Google Pixel 6 evaluate: This cellphone is the whole lot I wished


Editor’s word, Nov. 18: The mixture of value, design, cameras, processor and software program make the Google Pixel 6 among the finest worth telephones you should purchase, which is why we have given it a CNET Editors’ Alternative Award. The unique evaluate follows.


The Pixel 6 exemplifies one of the best of what Google companies and Android 12 have to supply. A lot in order that I might declare that the Pixel 6 is essentially the most important 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 observe 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 maintaining the Pixel 6 at a midtier $599 value, which simply washes away the unhealthy style left by the understated Pixel 5

Learn extra: The Pixel 6 is about to go on sale at Goal for Black Friday

Earlier Pixel telephones have lived in that secure, quiet and crowded midtier house the place telephones value between $600 and $800. For most individuals, they had been good and generally nice telephones however lacked the luster, specs and enchantment of extra premium telephones from Samsung and Huawei.

Like

  • Two-tone design
  • Worth for the value
  • The principle digital camera is Google’s finest

Do not Like

  • Underneath-display fingerprint reader might be irritating
  • Battery life is nice, however arduous to get greater than a day
  • The ultrawide digital camera is respectable however not on the identical stage as the principle digital camera

So what’s the issue? Properly, briefly, Pixel telephones have not bought 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 to construct the cellphone as much as be extra profitable and interesting. It is like when the Bulls determined to construct a staff round Jordan to assist him win championships.

As a substitute of powering the cellphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Google made its personal chip: Tensor. This enables 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 special processor.

Google prolonged its three years of OS and safety updates to 5. Within 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 Improve program. It is known as Pixel Cross 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 the whole lot in, on and across the Pixel, is it prepared for its championship? (I promise that is the final Bulls reference.) In brief, sure.

That is the Pixel cellphone I all the time wished 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 can not consider a greater cellphone to suggest proper now.

For those who’re searching for an in-depth take a look at the Google Pixel 6 Professional, take a look at the evaluate my colleague Andy Hoyle wrote.

At $599, the Google Pixel 6 is among the finest telephones you should purchase.


Patrick Holland/CNET

The Pixel 6’s daring two-tone design makes me swoon

The 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, 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 nice, however the Pixel 6 Professional’s is best. 

The entrance is roofed in Gorilla Glass Victus. Underneath 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 must smash my finger into the display screen.

Google Pixel 6

My evaluate unit’s shade is known as Sorta Seafoam. The again under the digital camera bar is gentle grey however relying on the sunshine it could possibly look gentle blue.


Patrick Holland/CNET

The again is the place the cellphone’s design actually makes me swoon. It is product of Gorilla Glass 6 and has a two-tone shade scheme. My evaluate unit is Sorta Seafoam, which implies the underside of the again is type of gentle grey or type of gentle blue relying on the lighting. The highest again strip is a light-weight lime inexperienced, which contrasts properly towards the deep black of the digital camera bar. The general look of the Pixel 6 jogs my memory a tad of the Pixel 2 XL and its panda shade. 

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 ingredient; you’ll be able to put the Pixel 6 with out a case on a desk and it would not wobble.

General, the match and end are good. For those who seize a Pixel 6 Professional, which prices $300 extra, you’ll be able to see a number of small methods it feels extra premium than the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6 camera bar

The digital camera bar homes a most important wide-angle digital camera and an ultrawide-angle digital camera.


Patrick Holland/CNET

The Pixel 6 takes superb pictures

Out 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 improbable pictures. Let me instantly undercut that to remind you that that is nonetheless a cellphone. A mirrorless digital camera or DSLR can constantly take higher pictures in a wider vary of lighting and situations. However folks do not all the time have a mirrorless digital camera with them.

The Pixel 6 has two rear cameras: a most important digital camera with a wide-angle lens and a second digital camera with an ultrawide-angle lens. These are the very same large and ultrawide cameras discovered on the Pixel 6 Professional. The ultrawide digital camera presents 0.7x magnification as a substitute of the 0.6x magnification on the Pixel 5. General the ultrawide is nice however not nice. Particulars in pictures are OK however typically mushy.

Google Pixel 6 ultrawide

Underneath brilliant mushy lighting, the ultrawide can seize some respectable pictures.


