Google Pixel 6 Pro review

The Pixel 6 Pro offers a wildly familiar Android experience, along with powerful new hardware that goes far beyond what we’ve seen in previous-gen Pixels so far.

Google Pixel 6 Pro review

If we look back, far away is the debut of the original Pixel that occurred back in 2016, phones with which Google tried from the initial moments, to compete in the market against the hegemony of the iPhone.

Years later, we see how Google continues to search for the formula that allows them to offer something differentiating within the saturated smartphone market that offers a perfect harmony between the hardware and software that are part of their devices.

Based on this, the new Pixel 6 stand out for incorporating for the first time the new SoC Tensor processor developed by Google itself, with a performance that the company intends to compete with the entire range of the most advanced premium mobiles on the market.

Google Pixel 6 Pro review
Google Pixel 6 Pro review

In this way, it should be noted that the suffix ‘Pro’ is already common in the smartphone space, but this is the first time that Google has applied it to a Pixel; with previous generations only separated by size, sporting an ‘XL’.

So, all indications are that this year’s Pro is destined to be seen as a different breed than its predecessor Pixels. In fact, the main camera hardware has been updated for the first time in years, raising the bar for display screen quality.

Design and build quality

The Greatest Pixel of All Time
The camera bar is atypical
Weight of 210 grams and thickness of 8.9 mm
Two-handed operation

The Pixel 6 Pro is the biggest, thickest and heaviest mobile that Google has ever made and by far. It sports a square silhouette and a somewhat industrial design that at this point no one can deny that it is somewhat unique.

It is easily recognizable, with a strange mixture of precision and elegance that in turn is interrupted when you look at the large bar in which the cameras are integrated, which runs from edge to edge of the phone.

The front panel of the Pixel 6 Pro is Gorilla Glass Victus, while on the back it uses Gorilla Glass 6 protection, all accompanied by an iP68 certification with which we guarantee resistance to water and dust.

Rounded edges help the phone feel slimmer than it actually is when held in your hands, while the top edge of the metal frame is interrupted by a strip of plastic that doesn’t match the color of the top half. .

Google plays with the hues of soft and pastel colors, to the point that unlike the normal Pixel 6, the Pro model has polished metal sides to give it a touch that turns out to be even more premium in the finishes.

Just as the Samsung S21 range opted for the ‘Contour Cut’ camera protrusion located in the upper corner of the terminal, Google has replaced its usual format with what it has come to call ‘camera bar’ which crosses from a side to side.

We have previously seen a similar arrangement such as the TCL Plex or Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series , but the bar of the Pixel 6 Pro stands out for its large size above all those mentioned.

On the side, it stands out defiantly from the phone’s already thick profile, and by coating it in a pitch black, Google clearly doesn’t seem to apologize for its presence or implementation, standing out even more.

Google Pixel 6 Pro thickness

The phone can be found in black, red and turquoise green colors, combined with a dark or light gray, as well as with a black or silver metal frame depending on each version. Google plays with colors to create a hallmark on both Pixel 6s.

Beyond its distinctive visuals, the Pro is well assembled, with tactile control buttons located on the right side of the frame that are highly accessible for easy thumb operation. However, you will likely need both hands for comfortable handling.

Google also seems to have rejected the use of Pixel covers with fabric finishes, as it did in previous models, in favor of translucent partially recycled plastic covers, which allow you to better appreciate the color of the model you have chosen.

The Pixel 6 Pro’s sizeable size is largely due to the large 6.7-inch QHD + OLED panel it offers with a 19.5: 9 ratio. It makes a great first impression, outperforming anything that kids are used to. current Pixel mobile users.

This is due not only to its large size, but also to its impressively high pixel density (512 dpi) and raising its maximum refresh rate, which exceeds that of the Pixel 4, Pixel 5 and Pixel 6, which are 90 Hz.

Google Pixel 6 Pro panel

Being a high-quality OLED, it also offers wonderfully vibrant colors, great contrast, and inky blacks (although it could be even brighter.

It’s made using an LTPO process that makes it easy to support the panel’s dynamic refresh rate, which can boost up to 120Hz (for super smooth scrolling and responsive gaming) or scale up to 10Hz to help with battery longevity.

In fact, it acts in a very similar way to Apple’s ProMotion technology, which we have seen as a novelty for the first time in the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max also presented this year.

The smaller Pixel 6 model (located to the right of the image) still has a padded glass cover, so the screen does not extend to the very edge, which means that you are left with a less elegant-looking flat screen with thicker edges.

Google Pixel 6 Pro comparison Pixel 6

There are also a ton of additional technologies tucked behind the 6 Pro’s large screen. You have the option of always-on display functionality, or what Google calls ‘At a glance’, which displays a clock and personalized information.

