Google Pixel 6 Pro

Google Pixel 6 Pro

Introduction:

Google is officially back with its latest Pixel 6 series. The Pixel 6 Pro is the top-of-the-line model in the series and is in a league of its own. The handset is leaps ahead from its predecessor in hardware, software and design. The latest Pixels have a brand-new set of camera sensors, a new and unique design and plenty of new software features supported by Google’s custom Tensor chipset.

The custom chipset is expected to have 80% faster CPU performance and 370% faster GPU performance compared to the Snapdragon 765G powering the Pixel 5. The new Tensor chip will support the new language processing features that Google talked about during its presentation. It also integrated the ISP and Context Core within Tensor to make the image processing and background tasks more power-efficient.

Body

163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm, 210g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus), stainless steel frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins).

Display

6.71″ LTPO AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1440×3120 px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 512ppi;

Chipset

Google Tensor (5 nm): Octa-core (2×2.80 GHz Cortex-X1 & 2×2.25 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali G78 MP20 GPU.

Memory

12GB of RAM and 128GB/256GB/512GB of UFS 3.1 storage (non-expandable).

Operating System

Android 12 with 3 years of OS updates and 5 years of security updates.

Rear Camera

Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.9, 25mm, 1.2µm, dual pixel PDAF, laser AF, OIS;

Telephoto: 48 MP, f/3.5, 106mm, 1/2″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 4x optical zoom;

Ultrawide: 12 MP, f/2.2, 114˚, 1.25µm

Selfie Camera

Wide (main):11.1 MP, f/2.2, 20mm, 1.22µm

Video capture

Rear camera: [email protected]/60fps, [email protected]/60/120/240fps, HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (up to 60fps), stereo sound rec;

Front camera: [email protected]/25/30/60fps, [email protected]/60/120/240fps, EIS.

Battery

5003mAh; Fast charging 30W, 50% in 30 min (advertised), USB Power Delivery 3.0, fast wireless charging up to 23W, reverse wireless charging

Misc

Titan M2 security coprocessor, In-display fingerprint scanner, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer; NFC; Google Pay; Google Assistant

Unboxing:

The Pixel 6 Pro is shipped in a surprisingly compact box, that is mainly due to the fact that there is no charger in the box. The first thing you’ll find in the box, as you excitedly open it, is the phone itself. Underneath it you’ll find a USB-C to USB-C charging cable, SIM-ejection tool, documentation and a ‘Quick Transfer Adapter’. This lets you connect a USB-A cable into the Pixel to transfer data from Another Android or iOS device.

Design:

Google said that the inspiration of the design and aesthetics for the Google Pixel 9 Pro comes from “high-quality finishes from jewelry and watches”. The dual-tone design on the back is subtle but stunning.

The section below the horizontal camera module has a darker shade while the one above has a lighter shade. The camera module houses a new 50MP main camera, an upgraded 12MP ultrawide and a 48MP periscope shooter with optical zoom.

Both glass panels on the back use 3D glass made of Gorilla Glass Victus  and curve evenly over the edges of the Pixel 6 Pro’s frame. The front is also guarded by Gorilla Glass Victus, which Google claims has up to 2 times better scratch resistance compared to the Pixel 4a 5G which has Gorilla Glass 3.

Although there is a fingerprint-resistant coating, the phone is still prone to fingerprints, with its glossy finishes all around. Perhaps the lighter colors are better at hiding the smudges.

The footprint of the Pixel 6 Pro measures 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm and weighs 210g. The handset also has IP68 rating, meaning it has resistance against water and dust. It can withstand up to 1.5m deep of water.

When holding the phone the curves sit perfectly well in the palm of your hand. No doubt the phone is large with its huge 6.71” edge-to-edge display which has great brightness and 120Hz refresh rate. This is also the first Pixel to ever feature a curved glass display.

The rounded corners of the display are more squarish, which give it a more bolder look. At the top of the display there is a center-aligned punch hole which houses the selfie camera.

