The time has finally arrived. After attempting to get ahead of the leaks back in August, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are officially here. Google already confirmed many of the specs for its 2021 flagship lineup, but today, the rest of the puzzle has been shared.
Design and Durability
There are quite a few similarities between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, namely the unique design featuring the cyborg-looking camera bar on the back. The Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch, 2340 x 1080, AMOLED display, along with a 90Hz refresh rate and support for HDR10+ video playback. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 Pro is equipped with a 6.71-inch, 3120 x 1440, LTPO AMOLED display with a higher 120Hz variable refresh rate and the same HDR10+ support.
The phones make use of Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus to help keep the screen looking great. An aluminum frame surrounds the device, being wedged between the glass panels on the front and back. And adding to durability, both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro include IP68 water and dust resistance rating.
Power, Battery, and Security
Under the hood, we have Google’s first in-house processor, dubbed Google Tensor. This is said to provide near-flagship level performance while giving Google total control over a smartphone for the first time ever. With the Tensor chip, Google is now able to truly optimize and fine-tune the hardware and software in ways that we only dreamed of. Hopefully, this will mean that Google can take on Apple and provide an end-to-end experience that is almost flawless in execution.
Paired with the Tensor chip, Google is including 8GB of RAM for the Pixel 6 and 12GB of RAM for the Pixel 6 Pro. Storage options include 128GB or 256GB for both models, with the Pixel 6 Pro gaining an additional 512GB configuration.
Looking at battery life, we have a 4,600mAh battery in the Pixel 6 and an enormous 5,000mAh battery in the Pixel 6 Pro. And while these are numbers that we love to see, the real story comes via the charging capabilities. Both of these devices are capable of maxing out around 30W when using a wired charger. This will provide up to 50% battery life in just 30 minutes of charging. Google is also bringing fast wireless charging to the table when using the all-new Pixel Stand. The Pixel 6 Pro is capable of maxing out at 23W, while the Pixel 6 drops down to 21W. Both devices are also capable of offering reverse wireless charging, so you can keep your Pixel Buds topped off throughout the day.
As for security, there are a few things going on with both of these devices that aim to keep your phone secured and your information private. For one, we have an in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, so you can unlock your phone in a snap. We also see the return of Face Unlock, however, it’s not the equivalent of Apple’s Face ID, but with the new Titan M2 Security Chip, this will be a bit more secure than just relying on the front-facing selfie camera.
Now comes the fun stuff. The cameras. Google has been primarily re-using the same camera system and hardware since the Pixel 2 hit the market all the way back in 2017. There have been a few changes here and there, but for the most part, Google has kept the same hardware, and relied on its image processing prowess to provide some of the best pictures on a smartphone.
Four years later, and enough time has passed that Google finally upgraded the actual camera hardware in its latest devices. Both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro include a primary 50MP wide-angle camera, including Phase Detection Auto-focus and Optical Image Stabilization. This is capable of recording 4K video at up to 60fps, while 1080p video can be recorded between 30 and 240fps. Also included with both devices is a 12MP ultra-wide lens, sporting a 120-degree field of view.
The Pixel 6 Pro has one big advantage over the Pixel 6, as it also sports a 48MP telephoto lens, capable of providing up to 4X Optical Zoom. This telephoto sensor also provides up to 20x zoom thanks to “Super Res Zoom” which debuted alongside the Pixel 3 back in 2018.
But the real story is what the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are capable of. It’s all fine-and-dandy to see that Google finally updated the hardware, but the real fun comes with what the Tensor chip allows these cameras to achieve. This is where features like Magic Eraser and Face Unblur come into play.
Magic Eraser looks to be a spin-off of a feature shown off at Google I/O a few years ago, where Google claimed you would be able to remove a chain-link fence from the foreground, leaving the subject by itself in the background. That feature never actually came to fruition until now, as you can remove different objects from the background of your photos. If you have little ones who can’t stand still long enough to take a photo, Face Unblur will come in handy. You can put focus on their face, while letting the rest of the photo stay the way that it is.
Looking to the selfie camera, the Pixel 6 features a rather boring 8MP sensor, which will be just fine for most situations. But the Pixel 6 Pro gains an ultra-wide selfie shooter, providing a 94-degree field of view. This is also reminiscent of the Pixel 3, which sported an ultra-wide selfie camera with a 97-degree FoV.
Price and Availability
Rounding things out, you probably want to know how much the “first Google phones” actually cost. This was already spoiled a few days ago, but the Pixel 6 starts at a mind-boggling $599 for the 128GB version, and the Pixel 6 Pro starts at $899. These fall well below what we expected to see from Google’s latest devices and could mean that Google is poised to take over the holidays with its 2021 flagship phones.
Pre-orders for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro start today, with the phones officially going on sale starting October 28.