Google Pixel 6 Pro review: Finally, a proper iPhone rival

    The Pixel 6 Pro has every part you’d search for in a 2021 flagship telephone. It’s one of the best telephone Google has ever made, showcasing robust efficiency, some nice software program additions, a singular design and a very good digicam system.And it does that whereas nonetheless undercutting its rivals by worth. The 6.7-inch base 128GB mannequin prices $899 (£849, AU$1,299), a large chunk lower than the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro’s $999 worth and much more off the $1,099 Apple needs for the bigger 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

    LikeExcellent camerasSolid all-round performanceNeat Android 12 interfaceAttractive design

    Don’t LikeBattery is sweet, however not greatFast cost is not all that quickNo face unlock

    While final 12 months’s Pixel 5 was finest seen as a midrange telephone with some higher-end touches, the Pixel 6 Pro is premium all the way in which. From its glass and steel design, to its high-resolution show and its very good triple digicam, there’s rather a lot to love right here. Then there’s the Tensor processor — a chip custom-made by Google for the telephone — which gives ample energy for all your every day wants, higher safety features, 5G connectivity and a slick Android 12 interface. Battery life is sweet — actually above common — however not nice, with the iPhone 13 Pro placing in a stronger efficiency.
    Google’s Pixel 6 Pro feels each bit as premium because it appears to be like
    See all photographs

    Its finest Android rival is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra which does have some neat digicam additions (that 10x zoom, for one factor) nevertheless it prices extra and the Pixel 6 Pro affords a extra user-friendly expertise. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max supply very good all-round use, however come at a better worth and for those who’re already entrenched within the Android ecosystem, it is seemingly not value switching and shopping for all these apps once more.  Those on the lookout for one of the best all-round Android expertise ought to completely look in direction of the Pixel 6 Pro. 
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    Pixel 6 Pro or Pixel 6? The stepdown $599 (£599, AU$999) Pixel 6 packs the identical Tensor processor and beautiful Android 12 software program for $300 lower than the Pro, however there are a number of compromises it makes with a purpose to come to that cheaper worth. It has a smaller and decrease decision 6.4-inch show that lacks the curving finesse of the Pro. Its battery is smaller, it has 8GB reasonably than 12GB of RAM and it lacks the 4x telephoto zoom lens discovered on the Pro.  The Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.7-inch show whereas the Pixel 6’s measures 6.4 inches.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    But it is nonetheless an excellent telephone that is nicely value contemplating. It gives lots of the identical perks of the Pixel 6 Pro at a a lot cheaper price, particularly for those who do not care in regards to the top-end efficiency provided by the flagship. As my colleague Patrick Holland put it in his overview of the telephone, “For the price, I can’t think of a better phone to recommend right now.” A recent design that stands out  I did not love the look of final 12 months’s Pixel 5. The matte, rubberized again gave the telephone a extra price range really feel than its $699 price ticket urged. The Pixel 6 Pro is worlds aside. The rear is all glass — toughened Gorilla Glass Victus, in actual fact — that curves on the edges to satisfy the 100% recycled aluminum body.  The glass curves on the edges on the entrance, too, as does the show beneath it, making it not solely look extra premium, however really feel like a very flagship system whenever you maintain it in your hand. It’s large although, packing in a 6.7-inch show, which is able to make it extra cumbersome for some than the 6-inch Pixel 5 or 6.4-inch Pixel 6. That glass makes it slippery, too, so think about one in every of Google’s protecting instances for those who’re nervous about dropping it.  The Pixel 6 Pro, flanked by the iPhone 13 Pro (left) and Pixel 5.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    It is IP68-rated for water resistance, that means it may face up to being in 1 meter (about 3 toes) of water for as much as 30 minutes. No, that does not imply you’ll be able to take it swimming, nevertheless it does imply it ought to be capable to shake off having the odd beer spilled over it by your clumsy mates.  An attention-grabbing design alternative is the big digicam bar that stretches throughout the again. It protrudes from the telephone by about 3mm, so it does not lie completely flat whenever you put it on a desk, however nor does it rock from nook to nook like telephones with digicam bumps simply on one aspect (just like the S21 Ultra). I just like the look of the telephone and it actually stands out. One tip although: Get the Sorta Sunny orangey-peachy colour, if you will discover it in inventory. The black-and-gray possibility, Stormy Black, appears to be like reasonably boring by comparability.  The digicam strip protrudes from the telephone by about 3mm. As a outcome, it will not lie flat on a desk.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner seen on the Pixel 5 has been eliminated, changed as a substitute with an in-screen scanner, which I discovered labored precisely and shortly more often than not, though Patrick discovered the Pixel 6’s scanner to be way more hit or miss in his overview. There’s no face unlock means, which is a little bit of a disgrace, however with masks nonetheless being a requirement in lots of indoor areas attributable to COVID-19, having a fingerprint scanner is arguably extra helpful anyway.

