Pixel 6 Pro review: Google’s flagship phone is a proper iPhone rival

    The Pixel 6 Pro is the perfect cellphone Google has ever made, together with each function you’d need in a flagship 2021 gadget. The PIxel 6 Pro showcases sturdy 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 value. 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 value 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 yr’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 steel design, to its high-resolution show and its very good triple digicam, there’s so much to love right here. Then there’s the Tensor processor — a chip custom-made by Google for the cellphone — which offers ample energy for your entire every day wants, higher security measures, 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 seems to be
    See all images

    Its finest Android rival is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra which does have some neat digicam additions (that 10x zoom, for one factor) however it prices extra and the Pixel 6 Pro gives a extra user-friendly expertise. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max provide very good all-round use, however come at a better value and should you’re already entrenched within the Android ecosystem, it is doubtless not price switching and shopping for all these apps once more.  Those in search of the perfect all-round Android expertise ought to completely look in the 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 couple of compromises it makes with a purpose to come to that cheaper value. 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 slightly 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 awesome cellphone that is nicely price contemplating. It offers most of the similar perks of the Pixel 6 Pro at a a lot cheaper price, particularly should you do not care concerning the top-end efficiency supplied 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 yr’s Pixel 5. The matte, rubberized again gave the cellphone a extra finances really feel than its $699 price ticket instructed. 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 fulfill 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 gadget once 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 among Google’s protecting instances should you’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 might probably face up to being in 1 meter (about 3 ft) of water for as much as 30 minutes. No, that does not imply you’ll be able to take it swimming, however it 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 digicam bar that stretches throughout the again. It protrudes from the cellphone by about 3mm, so it does not lie completely flat once you put it on a desk, however nor does it rock from nook to nook like telephones with digicam 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 shade, if you will discover it in inventory. The black-and-gray choice, Stormy Black, seems to be slightly uninteresting by comparability.  The digicam 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 rather more hit or miss in his evaluate. There’s no face unlock capability, which is a little bit of a disgrace, however with masks nonetheless being a requirement in lots of indoor areas because of 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 gentle than the Pixel 5. The cameras on the Pixel telephones have all the time been wonderful, and this new era is not any completely different. 

    Images from the principle digicam lens are gorgeous. They’re vibrant, they’re full of element and there is a tremendous stability of publicity, with vibrant skies stored below 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 stability on the Pixel 6 Pro has resulted in a hotter, extra orange tone on the tree trunk, which I believe seems to be higher. You can see how the Pixel 6 Pro’s digicam actually stacks up towards the iPhone 13 Pro’s in my images shootout. Pixel 6 Pro, primary digicam.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    This scene wanting in the direction of the gorgeous Edinburgh fortress 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 beautiful publicity general. 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 general element, however it’s nonetheless a beautiful 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 gives a a lot wider view that allows you to seize extra within the scene. They’re each wonderful broad lenses and each do an awesome job in packing in these stunning colours, however I’d prefer to have seen the Pixel providing a barely wider scene. The 4x zoom lens is wonderful too, offering tons of element because of its excessive decision sensor. I believe 4x is a superb zoom degree for a cellphone as nicely; it lets you discover compositions that will be past the attain of lesser zoom ranges, however it’s not fairly as restrictive because the 10x zoom you will discover on the Galaxy S21. It’s a zoom degree I really feel I’d use so much on my travels and have already taken a couple 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 very 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 useful as nicely for focusing your view on a smaller scene like this, capturing intimate little still-life scenes, slightly than grand, sweeping vistas. The advantageous textures on the leaves listed here are extraordinarily sharp.  Google has thrown some additional options in too, together with a device that robotically removes folks 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 pictures at the hours of darkness.  Pixel 6 professional, Nightscape photograph.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    I’m critically impressed with the images skills of the Pixel 6 Pro and there isn’t any query that it is among the many finest cameras you may get on a cellphone proper now. Video high quality is great as nicely, with very good dynamic vary, wonderful 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 big transfer for Google to supply its personal silicon and it exhibits 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 capabilities similar to every other 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 every other top-end cellphone proper now.  Pixel 6 Pro benchmark assessments

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

    On benchmark assessments 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, however 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 in no way a direct indicator of real-life efficiency, however 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 isn’t setting a brand new commonplace for lightning-fast efficiency. But it does not must; at this time’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 plenty 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 capabilities 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 by way of the digicam.  Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro run the newest Android 12 software program.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    Android 12 is gorgeous 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 this point, 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 based mostly 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 robotically pick the dominant shade and can use that, and its complementary colours, to alter the look of elements 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 principle purpose you determine to half together with your money. Security has been given a specific push each on the software program and {hardware} facet. The Tensor processor has a devoted Titan coprocessor that apparently permits for significantly better on-device safety, whereas Android 12 gives extra granular management of your safety and privateness settings. That features a dashboard that exhibits what apps have used what data just lately and useful 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 newest safety patches on board then they’re inclined to every kind of hacking nastiness. From each a value and environmental perspective, having the ability to use our telephones safely for longer is simply 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 charge that may go as much as 120Hz once you’re taking part in fast-paced video games, but additionally slows right down to solely 10Hz when the cellphone is mainly sitting idle. Performance once 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 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 additional 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’ll be able to assist it by protecting 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 cellphone to 50% full in 30 minutes. That’s first rate, however probably not a match for OnePlus’s 65-watt quick charging, which is able to totally cost the gadget 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 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 (broad), 12-megapixel ultrawide

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

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

    12-megapixel (broad), 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) 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; 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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