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Google Pixel 6 ultrawide

Try the highlights within the flames.


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Google Pixel 6 ultrawide

The dynamic vary is respectable however restricted. 


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Google Pixel 6 ultrawide

In brilliant lighting, the ultrawide is able to good pores and skin tones.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Google Pixel 6 ultrawide

In medium to low-light conditions like right here, the ultrawide exhibits its limits.


Patrick Holland/CNET

There’s a noticeable step down in high quality going from the principle digital camera to the ultrawide. Check out the pictures under that I took of the Transamerica constructing in San Francisco.

I want the ultrawide digital camera had been wider. I desire the angle from the ultrawide cameras on the Galaxy S21 Extremely and iPhone 13 Professional extra. Try a comparability under.

The principle digital camera has a 50-megapixel sensor, which makes use of pixel binning to create 12.5-megapixel photos. Images from the Pixel 6 are superb. Particulars are nice.

Google Pixel 6 main camera

The colours and readability on this picture are glorious and correct.


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Google Pixel 6 main camera

For a cellphone, the Pixel 6 has a wonderful dynamic vary.


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Google Pixel 6 camera portrait mode

Have a look at the colours and element of this matcha ice cream cone.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Google Pixel 6 main camera

One other instance of the Pixel dealing with a large dynamic vary effectively.


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Google Pixel 6 main camera

Discover the distinction of the main points in direct daylight and people within the shadows.


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Google Pixel 6 main camera

Textures look excellent. Try the paint brush marks on the previous hearth hydrant.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Google Pixel 6 main camera

I like how the Pixel captured the feel of the fur on every canine.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Google Pixel 6 main camera

In medium and low gentle, I seen 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 bought right this moment.


Patrick Holland/CNET

There are such a lot of Pixel 6 digital camera modes and instruments

Google’s Tensor chip permits for much more digital camera modes and instruments. There’s Night time Sight, Google’s model of mixing a number of photos collectively when it is too darkish. It is glorious on the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6 Night Sight

I just like the dramatic manner Night time Sight renders pictures.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Google Pixel 6 Night Sight

This Night time Sight picture was taken with the ultrawide digital camera.


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Google Pixel 6 Night Sight

In actual life, this was just about all in shadow except for the sunshine and home windows.


Patrick Holland/CNET

There’s the brand new Movement mode, which has two choices: Motion Pan and Lengthy Publicity. Motion Pan offers the background of a photograph a dramatic movement blur. It is enjoyable. It isn’t going to reinvent pictures nevertheless it’s fairly enjoyable to make use of.

Google Pixel 6 Action Pan

Motion Pan can take what may be an in any other case bizarre picture and add pizzazz.


Patrick Holland/CNET

The second Movement mode is Lengthy Publicity, which mimics a long-exposure picture. There are apps that do one thing related however I bought some respectable gentle trails from site visitors and a few silklike water from a fountain. Once more, it is enjoyable. It would not substitute doing long-exposure pictures on a devoted digital camera.

Google Pixel 6 Long Exposure

Google’s Movement mode for Lengthy Publicity works effectively sufficient. It is much like changing a Stay Photograph in iOS to Lengthy Publicity.


Patrick Holland/CNET

However that is not all. Google offers you a neat software known as Magic Eraser. It enables you to decide an object, an individual or part of a photograph to take away. You may get to this software in one among two methods. In Images, you may see a suggestion about eradicating folks within the background. Or once you go to edit, faucet on Instruments to disclose the function.

Magic Eraser finds and determine the silhouettes of individuals within the background. You too can use your finger to color out the half you need gone. General it really works effectively, nevertheless it’s removed from excellent. Generally I bought completely superb outcomes like eradicating folks from the picture under of a pedestrian walkway — although on nearer inspection, you’ll be able to see the blurry patches the place elements of the picture had been eliminated.

Different 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 proper.

There are such a lot of extra digital camera options that I wasn’t capable of spotlight on this evaluate, like Face UnBlur. However CNET may have an much more in-depth take a look at the Pixel 6 cameras quickly.

