Google Pixel 6 review: At $599, I can’t think of a better phone to recommend

    The Pixel 6 exemplifies the perfect of what Google providers and Android 12 have to supply. So a lot in order that I’d declare that the Pixel 6 is essentially the most important telephone improve Google has made because it launched the Pixel line in 2016. The telephone’s new cameras, Google’s Tensor chip and premium ambitions comply with months of hype — partly stemming from Google asserting the telephone months earlier than it was launched — and its daring two-tone design. All of those modifications come whereas conserving the Pixel 6 at a midtier $599 value, which simply washes away the dangerous style left by the understated Pixel 5. Previous Pixel telephones have lived in that protected, quiet and crowded midtier area the place telephones price between $600 and $800. For most individuals, they had been good and typically nice telephones however lacked the luster, specs and enchantment of extra premium telephones from Samsung and Huawei.

    LikeTwo-tone designValue for the valueThe primary digicam is Google’s greatest

    Don’t LikeUnder-display fingerprint reader could be irritatingBattery life is sweet, however onerous to get greater than a dayThe ultrawide digicam is first rate however not on the identical stage as the principle digicam

    So what’s the issue? Well, briefly, Pixel telephones have not bought properly. It jogs my memory of the early days when Michael Jordan joined the Chicago Bulls however they weren’t successful championships but. The Pixel 6 is an try to construct the telephone as much as be extra profitable and interesting. It’s like when the Bulls determined to construct a staff round Jordan to assist him win championships.Instead of powering the telephone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Google made its personal chip: Tensor. This permits the Pixel 6 to do computations and AI extra securely and rapidly on the telephone than continuously utilizing the cloud. Tensor opens up a slew of latest software program options Google would not have been ready so as to add utilizing a special processor.Google prolonged its three years of OS and safety updates to 5. In the US, the Pixel 6 is accessible each by means of Google and all main carriers. And Google even created a subscription program a la Apple’s iPhone Upgrade program. It’s known as Pixel Pass and prices $45 a month for 2 years.Even the Pixel’s crown jewel — its cameras — obtained upgraded lenses and {hardware} that is extra premium. Now that Google has improved all the things in, on and across the Pixel, is it prepared for its championship? (I promise that is the final Bulls reference.) In brief, sure.This is the Pixel telephone I at all times wished from Google. I spent over per week with the brand new telephone and it lives as much as quite a lot of the hype. The Pixel 6 begins at $599 (£599, AU$999) and comes with 128GB of storage. For that value, I can not consider a greater telephone to advocate proper now.If you are on the lookout for an in-depth have a look at the Google Pixel 6 Pro, try the evaluation my colleague Andy Hoyle wrote.At $599, the Google Pixel 6 is likely one of the greatest telephones you should purchase.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    The Pixel 6’s daring two-tone design makes me swoonThe Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch, 1080p display screen. It could be set to mechanically change from 60Hz to 90Hz relying on the content material onscreen. There’s an hole-punch cutout for the selfie digicam and the display screen is flat with thick, Sharpie-like bezels that bleed into the matte-finish aluminum sides. For comparability’s sake, it jogs my memory a little bit of the iPhone XR and iPhone 11, which additionally had related bezels and rounded sides, and that is not essentially a nasty factor.In use the display screen is nice. The decision is sweet, however the Pixel 6 Pro’s is healthier. The entrance is roofed in Gorilla Glass Victus. Under the display screen is a fingerprint reader, which at first labored for me half of the time. It was irritating and never an excellent expertise. After a maddening few days, I double-registered my thumbprints and it labored almost each time. Now I do not even must smash my finger into the display screen.My evaluation unit’s coloration is known as Sorta Seafoam. The again under the digicam bar is mild grey however relying on the sunshine it may well look mild blue.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    The again is the place the telephone’s design actually makes me swoon. It’s product of Gorilla Glass 6 and has a two-tone coloration scheme. My evaluation unit is Sorta Seafoam, which implies the underside of the again is type of mild grey or type of mild blue relying on the lighting. The high again strip is a lightweight lime inexperienced, which contrasts properly towards the deep black of the digicam bar. The total look of the Pixel 6 jogs my memory a tad of the Pixel 2 XL and its panda coloration. The horizontal digicam bar runs throughout the width of the again and appears daring and completely different. The digicam bar is not simply designed to be a Google branding component; you possibly can put the Pixel 6 and not using a case on a desk and it would not wobble.Overall, the match and end are good. If you seize a Pixel 6 Pro, which prices $300 extra, you possibly can see a number of small methods it feels extra premium than the Pixel 6.The digicam bar homes a primary wide-angle digicam and an ultrawide-angle digicam.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    The Pixel 6 takes superb photosOut of all of the enhancements, I used to be most hyped to strive the Pixel 6’s cameras, and Google positively delivered. The Pixel 6, with its higher-specced lenses and sensors, takes incredible images. Let me instantly undercut that to remind you that that is nonetheless a telephone. A mirrorless digicam or DSLR can persistently take higher images in a wider vary of lighting and circumstances. But individuals do not at all times have a mirrorless digicam with them.The Pixel 6 has two rear cameras: a primary digicam with a wide-angle lens and a second digicam with an ultrawide-angle lens. These are the very same huge and ultrawide cameras discovered on the Pixel 6 Pro. The ultrawide digicam provides 0.7x magnification as a substitute of the 0.6x magnification on the Pixel 5. Overall the ultrawide is sweet however not nice. Details in images are OK however typically gentle.Under shiny gentle lighting, the ultrawide can seize some first rate images.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Check out the highlights within the flames.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    The dynamic vary is first rate however restricted. 
