Meet Pixel 6. It’s completely reimagined, inside and out. Powered by Tensor, Google’s first-ever processor, it’s fast, smart, and secure. The all-day battery adapts to you.* The Pixel Camera captures a moment just how you experienced it. And the Personal Safety app and the new Titan M2TM chip help protect you, your stuff, and your privacy.**
The processor made for Pixel.
Google Tensor is a the first processor designed by Google, custom-made for Pixel with 8GB of RAM. You’ll notice the difference immediately. Pixel runs smoother, apps launch faster, and pages load quicker. And Pixel’s security chip helps protect your private data.
Compatible with all major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Also compatible with prepaid carriers including Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, Google Fi, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, Tracfone, Net10, Mint, and H2O.
Your photos, true to the moment.
Your photos match your moment with Pixel’s most advanced 50MP camera yet with wide and ultrawide lenses. Magic Eraser in Google Photos removes photobombers and distractions.*** And portraits on Pixel represent all people and skin tones beautifully and accurately.
Designed for daily life.
The 6.4-inch Smooth Display, up to 90Hz**** is made with Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus,™ the toughest Gorilla Glass yet. Its high refresh rate means smoother, more responsive gaming, scrolling, and moving between apps.
It’s everything a battery should be.
Pixel’s all-day Adaptive Battery is everything a battery should be. It can last beyond 24 hours, even on 5G.* It learns your favorite apps, so it doesn't waste power on ones you never use.
Secure to the core.
Google Tensor is the first processor with the security core built in, and it works with the next-gen Titan M2TM security chip.
You’re in control of your privacy.
Transparency is built into your Pixel. You have control over your phone’s mics and cameras.
A new experience from Google that’s all about you.
The new Pixel interface is reimagined to be more modern and intuitive, with colors that reflect your personal style.
Switching is simple.
It only takes a few steps to move messages, contacts, and photos from your old cell phone and get going on Pixel.*****
*Maximum battery life based on testing using a mix of talk, data, standby, and use of other features. Battery life depends upon many factors and usage of certain features will decrease battery life.
Battery testing conducted by a third party in California in mid 2021 on pre-production hardware and software, using default settings. Battery testing conducted using two major carrier networks using Sub-6 GHz non-standalone 5G (ENDC) connectivity. Actual battery life may be lower.
**Personal Safety app features are dependent upon network connectivity and other factors and may not be reliable for emergency communications or available in all areas. For more information, see g.co/pixel/personalsafety.
***Magic Eraser may not work on all image elements
****Measured diagonally; dimension may vary by configuration and manufacturing process. Not available for all apps or content. Display automatically adjusts to optimize for best viewing and battery performance.
*****Some third party apps and data may not be transferred automatically. Visit g.co/pixel/copydatahelp for information.
1 m USB-C to USB-C cable (USB 2.0)
Quick Start Guide
Quick Switch Adapter
Voice Assistant Built-in
5G, GSM, 4G LTE
Phone Memory (RAM)
Google Pixel 6 Series
Pixel 6 128GB (Unlocked)
Data Plan Required
Google Pixel 6 Series
Voice Assistant Built-in
Wireless Charging Standard
Google Pixel 6
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, MetroPCS, Cricket, Google Fi, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, TRACFONE, Net10, Mint Mobile, H2O Wireless
When I saw the new design and specs for the Google Pixel 6 “P6” I knew I had to give it a try as I’ve always been a big fan of the Pixel phones, going back to the original.
The phone comes in a nice retail box “pretty much how all phones are packed now” and inside was the phone, charging cable, USB A to C adapter, sim removal tool and a small information/quick setup pamphlet, that’s it, no charger “that’s ok I have plenty”.
Setting up is pretty much the same as all other Pixel phones, I installed my Verizon sim first, and then just followed through the initial steps, add your Google account “or create one” and you are off and running. There was a system update right away so you’ll want to make sure you do that before completing. Also, I didn’t try transferring anything from my other phone, I wanted to do everything manually.
The Pixel 6 is pretty good sized, it’s bigger than my S21, “not by much, a lot bigger than the P5, but it does weigh a good bit more than either as the S21 being the next largest comes in at 171.6 the Pixel 6 at 208.6g is which is a good bit heavier. I don’t mind thee weight difference as I like the little bit larger screen and it’s more squared in the corners “reminds me of a Sony screen, in a good way”. Colors are nice and vibrant and the 90hz refresh rate is a noticeable improvement over any of the 60hz screens I’ve had/used.
The back is all glass this time, and I actually prefer the plastic back of the S21 or the plastic covered metal of the P5, just no worry about those being broken and for me this one went in a case the day I got it. The phone itself feels very substantial and well made, really no flex to it at all and seems more like a solid one pieced unit.
The buttons on the side are nice and firm plus they have a definite “click” to them, a little better than the S21s. If you are familiar with Samsung products you’ll have to get used to the power button being on top rather than the bottom and volume buttons “while on the same side are in opposite positioning”.
Android 12 is installed on the phone from the box and it’s definitely different than 11 on our current phones. It has the very simple basic Android interface you will be familiar with if you’ve ever used a Pixel phone and much more basic than any of our Samsung phones we currently have. I did set up fingerprint unlock and it works well, plus I’ve installed a screen protector “PET” and did have to turn up the screen sensitivity, otherwise the FP reader works reasonably well especially if you register two sets for one finger. I also have trusted places turned on so the phone stays unlocked while at home and tied to my smart watch.
You can adjust the screen layout and grid size, but this time those settings are under “Wall Paper & Style” after a long press on a blank area on any main screen. The 5x5 layout max isn’t to my liking so I installed Nova Launcher. I was initially skeptical that Nova would be ready for Android 12 but to my surprise it integrated perfectly “like it was made for this phone”. With Nova I was able to remove the search bar as that cannot be removed with the Google Launcher. Otherwise that’s all I needed for tweaking and getting things running the way I wanted. I do like the dynamic colors that apply the theme color to some apps, sort of how Windows can be set to do the same.
The signal for Verizon here in NW Phoenix isn’t that great at our house, but it’s on par with our TMO phones, “we just don’t get great service “acceptable but could be a lot better”. So I went out to test the difference in two of our worst areas. My S21 with TMO and the Pixel 6 with Verizon, and from what my tests show TMO is faster but the Verizon isn’t far behind and the Verizon signal inside two different grocery stores was better than TMO by a good bit.
I accidentally turned on “Direct my Call” and was surprised that there was a live transcription you can read as the conversation carries on. For me that would be extremely useful as I have some hearing issues and if I’m in a noisy environment I can’t make out what anyone says, so this feature itself will be very handy.
I’ve been doing some speed testing between the two phones “P6 vs S21” and the Geek Bench CPU scores were very close the P6 got a 1031 single core score and a 2841 multi-core score, the S21 received a 1017 single core and a 3355 multi-core score, “very close for this new Google designed CPU”. Then I tested them with 3dMarks “Wild Life” test and those came back as 6398 for the P6 and 5810 for the S21. That’s pretty amazing and a good bit faster than the S21 so I’m impressed and the performance of the phone itself seems faster than the S21 during use.