For its part, Night Light technology filters blue light to ensure a less disturbing view for your eyes in low light conditions, while the new Extra Dim function (hidden in the accessibility menu of Android 12), allows you to fix brightness to more comfortable viewing levels.

Google has finally seen fit to make one-handed operation a native part of the Android experience and essential when it comes to reaching content located at the top of the 6 Pro’s massive screen.

For the first time in a Pixel phone we have a fingerprint sensor built into the screen. Aside from the unfortunate Pixel 4, each Pixel has featured a rear-mounted capacitive sensor and all have reliably responded well, even with gesture interpretation.

By switching to the display system, we lose that gesture support and, surprisingly, although the optical sensor used is reliable enough in everyday use, it is noticeably slower than the alternatives of yesteryear, or those that integrate it on the side.

Google Pixel 6 Pro screen resolution

In a sense, despite using more up-to-date technology than previous Pixels, the 6 Pro’s on-screen unit feels like a small step backward, even more so when we don’t have another alternative like facial recognition to unlock the terminal.

Google Pixel 6 Pro
Google Pixel 6 Pro review

Audio

Wired USB C or Wireless Bluetooth 5.2
Audio codecs compatible with aptX HD and LDAC
Stereo speakers

Without the presence of a 3.5 mm audio connector, we have two options to listen to music in the ears: use wired headphones through the USB-C port, or opt for wireless audio that is used with Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. (reinforced by “dual antennas for better quality and connection”, according to Google).

The good news here is that wireless audio supports all kinds of codecs, such as SBC and AAC, as well as aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC as well. The Pixel 6 Pro also has a pretty decent set of stereo speakers.

However, we have found that the output grille located next to the USB-C port handles most of the bass tones, while the headphone speaker located at the top leans towards the mids and maximums.

Google Pixel 6 Pro speakers

As such, it provides imperfect stereo separation but good clarity throughout its volume range, which means that you can play your tunes without the audio quality falling apart, albeit at a maximum volume that we may find low.

Software and features

First Android 12 phone
Material You for personalized experience
Privacy and security panels
3 years of system updates and 5 in security

Curious Pixel owners (along with a handful of devices from other brands, such as Realme, Oppo and Xiaomi) have been able to test the various beta versions of Android 12 throughout 2021, however the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are the first. to reach the market.

You will find in the article more in-depth details about the news that Android 12 brings , but in essence, you should know that it guarantees a twist to the visual aspect thanks to ‘Material You’, with a series of new features focused on privacy and security.

‘Material You’ changes the way the most basic elements of the interface are displayed on Android. The operating system can auto-generate a color palette for thematic interface elements, such as on-screen controls, keyboard, or application icons depending on the wallpaper.

Google Pixel 6 Pro interface Android 12

It is also joined by other existing functions such as focus mode, dark mode and Google Assistant voice input. Android 12 also makes recommendations on how to improve phone security, making sure you run the latest system update.

New settings for microphone and camera access can now be enabled from the phone’s quick settings, but the privacy menu and back panel offer a more comprehensive set of controls.

It highlights the fact of being able to address the management of device user data, control the permissions to which applications access during the last 24 hours (including location), as well as access to camera and microphone.

While this is unlikely to be a feature that many users will be looking for, its inclusion in Android 12 is highly appreciable and will hopefully become an aspect of Android on all devices, not just Pixel phones.

There is also a new game board that can be configured to display a fps (frames per second) counter and offers quick access to screenshots and screen recording; allowing you to capture and share your last session session or game online.

Even with these new additions, Android on the Pixel 6 Pro still feels like one of the cleanest and easiest-to-navigate implementations of the operating system to date; although now it comes with more personality and fluidity than ever.

Google Pixel 6 Pro Background Themes

Timeless, buying a Pixel has always guaranteed the best, longest-lasting software support an Android phone can offer, but for those opting for the 6 or 6 Pro this year, the company has gone the extra mile.

Google adds to the three years of regular update of the operating system, a whole extra with the extension to five years of the updates related to the security of the operating system.

This exceeds even the generous commitment of Samsung that in early 2021 announced the extension to four years of security updates.

Performance

First proprietary Google Tensor chip phone
Different benchmarks from your rivals
Focused on machine learning and artificial intelligence tasks
Great gaming performance

While the Pixel 6 Pro may seem like a fairly straightforward update with new software features, a nicer screen, and better cameras than the previous generation, one area that is unknown to everyone is the new chipset.

Google is no stranger to implementing its own silicon chips inside Pixel phones, such as the Pixel Visual Core and later the Pixel Neural Core, but these chips have always operated alongside Qualcomm’s leading Snapdragon SoC.

What now changes substantially is that for the first time, Google has chosen to create its own SoC (system on chip) processor called Tensor. Its architecture is based on the notion of “heterogeneous computing”.

