Pixel 6 Pro overview: Google’s flagship is a top iPhone rival in 2022

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Editor’s observe, Nov. 12: The Google Pixel 6 Pro’s sturdy all-round effectivity and superb digital digicam make it a superb high-end Android phone that’s successfully worth your money, which is why we’ve given it a CNET Editors’ Alternative award. The distinctive analysis follows. 


Launched in direction of the tip of 2021, the Pixel 6 Pro is not merely the easiest phone Google has ever made, it’s among the many greatest telephones you probably can nonetheless buy in 2022. Its sturdy effectivity, good software program program additions, distinctive design and excellent camera system make it the most important rival to Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra

That is, until we see what Samsung’s subsequent flagship, the Galaxy S22, brings when it most likely launches in February. With rumors for the S22 pointing to a new, sooner processor and upgraded digital digicam specs. It could be that the Pixel 6 Pro is nonetheless the nicer of the two telephones, nonetheless in the event you occur to’re in search of the newest, greatest in phone tech then it’s a good thought to a minimum of wait a few weeks to see what Samsung has to produce sooner than deciding each method. 

However the Pixel 6 Pro manages to produce its profitable combo of specs and design at a worth that basically undercuts its most essential rivals. The 6.7-inch base 128GB model costs $899 (£849, AU$1,299), a sizable chunk decrease than the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro’s $999 worth and way more off the $1,099 Apple wants for the larger 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

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Like

  • Wonderful cameras
  • Strong all-round effectivity
  • Neat Android 12 interface
  • Engaging design

Don’t Like

  • Battery is good, nonetheless not good
  • Quick price isn’t all that fast
  • No face unlock

Whereas closing 12 months’s Pixel 5 was biggest seen as a midrange phone with some higher-end touches, the Pixel 6 Pro is premium all the best way in which. From its glass and metal design, to its high-resolution present and its superb triple digital digicam, there’s a lot to like proper right here. Then there’s the Tensor processor — a chip custom-made by Google for the phone — which supplies ample vitality on your entire every day needs, increased security options, 5G connectivity and a slick Android 12 interface. Battery life is good — undoubtedly above widespread — nonetheless not good, with the iPhone 13 Pro inserting in a stronger effectivity.

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Its biggest Android rival correct now is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra which does have some neat digital digicam additions (that 10x zoom, for one issue) however it costs further and the Pixel 6 Pro supplies a further user-friendly experience. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max present superb all-round use, nonetheless come at a elevated worth and in the event you occur to’re already entrenched in the Android ecosystem, it’s doable not worth switching and searching for all these apps as soon as extra. 

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These in search of the easiest all-round Android experience should utterly look in the path of the Pixel 6 Pro. However do bear in thoughts the Galaxy S22 may launch in February. 

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Pixel 6 Pro or Pixel 6?

The stepdown $599 (£599, AU$999) Pixel 6 packs the equivalent Tensor processor and delightful Android 12 software program program for $300 decrease than the Pro, nonetheless there are a few compromises it makes in order to return again to that cheaper worth.

It has a smaller and reduce determination 6.4-inch present that lacks the curving finesse of the Pro. Its battery is smaller, it has 8GB considerably than 12GB of RAM and it lacks the 4x telephoto zoom lens found on the Pro. 

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The Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.7-inch present whereas the Pixel 6’s measures 6.4 inches.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

However it’s nonetheless a good phone that’s successfully worth considering. It provides many of the comparable perks of the Pixel 6 Pro at a a lot cheaper value, significantly in the event you occur to don’t care regarding the top-end effectivity provided by the flagship. As my colleague Patrick Holland put it in his review of the phone, “For the worth, I can’t consider a higher telephone to suggest proper now.”

A current design that stands out 

I didn’t love the look of ultimate 12 months’s Pixel 5. The matte, rubberized once more gave the phone a further value vary actually really feel than its $699 price tag suggested. The Pixel 6 Pro is worlds apart. The rear is all glass — toughened Gorilla Glass Victus, in actuality — that curves on the perimeters to fulfill the 100% recycled aluminum physique. 

The glass curves on the perimeters on the doorway, too, as does the present beneath it, making it not solely look further premium, nonetheless actually really feel like a actually flagship machine everytime you keep it in your hand. It’s massive though, packing in a 6.7-inch present, which is capable of make it further cumbersome for some than the 6-inch Pixel 5 or 6.4-inch Pixel 6. That cup makes it slippery, too, so take into consideration definitely considered one of Google’s defending circumstances in the event you occur to’re nervous about dropping it. 