The camera is where this P6 shines “for me that is”, the photos come out better than the S21, and the details it captures when zooming in and comparing photos is pretty impressive “much better in some cases over the S21”, and I don’t even miss the telephoto “so far” that the S21 has over the P6. I also went outside on a clear night, and took a photo straight up using “Night Sight” and was really impressed that it actually caught the stars above without blurring them, “a lot more showed up that I had expected. The front camera is good as front cameras go and I have no complaints how the video looked during a Zoom meeting, it’s actually a lot better than my desktops standalone 1080 camera.
We also live close to an AFB and was able to capture a really cool photo of a F35 flying through the clouds overhead. I have a hard time capturing them with my mirrorless camera so I’m very impressed with the performance of the P6.
I also took a picture of a flowering bush in our back yard, using the P6 and S21 and they were within a few seconds of each other. I’ve cropped the photos to a spot at 100% and you can easily see there’s more detail captured in the flowers with the P6, the S21s colors sort of run together on the flowers and you can’t make out much detail. I’ve attached a photo so you can judge for yourself.
I’ve had no issue with the battery lasting over a day and even at the end of the day with some pretty heavy use I still had over 50% left, the S21 would always be around 35-40%, not a lot but a big enough difference. I usually don’t charge with the power cord and 99% of the time use wireless chargers, I have them all over, but the wireless charging times are decent and using a Belkin high powered wireless charger it tops up the phone way before we get up in the AM. I also have a very heavy duty case on my phone and it has no issue with charging just placement, as you have to make sure it’s placed just right on the charger or it won’t connect.
This is the way I wish all Pixel phones were from the beginning, I really like the P6, better than my S21 or P5 that’s for sure. The screen is larger than both “and getting older I need a large screen”. The build quality is impeccable and the phone feels premium in the hand “and not because it has a glass back”, it’s just a very solid feeling phone. I’ve tried out some of the new features and things like “Live Translate” are fun to use and was impressed how it overlays the translated text on what you are looking at with Google Lens and the camera.
I’ve owned so many phones I’m embarrassed to count, but this new Pixel 6 is at the top of my list as a favorite. You get a plain Android experience and can tweak it anyway you like. There’s literally 0 bloatware and that leaves more space for all my apps “ones I prefer, not what a manufacture says I have to have”. I could go on for pages with all the new features of Android 12 and what this new Pixel 6 has but I can say if you are a fan of Android phones this is going to be one of the best phones this year and I’m sure you will love owning one.
Let’s start with the basics. The Google Pixel 6 is a 5G phone which has a 6.4” 90Hz display made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, a 50mp front facing camera ( with ultra wide lens), a fingerprint scanner located under the screen, and a high capacity long lasting battery. It is Google’s first phone with it’s own in house designed processor (Tensor).
In the box you get the phone, a usb-c to usb-c cable and a usb-a to usb-c adapter for transferring data from your old phone.
This greatly speeds up the setup process. You also get a sim key and brochures. You do not get a charger included.
After the setup is complete you should update to the latest firmware in the System Settings and then go to the Google Play store and update all of your apps.
You are not only getting a new phone, you are getting Google’s latest operating system Android 12. It has anew UI which allows you to personalize the phone more easily. Changing the wallpaper theme will be reflected throughout the apps on your phone. This phone is designed to take advantage of all of the AI features built in the Tensor chip, it is very speech capable and takes the Google Assistant to the next level.
This is what I call the trifecta of features that separate this phone from the rest.
Google can answer your phone, from non-contact numbers, and ask why they are calling you. You can watch the transcription of their response and then decide if you want to answer your phone. It will also silently decline calls from known robo callers. When you dial a toll free number a chart will appear with the approximate hold times for today and the rest of the week. So you can decide the best day and time to call for the shortest wait time. I called a retailer and the recording said a 10 minute wait, however Google showed a 15 minute wait. Sure enough exactly 15 minutes later the call was answered. So the Google Assistant was more accurate than the retailer. Should you decide to hold the Google Assistant will hold for you. It will notify you with an audible sound when a human voice is detected. I have used this feature for a long time on my Pixel 4 and it has been 100% accurate and has saved me from untold hours of waiting on hold listening to horrible music.
2)Speech, Translation and Transcribing:
You can have a conversation or chat with anyone who speaks several of the most common foreign languages.
You speak or type in English and it will immediately be translated to the other persons language. They can then respond to you in their native language and it will be translated back to English. You can even put emojis in your chat by using your voice. I live in a multi cultural area where many languages are spoken.
This will not only help in every day life, it is a tremendous business tool allowing you to expand your client base.
Live transcription is also extremely accurate even when speaking rapidly and can be used with translation. No need for punctuating, Google will do that for you.
You can point your camera at a traffic sign or any document in another language and it will instantly translate to English.
It can translate webpages and transcribe live caption videos.
Still photos are very clear, colors are accurate and detailed without being overly saturated. .(See above pictures). Night Sight captures beautiful detailed images at night.
Skin tones of all shades are very natural. Great results for those of us who like to point and shoot. However, there are enough camera modes and settings to allow you to be as creative as you like.
Videos are recorded in 1080p and have optical stabilization which you can adjust to account for the amount of movement.
I found to adjustability of the stabilization to be very helpful.
There are other new features:
Magic eraser let’s you remove unwanted people and objects from your photos. You really have to see this. It is fun to use and can completely change the context of the photo. Whether at a particular location or with a celebrity and other people are around, you can make it appear as if you are the only person there.
Motion Mode lets you blur objects in the background, such as moving traffic, while keeping the subject in focus.
Face Unblur does exactly that when the subject is moving, such as jumping.
Speech enhancement blocks out ambient sounds in noisy environments while recording videos on the selfie camera.
All of these tools and enhancements are easy to find and use, either intuitively or by simply bringing up the Pixel Tools and Tips from your settings. You can search anything on your phone by swiping up on the screen. Just start typing what you are looking for and Google immediately starts bringing up results. Then just click on what you want, whether its a contact or and app or a chat.
Privacy and security have been enhanced with additional settings that give you complete control over what information is shared with your apps, right down to being able to toggle the camera and mic on and off.
Some things to note:
The 5G is mid and low band. Though not as fast as millimeter wave, it is much more available and reliable. I am on the T-Mobile network. Walking around my neighborhood I was able to get 215mbps download and 48mbps upload speeds (see picture). This of course will vary depending on your location and your carrier. Connection of data and calls was always reliable.
Phone calls were clear, the screen is bright responsive and easy to read outdoors. Battery life is excellent. Over 24 hour periods I was able to average about 6 hours of display time while still having 20% battery remaining. Easily getting me through a day with emails, calls (video and voice), camera use and some You Tube videos.
There are however a couple of negatives.
First the under the screen fingerprint reader requires you to keep your finger on it longer than you expect. This results in having to repeat the process because you lifted your finger too quickly.
However, I did notice that today it seemed to be working quicker without issues. So either I am adapting to the phone, or the phone is adapting to me.
The first day the auto brightness made the screen too dark, however that seems to have corrected itself and it now works properly.
The volume does not get loud enough to hear anything until it reaches more than 50%. It will eventually get loud enough but that is at 80-100%. I hope this is a software issue that can be fixed with an update.
Overall this is an incredible phone at an equally incredible price. It looks and feels the part of a flagship phone.
Loaded with features designed to make your life easier, and it succeeds. To call this a phone does not do it justice. It is so much more. Google has stepped out of the ordinary with the new bold design and I love it, Especially in Stormy Black.
