Google Pixel 6 review: At $599, it’s everything I ever wanted

    The Pixel 6 is probably the most vital cellphone improve Google has made because it launched the Pixel line in 2016. The cellphone’s new cameras, Google’s Tensor chip and premium ambitions comply with months of hype partly stemming from Google saying the cellphone months earlier than it was launched — and its daring two-tone design. All of those adjustments come whereas protecting the Pixel 6 at a midtier $599 value, which simply washes away the unhealthy 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 have 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 worthThe foremost digital camera is Google’s greatest

    Don’t LikeUnder-display fingerprint reader may be irritatingBattery life is nice, however laborious to get greater than a dayThe ultrawide digital camera is first rate however not on the identical stage as the primary digital camera

    So what’s the issue? Well, in brief, Pixel telephones have not offered effectively. 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 and construct the cellphone as much as be extra profitable and interesting. It’s like when the Bulls determined to construct a workforce round Jordan to assist them win championships.Instead of powering the cellphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Google made its personal chip, known as Tensor. This permits the Pixel 6 to do computations and AI extra securely and shortly on the cellphone than consistently utilizing the cloud. Tensor opens up a slew of recent software program options Google would not have been in a position so as to add utilizing a distinct processor.Google prolonged its three years of OS and safety updates to 5. In the US, the Pixel 6 is offered each via 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 — bought upgraded lenses and {hardware} that is extra premium. Now that Google has improved all the pieces 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 cellphone I all the time needed from Google. I spent over every week with the brand new cellphone and it lives as much as a number of the hype. The Pixel 6 begins at $599 (£599, AU$999) and comes with 128GB of storage. For that value, I am unable to consider a greater cellphone to suggest proper now.If you are on the lookout for an in-depth take a look at the Google Pixel 6 Pro, try the assessment my UK colleague Andy Hoyle wrote.At $599, the Google Pixel 6 is without doubt 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 may be set to robotically change from 60Hz to 90Hz relying on the content material onscreen. There’s an hole-punch cutout for the selfie digital camera and the display screen is flat with thick sharpielike 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 nice, however the Pixel 6 Pro’s is best. 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 practically each time. Now I do not even have to smash my finger into the display screen.My assessment unit’s coloration is known as Sorta Seafoam. The again under the digital camera bar is mild grey however relying on the sunshine it may look mild blue.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    The again is the place the cellphone’s design actually makes me swoon. It’s made from Gorilla Glass 6 and has a two-tone coloration scheme. My assessment unit is Sorta Seafoam, which suggests the underside of the again is type of mild grey or type of mild blue relying on the lighting. The prime again strip is a light-weight lime inexperienced, which contrasts properly in opposition to the deep black of the digital camera bar. The total look of the Pixel 6 jogs my memory a tad of the Pixel 2 XL and its panda coloration. The horizontal digital camera bar runs throughout the width of the again and appears daring and totally different. The digital camera bar is not simply designed to be a Google branding component; you may 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 may see a number of small methods it feels extra premium than the Pixel 6.The digital camera bar homes a foremost wide-angle digital camera and an ultrawide-angle digital camera.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    The Pixel 6 takes wonderful photosOut of all of the enhancements, I used to be most hyped to attempt the Pixel 6’s cameras, and Google undoubtedly delivered. The Pixel 6, with its higher-specced lenses and sensors, takes implausible images. Let me instantly undercut that to remind you that that is nonetheless a cellphone. A mirrorless digital camera or DSLR can persistently take higher images in a wider vary of lighting and circumstances. But folks do not all the time have a mirrorless digital camera with them.The Pixel 6 has two rear cameras: a foremost digital camera with a wide-angle lens and a second digital camera with an ultrawide-angle lens. These are the very same broad and ultrawide cameras discovered on the Pixel 6 Pro. The ultrawide digital camera provides 0.7x magnification as a substitute of the 0.6x magnification on the Pixel 5. Overall the ultrawide is nice however not nice. Details in images are OK however typically delicate.Under vivid delicate 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 vivid 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 exhibits its limits.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    There is a noticeable step down in high quality going from the primary digital camera to the ultrawide. Take a take a look at the images under that I took of the Transamerica constructing in San Francisco.I want the ultrawide digital camera have been wider. I favor the angle from the ultrawide cameras on the Galaxy S21 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro extra. Check out a comparability under.The foremost digital camera has a 50-megapixel sensor, which makes use of pixel binning to create 12.5-megapixel footage. Photos from the Pixel 6 are wonderful. Details are nice.The colours and readability on this picture are wonderful and correct.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    For a cellphone, the Pixel 6 has a wonderful 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 effectively.
    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 previous 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 observed some ghosting and flaring when a light-weight supply is within the body, just like the cafe string lights right here. This wasn’t problematic and never practically as unhealthy as another telephones offered at this time.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    There are so many Pixel 6 digital camera modes and instrumentsGoogle’s Tensor chip permits for much more digital camera modes and instruments. There is Night Sight, Google’s model of mixing a number of photographs collectively when it is too darkish. It’s wonderful on the Pixel 6.I just like the dramatic manner Night Sight renders images.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    This Night Sight picture was taken with the ultrawide digital camera.
    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 images 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 bought some first rate mild trails from site visitors and a few silklike water from a fountain. Again, it is enjoyable. It would not substitute doing long-exposure images on a devoted digital camera.Google’s Motion mode for Long Exposure works effectively sufficient. It’s just like changing a Live Photo in iOS to Long Exposure.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    But that is not all. Google provides you a neat instrument known as Magic Eraser. It allows you to decide an object, an individual or part of a photograph to take away. You can get to this instrument in one among two methods. In Photos, you will see a suggestion about eradicating folks within the background. Or once you go to edit, faucet on Tools to disclose the characteristic.