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The Pixel 6 Pro, flanked by the iPhone 13 Pro (left) and Pixel 5.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It is IP68-rated for water resistance, which suggests it might stand as much as being in 1 meter (about 3 toes) of water for as a lot as half-hour. No, that doesn’t suggest you probably can take it swimming, however it does suggest it should be able to shake off having the odd beer spilled over it by your clumsy mates. 

An attention-grabbing design choice is the massive digital digicam bar that stretches all through the once more. It protrudes from the phone by about 3mm, so it doesn’t lie utterly flat everytime you put it on a desk, nonetheless nor does it rock from nook to nook like telephones with digital digicam bumps merely on one side (identical to the S21 Extremely). I identical to the look of the phone and it undoubtedly stands out. One tip though: Get the Sorta Sunny orangey-peachy coloration, if you’ll uncover it in stock. The black-and-gray chance, Stormy Black, seems considerably uninteresting by comparability. 

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The digital digicam strip protrudes from the phone by about 3mm. As a finish outcome, it acquired’t lie flat on a desk.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner seen on the Pixel 5 has been eradicated, modified instead with an in-screen scanner, which I found labored exactly and shortly most of the time, although Patrick found the Pixel 6’s scanner to be far more hit and miss in his analysis. There’s no face unlock functionality, which is a little little bit of a shame, nonetheless with masks nonetheless being a requirement in many indoor areas attributable to COVID-19, having a fingerprint scanner is arguably further useful anyway.

Three superb cameras

That massive bar on the once more hides three cameras: a 12-megapixel ultrawide; a 48-megapixel telephoto that gives 4x optical zoom; and a most essential digital digicam that makes use of a larger 1/1.3-inch sensor, which Google says captures 2.5x further mild than the Pixel 5. The cameras on the Pixel telephones have always been superb, and this new period is no completely completely different. 

Pictures from the precept digital digicam lens are attractive. They’re vibrant, they’re stuffed with aspect and there’s a great steadiness of publicity, with shiny skies saved beneath administration and shadowy areas being merely seen. 

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Pixel 6 Pro, most essential digital digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The golden colors of the leaves have been captured fantastically proper right here, with a rich blue sky seen behind. 

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iPhone 13 Pro, most essential digital digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And proper right here’s the equivalent image taken on the iPhone 13 Pro. There’s little to resolve on between them, however when I was being hypercritical, I’d say that the white steadiness on the Pixel 6 Pro has resulted in a hotter, further orange tone on the tree trunk, which I consider seems increased. You probably can see how the Pixel 6 Pro’s digital digicam truly stacks up in direction of the iPhone 13 Pro’s in my photography shootout.

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Pixel 6 Pro, most essential digital digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

This scene making an attempt in the path of the engaging Edinburgh fortress is a troublesome shot, with darkish shadows and an particularly shiny sky previous the bushes. The Pixel 6 Pro has handled it successfully though, sustaining a stunning publicity whole.

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Pixel 6 Pro, most essential digital digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And it’s a lot the equivalent proper right here, with vivid blue skies, superb publicity and a great deal of aspect. 

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Pixel 6 Pro, ultrawide digital digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Switching to the ultrawide lens, the scene maintains the rich colors and publicity. Zoom nearer in and it’s clear it has a lot much less whole aspect, however it’s nonetheless a stunning shot. 

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Pixel 6 Pro, ultrawide digital digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

One different from the Pixel 6 Pro’s ultrawide lens. However take a have a look at the iPhone 13 Pro’s:

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iPhone 13 Pro, ultrawide lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The iPhone’s supplies a a lot wider view that lets you seize further in the scene. They’re every superb massive lenses and every do a good job in packing in these beautiful colors, nonetheless I’d desire to have seen the Pixel offering a barely wider scene.

The 4x zoom lens is excellent too, providing tons of aspect attributable to its extreme determination sensor. I consider 4x is a good zoom stage for a phone as successfully; it helps you to uncover compositions that could be previous the attain of lesser zoom ranges, however it’s not pretty as restrictive as a result of the 10x zoom you’ll uncover on the Galaxy S21. It’s a zoom stage I actually really feel I’d use a lot on my travels and have already taken a few 4x pictures with the phone that I’m truly pleased with as ingenious photographs.

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Pixel 6 Pro, 4x zoom.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

This zoomed-in image is so pin-sharp I can really be taught the headline on the newspaper. It’s a truly spectacular lens that doesn’t drive you to make any kind of compromise on top quality in order to achieve these zoom ranges. By comparability, the iPhone 13 Pro’s optical zoom maxes out at 3x, so the Pixel 6 Pro is able to get hold of a closer-up image. Which, frankly, I’d take any day over a wider-angle view.