We have been a Google family having used Pixel 4 phones for the past 2 years. Our house is packed with Google devices and we have become dependent on the google assistant. The Pixel 6 along with all of the added AI features allows us to get more accomplished with less effort.
I would highly recommend this phone to everyone.
>>>>> Bottom Line Up front: <<<<<
Perhaps the title of my review should include “Arguably” in the front – since the “best” of anything is can be a highly subjective term to add to anything people often feel passionate about. With that being said, as a long-time phone power user that carries around 2 (sometimes 3 phones) for 6-8 hours at a time, there is A LOT the Google Pixel does excellently - right out the box. That means you can just pick the Pixel 6 up out of the box and start using it like “Pro” – within minutes. This is made possible by it’s super friendly Android 12 “Material” OS, super easy to follow “guided walkthrough” style pop-ups, and quality hardware specifications. In short – you’d be hard pressed to find a better phone (with performance/hardware), with an equally as impressive camera suite for the money. Is there room for improvements? – in my opinion yes, and you can read about them in my detailed observations below.
> Overall Design/Aesthetics and Installation: <
Style and beauty is one of those things where most people would say “is in the eye of the beholder”. In my eyes, the Pixel 6’s design is nice change of pace from many of the typical Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Motorola handsets you often see out there. Most phones lately seemed to have held to the “camera” island approach where all the lenses and sensors are off floating in their own little floating area somewhere along the upper back of the device. The Pixel 6 went BSG “Centurion” style here and opted for a single all encompassing black lens and sensor bar that runs the entire width of the upper back of the phone - from left to right. Cool. However, as this is new to me – I worry that having this giant “glass” bar that runs across the entire back is going to be the first thing to smash into a counter top or floor if dropped == a very bad day. This hasn’t happened to me yet, but even with Gorilla “Victus” glass - I feel very nervous about setting it down too hard on rough or very dense surfaces. I really like the “2-tone” styled color themes they have going on, as it makes the phone “pop” with a little extra burst of color to accentuate the boarder if you wanted to go that route. Personally, I would have liked to seem even more variations in colors, or some kind of design studio options to mix and match our create your own style – even if it cost a little more to produce/purchase.
From an actual physical button perspective, pretty much everything is where you would expect it to be – i.e. speakers, mic and USB-C port on the bottom, extra mic location at the top, power/volume buttons, SIM card slot on the left, etc. As I currently have a Samsung Note 20 Ultra that I heavily use, I am accustomed to having the volume buttons along the right top edge – with the power button on the bottom – HOWEVER – on the Pixel is inverted with the power button on the top and the volume button lower along the side. Not a big deal, but definitely may require some time retraining of your muscle memory to get it down more smoothly.
> Personal thoughts /Usage observations: <
Now for the nitty gritty – actually using it. I am honestly a big fan of how the Pixel 6 cleanly integrates with so many of the applications and features embedded in the Google ecosystem of products. I have several Google Nest devices from speakers, smart frames, thermostats, and camera’s – throughout my home. And while other phones out there may support Google Assistant/Nest through their OS or apps, there is something extra “snappy” about the speed and precision of using the Pixel 6 to execute my commands and use my devices. This brings me to one of the most delightful discoveries of the Pixel 6 in the time that I have had it – the “voice recognition” has been OUTSTANDING. For many years, I have dabbled with voice to text with my other phones/cars/devices – but they always seemed a little “off” or would regular mess something up in part of the process. The Pixel 6 didn’t seem to suffer any of these issues and blew me away in voice-to-text commands, messages, and commands.
The most utilized Google application in my house is Google Photos. My family and I regularly capture and share all of our adventures with the cameras on our phones and share them with each other (and the various Google devices) in Google Photos. The quality of the images/shots, along with the flexibility of the available camera options and modes- make for an amazing experience on the Pixel 6. With so many options, this could also be a minor issue if your un-initiated with more advanced photographic terms/knowledge – but you can rest assured that if you leave it in “auto” you’ll still get excellent photos that are a cut above most other smart phone. My favorite feature is the “Magic Eraser” – where you can “edit” out unwanted background images and things to present a more focused and personalized look in many of your photos. It really is as simple as using a little eraser styled curser and either shading or highlighting objects/things you want removed. That’s it…This makes sharing our photos on our Nests and Smart frames even more enticing as we don’t have to wait to edit them at home, and we can go back and touch some of the photos we deemed “un-sharable” due to background or person interference. Magic Eraser is not a “cure all” mind you – as in most cases – with careful scrutiny you can sort of see that the image was edited/altered – but from a general perspective (under most circumstances) – it works very well.
The Pixel 6 sports an under-screen finger print senor that regularly and reliably worked for me. I like the fact you have the little thumb print guide on screen to remind you where to place you finger and I though it was cool that the screen would like up on the sensor area that your finger was on – as it was reading it. I though it was just as fast and reliable as anything else I have used. The Pixel 6’s 6.4 inch OLED screen was a little smaller than what I am normally accustomed to, but for the native 1080p HD resolution – it was spot on in color and performance. The screen has an adaptive 60-90Hz refresh rate depending on the content - that makes animations, games, and movies smoothly while conserving as much battery as possible. In case you drop your phone into a puddle (toilet) – you can rest easy knowing it is IP68 rated for water/dust resistance. If no one had mentioned that the Pixel 6 was rocking the first Google designed “Tensor” chip ever – I wouldn’t have noticed. From my perspective it was just as responsive and performed just as well to every Snapdragon based flagship I have ever owned. Your mileage may vary, but I never felt the phone was “laggy “ or struggling to keep up with the multitude of apps and windows I was working at any given time.
The Pixel 6 could have done a little better, but I honestly don’t think there is really anything that I would consider a “deal-breaker” in my opinion. Chiefly among them is the (re) charging speed. The Pixel 6 is able to support up to 30W fast charge - with the appropriate USB-C cable and Charger (that isn’t include in the box mind you). That being said – my Pixel 6 has been charging slower than many of my other phones that I use on a daily basis that are limited to 25W – and those phones larger battery packs – yet somehow manage to get to 100% faster than my Pixel 6. From my rough estimation, it seems to charge just as fast as my other phones to roughly 40% battery - but then drops off significantly in speed/estimated time to reach the full 100%. My only though on this, is that the charging algorithm must ramp/offset the Amps/power to keep the battery healthy and maintain safety protocols – or some other technical reason I am not privy to. Like I previously mentioned, no charger is included in the box, so while I am not happy about that, this seems to be the new “normal” these days. My only concern would be centered on finding the “right” USB-C chargers that meet the power/cable requirements to achieve the “max” speed/power as many current USB-C chargers aren’t quite as “ubiquitous” as they should be – potentially leading people to get slower/underperforming/unofficial chargers from 3rd parties. From a battery life perspective, I generally made it through my daily routine with some power to spare – but regularly skirted with battery in low “teens” by the end of the day. This included topping off with small wireless charging sessions on my 12-watt wireless desktop chargers.... so if you are a “power user” keep that mind. I generally have 5-6 “apps” that are constantly running in the background (like my vehicle app, security system app, Nest services, etc), and I have several email clients and message services running as well. I also use a lot of video-based communication platforms for several hours a day, so I hope this gives you a better reference for the type of battery life you might see yourself. Secondly, I don’t know if it was only my personal experience, but when wireless charging my Pixel 6 – it got surprisingly warm. Warmer than any other phone I had/currently owned and wirelessly charged. It never got so warm that it felt unsafe – but noticeably so that it is worth mentioning. In the event you were holding out for a physical 3.5mm headphone jack – you won’t find one here. As much as I like the comfort of having a legacy port like this, I think phone manufactures have safely oved on. Although the days of the 3.5mm headphone jack are now behind us, there are a ton of wireless options on the market to choose from (if you don’t already have a pair).
