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

    Editor’s word, Nov. 12: The Google Pixel 6 Pro’s stable all-round efficiency and glorious digital camera make it an excellent high-end Android cellphone that is effectively value your cash, which is why we have given it a CNET Editors’ Choice award. The unique evaluate follows. Launched towards the tip of 2021, the Pixel 6 Pro is not only one of the best cellphone Google has ever made, it is among the finest telephones you may nonetheless purchase in 2022. Its robust efficiency, nice software program additions, distinctive design and glorious digital camera system make it the most important rival to Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra. That is, till we see what Samsung’s subsequent flagship, the Galaxy S22, brings when it doubtlessly launches in February. With rumors for the S22 pointing to a brand new, sooner processor and upgraded digital camera specs. It could also be that the Pixel 6 Pro continues to be the nicer of the 2 telephones, however if you happen to’re searching for the newest, biggest in cellphone tech then it is a good suggestion to at the least wait a number of weeks to see what Samsung has to supply earlier than deciding both method. But the Pixel 6 Pro manages to supply its profitable combo of specs and design at a worth that truly undercuts its essential rivals. 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 desires for the bigger 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

    While final 12 months’s Pixel 5 was finest seen as a midrange cellphone with some higher-end touches, the Pixel 6 Pro is premium all the best way. From its glass and metallic design, to its high-resolution show and its excellent triple digital camera, there’s lots to love right here. Then there’s the Tensor processor — a chip custom-made by Google for the cellphone — which offers ample energy for all your day by 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
    See all images

    Its finest Android rival proper now’s the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra which does have some neat digital camera additions (that 10x zoom, for one factor) but it surely prices extra and the Pixel 6 Pro gives a extra user-friendly expertise. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max provide excellent all-round use, however come at the next worth and if you happen to’re already entrenched within the Android ecosystem, it is possible not value switching and shopping for all these apps once more.  Those searching for one of the best all-round Android expertise ought to completely look in the direction of the Pixel 6 Pro. But do keep in mind the Galaxy S22 could launch in February. 
    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 in an effort 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 moderately 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 a terrific cellphone that is effectively value contemplating. It offers lots of the identical perks of the Pixel 6 Pro at a a lot lower cost, particularly if you happen to do not care in regards to the top-end efficiency provided by the flagship. As my colleague Patrick Holland put it in his evaluate of the cellphone, “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 cellphone a extra funds really feel than its $699 price ticket advised. The Pixel 6 Pro is worlds aside. The rear is all glass — toughened Gorilla Glass Victus, in truth — 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 really flagship machine if you maintain it in your hand. It’s massive although, packing in a 6.7-inch show, which can 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 contemplate considered one of Google’s protecting instances if you happen to’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, which means it will probably stand up to being in 1 meter (about 3 ft) of water for as much as 30 minutes. No, that does not imply you may take it swimming, but it surely does imply it ought to be capable to shake off having the odd beer spilled over it by your clumsy mates.  An fascinating design alternative is the big digital camera bar that stretches throughout the again. It protrudes from the cellphone by about 3mm, so it would not lie completely flat if you put it on a desk, however nor does it rock from nook to nook like telephones with digital camera bumps simply on one facet (just like the S21 Ultra). I just like the look of the cellphone and it actually stands out. One tip although: Get the Sorta Sunny orangey-peachy coloration, if you will discover it in inventory. The black-and-gray possibility, Stormy Black, appears moderately uninteresting by comparability.  The digital camera strip protrudes from the cellphone 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 rapidly more often than not, though Patrick discovered the Pixel 6’s scanner to be way more hit or miss in his evaluate. There’s no face unlock skill, which is a little bit of a disgrace, however with masks nonetheless being a requirement in lots of indoor areas on account of COVID-19, having a fingerprint scanner is arguably extra helpful anyway.

    Discover the newest information and finest opinions in smartphones and carriers from CNET’s cell specialists.

    Three glorious cameras That massive bar on the again hides three cameras: a 12-megapixel ultrawide; a 48-megapixel telephoto that gives 4x optical zoom; and a essential digital camera 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 at all times been glorious, and this new technology isn’t any totally different. 