In essence, it is a combination of processors and coprocessors tailor-made for specific tasks that come together to create a more energy-efficient chipset compared to more generic alternatives.

Leading chip design internally has allowed Google to make sure Tensor is optimized to do the things they really want the new Pixel 6 and 6 Pro to do, in a more optimal way than standard chips have been doing.

As stated during the phone launch, Tensor is “designed and optimized to run Google’s ‘Machine Learning’ models,” with an architecture that “is based on where the ML models are going, not where they are. today”.

Google Pixel 6 Pro Android 12 Control Panel

While Tensor is not far behind, at launch, company reps were eager to highlight how much improvement in performance (80%) and graphics (370%) was compared to the Snapdragon 765G (certainly mid-range) in the latter. place.

This focus on machine learning means that it doesn’t directly compare to top-tier silicon from Qualcomm, MediaTek, or even Apple among the best and brightest rivals on the market, something that is reflected in our benchmark results .

Artificial figures put Tensor (backed by 12GB of RAM in the 6 Pro) at roughly the same level of performance as last year’s Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra with Exynos 990, or this year’s budget champion, the Poco X3. Pro.

In terms of direct CPU power, that doesn’t take into account Tensor’s dedicated TPU, which Google refers to as the chipset’s “ML engine,” or its Context Hub, which handles low-power ML tasks. It’s clear there’s more to Google’s custom hardware than the numbers suggest.

Practical real-world performance proved to be consistently fast throughout testing, with demanding games, such as Call of Duty Mobile, running at 60 fps efficiently (120 fps where supported), all with a build of acceptable heat.

Multitasking in Android 12 was child’s play, since practically all the applications that we have tested live, they become ready a second after being pressed, even the one associated with the camera.

Battery and charging

The largest battery of a 5003 mAh Pixel
Screen mode in the real world
Does not include charger in the box

Tensor, along with Android 12’s underlying optimizations and that dynamic LTPO display, should also mean better power efficiency, helped by the fact that the 6 Pro boasts the largest battery of any Pixel to date.

Artificial testing suggests once again that the Pixel 6 Pro is slightly behind the premiums, but in real-world use it comfortably outperformed its predecessor and the iPhone 13. All despite having a larger screen. large, higher resolution and higher frequency.

The Pixel 6 Pro delivered an autonomy close to 9.5 hours of screen time on per charge, while the iPhone achieved 8.5 hours and the Pixel 5 achieved only 5 hours, a figure that means that this phone can handle up to two days of use per charge.

Charging wise, at first glance, the 6 Pro is a nice upgrade (though admittedly still behind the curve), maxing out at 30W via wired charging and 23W when it comes to wireless charging. .

That said, the long-standing issue of charging standards can prove problematic for those looking to take full advantage of the Pixel 6 Pro’s supported charging speeds, especially considering that Google no longer includes an adapter in the box.

Google Pixel 6 Pro general design

Your best bet is to buy Google’s brand new 30W USB-PD 3.0 (PPS) power adapter for € 29 ($ 25) if you want to hit Google’s 50% charge estimate of 50% in 30 minutes.

Otherwise, trying to find a charger that adheres to the correct Power Deliver standard and supports PPS (Programmable Power Supply) technology is not as easy as you might think (based on cursory research during this review ).

When testing with various third-party PD chargers, the closest to Google’s estimated charging time came from a 45W laptop charger, which exceeded 50% charge (enough for a day of use) after 40 minutes , with a full charge in 2.25 hours.

Cameras

First Pixel with wide angle and telephoto
11.1 MP perforated front camera
Large dynamic range and accurate colors
Magic Eraser and Motion Mode are not perfect\

Google’s Pixel phones have always served as benchmarks in computational photography, and their prowess continues to grow, despite Google leaving the underlying 12.2 MP primary sensor (Sony IMX363) intact from the Pixel. 3 of 2018.

The Pixel 5’s camera was comparable to the competition at the time, despite aging hardware, but hinted at the fact that Google’s imaging team might have really exhausted how far they could push their computing technology.

As such, the switch to a new 50 MP primary pair on the Pixel 6 Pro is quite a significant milestone for the lineup, and that’s before you consider that this is the first Pixel to also feature a wide angle of ( 12 MP) with periscope telephoto lens, something the standard Pixel 6 loses.

Google Pixel 6 Pro camera sensors

Despite a new suite of sensors, Google’s imaging intelligence, aided by Tensor’s built-in ISP, is alive and well. It takes world-class photos across the board, demonstrating some of the best dynamic ranges we’ve seen on smartphones.

In low light, some unmistakable noise and grain can be seen when cropping images, but you’ll get a more honest representation of color compared to the iPhone 13 Pro, which tries to apply a more aggressive white balance under similar conditions.