I have been a long time Pixel user (most recently a Pixel 3XL) and an even longer Android user (dating back to the original Verizon Motorola Droid in 2009). So with all of the leaks over the past months and the eventual official announcement for the Pixel 6, I couldn’t help but get pulled into the building excitement. Now, with the phone in hand, let's see if the Pixel 6 and Android 12 live up to the hype.
First, let's talk about the physical device itself. The frame is metal and finished in matte black. The front and back are both glass. The front is mostly flat and has a very thin, almost imperceptible, cushion layer between the screen and the frame. At the top, just between the screen and the frame, is an ultra-narrow ear slit and just below that is a cutout for the single front-facing shooter. The back is glossy, has more curve to the edges, lacks the extra cushion layer of the front, and features the distinctive camera bar. The camera bar frame is metal that extends from the main body frame then is filled with more glass covering over the dual cameras and flash. On the bottom, flanking the USB-C port, are 2 downward firing speakers. The right side features the power button and volume rocker while the left side is home to the single nano SIM tray.
The overall design is both attractive and functional. The phone fits well in the hand, the power and volume rockers are placed well, and the camera bar keeps the phone from rocking when set down on its back. Construction seems top notch with excellent fit and finish and no noticeable flex in the body. On the downside, the glossy glass on the back makes the phone quite slippery. So best to protect your investment with a good case.
Once powered on, you’re greeted by the beautiful 6.4 inch AMOLED display. The 2400x1080 resolution offers super crisp images with no perceptible pixels and the 90Hz refresh rate delivers ultra smooth scrolling and gaming. Colors are rich and vibrant and blacks are deep and dark. The screen offers a good brightness range from dark-but-visible up to significantly bright, even in broad daylight. Also, having just the slightest of bezels, apps fill the front of the phone while not creating unwanted touches just by gripping the sides, as compared to other curved, wrap-around screens that I’ve used.
The Pixel 6’s speakers have been satisfactory. Playing games or watching videos, the Pixel employs the ear slit as well as the lower downward firing speakers to give a fuller stereo effect. The setup offers plenty of volume and clarity. Highs are crisp but lows are lacking a bit. Like other phones with this configuration, the lower speakers do tend to get covered by your hand when holding the phone in a landscape orientation and make me miss the dual front-facing speakers of my older 3XL a little. Calls on both the handset and speakerphone have plenty of volume and clarity.
The in-display fingerprint reader has worked well for me. Its placed well on the front so my thumb can reach it naturally and its response has been plenty fast. Accuracy has been no different than the rear-mounted reader on my 3XL, with just the periodic miss-then-reread. That said, I do miss having it on the back: It just feels more natural to me. Also, I haven’t yet been able to test it with a screen protector installed as I’m still waiting for delivery.
Battery life has been very good. Typical usage on the Pixel 6 for me includes calls, texts, emails, activity tracking, some casual gaming, periodic web research, media playback (Plex for music and misc streaming services for videos), and managing smart home items such as a robot vacuum, video doorbell, smart outlets, and Google Nest security camera. Through all of this, the battery lasts a full day with some left over without need for midday top-ups. Experience has shown that using 5G, both AT&T and Google Fi, is significantly harder on battery life. But this can be mitigated by being on wifi or dropping back to 4G, which can be managed in the settings on an as needed basis.
Wired and wireless charging rates are fast, depending on your source. While 30w charging is possible, no charging brick is included with the phone. Wireless charging placement is not finicky, to the point you can actually rest the camera bar on the charger and still successfully charge. Also, the phone allows for battery sharing, which is a nice touch.
The cameras are very, very good. The app launches very quickly with a double-tap of the Power button. There are plenty of modes available; the familiar Portrait and Night Sight, and now the new Motion mode. All produce stunning, creative, flagship-level photos with great detail and vivid color. The photo tools have been beefed up to include the much ballyhooed Magic Eraser. In my testing, while the Magic Eraser is interesting, it never seems to be convincing, frequently leaving smears or discolorations. Video now includes digital stabilization, which works very, very well.
Covering a few other features: I tested Bluetooth with a new gen 6 smartwatch as well as various headphones and speakers. All worked well and demonstrated good range. NFC for contactless payments has been quick and effective. Casting to an older Chromecast has been fast and reliable (Note: There is currently a legal issue limiting access to volume control from the volume rocker while casting). Video calls using the front camera have been excellent. On the downside, there is no headphone port, no expandable memory, and no option for video out over the USB-C port.
Now, let's spend a few moments talking about Android. The phone ships with Android 12 out of the box, which is the most significant visual update to Android in years. Most functionality is where you’re used to finding it, but has been given a fresh look with the new Material You design language. While its all very attractive, things like the quick toggles or volume settings just take up more screen real estate than before.
Beyond the appearance, there’s a lot of good here. Boot time is super fast. Voice recognition and transcription has been incredibly accurate. The ability of the Assistant to work conversationally is amazing. The new wallpaper theming and icon theming are nice touches. 3-button navigation is, thankfully, still available (for those of us old fogeys who don’t like gestures). Also, scrolling screenshots work well (in apps that they are compatible with, which doesn’t include Chrome currently).
Then there’s frustrations. The loss of the incredibly useful Power menu (Power Off, Restart, GPay, and access to smart appliances) is frustrating. Even if you go through the settings and enable the new Power menu (Settings/System/Gestures/Press and hold power button), it only gives you the power-related options and quick access to declare an emergency. Most, not all, of the other combined functionality is now available in a Home icon on the lock screen.
Then there’s Google’s tendency to kill off mature products and forcibly replace them with products that simply don’t work as well. For example, the loss of Google Play Music still stings. But now, with Android 12, we’ve lost access to Android Auto for Phone Screens; a tool me and many others used profusely. Its replaced by the new Google Assistant Driving Mode. Which simply doesn’t work as well.
That said, Android and its apps are an ever evolving adventure. Issues such as these will likely be addressed as updates are released. And because its a Pixel, you’ll have access to those updates immediately.
All things considered, the Pixel 6 is simply the best Pixel ever made. Its not perfect, but no phone is. If you want a well built phone that produces great pictures, offers easy access to Google’s ecosystem, and delivers immediate updates, this Pixel 6 is a great choice.
Short: This phone has a beautiful screen, a high-quality camera setup, and is equipped with plenty of on-board memory and a fast chip to keep up with everything you want to do. Battery life is reasonably good, and the call quality is fine. The phone is a strong performer as long as you stick with it to get the setup just right, and it’s undoubtedly easiest for Android users and existing google/Gmail users to get Pixel buzzing right away.
This is a flagship phone, but not the “Pro” version of the Pixel, which sports a telephoto lens and optical zoom on the camera and a larger screen/body. So—you can get fancier than this phone. However, it is by far the fanciest phone I’ve ever had, and it’s pretty impressive.