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    In shiny lighting, the ultrawide is able to good pores and skin tones.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    In medium to low-light conditions like right here, the ultrawide reveals its limits.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    There is a noticeable step down in high quality going from the principle digicam to the ultrawide. Take a have a look at the images under that I took of the Transamerica constructing in San Francisco.I want the ultrawide digicam had been wider. I favor the attitude from the ultrawide cameras on the Galaxy S21 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro extra. Check out a comparability under.The primary digicam has a 50-megapixel sensor, which makes use of pixel binning to create 12.5-megapixel footage. Photos from the Pixel 6 are superb. Details are nice.The colours and readability on this picture are glorious and correct.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    For a telephone, the Pixel 6 has a superb dynamic vary.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Look on the colours and element of this matcha ice cream cone.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Another instance of the Pixel dealing with a large dynamic vary properly.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Notice the distinction of the small print in direct daylight and people within the shadows.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Textures look excellent. Check out the paint brush marks on the outdated fireplace hydrant.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    I like how the Pixel captured the feel of the fur on every canine.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    In medium and low mild, I seen some ghosting and flaring when a lightweight supply is within the body, just like the cafe string lights right here. This wasn’t problematic and never almost as dangerous as another telephones bought at the moment.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    There are so many Pixel 6 digicam modes and instrumentsGoogle’s Tensor chip permits for much more digicam modes and instruments. There is Night Sight, Google’s model of mixing a number of photographs collectively when it is too darkish. It’s glorious on the Pixel 6.I just like the dramatic approach Night Sight renders images.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    This Night Sight picture was taken with the ultrawide digicam.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    In actual life, this was just about all in shadow other than the sunshine and home windows.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    There’s the brand new Motion mode, which has two choices: Action Pan and Long Exposure. Action Pan provides the background of a photograph a dramatic movement blur. It’s enjoyable. It’s not going to reinvent pictures nevertheless it’s fairly enjoyable to make use of.Action Pan can take what is perhaps an in any other case abnormal picture and add pizzazz.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    The second Motion mode is Long Exposure, which mimics a long-exposure picture. There are apps that do one thing related however I obtained some first rate mild trails from visitors and a few silklike water from a fountain. Again, it is enjoyable. It would not substitute doing long-exposure pictures on a devoted digicam.Google’s Motion mode for Long Exposure works properly sufficient. It’s much like changing a Live Photo in iOS to Long Exposure.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    But that is not all. Google provides you a neat device known as Magic Eraser. It helps you to decide an object, an individual or part of a photograph to take away. You can get to this device in one in every of two methods. In Photos, you may see a suggestion about eradicating individuals within the background. Or whenever you go to edit, faucet on Tools to disclose the function.Magic Eraser finds and determine the silhouettes of individuals within the background. You may also use your finger to color out the half you need gone. Overall it really works properly, nevertheless it’s removed from good. Sometimes I obtained completely superb outcomes like eradicating individuals from the picture under of a pedestrian walkway — although on nearer inspection, you possibly can see the blurry patches the place elements of the picture had been eliminated.Other instances, like within the picture under, there have been transition artifacts. It eliminated two individuals within the background right here, but additionally disfigured the hand of the woman to the precise.There are so many extra digicam options that I wasn’t in a position to spotlight on this evaluation, like Face UnBlur. But CNET could have an much more in-depth have a look at the Pixel 6 cameras quickly.The Pixel 6 digicam treats complexions extra equitablyOne enchancment Google talked about was Real Tone, which was a serious rethink and exploration about how images, particularly Google’s algorithms and engineers, deal with individuals with completely different complexions. I nonetheless wish to discover this function extra, however the images I took of mates, co-workers and different individuals with darker complexions look good, even when they don’t seem to be underneath essentially the most flattering mild. Often once I confirmed somebody a photograph I took with the Pixel 6, even when it is them doing an earthly factor, they requested for a duplicate.This is one in every of my favourite images I took with the Pixel 6.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Even underneath harsh fluorescent lighting, Laban’s pores and skin appears good.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    This was taken in a really dim restaurant. The Pixel raised the general brightness however protected the colour, tone and particulars of the pores and skin.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Below is a photograph taken with harsh backlight. Admittedly, this is not a good way to take a photograph, however I wished to see what would occur. Google mentioned the Pixel 6 handles stray mild higher. See the way it did towards a photograph taken with the iPhone 13 under.The variations between the 2 images aren’t drastic, however Eric, who’s the topic, most popular the picture from the Pixel 6. He preferred the way it dealt with the colour and highlights in his pores and skin. You can actually discover this in his arms.Videos from the Pixel 6 are higher and selfies are simply OKThe Pixel 6 data the perfect video from any Pixel telephone. Details and coloration accuracy are higher. In phrases of evaluating the picture high quality between images and movies, there’s a smaller distinction than there was on prior Pixels. Don’t get me incorrect, images are nonetheless the power of the Pixel.When recording video in medium and low mild, picture noise is fairly obvious. Also, the enhancements Real Tone brings to images are unmatched with how movies deal with completely different complexions. Take a glance under at some pattern movies I recorded with the Pixel 6.
    On the entrance, the Pixel 6 has an 8-megapixel digicam that shoots 1,080p video. The Pro has a wider selfie digicam that may file 4K. Selfies images from the Pixel 6 are good however in medium and low mild begin to look noisy.Here is a Portrait mode selfie from the Pixel 6.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    My colleague Lexy took this low-light selfie. The high quality is OK, however total there’s a contact of movement blur.
    Lexy Savvides/CNET
    The Pixel 6 is outlined by Google’s Tensor chipThe Pixel 6 would not run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip present in almost each different flagship Android telephone just like the Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 Pro. Instead, it runs on Google’s Tensor processor. It’s the primary chip Google has made and was particularly designed by Google for the Pixel. I discovered the Tensor chip and the 8GB of RAM made the telephone peppy to make use of. Opening the digicam app is quick, app animations look clean and it handles video games properly.In phrases of efficiency benchmark assessments, the Tensor chip would not set any new data. In reality it is largely on par with the Snapdragon 888 and that is OK. The benefits Tensor brings are its safety and on-device machine studying and AI.GEEKBENCH V.5.0 SINGLE-CORE

