Google Pixel 6 Pro… A Pixel that’s been long overdue?
With the Pixel 6 Pro, Google finally blessed its users with a much larger 120 Hz display, beefed-up camera hardware & Android 12 out of the box. Google promises that the Pixel 6 Pro is the best expression of Android. How well does the Pixel 6 Pro hold up to this promise? Let’s dive into the review to find that out.
Design & Display:
Google went for an overall heftier design for this year’s Pixel series. Weighing 210g, the Pixel 6 Pro is a bit hefty to hold with one hand but not too much. With the Pixel 6 Pro, Google has introduced a fresh new design language, with a curved display & glass back. The dual-tone glass looks elegant & the horizontal rear camera bump really is the focal point of this phone. You can’t miss it, even if you want to!
In terms of the build quality, it’s solid. The Pixel 6 Pro has a glass front & back supported by an aluminium frame. All protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. The punch hole camera lies at top of the screen and the optical in-display fingerprint sensor is positioned at the bottom.
Google Pixel 6 Pro comes with the largest display on any Pixel phone to date. It’s a 6.7-inch LTPO AMOLED Quad HD+ resolution screen that supports a 120 Hz dynamic refresh rate, meaning it can go all the way down to 10 Hz to save battery. The display comes with HDR10 & IP68 certification.
The Pixel 6 Pro’s display is fairly color accurate with deep blacks and saturated colors, but it falls behind on brightness when compared to other phones in a similar price range. However, in practice, the display is excellent for playing games & streaming Netflix! This is definitely the best display we’ve ever seen on a Pixel.
The new plastic case the phone comes with isn’t very impressive, it seems to let dust pass through too easily, and doesn’t seem to do justice to the overall outlook and chic of the phone.
Performance & Hardware:
The Pixel 6 Pro comes with Google’s first-ever custom-made Tensor chipset, built on the 5 nm architecture. It is designed with a superior custom-built machine learning engine that allows for new software features that are optimized at the hardware level.
Overall, for a first-generation product, Tensor doesn’t do too bad. Apple’s A15 Bionic is still clearly superior and Google Tensor has a long way to go to catch up. Performance-wise the Tensor chip is excellent for everyday use & it was able to keep up with other smartphones running the Snapdragon 888 chipset. However, you might experience thermal throttle during gaming, which is an absolute bummer!
The phone packs 12 GB RAM & provides three storage options to choose from. A 128 GB option, a 256 GB option & a 512 GB option. All of these options are non-expandable but the phone does provide sufficient storage space.
The Pixel 6 Pro debuts with Android 12. Android 12 brings significant visual changes aside from updating font & menus, it overall brings nicer visuals, larger buttons & colorful themes.
There are some other features that were made possible due to Google’s Tensor chip e.g., the on-device speech recognition and translation and other AI-powered features like Live Transcribe and Live Translate.
The Live Transcribe is smooth and doesn’t require an internet connection to work. The speech to text model is on the device, punctuation is added automatically & all you have to do when you’re done is just say send. And it gets SENT! Just like that!
There’s a new feature built into Android called Live Translate, which is pretty cool. Everything gets done automatically without having to switch back and forth between translation apps.
There’s also Live Translate for live captions. It only supports a few languages for now & it’s a bit hard to read text being translated in real-time.
There are dual stereo speakers on the Pixel 6 Pro and they sound good, but the bottom-firing speaker is certainly louder than the earpiece. Overall the speakers are nice, but we’ve heard better speakers than this.
Pixel 6 Pro comes with a 5000 mAh battery, which is pretty large for a Pixel smartphone but it doesn’t reflect in the battery life. The Google Tensor chipset & the 120 Hz screen do use a lot of power. However, the battery here isn’t terrible but it’s not as amazing as some other similarly equipped phones.
And then again, like many other flagships these days the Pixel 6 Pro doesn’t ship with a charging brick. Although, you can buy Google’s 30 W charger separately. This, however, will only add further to the cost of the phone.
There are three new camera sensors on the Pixel 6 Pro including a 50 MP main camera, a 48 MP periscope telephoto camera that has 4X optical zoom and a 12 MP ultrawide camera. All these sensors are larger than those of its predecessors.
The main & periscope cameras have optical image stabilization. In daylight, the Pixel 6 Pro’s cameras performed really well. There’s far more detail in the images and the dynamic range has improved. There’s even more sharpening now, which looks great overall but textures look speckled up close.
The camera app has 4 zoom modes, 0.7X, 1X, 2X and 4X. The 2X photos use Google’s Super Res Zoom to enhance the image, plenty of details are retained at the expense of some added noise.
The 4X zoom will switch to the dedicated periscope camera and the shots from this camera turn out very well. Dynamic range is great and these images aren’t oversharpened and there’s a more realistic look to the pictures. Overall the shots are decent, and this periscope camera is a valid alternative to Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 10X optical zoom but Samsung still captures more details.
In low light, shots turn out pretty solid, by default night sight mode automatically kicks in when it’s required and it works efficiently well across the board. But night sight mode can sometimes take several seconds to function. With night sight enabled images look clear and sharp. The colors are accurate and nicely represent the scenes even if they’re a tad too bright.
There’s also a front-facing 11 MP selfie camera that shoots great-looking selfies with nice details, good dynamic range & pleasing colors.
Google Pixel 6 Pro has all the hardware it needs to make a very compelling device, powerful triple camera setup, a huge battery and a striking new design.
Battery life though not terrible does fall a bit short, also the Google Tensor chip is a great performer but not for sustained gaming. Naturally the Pixel 6 Pro is up against flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, the iPhone 13 Pro and the Vivo X70 Pro Plus. Google’s advantage here is that Tensor chips new software features & the updates coming directly from Google.
If you’re coming from an older Pixel then it might be worth considering the Pixel 6 Pro.