The basic setup here is pretty stout. It’s running Android 12 and has 128 gb onboard memory, with the capability to expand through a memory card. Of course, there are also plenty of ways to use cloud storage, with the onboard google suite. The phone runs on a new chip—the Tensor—and it is supposed to have expanded security capabilities built into its operation. This is not something I have a strong understanding of, to be honest, but the idea of it sounds impressive in that it’s supposed to keep sensitive data safer and runs “Trusty OS.” This certainly sounds like at least an attempt to keep your data safer from outside threats. It has some anti-spam and anti-phishing capabilities onboard, that supposedly also don’t share data and keep information on-device. As well, there’s a “binary transparency,” which is supposed to allow those with the technical know-how to figure out if a device has been back-doored. That certainly seems like a cool feature, but it’s something I hope I never have to take it to an expert to try to analyze.
So; that said, this actually alleviates some of the reservations I had about using a google phone—what would be they be watching and tracking? That said, I’ve long ago admitted that I like having google photos, using Gmail, and working with the practicality of the google drive. It’s, in fact, become a necessity for me to use some of these features, so a Pixel just makes all of that ecosystem work pretty easily.
The phone itself has a beautiful screen and a slim design. On the screen: the settings also enable you to add a smoothing function, which raises the refresh rate to 90 HZ from 60. You can also choose to increase the touch sensitivity, which may be a good idea if you put a screen protector on the phone. Doing so hasn’t caused any real issues for me this way, though the fingerprint sensor is a little less eager with the protector on it.
The outside of the phone is fine—not very exciting—except for camera band on the phone’s backside, which is weirdly chunky strip. I’m going to admit I don’t really love that design choice, but to be honest, the phone is super slippery, and I put it in a case almost as soon as I had it in my hand. So, the odd extra stripe of the cameras on the back ceases to be an issue once you take some precautions with it. And, since those lenses are sticking out, if you don’t protect them, they’ll get scratched immediately. That would be a horrible thing to do to a camera setup sporting 50 megapixels and a wide-angle lens. (More about that later.) That said, I think it’s a little odd that phones keep pressing the limits on how thin and light they can be—but that worrying about the fragility of a 500-1000 dollar computer in your pocket means housing it in a chunkier package anyway. Supposedly the back camera has gorilla glass protecting. I don’t really want to chance it. And, with the Pixel’s top-heavy backside, I don’t mind the case. Maybe some people like this design. Great if you do.
The onboard looks are sleek. It’s a high-res AmoLED screen, and with Android 12 you can use the “themed” setups, with wallpaper and icons that complement each other. This is kind of neat—as you can coordinate wallpaper colors and icons. There are some really cool “live” wallpaper options too—which you can download if you so choose; “Marvelous Marble” for example gives you real-time live looks at your location from space. That said, I also still like the option to put my dog on the wallpaper instead of fancy live images from space. That said, the fonts, layout, and icons are pleasantly arranged. It is extremely crisp, bright, and well-balanced.
Features on the phone include a more advanced google assistant—one super feature is letting the google assistant wait on hold for you. This has already been a nice helper during my everyday activities. As well, there is a storage saver option that helps optimize space and make choices about storage for photos and videos. This perhaps a good option, but arguably it is odd for this phone to have an incredibly powerful camera and video system only for the user to then choose to degrade photos and videos to store them as smaller files. That said, a 50 mp camera makes large files. I’d rather add an SD card and keep the crisp images than save them in lower resolution. Google Photos is a nice backup, but of course there are some resolution/space concerns there too. The phone has an additional interesting feature called “Now Playing.” You can enable the phone, on the lock screen, to listen to your surroundings and detect songs playing nearby. It will then tell you the name of the song. This is kind of cool, but I also dislike the idea of my phone actively listening while it’s in the locked mode. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be used in isolated moments, or that all users would feel that way. But, I haven’t thoroughly tested whether it actually gets the song right when it’s listening.
Basics: Call quality and reception work well. This is going to most likely depend more on your service than anything else. But I’ve had no difficulty with dropped calls or being heard.
Battery: Battery life seems very good so far. I don’t use my phone as much as some folks perhaps—during work hours, I’m often not touching my personal phone—but regardless, with the phone charged in the morning, I’ve still got 80% of battery left. It will regularly last more 24-48 hours. You can also choose to prefer battery over optimized performance, depending on your needs at a given time. The phone charges via an included USB C cord, and charges quickly when plugged in directly.
Camera: The camera (or cameras, I should say) are fantastic. Images are crisp and clean, whether shot close up at .7 zoom or trying to take in a gorgeous sunset or the images of bright fall leaves. The shutter also can focus quickly and captures subjects prone to motion blur with more ease than other phones. The “motion” setting will also capture a moving subject and allow isolating crisp images. Colors are true and contrast is good. There are a number of settings available as well—night, motion (which is different than the option I mentioned above—this isolates a moving image in a scene), portrait, etc. and in each mode, one can further tweak settings (like lighting, or using pans, or in the night mode even selecting “Astrophotography” for the next time you want that great moonshot). The video settings are also ample, and include some nice options for time lapse and slo-mo. In video, one can also choose Full HD or 4K, as well as 30 or 60 frames/second. There are also some nice after the photo editing features. Probably the ability to remove unwanted elements from photos will be the most utilized feature. Basically this lets one photoshop out an element by just circling it on the screen. For most smaller elements, or in easy backgrounds, this feature works really well. In some photos, shadows or textures are going to make it hard to work perfectly. However, it’s a pretty handy. I’ll say that the camera wants to share things with Instagram, it seems, as soon as a photo is snapped. At least, some Insta icon pops up every time I snap a photo. But I don’t use Instagram or other social media on this phone, so I have no idea how easy it is to share to these platforms.
One last key thing for me: this has NFC technology. I have long had a need for an NFC capable phone, and this is the first one I’ve actually gotten. The technology works as it should, and has added a level of convenience to my life in being able to take advantage of an app and NFC tools that are useful for me. While the Pixel is not a cheap phone, it is one of the less expensive options for being able to use this tech reliably. If you need NFC but are tied of paying top-tier prices, this may be a great option for you especially.
It was easy to setup because my previous phone was android. From the get-go, the phone basically guided me through transferring my data and contacts from the old phone to the new, despite the fact that the old phone was five years old. So, if you’re an existing android and google user, getting this phone going should be a snap.
Paring Bluetooth earbuds worked ok; the issue seemed to be more that the earbuds were being claimed by another device than that the Pixel had any difficult. Once I put the buds back in pairing mode, the phone easily accepted them.
There was one negative experience: for some reason, the Gboard permission for speech to text in the messages was turned off. And, the phone kept just giving me an error saying it didn’t have permission to do speech to text. I tried a number of fixes, including messing with the assistant and updating the Gboard, and it took me about a week to figure out how to turn the permission on. Once I did, the speech to text started working as normal.
I've been a Samsung Note and galaxy user for about a decade. I've invested a lot in the android ecosystem and it's become an integral part of my personal and professional life. It's been quite some time since I've really immersed myself with a device that offers the purest form of the android operating system. Over the years I've grown extremely accustomed to a manufacturer's overlay on top of vanilla android. In my case, it's been the touchwiz user interface from Samsung. Coming from years of using a different user interface, it took me about 3 days for me to begin using the Google Pixel 6 from muscle memory; as if it was second nature. The experience has been a night and day difference - in a very good way! I've heard that Google's android phones are the purest and best way to experience the android platform. I finally understand why that's the case and it took me actually using the phone daily for me to understand. A big part of the reason this phone has really impressed me is because of the innovation that Google has brought to the android platform with their custom designed tensor chip on these new pixel 6 phones. The "Smart AI" features on this phone are incredible. I've listed some key highlights below of my experience with pixel 6.
