Google Pixel 6

MSRP $599.00

“The Pixel 6 may be flatter and cheaper than the Pixel 6 Pro, but the software, performance, and even the screen and camera get close enough to still make it tempting.”

Pros

  • Great digital camera
  • Screen is colourful and vibrant
  • Latest Android 12 software program
  • Years of software program updates

Cons

  • Flakey connectivity
  • Fast charger not included

The Pixel 6 Pro is Google’s heavy hitter in its new smartphone lineup for 2021, however the Pixel 6’s lower cost — $599 fairly than $899 — makes it significantly extra tempting for most individuals. But now that we all know how good the Digital Trends’ Editors’ Choice-winning Pixel 6 Pro is, does the cheaper model nonetheless make sense given the {hardware} trade-offs?

Design

If you solely give them a cursory look, there’s not a lot to distinguish the Pixel 6 from the Pixel 6 Pro, particularly in the event that they’re each facedown. Look extra carefully, and it’s apparent which is which, because the Pixel 6 has a smaller part of physique above the digital camera module in comparison with the 6 Pro. If the sunshine’s proper, you’ll see the Pixel 6’s digital camera module doesn’t include a periscope zoom digital camera, both.

Back of the Pixel 6.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Pick the Pixel 6 up, and the flat display design provides it a extra “classic” in-hand really feel, and there’s really higher grip than with the curvy Pixel 6 Pro. I haven’t needed to juggle the Pixel 6 as a lot as I did with the Pixel 6 Pro, and I’ve typically felt much less prone to unintentionally drop it. The Pixel 6is made from glass and steel, although, which implies it nonetheless slips about on many surfaces. It’s additionally fairly substantial at 8.9mm thick and 207 grams.

In reality, it’s barely any smaller than the Pixel 6 Pro — simply flatter — and this introduces a little bit of an issue. While the Pixel 5 was compact by fashionable requirements, neither Pixel 6 telephones are svelte, and should you’re in search of a pocket-friendly, light-weight Google cellphone to exchange your Pixel 3 or Pixel 4, then there’s nothing within the Pixel 6 lineup for you. It’s the Pixel 5a (should you’re within the U.S. or Japan) or going for a unique model altogether.

Pixel 6 from the side.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The colour of the cellphone in my pictures known as Seafoam, and the minty tone could be very fairly certainly. I’ve used the cellphone for just a few weeks now, and it has frolicked inside and out of doors of baggage and pockets, however not been handled too badly. I’ve observed just a few floor scratches on the Gorilla Glass 6 rear panel, which may be felt along with your fingertip, however they’re solely seen when the sunshine catches it in the precise manner. Oddly, the Pixel 6 Pro hasn’t collected these marks, regardless of being made from the identical supplies.

Pixel 6 Pro (left) and Pixel 6 (right).

Pixel 6 Pro (left), Pixel 6 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Pixel 6 Pro (left) and Pixel 6 (right).

Pixel 6 Pro (left), Pixel 6 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Bezel comparison of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Pixel 6 Pro (backside), Pixel 6 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I’d have appreciated the Pixel 6 to be smaller to essentially be a clearer alternative from the Pixel 6 Pro, however in any other case, the design is a winner. It has character and visible enchantment, the body-wide digital camera module seems to be cool, and the colours are impressed, silly names apart. It’s a really totally different and welcome strategy this time round in comparison with Google’s dreary designs on earlier Pixels.

Screen

The different defining design facet of the Pixel 6 is its display, which is flat in comparison with the curved Pixel 6 Pro. It measures 6.4 inches and has a 20:9 facet ratio and a 2400 x 1080 pixel decision, plus a 90Hz refresh charge. It helps HDR and has an always-on display. This is a decrease specification than the 6 Pro, however in actuality, the 2 aren’t that totally different.

Pixel 6 screen.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Before going into extra element, it apparently doesn’t appear to undergo from the identical issues I encountered with the Pixel 6 Pro’s 120Hz refresh charge. Scrolling is smoother within the apps, which had been problematic on the Pixel 6 Pro at 120Hz, though perhaps not fairly as clean as on different telephones. It nonetheless doesn’t really feel fairly proper, however is significantly higher than the Pixel 6 Pro.

The refresh charge points had been the one blight in opposition to the Pixel 6 Pro’s display, which is in any other case superb. So, can the Pixel 6’s lower-spec display sustain? It’s clearly not fairly so pin sharp as a result of decrease decision, however you do must go in search of the distinction. Watching video exhibits it’s a tiny bit cooler than the deliciously pure and heat Pixel 6 Pro display, but it surely takes a couple of minutes of cautious research to see the distinction.

Video on the Pixel 6.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The display is actually stunning and a excessive level of the Pixel 6, but it surely’s not flawless. It’s let down by the bezels and the general flatness. There will probably be those that don’t thoughts the flat display, however for me, it (together with the 20:9 facet ratio) makes it look low cost and aged, and the bezels are fairly substantial, particularly on the chin. The auto brightness may be dim-witted, and the general brightness isn’t that prime, both. I can nonetheless see it in daylight (nicely, the U.Okay.’s principally pitiful daylight), but it surely requires most brightness, making me query its skill if I went to a spot with correct solar.

Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The in-display fingerprint sensor is extra dependable and barely extra correct than the one within the Pixel 6 Pro. I’ve not needed to reregister my fingerprint in an effort to make it work extra constantly, and I’ve been in a position to make use of the PIN much less as nicely. Google says enhanced safety measures make the sensor slower to make use of than some others, however I’ve had totally different experiences throughout each telephones, so I’m undecided whether or not that is actually the case. For me, the Pixel 6’s fingerprint sensor is healthier to make use of and dwell with every day than the one on the Pixel 6 Pro.

Camera

If you need Google’s greatest digital camera, you need to purchase the Pixel 6 Pro, however the Pixel 6 nonetheless has the identical fundamental 50-megapixel, f/1.85 aperture digital camera and 12MP wide-angle digital camera with a 114-degree area of view. It doesn’t have the 48MP telephoto zoom digital camera. The selfie digital camera can be totally different, with the Pixel 6 making do with a fixed-focus 8MP digital camera within the hole-punch cutout.

Pixel 6 camera module.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

With the identical fundamental digital camera, you’d count on pictures to be an identical between the 2 telephones, however there are some surprising variations. Not higher or worse, only a slight change in colour tone and stability — and never on a regular basis. However, in all my comparisons, it was the Pixel 6 Pro that took the higher pictures, suggesting it’s extra than simply modifications within the mild, angle, or atmosphere. Take a have a look at the gallery beneath to see what I imply.

There’s no actual want for concern, although, because the Pixel 6’s fundamental digital camera is great. Take a have a look at our Pixel 6 Pro assessment for extra particulars on it and the wide-angle digital camera. The Pixel 6 has the identical Action Pan and Long Exposure digital camera modes because the Pixel 6 Pro, and you should utilize Magic Eraser in Google Photos, too. Its lower cost means a telephoto digital camera hasn’t been included; Google’s digital zoom, which shoots at as much as 7x, on supply as a substitute. It’s first rate for a digital zoom, however the 6 Pro’s optical telephoto digital camera is of higher high quality, which makes it extra versatile.

How concerning the selfie digital camera? Despite the technical variations between them, each the 6 and 6 Pro take first rate and fairly similar-looking selfies, with the Pixel 6 producing barely hotter pores and skin tones and a stronger distinction typically, however each offering an analogous degree of element. I choose the Pixel 6 Pro’s brighter picture and wider area of view, however there’s little within the Pixel 6’s selfie that couldn’t be mounted with a filter. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro’s Real Tone function improves the way in which it exposes and balances pictures of individuals with darker pores and skin, one thing no different cellphone digital camera can declare.

Yes, the Pixel 6 Pro is the smartphone to purchase should you’re actually into images, however should you simply desire a succesful digital camera for on a regular basis snaps, the Pixel 6 will greater than suffice. What’s spectacular is how precisely and effortlessly it captures nice pictures, not often disappointing, regardless of the state of affairs or time of day. I additionally in contrast the Pixel 6 Pro’s digital camera to the Apple iPhone 13 Pro and to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, so have a look to get a good suggestion of simply how good the digital camera is.

Software

The Pixel 6 has Android 12, making it as updated as Android telephones get. I discuss concerning the software program expertise intimately within the Pixel 6 Pro assessment and counsel you look there for insights into the great Material You design. What I’ll word right here is how a lot I just like the always-on display, which very helpfully exhibits a big clock and notification particulars, and likewise the overall pace of the software program.

It’s very quick all through, but it surely’s the bigger buttons, clearer menus, and integration of Google Assistant that show you how to refine your workflow. I’ve even gotten used to telling Assistant to show off the cellphone, fairly than fiddle with the repurposed energy button. There are just a few shortcuts that pace issues up, together with a double press of the ability button to activate the digital camera from the lock display, and Quick Tap, the place a faucet of the rear panel can activate a selected function. I’ve used it as an correct and handy option to name up Google Assistant.

Special point out must also be made about Google’s Assistant Typing, the place you’ll be able to converse aloud just about any message, anyplace within the working system, and the cellphone understands. You may even ship messages along with your voice, providing an entire hands-free expertise. It’s extremely correct and really quick, making it useable on a regular basis.

The Pixel 6 has Android 12, making it as updated as Android telephones get.

Any issues? The setup course of took just a few tries to get proper, a really uncommon incidence, and as soon as I used to be lastly into Android 12, the efficiency wasn’t fairly proper for the primary day or so. There had been stutters and a few app-opening bugs, but it surely all quickly cleared up, and I’ve had no downside since. However, I’m additionally conscious I’ll have been fortunate with my common lack of points on the Pixel 6. I’ve had emails and heard anecdotal proof from folks about bugs and different issues that painting the Pixel expertise as much less polished than would appear applicable. This inconsistency is a priority, but it surely’s troublesome to quantify, though I do appear to have heard extra about Pixel 6 software program bugs than on every other latest cellphone launch.