    Images from the primary digital camera lens are beautiful. They’re vibrant, they’re filled with element and there is an incredible stability of publicity, with vibrant skies stored below management and shadowy areas being simply seen.  Pixel 6 Pro, essential digital camera.
    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, essential digital camera.
    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 stability on the Pixel 6 Pro has resulted in a hotter, extra orange tone on the tree trunk, which I believe appears higher. You can see how the Pixel 6 Pro’s digital camera actually stacks up in opposition to the iPhone 13 Pro’s in my pictures shootout. Pixel 6 Pro, essential digital camera.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    This scene trying in the direction of the attractive Edinburgh fort is a difficult shot, with darkish shadows and an especially vibrant sky past the bushes. The Pixel 6 Pro has dealt with it effectively although, sustaining a beautiful publicity general. Pixel 6 Pro, essential digital camera.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    And it is a lot the identical right here, with vivid blue skies, excellent publicity and loads of element.  Pixel 6 Pro, ultrawide digital camera.
    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 general element, but it surely’s nonetheless a beautiful shot.  Pixel 6 Pro, ultrawide digital camera.
    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 gives a a lot wider view that allows you to seize extra within the scene. They’re each glorious extensive lenses and each do a terrific 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 because of its excessive decision sensor. I believe 4x is a good zoom degree for a cellphone as effectively; it permits you to discover compositions that might be past the attain of lesser zoom ranges, but it surely’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 lots on my travels and have already taken a number of 4x pictures with the cellphone that I’m actually happy with as creative 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 drive you to make any type of compromise on high quality in an effort 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 effectively for focusing your view on a smaller scene like this, capturing intimate little still-life scenes, moderately than grand, sweeping vistas. The nice textures on the leaves listed below are extraordinarily sharp.  Google has thrown some further options in too, together with a software that routinely removes folks from the background in a picture, which generally works effectively, and generally 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 pictures at nighttime.  Pixel 6 professional, Nightscape photograph.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    I’m critically impressed with the pictures talents of the Pixel 6 Pro and there is not any query that it is among the many finest cameras you will get on a cellphone proper now. Video high quality is great as effectively, with excellent dynamic vary, glorious picture stabilization and loads of element because of the 4K decision.  Does Google’s Tensor processor make a distinction? At the center of the cellphone is Google’s first home-baked processor, named Tensor. It’s a major transfer for Google to provide its personal silicon and it reveals a powerful dedication to stay within the {hardware} sport — in spite of everything, you do not go to the hassle of growing 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 another cellphone. 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 another top-end cellphone 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 check and 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme graphics check, the Pixel 6 Pro would not rating fairly as extremely because the iPhone 13 Pro, but it surely’s up there with the Galaxy S21 Ultra (and it edged out the highly effective OnePlus 9 Pro on the graphics check too). Benchmarks are under no circumstances a direct indicator of real-life efficiency, but it surely’s good to at the least see that Google’s new silicon is working in the identical ballpark as its rivals.  No, the Tensor chip is just not setting a brand new normal for lightning-fast efficiency. But it would not must; at the moment’s telephones already pack far more energy than any of us are more likely to want each day. Google’s push into chip manufacturing goes past merely making a “benchmark beater” and a number of the true advantages will come over time as the corporate develops extra methods to make the most of its personal {hardware}. The Tensor processor is especially designed with machine studying, AI and speech-recognition purposes 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 digital camera.  Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro run the newest Android 12 software program.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    Android 12 is beautiful to make use of The Android 12 interface is extraordinarily neat and simple to make use of. It’s my favourite model of Android to date, providing an uncomplicated expertise that even Android novices will not take lengthy to familiarize yourself with. One of the larger options that is (for now) unique to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro is the flexibility to create {custom} themes for the cellphone primarily based on no matter picture you’ve got 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 cellphone), the cellphone will routinely pick the dominant coloration and can use that, and its complementary colours, to alter the look of components of the interface, together with a number of the default Google app icons on the house display, such because the Play Store, Gmail and Photos. It’s a pleasant thought, though it in all probability should not be the primary motive you determine to half together with your money. Security has been given a selected push each on the software program and {hardware} facet. The Tensor processor has a devoted Titan coprocessor that apparently permits for a lot better on-device safety, whereas Android 12 gives extra granular management of your safety and privateness settings. That features a dashboard that reveals what apps have used what data just lately and helpful buttons within the pull-down notification tray that flip off system-wide entry to your digital camera and microphone.  Those quick-access privateness buttons may 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 can imply these telephones shall 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 newest safety patches on board then they’re vulnerable to every kind of hacking nastiness. From each a price and environmental perspective, having the ability to use our telephones safely for longer is just factor. Vibrant show, stable battery life and quick charging The Pixel 6 Pro’s 6.7-inch show is pin-sharp because of 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 if you’re enjoying fast-paced video games, but additionally slows right down to solely 10Hz when the cellphone is principally sitting idle. Performance if you want it; power-saving when you do not.  The Pixel 6 Pro and maybe its greatest rival, the iPhone 13 Pro.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    The cellphone runs on a 5,003-mAh battery, which must be good for a full day of combined 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 way of the day with it, however as with all telephones, you may assist it by retaining 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 equipped), which can take the cellphone to 50% full in 30 minutes. That’s first rate, however probably not a match for OnePlus’s 65-watt quick charging, which can absolutely cost the machine in the identical time. Still, it is quick sufficient to have the ability to give your cellphone a fast enhance 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 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

    6.5×3.0x0.4 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 (extensive), 12-megapixel ultrawide

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

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

    12-megapixel (extensive), 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 service 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 ranking 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 ranking 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; quick 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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