Design and Construction:
The Google pixel 6 is an extremely premium feeling phone. The phone has matted aluminum sides and a glass back (definitely prefer this over the glossy sides on the pixel 6 pro!). The Gorilla Glass 6 on the back feels like it can withstand some abuse. The front of the display has the Gorilla Glass Victus and as someone who constantly keeps their phone in the same pocket as their keys, I can gladly attest to no scratches on the display. Initially I thought that the protruding bar on the rear of the phone that houses the camera sensors would be cumbersome and intrusive. That has turned out to not be the case at all. When gripping the phone normally (either one handed or two handed) never did it get in the way or did my fingers keep hitting it. When laying the phone flat (with no case) there's no wobble despite the protrusion. You'd really have to push down on the top of the phone to experience some wobble.
I find the dimensions of the google pixel 6 to be perfect for one handed use. While the pixel pro has some minor upgrades over the standard pixel 6, I feel as though it borders being "too large" for my one handed use. In terms of bezels I was surprised that I didnt miss the curved bezels from my previous note android device. While this phone doesn't have the thinnest bezels, it's still one of the sleekest looking phones on the market. I also love that Google stuck with the small circular camera cut out and didn't go with a distracting notch! The one thing I would change in terms of design would be the placement of the volume rocker. I wish it was either on the left side or that it would have been moved further down on the right side to make it more central. I watch all of my content in landscape mode so having it more centrally located would have been a bit more convenient.
This is the most fluid and snappy experience that I've ever used on any phone. Applications instantly open, load, and close. I can leave several apps running in the background while playing a game, listening to music, watching streaming content, downloading large files, etc. Not once during daily use have I noticed even a minor hiccup. To test the phone I left several apps running in the backgroundc and played the very well known genshin impact android game as well as some warhammer and the experience was flawless. I've owned nothing but flagship Android phones this past decade and I'm convinced that the reason why the pixel 6 provides such a buttery smooth experience on android is due to to the combination of google's new tensor chip and the close to stock vanilla Android UI. Even though I knew the tensor chip was not going to outperform the top of the line qualcomm processors on raw numbers alone, I still benchmarked my pixel 6 out of curiosity. It still received pretty impressive numbers on geekbench 5. It received a single-core score of 1032 and a multi-core score of 2744. More than adequate to run all the latest and future applications.
The camera sensors on this phone are a feat of engineering! The 50 megapixel main sensor and 12 megapixel ultrawide sensor takes stunning photos. When in camera mode, you have instant options to alter color and shadow. I've found myself using this feature a lot as it makes photos with dull colors come alive! The slight disappointment here is that we don't get the new coveted 4x telephoto zoom that's featured on the pro model. This means that we don't get any optical zoom and instead we're stuck with Google's "Super Res" 7x digital zoom. I've tested the digital zoom and it's not terrible but it won't compare to an optical lens. Some of my favorite camera features are the "Magic Eraser" and "Night Sight". Both are extremely impressive features. Magic eraser is similar to the magic eraser tool in photoshop. It does a fantastic job of removing people or objects that you don't want in the photo (so long as they're not the main focal points of attraction in the image). The night sight feature is a game changer for taking pictures at night. Please see the two images I have attached. There is very little ambient lighting in the room that the picture was taken in. The same object was taken with the same lighting conditions without flash. It's as if someone turned on the light when taken with the night sight feature! The whole camera ecosystem has been designed with convience in mind too. Google photos makes it incredibly easy to instantly edit, share, and upload all your content.
This is the part of the Pixel 6 that extremely impresses me. There's sooo many great features to list so I'll just name a few of my favorites. 5G speeds are ridiculously fast! When connected to 5G, I typically average 250+ Mbps down and 60 + Mbps up (see screenshot). One of my absolute favorite features on the pixel 6 is the automatic ability to screen calls. The amount of robocalls I receive has greatly increased within the last couple of years. If the pixel detects that either a phone call or a text message is from an unknown caller, it'll automatically decline the call without interupting you (it'll never decline anyone in your contact list). You can also set it so that the google assistant automatically answers unknown calls. The assistant politely asks the caller a couple of basic questions to make sure it's not a robocall, a faked number, or a potential scam. The transcript of the brief conversation appears on your phone so you know if it's legit.
While the standard Pixel 6 doesn't share the same quad hd resolution (1440p) and pixel density as it's bigger brother, the 1080p HDR capable display on the pixel 6 is still impressive. Also, I'd argue that at this six inch screen size, you're really not missing much with 1440p over 1080p. The 6.4 inch OLED display produces an impressive color accurate picture. It produces some rich reds, lush greens, vibrant purples, all while not over saturating the image. I also love the deep blacks that this display produces! The adaptive 90hz refresh rate makes a world of a difference coming from a 60hz display. Swiping through the UI, switching between apps, browsing through content on a browser, etc has attributed to the smoothest performance I've ever experienced on a phone. The pixel 6 doesn't have the brightest screen but it's certainly more than adequate. With the manual slider you get 500 nits of maximum brightness and about 850+ when set to adaptive. On a sunny day, I found myself having to turn up the brightness slider to at least 80 percent to get good visibility while being outdoors. I do wish it provided closer to 1000 nits of maximum peak brightness for optimum visiblity on these occasional situations but it's a minor gripe.
Without a doubt, the most impressive stereo audio I've heard on any phone. This thing gets loud! The audio is produced by a bottom firing speaker and the earpiece. The listening experience has been decent enough to where I've found myself, on multiple occassions, not bothering to get up to turn on my bluetooth home audio speaker. At full volume, there's no distortion and music sounds crisp. However, as a fan of a wired music listening experience, the one thing I wish was included was a standard headphone jack.
In terms of phone use, at the end of a standard work day, I easily still have over 30% battery left. On most days, I've had over 40% without ever charging it once throughout the day. This is thanks to the beefy 4600 mAh battery on the pixel 6. This phone should be able to easily get you through a full workday with a similar workload as I've just described. You also get 50% charge in 30 minutes if you're using a 30 watt charger.
Overall, I've been very impressed with the pixel 6, especially at the price segment it comes in at. While the pixel 6 may not officially be considered a flagship phone compared to the pro model, I feel that it still retains enough flagship features to still be considered worthy of the flagship title. For all the flagship features that you get at this competitive price point, this is an easy recommendation!
In the new Pixel 6, Google has somehow managed to combine top of the line smartphone specifications and performance with outstanding build quality and a superb user experience for a remarkably reasonable price. There have been other players in the Android market who have claimed to offer value priced “flagship killers”, and while they have succeeded to a certain degree, this new Pixel completely redefines that value proposition with a device and experience which are almost entirely free of compromises while costing half the price of recent high-end offerings from the market leaders.
If you’re looking for one of the best smartphone experiences available today, enjoy Google services, and don’t want to spend $1,000 on a device, you’ve just found your phone.