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    Three wonderful cameras That large bar on the again hides three cameras: a 12-megapixel ultrawide; a 48-megapixel telephoto that provides 4x optical zoom; and a primary digicam that makes use of a bigger 1/1.3-inch sensor, which Google says captures 2.5x extra mild than the Pixel 5. The cameras on the Pixel telephones have all the time been wonderful, and this new technology is not any completely different. 

    Images from the principle digicam lens are gorgeous. They’re vibrant, they’re filled with element and there is a tremendous steadiness of publicity, with vibrant skies saved beneath management and shadowy areas being simply seen.  Pixel 6 Pro, primary digicam.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    The golden colours of the leaves have been captured fantastically right here, with a wealthy blue sky seen behind.  iPhone 13 Pro, primary digicam.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    And this is the identical picture taken on the iPhone 13 Pro. There’s little to decide on between them, but when I used to be being hypercritical, I’d say that the white steadiness on the Pixel 6 Pro has resulted in a hotter, extra orange tone on the tree trunk, which I feel appears to be like higher. You can see how the Pixel 6 Pro’s digicam actually stacks up towards the iPhone 13 Pro’s in my pictures shootout. Pixel 6 Pro, primary digicam.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    This scene trying in direction of the attractive Edinburgh citadel is a difficult shot, with darkish shadows and a particularly vibrant sky past the bushes. The Pixel 6 Pro has dealt with it nicely although, sustaining a stunning publicity total. Pixel 6 Pro, primary digicam.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    And it is a lot the identical right here, with vivid blue skies, very good publicity and loads of element.  Pixel 6 Pro, ultrawide digicam.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    Switching to the ultrawide lens, the scene maintains the wealthy colours and publicity. Zoom nearer in and it is clear it has much less total element, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a stunning shot.  Pixel 6 Pro, ultrawide digicam.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    Another from the Pixel 6 Pro’s ultrawide lens. But take a look at the iPhone 13 Pro’s: iPhone 13 Pro, ultrawide lens.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    The iPhone’s affords a a lot wider view that permits you to seize extra within the scene. They’re each wonderful huge lenses and each do an excellent job in packing in these lovely colours, however I’d prefer to have seen the Pixel providing a barely wider scene. The 4x zoom lens is superb too, offering tons of element due to its excessive decision sensor. I feel 4x is a good zoom degree for a telephone as nicely; it lets you discover compositions that may be past the attain of lesser zoom ranges, nevertheless it’s not fairly as restrictive because the 10x zoom you may discover on the Galaxy S21. It’s a zoom degree I really feel I’d use rather a lot on my travels and have already taken a number of 4x photographs with the telephone that I’m actually happy with as inventive pictures. Pixel 6 Pro, 4x zoom.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    This zoomed-in picture is so pin-sharp I can truly learn the headline on the newspaper. It’s a extremely spectacular lens that does not pressure you to make any sort of compromise on high quality with a purpose to obtain these zoom ranges. By comparability, the iPhone 13 Pro’s optical zoom maxes out at 3x, so the Pixel 6 Pro is ready to obtain a closer-up picture. Which, frankly, I’d take any day over a wider-angle view. Pixel 6 Pro, 4x zoom.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    It’s helpful as nicely for focusing your view on a smaller scene like this, capturing intimate little still-life scenes, reasonably than grand, sweeping vistas. The superb textures on the leaves listed here are extraordinarily sharp.  Google has thrown some further options in too, together with a device that mechanically removes individuals from the background in a picture, which typically works nicely, and typically leaves an enormous splotch the place an individual as soon as stood. Then there’s the lengthy publicity mode, which lets you create ethereal blurred waterscapes and the Nightscape mode, which does a wonderful job of taking photographs at nighttime.  Pixel 6 professional, Nightscape photograph.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    I’m significantly impressed with the pictures skills of the Pixel 6 Pro and there is not any query that it is among the many finest cameras you may get on a telephone proper now. Video high quality is superb as nicely, with very good dynamic vary, wonderful picture stabilization and loads of element due to the 4K decision.  Does Google’s Tensor processor make a distinction? At the guts of the telephone is Google’s first home-baked processor, named Tensor. It’s a big transfer for Google to supply its personal silicon and it exhibits a powerful dedication to stay within the {hardware} recreation — in spite of everything, you do not go to the hassle of creating your personal processors as a one-off experiment.   But it is basically irrelevant when you get the Pixel in your hand, because it features similar to every other telephone. It’s nippy to navigate across the Android 12 interface, video games like Asphalt 9: Legends and Call of Duty play completely, whereas photograph modifying and video streaming are dealt with precisely in addition to you’d get from every other top-end telephone proper now.  Pixel 6 Pro benchmark exams