    Longer bars point out higher efficiency


    Longer bars point out higher efficiency


    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    Google quotes a day on a completely charged battery and in common use I’d say that’s correct. But in heavy use, like capturing numerous images and movies, it had a battery lifetime of extra like three-quarters of a day. During the 10 days I examined the telephone, the Pixel 6 averaged a screen-on time of 6 hours, which is sweet, however not nice.Android 12 is stable on the Pixel 6The Pixel 6 runs Android 12 and it is most likely essentially the most underrated side of the telephone. Android 12 is a delight to make use of. I like the large apparent buttons and sliders. The total look of Android 12 is welcoming and prioritizes readability over animations. I like that its system colours can match and complement my telephone’s wallpaper.The Pixel 6 runs Android 12 and even has a handful of particular options.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Android 12 mixed with the Tensor processor supplies a variety of welcomed privateness and safety upgrades. The Pixel 6 comes with a number of of its personal Android 12 particular options, a few of that are powered by Tensor. A standout for me is voice recognition. I discovered there to be quite a lot of enchancment with translation, particularly once I had a dialog with a Portuguese speaker. Translations had been quick and correct. For voice typing specifically, it appears to know context higher and punctuate extra precisely and it is simpler to command it and clear errors.I examined the Pixel 6 on Google Fi, T-Mobile and Verizon right here in San Francisco. The Pixel 6 helps sub-6 5G. There are particular provider variations of the Pixel 6 that additionally help mmWave 5G and begin at $699 as a substitute of $599.The Pixel 6 has 30W fast-charging over USB-C and helps wi-fi charging, as pictured above.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Google improved the Pixel 6 in some waysWith the entire upgrades to software program and {hardware}, you need to surprise if that might be sufficient to make the Pixel 6 profitable. And that is actually the one factor I can not reply. I can say that is the perfect telephone Google has ever constructed. As tempting because the Pixel 6 is, for $300 extra you possibly can improve to the marginally extra premium Pixel 6 Pro, which provides a telephoto digicam; a 6.7-inch show with curved edges, the next decision and excessive refresh fee; extra RAM; an ultrawideband chip and Gorilla Glass Victus on the again. But you probably have $600 and are on the lookout for a brand new telephone, the Pixel 6 is my suggestion.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 dimension, 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

    6.5x3x0.4 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 provider fashions even have 5G mmWave) help, 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 help, 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; water resistant (IP68); 90Hz-refresh-rate show; 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)

    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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