1. Differentiated Experience
A key feature of Pixel phones has always been their “pure” Android experience. With less clutter due to pre-loaded apps and custom skins, the Pixel offers a smooth, clean user experience that’s fast and cohesive. The Pixel 6 debuts Android 12 and the revised “Material You” design theme which provides some great flexibility to customize the look of the interface. Especially impressive is the way the entire phone UI adapts to the colors in your selected wallpaper. Google also offers regular, timely updates. Security updates are offered for 5 years and major operating system upgrades for three years.
Many of the other unique features of this device stem from Google’s decision to create their own “Tensor” SOC (system on chip). This design incorporates custom machine learning and AI capabilities alongside standard high performance ARM processor cores. This allows for some impressive real-time capabilities including:
a) On-device speech recognition. Most phones send your spoken commands (or voice typing) to the cloud for processing, but the Pixel can understand speech input right on the phone. I tested this by entering airplane mode. The voice recognition, typing, and even live transcription features all still worked just fine. This is this great for privacy and also significantly enhances the speed at which speech is processed.
b) Transcribing text from active phone calls in real time. This system also allows you to navigate automated phone system menus by tapping the option you want on the screen. I’ve posted a screen shot of this feature in action with a call to the IRS. The transcription is instantaneous and very accurate.
c) Ability to hold on your behalf when calling a customer service number. Yes – just hit “hold for me” and the phone will wait, listening to the hold messages and elevator music and then ping you when your call is being answered.
d) Live translation of text or recorded audio, including a two-way “interpreter” mode. The translation models can be downloaded so they work offline.
e) Ability to touch up photos with the “magic eraser” feature where the AI can attempt to remove unwanted subjects from a photo after it has been taken. I’ve posted screenshots to show this in action.
These features are genuinely useful and, even in this initial release, quite well executed. I’m looking forward to seeing how Google evolves the use of the on-chip AI capabilities over the next few years given this impressive start.
2. Design and construction.
Unlike some previous Pixel phones, the Pixel 6 uses premium glass and metal construction for a very high-end feel. The glass is top-of-the-line Gorilla Glass Victus and the metal frame has a matt finish which helps to make the phone easy to grip.
The most distinctive design feature is the camera “bump”, which runs horizontally across the upper back portion of the phone. Because it spans the entire width of the device, this phone remains stable when laid down on a flat surface, although the edges do also tend to collect dust.
The one other thing worth noting is that for some reason Google has placed the sleep/power key ABOVE the volume rocker on this phone. I’m sure I’d get used to it, but coming from a Galaxy device I found I was constantly pressing the volume key when actually meaning to lock the phone.
The display covers almost the entire face of the phone (not quite edge to edge) with a small “hole punch” for the front facing camera. Although “only” FHD (1080p), it is very sharp at 440 pixels per inch and, being OLED, offers outstanding colors and contrast. Google offers “natural” and “vivid” color settings, along with an adaptive option which changes based on content. I used the latter and have no complaints.
In everyday use, the display is excellent. Grey uniformity can sometimes be a little uneven, but this is not usually noticeable in normal use. High Dynamic Range (HDR) is supported for video services like Netflix, and the content I tried in this mode looked superb with bright highlights and an accurate HDR color palette. Watching video on this device is a joy.
The display does also offer an “always on” mode which provides a clock and notifications on the OLED display even when the device is sleeping. This worked well in my testing, although I’m not sure if or how much long-term use might lead to image retention.
Google’s “Tensor” custom system on a chip (SOC) provided smooth and efficient performance in all the applications I’ve tested so far, including 3D gaming, video, and apps like Excel. Sometimes I encountered very brief micro stutters in scrolling things like lists of news articles, but there were minor and I’d expect they will improve as the software continues to be optimized.
Google has utilized standard ARM processor cores, including the high end X1 design also found in the Snapdragon 888. Most modern smartphone SOCs use a mix of high performance (and high power) and lower performance but more efficient processor cores to get the work done without burning through the battery too quickly. In the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm opted for a single high power X1 core supported by 3 mid-range cores and 4 low power cores. Google has gone with TWO high power X1 cores (albeit with slightly lower clock speed). In order to save power and die space, they support these with two mid-range cores which are slower and less power hungry than the 3 mid-range cores in the Snapdragon. In theory this should provide higher peak performance, and some benchmarks support this, but actual performance will vary depending on how a particular application was coded.
Added to this powerful mix of processor cores is Google’s Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) which handles machine learning and AI functions, including the superb on-device speech recognition, image processing, and video decoding.
The bottom line is that these are high end, high power devices with excellent 3D graphics and AI support which should have no trouble with any workload you ask of them.
Pixel phones have a well earned reputation for superb cameras, largely due to Google’s expertise in machine learning and image processing – something Google refers to as “computational photography”. The Pixel 6 continues this tradition with a 50 megapixel main camera and a 12 megapixel ultra-wide camera. The 50 MP unit usually bins to 12.5 MP but can also be used for high quality 2X zoom. Beyond 2X, the zoom is done in software and although you can theoretically zoom up to 7X, 3X is probably about as far as you’ll want to go in most situations. There’s also a 8 megapixel front “hole punch” camera behind the display for selfies and video calls.
I’ve tried the new cameras in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor situations and as expected they perform very well, providing great images in auto mode almost every time. Low light performance is brilliant, even in spaces which are almost completely dark.
Google’s AI chops also allow for some great effects, including live HDR, creative motion blur (see attached sample), de-blurring of faces, and what Google calls “magic eraser”. The latter allows you to highlight objects in any picture and have the software remove them after the image has been taken. The system automatically suggests potential objects for removal, but you can manually draw around any object you like and the system will attempt to remove it for you. Results are mixed depending on the complexity of the scene behind the object, but you can frequently get some great results.
Video quality is also good, even in low light, and can be recorded in 1080p or 4K at up to 60 fps. Slow motion is available up to 240 fps and the stabilization features have been outstanding in my testing.
6. Battery life
In my testing over several days of different use levels, the performance of the ~4,600 mAh battery has been superb. Despite using the always on display, a full day of use including photos, video recording, and 3 hours of active screen time left the battery at 61% by 11pm. I have no doubt that with moderate use you could stretch to two days on a charge without too much “range anxiety”. A power saving mode is provided for those times when you’re running out of battery before running out of day.
Google has also implemented some battery saving tech, including adaptive throttling of seldom-used apps (with the ability for the user to prioritize critical tasks if needed), and a smart charging feature that allows you to charge overnight and aims to reach a full charge at the same time your morning alarm goes off.
The device supports fast wired and wireless charging, and you can even place a device that supports wireless charging on the back of the phone and have it charge that device for you – great for charging wireless earbuds while out and about.
The Pixel 6 offers fast performance, great battery life, an excellent camera, unique AI features, and outstanding value in a high quality package. Easy to recommend.
Best Pixel. Extreme Value. Stock Android = Amazing
The Pixel 6 (and 6 Pro) is Google’s latest generation of the Pixel lineup. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro offer Google’s first home built processor, Tensor, with Titan M2 security chip for enhanced protection. Both of these chips provide the phone with faster processing and enhanced security over every other Pixel before it. This paired with all new camera sensors and a fairly groundbreaking exterior design prove that Google takes Pixel very seriously. I will be focusing my review on the Pixel 6 as this is the device I have been using but some of these items can be applied to the Pixel 6 Pro as well.