    Geekbench 5 (single core)
    Geekbench 5 (multi core)
    3DMark Wild Life Extreme
    Longer bars equal higher efficiency

    On benchmark exams just like the Geekbench 5 processor take a look at and 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme graphics take a look at, the Pixel 6 Pro does not rating fairly as extremely because the iPhone 13 Pro, nevertheless it’s up there with the Galaxy S21 Ultra (and it edged out the highly effective OnePlus 9 Pro on the graphics take a look at too). Benchmarks are certainly not a direct indicator of real-life efficiency, nevertheless it’s good to no less than see that Google’s new silicon is working in the identical ballpark as its rivals.  No, the Tensor chip just isn’t setting a brand new customary for lightning-fast efficiency. But it does not have to; at present’s telephones already pack far more energy than any of us are more likely to want every day. Google’s push into chip manufacturing goes past merely making a “benchmark beater” and lots of the true advantages will come over time as the corporate develops extra methods to benefit from its personal {hardware}. The Tensor processor is especially designed with machine studying, AI and speech-recognition functions in thoughts. There are already speech-recognition features constructed into the keyboard (for dictating messages or emails) in addition to real-time translation instruments and improved visible language translations when utilizing Google Lens through the digicam.  Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro run the most recent Android 12 software program.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    Android 12 is gorgeous to make use of The Android 12 interface is extraordinarily neat and straightforward to make use of. It’s my favourite model of Android to this point, providing an uncomplicated expertise that even Android novices will not take lengthy to become familiar with. One of the larger options that is (for now) unique to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro is the power to create {custom} themes for the telephone based mostly on no matter picture you may have as your background.  When you select a brand new wallpaper (both one of many many built-in ones, or any of your personal pictures saved to your telephone), the telephone will mechanically pick the dominant colour and can use that, and its complementary colours, to alter the look of components of the interface, together with a few of the default Google app icons on the house display, such because the Play Store, Gmail and Photos. It’s a pleasant concept, though it in all probability should not be the principle motive you determine to half together with your money. Security has been given a specific push each on the software program and {hardware} aspect. The Tensor processor has a devoted Titan coprocessor that apparently permits for significantly better on-device safety, whereas Android 12 affords extra granular management of your safety and privateness settings. That features a dashboard that exhibits what apps have used what data lately and helpful buttons within the pull-down notification tray that flip off system-wide entry to your digicam and microphone.  Those quick-access privateness buttons would possibly come in useful.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    Google has additionally promised that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will obtain safety updates for 5 years, which is able to imply these telephones might be safer to make use of for longer. Many older telephones are nonetheless completely usable from a {hardware} standpoint, but when they do not have the most recent safety patches on board then they’re vulnerable to all types of hacking nastiness. From each a value and environmental perspective, with the ability to use our telephones safely for longer is just an excellent factor. Vibrant show, stable battery life and quick charging The Pixel 6 Pro’s 6.7-inch show is pin-sharp due to its 3,120×1,440-pixel decision. It’s vibrant, too, with vibrant colours that do justice to colourful video games like Candy Crush Soda Saga or video like Netflix’s world-dominating present Squid Game. It has an adaptive refresh price that may go as much as 120Hz whenever you’re enjoying fast-paced video games, but in addition slows all the way down to solely 10Hz when the telephone is principally sitting idle. Performance whenever you want it; power-saving when you do not.  The Pixel 6 Pro and maybe its largest rival, the iPhone 13 Pro.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    The telephone runs on a 5,003-mAh battery, which ought 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%. By distinction, the OnePlus 9 Pro had dropped to 90%, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro dropped to solely 99%. After an extra hour the 6 Pro had dropped to 89%, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro was at 93%. You actually should not wrestle to get by means of the day with it, however as with all telephones, you’ll be able to assist it by maintaining display brightness down, avoiding demanding duties like gaming or video streaming till you are close to a plug, and turning off GPS.  It has Qi wi-fi charging and it helps quick charging with a 30-watt charger (not provided), which is able to take the telephone to 50% full in 30 minutes. That’s respectable, however not likely a match for OnePlus’s 65-watt quick charging, which is able to absolutely cost the system in the identical time. Still, it is quick sufficient to have the ability to give your telephone a fast increase earlier than you head out and about, and the Extreme Battery Saver mode pauses all however your important apps to protect 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