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Pixel 6 Pro, 4x zoom.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It’s useful as successfully for focusing your view on a smaller scene like this, capturing intimate little still-life scenes, considerably than grand, sweeping vistas. The implausible textures on the leaves listed below are terribly sharp. 

Google has thrown some further choices in too, along with a software program that mechanically removes people from the background in a image, which typically works successfully, and customarily leaves a massive splotch the place a specific particular person as quickly as stood. Then there’s the prolonged publicity mode, which helps you to create ethereal blurred waterscapes and the Nightscape mode, which does a excellent job of taking pictures in the darkish. 

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Pixel 6 skilled, Nightscape {photograph}.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I’m severely impressed with the pictures abilities of the Pixel 6 Pro and there’s no question that it’s among the many many biggest cameras chances are you’ll get on a phone correct now. Video top quality is superb as successfully, with superb dynamic differ, superb image stabilization and a great deal of aspect as a result of 4K determination. 

Does Google’s Tensor processor make a distinction?

On the coronary coronary heart of the phone is Google’s first home-baked processor, named Tensor. It’s a essential switch for Google to produce its private silicon and it reveals a sturdy dedication to remain in the {{hardware}} sport — in spite of all the things, you don’t go to the trouble of making your private processors as a one-off experiment.  

However it’s mainly irrelevant once you get the Pixel in your hand, as a result of it capabilities equivalent to each different phone. It’s nippy to navigate throughout the Android 12 interface, video video games like Asphalt 9: Legends and Name of Responsibility play utterly, whereas {photograph} modifying and video streaming are handled exactly in addition to you’d get from each different top-end phone correct now. 

Pixel 6 Pro benchmark assessments

Legend:

Geekbench 5 (single core)

Geekbench 5 (multi core)

3DMark Wild Life Excessive

Observe:

Longer bars equal increased effectivity

On benchmark assessments identical to the Geekbench 5 processor examine and 3DMark’s Wild Life Excessive graphics examine, the Pixel 6 Pro doesn’t ranking pretty as extraordinarily as a result of the iPhone 13 Pro, however it’s up there with the Galaxy S21 Extremely (and it edged out the extremely efficient OnePlus 9 Pro on the graphics examine too). Benchmarks are in no method a direct indicator of real-life effectivity, however it’s good to a minimum of see that Google’s new silicon is working in the equivalent ballpark as its rivals. 

No, the Tensor chip is not setting a new regular for lightning-fast effectivity. However it doesn’t should; in the intervening time’s telephones already pack much more vitality than any of us are susceptible to need on a every day basis. Google’s push into chip manufacturing goes previous merely creating a “benchmark beater” and a lot of the true benefits will come over time as the company develops further strategies to reap the advantages of its private {{hardware}}.

The Tensor processor is notably designed with machine learning, AI and speech-recognition functions in ideas. There are already speech-recognition capabilities constructed into the keyboard (for dictating messages or emails) in addition to real-time translation devices and improved seen language translations when using Google Lens by means of the digital digicam. 

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Each the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro run the newest Android 12 software program program.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Android 12 is stunning to utilize

The Android 12 interface is terribly neat and simple to utilize. It’s my favorite mannequin of Android thus far, offering an uncomplicated experience that even Android novices acquired’t take prolonged to familiarize your self with. One of many bigger choices that’s (for now) distinctive to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro is the facility to create {{custom}} themes for the phone primarily based totally on regardless of image you’ve gotten as your background. 

While you choose a new wallpaper (each considered one of many many built-in ones, or any of your private photographs saved to your phone), the phone will mechanically choose the dominant coloration and might use that, and its complementary colors, to change the look of parts of the interface, along with a variety of the default Google app icons on the home show display, such as a result of the Play Retailer, Gmail and Photographs. It’s a good thought, although it most certainly shouldn’t be the precept trigger you identify to half collectively together with your cash.

Safety has been given a particular push every on the software program program and {{hardware}} side. The Tensor processor has a devoted Titan coprocessor that apparently permits for a lot higher on-device security, whereas Android 12 supplies further granular administration of your security and privateness settings. That options a dashboard that reveals what apps have used what knowledge these days and useful buttons in the pull-down notification tray that flip off system-wide entry to your digital digicam and microphone. 

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These quick-access privateness buttons could come in useful.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Google has moreover promised that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will get hold of security updates for five years, which is capable of suggest these telephones will most likely be safer to utilize for longer. Many older telephones are nonetheless utterly usable from a {{hardware}} standpoint, however once they don’t have the newest security patches on board then they’re susceptible to all kinds of hacking nastiness. From every a worth and environmental perspective, with the flexibility to make use of our telephones safely for longer is solely a good issue.