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    Magic Eraser finds and determine the silhouettes of individuals within the background. You can even use your finger to color out the half you need gone. Overall it really works effectively, nevertheless it’s removed from excellent. Sometimes I bought completely wonderful outcomes like eradicating folks from the picture under of a pedestrian walkway — although on nearer inspection, you may see the blurry patches the place elements of the picture have been eliminated.Other instances, like within the picture under, there have been transition artifacts. It eliminated two folks within the background right here, but additionally disfigured the hand of the girl to the suitable.There are so many extra digital camera options that I wasn’t in a position to spotlight on this assessment, like Face UnBlur. But CNET could have an much more in-depth take a look at the Pixel 6 cameras quickly.The Pixel 6 digital camera treats complexions extra equitablyOne enchancment Google talked about was Real Tone, which was a significant rethink and exploration about how images, particularly Google’s algorithms and engineers, deal with folks with totally different complexions. I nonetheless wish to discover this characteristic extra, however the images I took of buddies, co-workers and different folks with darker complexions look good, even when they are not beneath probably the most flattering mild. Often after I confirmed somebody a photograph I took with the Pixel 6, even when it is them doing an earthly factor, they requested for a replica.This is one among my favourite images I took with the Pixel 6.
    Patrick Holland/CNET
    Even beneath harsh fluorescent lighting, Laban’s pores and skin seems to be 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 needed to see what would occur. Google stated the Pixel 6 handles stray mild higher. See the way it did in opposition to 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 favored 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 very best video from any Pixel cellphone. 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 fallacious, 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 totally 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 digital camera that shoots 1,080p video. The Pro has a wider selfie digital camera that may document 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 practically each different flagship Android cellphone 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 cellphone peppy to make use of. Opening the digital camera app is quick, app animations look clean and it handles video games effectively.In phrases of efficiency benchmark checks, the Tensor chip would not set any new data. In truth 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 totally charged battery and in common use I’d say that’s correct. But in heavy use, like capturing a lot of images and movies, it had a battery lifetime of extra like a three-quarters of a day. During the 10 days I examined the cellphone, the Pixel 6 averaged a screen-on time of 6 hours, which is nice, however not nice.Android 12 is strong on the Pixel 6The Pixel 6 runs Android 12 and it is in all probability probably the most underrated side of the cellphone. Android 12 is a delight to make use of. I like the massive apparent buttons and sliders. The total look of Android 12 is welcoming and prioritizes readability over animations. I like being that system colours can match and complement my cellphone’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 lot 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 a number of enchancment with translation, particularly after I had a dialog with a Portuguese speaker. Translations have been quick and correct. For voice typing particularly, 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 must surprise if that can be sufficient to make the Pixel 6 profitable. And that is actually the one factor I am unable to reply. I can say that is the very best cellphone Google has ever constructed. As tempting because the Pixel 6 is, for $300 extra you may improve to the marginally extra premium Pixel 6 Pro, which provides a telephoto digital camera; a 6.7-inch show with curved edges, the next decision and excessive refresh price; extra RAM; an ultrawideband chip and Gorilla Glass Victus on the again. But when you’ve got $600 and are on the lookout for a brand new cellphone, 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 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

    6.5x3x0.4 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 (broad), 12-megapixel ultrawide

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

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

    12-megapixel (broad), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)

    Front-facing digital camera





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