    Display measurement, decision

    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

    6.5×3.0x0.4 in

    5.7×2.8×0.3 in

    5.78×2.82×0.3 in

    Dimensions (millimeters)





    Weight (ounces, grams)

    7.3 oz; 207g

    7.41 oz; 210g

    5.33 oz; 151g

    6.14 oz; 174g

    Mobile software program

    Android 12

    Android 12

    Android 11

    iOS 15


    50-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel ultrawide

    50-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 48-megapixel (telephoto)

    12.2-megapixel (customary), 16-megapixel (ultrawide)

    12-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)

    Front-facing digicam





    Video seize

    4K 30, 60fps (rear), 1,080p 30fps (entrance)

    4K 30, 60fps (rear), 4K 30fps (entrance)


    HDR video recording with Dolby Vision as much as 4K at 60fps


    Google Tensor

    Google Tensor

    Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

    Apple A15 Bionic


    128GB, 256GB

    128GB, 256GB, 512GB


    128GB, 256GB, 512GB






    Expandable storage






    4,614 mAh

    5,003 mAh

    4,000 mAh

    Undisclosed; Apple lists 19 hours of video playback

    Fingerprint sensor

    Under show

    Under show


    No (Face ID)






    Headphone jack





    Special options

    5G sub 6 (some service fashions even have 5G mmWave) assist, Wi-Fi 6E, 30W fast-charging, wi-fi charging, Magic Eraser, Motion mode, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years OS safety updates, IP68 score for mud and water resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (entrance), Gorilla Glass 6 (again), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)

    5G sub 6 and mmWave assist, Wi-Fi 6E, ultra-wideband, 30W fast-charging, wi-fi charging, Magic Eraser, Motion mode, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years OS safety updates, IP68 score for dust- and water-resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (back and front), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)

    5G enabled; waterproof (IP68); 90Hz-refresh-rate show; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); reverse wi-fi charging; quick charging

    5G enabled; MagSafe; waterproof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)

    Price off-contract (USD)

    $599 (128GB)

    $899 (128GB)


    $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB), $1,099 (512GB)

    Price (GBP)

    £599 (128GB)

    £849 (128GB)


    £779 (128GB), £879 (256GB), £1,079 (512GB)

    Price (AUD)

    AU$999 (128GB)

    AU$1,299 (128GB)


    AU$1,349 (128GB), AU$1,519 (256GB), AU$1,869 (512GB)

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