Google Pixel 6 Review

8.4
Expert Score

The first phone with Google’s custom chipset!

The Good
  • Google Tensor chipset
  • Beautiful two tone design
  • Gorilla Glass 6 panel
  • Advanced automatic speech recognition
  • Support for wireless charging
The Bad
  • A bit hefty design
  • A slower 90 Hz refresh rate
  • A not so great fast-charging feature
  • Doesn't ship with a charging brick

Google is back with its new android phone, the Pixel 6, and it’s definitely a phone that you can’t simply ignore!

This model brings some major changes compared to what we saw last year, including a custom made chipset and new dual cameras. It does, however, come bearing some downgrades, when compared to the Pro model though. 

So, is this model worth buying? Let’s find out. 

Design & Display:

Pixel 6 stands out from the crowd and its predecessors due to its uniquely designed camera bump which extends as a bar across the entire back panel. This allows Google to go for a beautiful two-tone look, with a different color scheme above and below the camera array. 

The camera bump sticks out quite a bit from the back and can’t be ignored but at least since it’s all the way across, it doesn’t make the phone wobble while sitting on a desk.

This year Google has gone in a different direction from last year’s Pixel 5. Rather than plastic, it’s now a premium Gorilla Glass 6 panel with a rounded matte aluminium frame. But something it does share with the previous model is IP68 rated water & dust resistance

Weighing 207g it’s a bit chunkier and overall it feels sturdy in hand. The Pixel 6’s display is a flat 6.4-inch AMOLED with a 1080p resolution, a punch hole for the selfie camera & a Gorilla Glass Victus protection. Some people might prefer this flat screen over the curved one of the Pro model, but it does come bearing its fair share of downgrades: a slower 90 Hz refresh rate (vs 120Hz on Pro) and a lower 1080p resolution (1440p on Pro).

Even with these cut downs from the Pro model, the display is quite decent, sharp & smooth enough. It has good contrast thanks to the AMOLED technology, and there’s HDR10+ support. 

You also get an under-display fingerprint reader for your biometrics. It’s reliable but certainly not the fastest we’ve used. 

Performance & Hardware:

One of the major developments of this year’s Pixel phones is that they feature the new Google Tensor chipset which is built in house by Google, on the 5 nm architecture. The Pixel 6 comes with the newer UFS 3.1 storage and packs 8 GB RAM, providing two storage options to choose from. A 128 GB option & a 256 GB option, both being non-expandable.

Since this is a first-generation chip the Pixel 6 doesn’t feel so different from other high-end Android phones except for the fact that it runs the new Android 12. 

Android 12 provides features like custom color themes for your icons and menus that automatically pick out colors and accents from your current wallpaper. There are a couple of other neat features made possible by the Tensor chip’s Machine Learning capabilities. This time Google’s automatic speech recognition is more advanced than ever before, and real-time translation is becoming even more of reality both in actual conversations as well as the captions for videos that you’re streaming. It’s not perfect but it’s still impressive regardless. 

The Tensor chip’s performance is excellent and is said to be comparable to that of the high-end Snapdragon 888 chipset. Demanding games run pretty well too but we wouldn’t call this a gaming phone. Thermal management could certainly be made better, which can become noticeable during long gaming sessions. 

For audio, the Pixel 6 has a pair of stereo speakers with one bottom-firing speaker and the other that doubles as the earpiece. The sound quality is good and almost comparable to that of the iPhone 13.

Cameras: 

In terms of optics, the Google Pixel 6 features a dual-camera setup. The new dual cameras include a main camera with a larger 50 MP sensor supported by a 12 MP ultrawide camera.  You don’t get a telephoto zoom camera like on the Pro model though. The phone also includes an 8 MP selfie shooter with an Auto-HDR feature. 

During the day photos from the main camera are great, there’s excellent sharpness and with typical Pixel-like neutral look. Plus there is high contrast and wide dynamic range as well with vivid but not oversaturated colors. Portrait shots are decently sharp.

Although there’s no zoom lens the digital zoom does a decent job at least at 2X magnification. However, you might notice a bit of extra softness if you look closely.

There’s a new Motion Mode that’s powered by the Tensor chipset, but it’s still in beta & has some kinks to be ironed out. 

The ultrawide camera captures very good photos with lots of details, good contrast, wide dynamic range and pleasing vibrant colors. Though you might detect some noise and the field of view isn’t as wide as some of its competitors. 

While shooting with the main camera in lowlight conditions, the Pixel 6 applies auto night sight mode by default. The photos turn out with good sharpness and details even in shadows. The overall exposure is bright which could make the photos look unnaturally bright at times.

However, if you disable night sight on the main camera you’ll still end up with good results. There’s enough detail with accurate colors and the exposure has a more realistic look. 

In comparison, the ultrawide camera seems to struggle without the night sight mode. 

The images are underexposed with deep & noisy shadows. With night sight on, things look a lot better, there’s a big improvement in the exposure and noise levels with more details in the shadows. 

The Pixel 6 has an 8 MP selfie camera and it produces sharp and detailed images with minimal noise. Colors are pleasant and the dynamic range is excellent with even backlit scenes coming out okay. 

Battery:

The Pixel 6 isn’t a battery champion but it does a decent job with its 4614 mAh battery. The fast charging on board isn’t all that great and doesn’t compare well to the likes of Samsung or Xiaomi. There’s also support for wireless charging which turns your device into a mobile power bank on the go!

Pixel 6 like many other flagships of 2021, doesn’t ship with a charger in the box. 

Final Verdict:

So, like last year’s model with the Google Pixel 6 you get a 90 Hz AMOLED, good stereo speakers, IP rated water-proofing & Google software support but the Pixel 6 also breaks away from last year’s model in quite a few ways, delivering a more premium experience. 

Not only with the glass design but also with the custom flagship chipset and the new and improved cameras. The only real shortcomings are that the battery life and charging speed are just decent and you don’t get a higher refresh rate or even the Zoom lens of the Pro model.

But for what it has to offer the Pixel 6 has a pretty competitive price and is definitely worth recommending. 

 

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