Moving on to the frame, it is made of “polished alloy” made of recycled aluminium. The top edge is capped with plastic which blends nicely with the metal frame. The right section houses the power button and volume rockers. Usually, the power key is on the bottom and volume krockers are on the top, but the case is reversed with the Pixel 6 Pro. The left frame is home to the nano SIM tray. The side view also gives us an idea how large the camera hump is. The top accommodates the microphone while the bottom has the USB-C port, speaker and the microphone.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro is certainly a large smartphone. The design is both curvy and angular. The dual-tone finish looks gorgeous, but isn’t resistant to fingerprints.

Display:

The Pixel 6 Pro is equipped with a top tier LTPO AMOLED screen. The 6.71” which comes with a 120Hz refresh rate which can go as low as 10Hz to save you some valuable power. There are some firsts for Google Pixels with this screen: the display is the first Pixel to have 120Hz refresh rate and the first Pixel to feature a display with curved edges. The display has QHD+ resolution (1440 x 3120px), a pixel density of 512ppi and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The panel also supports HDR10 content and 24-bit color depth.

When adjusted manually the brightness maxes at 497 nits, while the Adaptive Brightness delivers a maximum brightness of 860nits. These numbers are amazing since the Pixels aren’t the phones that are known for their brightness. Using the phone in sunlight is not a problem, the menus and screens are visible enough to use, even with dark theme enabled, and the viewfinder is bright enough to see exactly what you are shooting.

Google offers three preset color modes on the Pixel 6 Pro. The default color mode is “Adaptive” based on the DCI-P3 color space, the “Natural” color mode based on the accuracy of the sRGB standard and the “Boosted” mode that’s a slightly more saturated version of the Natural profile.

Battery life:

The Google Pixel 6 Pro has a massive 5,000mAh battery with support for 30W charging. This time around it seems like Google decided not to to include a charging adapter in the retail bundle. Google released a new adapter that will be available on the Google Store website. Still, you should be able to use any PPS-compatible charger that outputs 30W or higher to achieve maximum charging speeds.

The smartphone also supports up to 23W wireless charging but only with the new version of the Google Pixel Stand. It’s not just yet available from Google just yet although the Pixel 6 Pro supports Qi wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro is advertised to have a battery life of over 24-hours or up to 48-hours battery life with Extreme Battery Saver.

The Pixel 6 Pro did not meet our expectations in the battery department. Google Tensor is a first-generation chip that made its debut with the Google Pixel 6 series, the battery life isn’t one of its strong suits. This is despite the fact that it has an LTPO display and mentions of the Tensor chip being able to perform tasks with half the power.

The handset can manage 26:21h of talk time, around 12:32h of web browsing and 12:35h of video playback. The inefficiency might apparently be due to some discrepancy in the modem used in the Google Tensor chip, which is believed to be a Samsung made one. This could be perhase tweaked by a future firmware update from the brand.

Speaker:

The Pixel 6 Pro has a typical dual-loudspeaker setup: one at the bottom and the other doubles as the in-call speaker. The speaker on the Pixel 6 Pro is plenty loud and it sounds great at maximum volume.

There are no signs of distortion at maximum volumes, but mids and trebles may sound tinny when playing music. Otherwise, the phone is pretty loud for spoken word content, but you shouldn’t rely on these speakers if you want to listen to music while doing some other stuff.

Performance:

Google introduced its first-generation Tensor chipset, which was co-developed and manufactured by Samsung, with its latest Pixel 6 series. You can expect 80% faster CPU and 370% faster GPU performance compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G that powered the Pixel 5.

Google’s approach is certainly different with its 2+2+4 core layout. This is made up of two powerful Cortex-X1 cores clocked at 2.8GHz, two Cortex-A76 cores maxed at 2.25GHz cores and a low-powered quad-core cluster capped at 1.8GHz. Google’s Tensor is optimized for the dual X1 cores to handle medium-level tasks by using a portion of the workload more effectively rather than maxing out the mid-cores. The graphical part is handled by the 20-core Mali G78 MP20.