The new design for Pixel is a bit of a controversial one. Personally I really like it. The horizontal camera bar houses the new camera hardware as well as provides a differentiating look compared to every other phone out there. The bonus of the camera car is the phone sits very stable on a flat surface! (No wobble) Google continues offering several color options just like the last few generations which is a nice touch. The stormy black unit I received is a great neutral color for those who may not want a colorful device and I assume the white would be similar.
The Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch 90Hz AMOLED panel with FHD+ resolution stretching 1080 x 2400 pixels. This comes with a 20:9 aspect ratio, 411ppi pixel density, and an 83.4% screen-to-body ratio.
The Pixel 6 Pro features a 6.7-inch adaptive 120Hz LTPO AMOLED panel with QHD+ resolution stretching 1440 x 3120 pixels. This comes with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 512ppi pixel density, and an 88.8% screen-to-body ratio.
Both phones come with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and support HDR10+ content and always-on display. The biggest difference is the curved display on the Pixel 6 Pro, higher resolution/refresh rate, and Gorilla Glass Victus on the back too instead of Gorilla Glass 6 like the regular Pixel 6.
My Pixel 6 has been enjoyable to use however this is the one area I did downgrade vs my last THREE phones believe it or not. I love the upgrade to a 90Hz screen but I do not like the downgrade in resolution vs QHD displays I have used in the past. With this said it wasn’t as big of a drawback as I originally feared. The 6.4” display has great colors, great blacks, and a higher refresh rate which is pleasurable to use. I just wish the PPI was higher as I have had QHD displays on my last three LG phones. One other notable feature is the use of an optical finger print sensor under the front display on both devices. The sensor works ok but it one of the other minor disappointments of the phone. It can be slow to respond or not recognize at all. I would recommend registering your same fingerprints at least two times for a better chance of the phone getting it on the first try.
The Pixel 6 launches with Android 12 which is the latest version of Android. The Pixel 6 gets, at minimum, 3 years of software updates and 5 years of security updates. As far as I know this is the longest period of support for Android phone makers. This is nice because you know as long as the hardware is solid, Google will be there is support the phone for many years to come so you are not forced to upgrade in just 2-3 years just to have the latest software features. If you would like to find in depth details of this version of Android, I would recommend searching YouTube for a video review highlighting the changes. Overall the UI looks new and fresh. It implements new design features to provide accent colors throughout the interface depending on your background colors. The overall interface isn’t so far removed from other versions of Android it should be easy to adopt for those used to Android. The settings menu has an easy to use key word, search bar to find the specific setting you want to find so you are not digging through menus. Overall, lots of customization abilities, multi-device integration through your Google account (If wanted), and easy to navigate UI.
Only gripe so far is I get some occasional accidental back/forward swipes while using some apps. I have changed the sensitivity to be at its lowest setting but it can be easy to accidentally swipe back (Swipe right from edge of screen).
I have had outstanding battery life compared to my last device. The Pixel 6 features a 4,614 mAh battery which is larger than all the smaller Pixel’s of the past. I have easily been able to make it through a normal day with plenty of battery to spare. In fact, I have not been able to drain it (through normal usage) below 50% while using Wi-Fi and 4G data. I have gotten between 3-4 hours of screen on time within my battery usage and I have no doubts many more is possible depending on the type of usage. I have seen reports than 5G can impact battery life more significantly but have not been able to verify myself.
The speakers have good quality especially for a smartphone but are a little on the quiet side. I routinely find myself using the top 30% of the volume range in anything but the quietest of settings.
The main camera on the Pixel 6 is a new 50MP (f/1.85) sensor that does Pixel binning to create a final 12.5MP image. The Ultra Wide camera is 12MP (f/2.2) sensor. The front camera is an 8MP (f/2.0) sensor. So far I have been very happy with images from all three sensors. The new, main camera sensor combined with Google image processing and computational tools. Android 12 adds Magic Eraser which lets you remove objects/people from an image. It works very well in some scenarios and just ok in others. The fact you can do this from your phone so easily now is impression nonetheless. Other software tools involve removing blur from faces and improvements to skin tones. I have been very happy with image quality and it is heaps better than my prior phone as Google’s software has been optimized to take advantage of the sensors capabilities. My only minor complaints is the Ultra Wide sensor takes good but not great pictures and could be a tad wider overall. The phone’s video shooting abilities have been greatly improved compared to Pixels of the past and it shoots video up to 4K at 60FPS. The main camera features Laser Autofocus and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).
If you are looking for the best camera specs, you’ll want to opt for the Pixel 6 Pro which features the same Main, and Ultra Wide sensors but adds a 48MP f/3.5 telephoto lens with OIS and 4x optical zoom and a better front facing camera with 11.1MP f/2.2 which also shoots 4K 30FPS video instead of 1080p 30FPS on the Pixel 6.
Three attached images (Outside of two of phone) are straight out of camera with no editing.
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro features Google first in house processor named Tensor. This is paired with 8GB of ram on the Pixel 6 and 12GB on the 6 Pro. Google claims the Pixel 6 has 370% higher GPU performance and 80% higher CPU performance compared to the Pixel 5. I came from a phone with the Snapdragon 845, Adreno 630 and 6GB of ram. I have been very pleased with the performance of the Pixel 6 as it has been overall much smoother than my prior phone. The software optimization here obviously helps a bunch compared to the other phone but I think the processor itself has good performance all around. Overall, I haven’t experienced any real performance challenges so far. I don’t game on my phones but the photo editing and multitasking with apps is hassle free for the phone.
The Pixel 6 has been amazing to use! It is clearly the best phone Google has ever made. The cameras on the Pixel 6 are great along with the software to back them up. The new editing tools bring another level of power to the photos you capture. Tensor, the new processor, seems like promising venture for Google. Performance has been great with no issues and I am happy to see the dedicated support for years to come. It will be interesting to see its Machine Learning capacities as time progresses. Battery life is another strong point in my usage of the phone. I have enjoyed ending the day with more than 50% left on the phone compared to struggling to make a full day with my last device. I would highly recommend upgrading to the Pixel 6 if you have an older Pixel device or just want a stock Android device with good performance. The value Google has offered with this phone is incredible.
Do I believe the $300 premium for the Pro is worth it? Maybe. I prefer the flat display on the regular Pixel 6 but I would love the higher resolution display and the Telephoto camera found on the 6 Pro. The Pixel 6 is by far the stronger value of the two however.
The analysis of all aggregated expert reviews shows that the reviewers are positive about reliability, price, durability and design. Editors are less positive about reception and size and have mixed opinions about portability. Using an algorithm based on product age, reviewers ratings history, popularity, product category expertise and other factors, this product gets an alaTest Expert Rating of 98/100 = Excellent quality.
CNETRating, 4.4 out of 54.4Patrick Holland on November 20, 2021
Google Pixel 6 review: This phone is everything I wantedThe Pixel 6 is Google's most significant phone upgrade yet, and we can't think of a better phone to recommend.
Tom's GuideRating, 4 out of 54.0Philip Michaels on January 14, 2022
Google Pixel 6 reviewThe Google Pixel 6 delivers the best Android experience for the money with superb cameras, a unique design and Android 12. But there's some flaws compared to the best from Samsung and Apple.
Review: The Google Pixel 6 was worth waiting years forGoogle's stagnation with the Pixel line these last few years had many of us wondering when or if Google would ever start taking its in-house smartphones seriously again. Well, Google is back and swinging for the fences with the bold, brainy, and