagon, respectively. But Google has much more experience in the field of AI than its contestants, and while we don’t have hard quantities to back it up, anecdotally Tensor seems to outclass the tournament in this field.

On-device Assistant entreaties, articulation type and altering foreign people in Lens all happened in an instant. I was especially excited that I could see the effects of Google’s noise reduction through the viewfinder in low-pitched light-colored without having to wait for processing after taking the shot.

I encountered some quirky times every once in a while, like the camera struggling to quantity sometimes. I received various modernizes throughout my testing( as recently as yesterday) and may still not have the final version of the app, which could bring more stable performance.

Both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro last improbably long. On our video summary measure, the Pixel 6 clocked 20 and a half hours, while the Pro organized 17 hours and 13 instants. That introduces them among the longest-lasting telephones we’ve researched all year. In real world use, very, the Pixel 6 Pro often fastened around longer than a epoch and I never stopped to be considered charging it.

The Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro held up in mid-air with their camera bars facing out.David Imel for EngadgetPixel 6 or 6 Pro?

Though it’s still difficult to choose between the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the decision this year boils down to one key factor: cost. In the past, Google’s telephones came in regular and XL copies, and they were obviously different in size. With the Pixel 6 though, the standard model isn’t that much smaller. That’s disappointing for anyone with daintier mitts that have a hard time reaching across the screen. But it does means that you don’t have to choose between size or payment pieces — just go for the Pro if you demand the top-of-the-line edition.

The main reason to get the Pixel 6 instead of the Pro is to save $300. You’ll merely be missing out on the 120 Hz screen, telephoto camera and slight design inconsistencies. Yes, the Pro has an ultra wideband chip for spatial locating and ranging, but this won’t matter much to most people.

Wrap-up

Whichever version you’re considering, the Pixel 6 series is a superb return to form. Google is clearly aware that its strengths lay in smart software and excellent photography, and those are the areas where the Pixel 6s deliver most. The company also didn’t neglect essentials like battery life and display, and though I wish the fingerprint sensor was faster, there’s little to complain about. Best of all, Google is offering you all these flagship pieces for hundreds less than the competition.

Key specsSpecPixel 6Pixel 6 ProDisplay6. 4-inch 2,400 x 1,080( 20:9) OLED. 411 ppi, up to 90 Hz6. 7-inch 3,120 x 1,440 LTPO OLED. 512 ppi, up to 120 HzDimensions6. 2 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches/ 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9 mm; 7.3 oz/ 207 grams6. 5 x 3.0 x 0.4 inches/ 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm; 7.41 oz/ 210 gramsProcessor, RAM and StorageGoogle Tensor with Titan M2 security coprocessor; 8GB LDDR5 RAM; 128 GB/ 256 GB UFS 3.1 Google Tensor with Titan M2 security coprocessor; 12 GB LDDR5 RAM; 128 GB/ 256 GB/ 512 GB UFS 3.1 Rear cameras5 0MP octa PD Quad Bayer camera, 1.2 -micron pixels, 1/1.31 ” sensor and f/ 1.85 aperture1 2MP ultrawide camera, 1.25 -micron pixels, 114 -degree FOV and f/ 2.250 MP octa PD Quad Bayer camera, 1.2 -micron pixels, 1/1.31 ” sensor and f/ 1.85 aperture1 2MP ultrawide camera, 1.25 -micron pixels, 114 -degree FOV and f/ 2.248 MP telephoto camera, 4x visual zoom, 0.8 -micron pixels, f/ 3.5 Front camera8MP, 1.12 -micron pixels, f/ 2.0, 84 -degree FOV1 1.1 MP, 1.22 -micron pixels, f/ 2.2, 94 -degree FOVBattery4, 614 mAh, fast-charging with included Google 30 W USB-C chargerQi-certified, fast wireless accusing, battery share5, 003 mAh, fast-charging with included Google 30 W USB-C chargerQi-certified, fast wireless charging, battery shareSensors and connectivityUnder-display fingerprint sensor, dual-SIM( one nano and one eSIM ), NFC, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 Under-display fingerprint sensor, dual-SIM( one nano and one eSIM ), NFC, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, Ultra-wideband chipWater resistanceIP6 8IP68

Photos by David Imel( @DurvidImel)

Read more: engadget.com

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