The TPU inside the Tensor chip has a machine learning engine that is built for “where ML engines are heading, and not where they are today”. This component of the Tensor chipset handles new camera features, including the new HDRnet algorithm for shooting video, and an updated language model used by Google Assistant that enables improved translation speed and accuracy.

Let’s take a look at the benchmark, the handset scored 1,042 and 2,831 points in the single-core and multi-core Geekbench 5 tests. As for the AnTuTu benchmark, the handset marked a score of 719,815 points.

Camera & Photo quality:

Rear Camera

Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.9, 25mm, 1.2µm, dual pixel PDAF, laser AF, OIS;

Telephoto: 48 MP, f/3.5, 106mm, 1/2″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 4x optical zoom;

Ultrawide: 12 MP, f/2.2, 114˚, 1.25µm

Selfie Camera

Wide (main):11.1 MP, f/2.2, 20mm, 1.22µm

Daylight image quality:

The images captured during the daytime have great details with outstanding dynamic range, vibrant colors and high contrast.

The white balance is slightly cool as is usually the case with the Pixel cameras. Photos are very clear, maybe too clear sometimes. It doesn’t always happen and it is greatly dependent on the lighting conditions.

Sharpness is up there. There is some softness in other cameras which is missing here. That separation from what’s in focus to what’s out of focus or in the background is what gives us depth perception. Images look like they are over sharpened and perfectly manicured, and we have to depend on the lighting and shadows for depth perception.

As with previous Pixels, the camera tends to expose higher-than-reality in scenes that are packed with darker tones and shady areas. Now that the 50MP main cam captures more light, it feels like the camera is still trying to maximize the exposure in darker areas, and usually the dynamic range situations, shadows are more exposed than they need to be, delivering a flat-looking image.

In the viewfinder, there’s a preset for 2X zoom, which crops an image from the main camera. There’s a very subtle softness to these photos that only an experienced eye could notice, but they do look nice.The shots look somewhat over-processed, and when inspecting them closely, details have a more of a “watercolor” texture to them.

The periscope camera supports 4X optical zoom, and images taken with this camera don’t match up exactly with those that came from the main camera shooter. These pictures don’t have that over-processed look that the shots from the main cam have.

These images look more accurate compared to the ones from the main camera. The details look less like watercolor and they aren’t over sharpened either, images look more natural. Dynamic range seems amazing and colors are true-to-life. We do wish the photos had more contrast.

The ultrawide cam on Pixel 6 Pro is able to capture more light thanks to the larger pixels. Dynamic range seems to have experienced improvement alongside the vibrant colors. Noise suppression is also better with this new ultrawide shooter sensor. Keep in mind that there is no autofocus on this ultrawide cam, so macro photos are not possible with the Pixel 6 Pro.

Low-light image quality:

Since all the cameras on the Pixel 6 Pro sport newer, larger sensors, you can expect there to be an improvement to low light photography. As before, you don’t need to do anything to activate the Night Sight mode. If you’re in the main camera mode and Night Sight is set to Auto, it’ll kick in when it needs to, and you’ll know when it does by the moon symbol that appears on the shutter button.

Google Pixel 6 Pro’s main camera can capture 3.5X more light than Pixel 5’s main sensor, that’s what Google mentions. That, paired with pixel binning and HDR+ should make for an unrivalled low-light photography package. All three snappers on the back support Night Sight.

The shots taken with the main cam are pretty decently great, but there is some noise visible in dark areas. Even without Night Sight, the main shooter can see plenty at night. The scenes are accurately represented, and white balance is pretty consistent and accurate, even when there is more than one light source.

Zooming all the way to the periscope shows us that this 4X zoom mode can still see what’s further away while purely relying on HDR+. The fuzz factor is considerably higher though.

As for the ultrawide, we won’t suggest using it without the Night Sight mode. Without the Night Sight there is abundant noise and fuzz all over.

The Night Sight improves the shots considerably, there is so much detail that can be seen when using the Night Sight. Although the shots look appealing and bright, they aren’t natural-looking, but they sure do capture a lot out of the scene with very little light needed.

Next up is the photos taken with the auxiliary camera but with the Night Sight enabled. Sometimes the 4X periscope fails to activate, which results in very fuzzy photos with no details.