Performance and connectivity

The Pixel 6 has Google’s Tensor processor inside, together with 8GB or RAM, which is down from the 12GB contained in the Pixel 6 Pro. During on a regular basis use, I’ve not observed any distinction in pace or switching between apps, having come from the Pixel 6 Pro on to the Pixel 6. Playing Asphalt 9: Legends posed no downside in any respect, and the cellphone solely will get barely heat to the contact even after an hour of play.

Asphalt 9 on the Pixel 6.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Far extra irritating is that my cellphone is plagued with connectivity points. It’s the identical set of issues I had with the Pixel 6 Pro, the place it doesn’t appear to efficiently swap between Wi-Fi, 4G, or 5G very successfully. It will present sign, however the information connection is not going to work, and infrequently not even a restart solves it. It’s irritating, and though it appears to only get higher by itself, I needed to throw it throughout the room when it didn’t work.

I’m utilizing the U.Okay. model of the Pixel 6, which connects to a Sub-6 5G community, however within the U.S., a model with an mmWave 5G connection can be obtainable. A 5G connection is a obligatory addition to a cellphone because it will increase its longevity, however as a result of protection continues to be sparse, you in all probability gained’t profit from it every single day simply but.

Battery

Google says to count on “beyond 24 hours use” from the 4,614mAh battery within the Pixel 6, and that is about proper. If I exploit the cellphone usually — emails, messages, calls, pictures, and social networking — totally on Wi-Fi with some 4G, and switch it off in a single day, it’ll simply final via two full days. I commonly ended the day with round 60% battery remaining after about three hours of display time.

Charging the Pixel 6.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Pixel 6 is supplied with wi-fi charging utilizing the Qi customary and a 30-watt quick wired charging choice. The charger included within the field doesn’t help the quickest charging speeds, so that you must purchase a 30W USB-PD 3.0 charger to get them, and even then, it’s behind the competitors. It’s an unlucky omission, as most different producers have wired quick charging included even on midrange units. OnePlus’ WarpCharge is a part of the Nord 2, for instance.

Price and availability

The Google Pixel 6 is obtainable now, though it could be in brief provide. It prices $599 within the U.S. or 599 kilos within the U.Okay.

Our take

If the Pixel 6 was the identical total dimension because the Pixel 5, it might have wowed me much more than it has. Because it’s not, all of the design alterations (a flat display and fewer curves) do is emphasize that is simply the cheaper, lower-class model of a greater cellphone. It’s not a cellphone that may go well with somebody with totally different preferences, only one that may enchantment to a unique pockets. That’s wonderful, but it surely’s additionally a wasted alternative. Otherwise, you’re left with the Pixel 5a in order for you a smaller Google cellphone, however once more, solely within the U.S. and Japan.

If you purchase the cheaper Pixel 6 as a substitute of the Pixel 6 Pro, all you’re actually lacking out on is the higher digital camera. Otherwise, I’ve discovered the software program and efficiency to be principally the identical, issues and all. The battery life is first rate at as much as two days, plus it has all the sturdiness and software program updates you want for it to be a long-lasting buy. The display might have totally different specs, however more often than not, you gained’t discover the decision or refresh charge distinction. Happily, and maybe bizarrely, the fingerprint sensor someway manages to be higher than the one on the 6 Pro.

The Pixel 6 Pro’s greater worth is mirrored in its digital camera, its design, and the actually stunning display. If each are inside your price range and also you’re uncertain which to get, we’d suggest the Pixel 6 Pro each time. However, the Pixel 6 isn’t that far behind should you aren’t critical concerning the digital camera, and at $599, it represents wonderful worth. What a disgrace it’s not considerably extra compact than its dearer sibling.

Is there a greater different?

For across the similar worth because the Google Pixel 6, you possibly can select the Samsung Galaxy S21, the OnePlus 9, or the Galaxy A52 5G. All have key benefits, together with a excessive refresh charge display, quick safety strategies, quick charging, and good cameras. All three telephones symbolize good worth, even the Galaxy S21, which may be discovered for a lower cost than at launch, however none can match the Pixel 6’s digital camera.

If you’re within the U.Okay., additionally take into account the OnePlus Nord 2 if you wish to spend rather less, and try the Realme GT, too. Both have nice designs, plus the Nord 2 has quick charging, whereas the Realme GT has the highest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor.

How lengthy will it final?

Aside from the usual one-year guarantee, Google’s software program dedication means the Pixel 6 will obtain main Android updates till October 2024, and safety updates till October 2026. This means by shopping for the Pixel 6 (or the Pixel 6 Pro), you’ll obtain updates for longer than every other Android smartphone at present obtainable.

The cellphone has an IP68 water-resistance score, Gorilla Glass Victus over the display, and Gorilla Glass 6 on the rear. The chassis is made from steel. Despite the overall toughness offered by these options, we suggest a case because the cellphone is sort of slippery and has already suffered from small scratches on the again. Buy the Pixel 6, and also you shouldn’t have to contemplate upgrading for the following three years.

Should you purchase it?

Yes. If you don’t prioritize the digital camera or a curved display, the Pixel 6 does nearly the whole lot the Pixel 6 Pro does for much less cash.

Editors’ Recommendations



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