Vibrant present, sturdy battery life and fast charging

The Pixel 6 Pro’s 6.7-inch present is pin-sharp attributable to its 3,120×1,440-pixel determination. It’s shiny, too, with vibrant colors that do justice to vibrant video video games like Sweet Crush Soda Saga or video like Netflix’s world-dominating current Squid Game. It has an adaptive refresh cost which will go as a lot as 120Hz everytime you’re having fun with fast-paced video video games, however in addition slows proper all the way down to solely 10Hz when the phone is principally sitting idle. Efficiency everytime you need it; power-saving everytime you don’t. 

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The Pixel 6 Pro and possibly its biggest rival, the iPhone 13 Pro.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The phone runs on a 5,003-mAh battery, which have to be good for a full day of blended use. After one hour of streaming a YouTube video at max brightness it had dropped from full to 98%. In distinction, the OnePlus 9 Pro had dropped to 90%, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro dropped to solely 99%. After a further hour the 6 Pro had dropped to 89%, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro was at 93%. You undoubtedly shouldn’t wrestle to get by way of the day with it, nonetheless as with all telephones, you probably can help it by holding show display brightness down, avoiding demanding duties like gaming or video streaming until you’re near a plug, and turning off GPS. 

It has Qi wi-fi charging and it helps fast charging with a 30-watt charger (not offered), which is capable of take the phone to 50% full in half-hour. That’s first fee, nonetheless not going a match for OnePlus’s 65-watt fast charging, which is capable of completely price the machine in the equivalent time. Nonetheless, it’s fast ample to have the flexibility to offer your phone a quick improve sooner than you head out and about, and the Excessive Battery Saver mode pauses all nonetheless your essential apps to guard the remaining juice.

Google Pixel 6 specs vs. Google Pixel 6 Pro, Google Pixel 5, Apple iPhone 13

Google Pixel 6 Google Pixel 6 Pro Google Pixel 5 Apple iPhone 13
Show dimension, determination 6.4-inch OLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels; 60Hz or 90Hz 6.7-inch LTPO OLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 10-120Hz 6-inch FHD+ OLED; 2,340×1,080 pixels 6.1-inch OLED; 2,532×1,170 pixels
Pixel density 411 ppi 512 ppi 432 ppi 460 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.2×2.9×0.4 in 6.5×3.0×0.4 in 5.7×2.8×0.3 in 5.78×2.82×0.3 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 158.6×74.8×8.9mm 163.9×75.9×8.9mm 144.7×70.4x8mm 147x72x7.65mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 7.3 oz; 207g 7.41 oz; 210g 5.33 oz; 151g 6.14 oz; 174g
Cell software program program Android 12 Android 12 Android 11 iOS 15
Digicam 50-megapixel (massive), 12-megapixel ultrawide 50-megapixel (massive), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 48-megapixel (telephoto) 12.2-megapixel (regular), 16-megapixel (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (massive), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Entrance-facing digital digicam 8-megapixel 11-megapixel 8-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video seize 4K 30, 60fps (rear), 1,080p 30fps (entrance) 4K 30, 60fps (rear), 4K 30fps (entrance) 4K HDR video recording with Dolby Imaginative and prescient as a lot as 4K at 60fps
Processor Google Tensor Google Tensor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Apple A15 Bionic
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM 8GB 12GB 8GB Undisclosed
Expandable storage No No No No
Battery 4,614 mAh 5,003 mAh 4,000 mAh Undisclosed; Apple lists 19 hours of video playback
Fingerprint sensor Underneath present Underneath present Rear No (Face ID)
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Particular choices 5G sub 6 (some service fashions even have 5G mmWave) help, Wi-Fi 6E, 30W fast-charging, wi-fi charging, Magic Eraser, Movement mode, Actual Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years OS security updates, IP68 rating for mud and water resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (entrance), Gorilla Glass 6 (once more), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) 5G sub 6 and mmWave help, Wi-Fi 6E, ultra-wideband, 30W fast-charging, wi-fi charging, Magic Eraser, Movement mode, Actual Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years OS security updates, IP68 rating for dust- and water-resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (front and back), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) 5G enabled; water-resistant (IP68); 90Hz-refresh-rate present; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); reverse wi-fi charging; fast charging 5G enabled; MagSafe; water-resistant (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)
Worth off-contract (USD) $599 (128GB) $899 (128GB) $699 $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB), $1,099 (512GB)
Worth (GBP) £599 (128GB) £849 (128GB) £599 £779 (128GB), £879 (256GB), £1,079 (512GB)
Worth (AUD) AU$999 (128GB) AU$1,299 (128GB) AU$999 AU$1,349 (128GB), AU$1,519 (256GB), AU$1,869 (512GB)

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