The accurate colors, however, mean the shots lack some of the visual ‘pop’ that inputs like Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra offer, but determining whether or not that’s a glitch is more up to one’s preference.

There is also a strong consistency between the main sensor and the 6 Pro’s wide-angle, although the 4x telephoto loses the same degree of intensity. Where the zoom excels is in low light conditions, with a ‘Super Res Zoom’ with a maximum algorithm of 20x that offers impressive detail, even in the dark.

Pixel 6 Pro camera test

Portrait mode, whether through the main or front camera, is nice, with some of the best-looking artificial bokeh produced by a smartphone, particularly when the rear sensor is attached.

We see that it adds a strong variation in the level of blur depending on the distance that exists and the depth of the camera, something difficult to reproduce artificially.

Both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro also add new shooting options like Magic Eraser and Motion Mode (which takes the form of Action Pan and Long Exposure). Magic Eraser isn’t perfect, but it’s an impressively fast way to remove unwanted people or objects from a scene.

It doesn’t always leave its mark, whether it’s detecting which elements of a scene you want to remove, or leaving a compelling afterimage once the elements have been removed, but it is one of the best implementations of that feature. It’s one of the selling points of the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6 Pro camera interface

Meanwhile, the motion mode defies logic, in terms of being able to capture a scene in less than a second, but still deliver motion blur long exposure style shots that look as if it has been captured over a period of time. much longer.

It’s a feature that was first popularized on phones like Huawei, but Google’s implementation is significantly faster and easier to use. At the same time, the camera’s built-in face blur is meant to keep faces sharp.

Price and availability

As with its younger brother the Pixel 6 , of which we have also published an in-depth review , the final availability in Spain and in other countries will wait. However, you can always opt for alternative markets.

Check the article on how to get the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro if you live in Spain or Latin America , since at the moment, this new generation of Google mobiles will not go on sale in these countries until early 2022.

The Pixel 6 Pro has a recommended retail price in countries such as France or Germany of € 899 for the most basic configuration that carries 12 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage.

It is the most expensive Pixel so far, but it is still a step slightly below its main rivals such as Samsung’s S21 Ultra , Xiaomi’s Mi 11 Ultra , as well as Apple’s iPhone 13 or Oppo’s Find X3 Pro itself. , many of which exceed € 1000.

The SKU variation by region is also unique, with only a handful of markets gaining access to the largest storage model that scales to 512GB ($ 1,099 in the US).

Verdict

Despite the bravado of the hardware that the Pixel 6 Pro has, the use cases and the functionality that the company has worked hard to implement with Android 12 and Tensor, these aspects will not be what will attract the unconditional public against its rivals.

At the same time, the hardware on offer looks completely impressive and worthy of the attention that Google seems keen to push the Pixel 6 Pro forward: from everyday use, to gaming, to top-notch camera performance.

We rarely say that you should upgrade from the previous year’s equivalent flagship to the current one, but the jump from the Pixel 5 to the Pixel 6 Pro is undoubtedly significant, as is the set of features and abilities it offers versus its competitors.

As long as you’re comfortable with the XL mobile size, not to mention Google’s promise that Tensor is a long-term bet in terms of the smartphone industry’s growing reliance on ML and AI, then there is little reason to not buy you the Pixel 6 Pro.

specs

6.7-inch OLED LTPO screen and 19.5: 9 ratio
Resolution of (1440 x 1320) HDR Quad HD + with frequency of 120 Hz
Google Tensor chipset
The Pixel 6 Pro offers a wildly familiar Android experience, along with powerful new hardware that goes far beyond what we’ve seen in previous-gen Pixels so far.
Titan M2 security chip
12 GB RAM
128GB / 256GB / 512GB storage (market dependent)
In-screen fingerprint sensor
Front Gorilla Glass Victus and rear Gorilla Glass 6 back
Cameras:
50 MP main with 1.2 µm pixels, f / 1.85, 82 ° field of view, 1 / 1.31-inch image sensor, OIS + EIS
12 MP wide angle with 1.25 µm pixels, f / 2.2, 114 ° FoV, lens correction
48 MP telephoto lens with 0.8 µm pixels, f / 3.5, 23.5 ° FoV, 1/2-inch image sensor, OIS + EIS, up to 4x optical zoom, super resolution zoom up to 20x
11.1 MP selfies with 1.22μm pixels, f / 2.2, 94 ° FoV
Stereo speakers
USB-C (3.1) connectors and Dual SIM slot (via eSIM)
5003 mAh battery
Wired charging up to 30W (USB-PD 3.0)
Wireless charging up to 23 W
Connectivity: wifi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, 5G, NFC
Android 12 operating system
163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm dimensions
210 grams weight
Colors: Stormy Black, Sorta Sunny and Cloudy White

Tags: Smartphones

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