The zoom camera activates when you set the zoom at 4X or above, but it may not kick in under really low-light conditions. Do keep this in mind when shooting zoomed photos at night – it should activate as long as there is a light source nearby.

The ultrawide shooter is capable of some decent-looking photos, but why go for the ultrawide shots in this mode when the main camera is capable of delivering some crisp-looking photos.

Portraits:

Portraits have two modes – 1X and 2X, which seem to be based on 50mm and 70mm focal lengths, rather than 1X referring to the 26mm focal length of the main cam.

Portraits look amazing on the Pixel 6 Pro, Google’s subject separation is quite good and can find its way around loose hair to make the images really stand out. Although we say that, we might have to admit that the portraits aren’t as good as they did on the Pixel 4 XL with its 2X telephoto camera, which was used to calculate the depth for a more believable bokeh that gradually blended with the natural depth of the background. In the case of the Pixel 6 Pro the main camera does all the work, and we can see some details left behind here and there.

The 2X portraits don’t seem as good as the ones taken from the 1X. In our opinion this might have to do with the computational aspect of combining the Super Res Zoom with the artificial bokeh. The bokeh on the 2X isn’t as aggressive as that of the 1X zoom. Thankfully you can adjust blur natively in the Google Photos app.

Selfies:

There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the selfie department compared to the previous gen Pixels, though the wider lens is a feature we appreciate. The 1X view is the default, but 0.7X uses the full sensor. It doesn’t matter which mode you use, images always come out at 11MP.

The camera opens in 1X mode by default. These selfies look good, but harsher lighting may reveal the camera’s weak point in processing. Details in the subject’s face may sometimes look over-processed and noisy, specifically on the highlights of the face and hair. Dynamic range is otherwise great and details in the background are well-retained.

Switching to the 0.7X full frame mode, delivers much better details and textures on the subject’s face. Users who worry about the amount of  details on the face, can go for enabling the face smoothing feature, which offers two levels of intensity. Overall, the dynamic range is amazing, but the colors seem a bit strange.

Just like the regular selfies, Portrait selfies look much better when captured using the full view (0.7X) of the camera. These portraits are really nice, and there is considerable improvement around the subject’s outline, particularly around the hair and glasses.

Motion:

The Pixel 6 Pro has two Motion photo modes, and these modes only apply to the photo if they are activated before you shoot the images. You need to have the intent to shoot a Motion photo, or you won’t really get an appealing shot. Keep in mind that these modes are still in beta.

Action Pan shots are difficult to capture with the 1X main camera since a moving subject needs to be moving close to you to capture it in the frame. Sometimes the effect won’t trigger properly even if it is enabled. Shots look much better when the subject is further away when the 4X camera is used.

Final Verdict:

The Pixel 6 Pro looks gorgeous, the cameras have been upgraded, the software is amazing as always with the Android 12. What’s even good is that Google promised up to 5 years of software support including 3 years of OS update and 5 years of security patches.

The display is also great with 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, meaning it adjusts the refresh rate depending on the content on the screen. The Pixel 6 series is also the one with which Google announced its custom Tensor chipset. There are also some issues which might bother some people.

Pros

  • Gorgeous design with IP68 and durable Gorilla Glass Victus all over.

  • Excellent display with 120Hz and great sunlight legibility.

  • Beautiful UI with fun and colorful elements; extended firmware update support (3 years OS and 5 years security); newly enabled Voice Typing and on-device voice to text processing are amazing.

  • The Google Tensor chip offers great all-around performance and amazing graphics performance.

  • The Pixel camera sees much needed improvements in still images and video; excellent shots for the 4x periscope camera.

 

Cons

  • Battery life is not at par with expectations.

  • No charger included in the box.

  • 30W charging is not the quickest compared to the industry standards.

  • HDR+ is too aggressive in still images and could use some tweaks.

  • Color tuning is inconsistent between main and ultrawide cameras.

  • Google Tensor chip throttles under sustained peak performance.

  • Limited availability.

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