The Pixel 6 digital camera treats complexions extra equitably

One enchancment Google talked about was Actual Tone, which was a serious rethink and exploration about how pictures, particularly Google’s algorithms and engineers, deal with folks with totally different complexions. I nonetheless need to discover this function extra, however the pictures I took of associates, co-workers and different folks with darker complexions look good, even when they don’t seem to be beneath essentially the most flattering gentle. Typically 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.

Google Pixel 6 Real Tone

That is one among my favourite pictures I took with the Pixel 6.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Google Pixel 6 Real Tone

Even beneath harsh fluorescent lighting, Laban’s pores and skin appears good.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Google Pixel 6 Real Tone

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

Under 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 stated the Pixel 6 handles stray gentle higher. See the way it did towards a photograph taken with the iPhone 13 under.

The variations between the 2 pictures 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’ll be able to actually discover this in his arms.

Movies from the Pixel 6 are higher and selfies are simply OK

The Pixel 6 information one of the best video from any Pixel cellphone. Particulars and shade accuracy are higher. By way of evaluating the picture high quality between pictures and movies, there’s a smaller distinction than there was on prior Pixels. Do not get me mistaken, pictures are nonetheless the power of the Pixel.

When recording video in medium and low gentle, picture noise is fairly obvious. Additionally, the enhancements Actual Tone brings to pictures are unmatched with how movies deal with totally different complexions. Have a look 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 Professional has a wider selfie digital camera that may report 4K. Selfies pictures from the Pixel 6 are good however in medium and low gentle begin to look noisy.

Google Pixel 6 selfie camera

Here’s a Portrait mode selfie from the Pixel 6.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Google Pixel 6 selfie camera

My colleague Lexy took this low-light selfie. The standard is OK, however general there’s a contact of movement blur.


Lexy Savvides/CNET

The Pixel 6 is outlined by Google’s Tensor chip

The 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 Professional. As a substitute, it runs on Google’s Tensor processor. It is 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 easy and it handles video games effectively.

By way of efficiency benchmark assessments, the Tensor chip would not set any new information. In actual fact 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

Notice:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

GEEKBENCH V.5.0 MULTICORE

Notice:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

3DMARK SLINGSHOT UNLIMITED

Notice:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Google quotes a day on a totally charged battery and in common use I might say that’s correct. However in heavy use, like capturing numerous pictures and movies, it had a battery lifetime of extra like three-quarters of a day. Throughout 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 stable on the Pixel 6

The Pixel 6 runs Android 12 and it is in all probability essentially the most underrated facet of the cellphone. Android 12 is a delight to make use of. I like the massive apparent buttons and sliders. The general look of Android 12 is welcoming and prioritizes readability over animations. I like that its system colours can match and complement my cellphone’s wallpaper.

Google Pixel 6 Android 12

The Pixel 6 runs Android 12 and even has a handful of particular options.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Android 12 mixed with the Tensor processor gives 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 a number 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 grasp 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-Cellular and Verizon right here in San Francisco. The Pixel 6 helps sub-6 5G. There are particular service variations of the Pixel 6 that additionally help mmWave 5G and begin at $699 as a substitute of $599.

Google Pixel 6 battery

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 ways

With all the upgrades to software program and {hardware}, you must surprise if that will probably be sufficient to make the Pixel 6 profitable. And that is actually the one factor I can not reply. I can say that is one of the best cellphone Google has ever constructed. As tempting because the Pixel 6 is, for $300 extra you’ll be able to improve to the marginally extra premium Pixel 6 Professional, which provides a telephoto digital camera; a 6.7-inch show with curved edges, a better decision and excessive refresh fee; extra RAM; an ultrawideband chip and Gorilla Glass Victus on the again. However when you’ve got $600 and are searching for a brand new cellphone, the Pixel 6 is my suggestion.

Google Pixel 6 specs vs. Google Pixel 6 Professional, Google Pixel 5, Apple iPhone 13

Google Pixel 6 Google Pixel 6 Professional Google Pixel 5 Apple iPhone 13
Show 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) 158.6×74.8×8.9mm 163.9×75.9×8.9mm 144.7×70.4x8mm 147x72x7.65mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 7.3 oz; 207g 7.41 oz; 210g 5.33 oz; 151g 6.14 oz; 174g
Cellular software program Android 12 Android 12 Android 11 iOS 15
Digital camera 50-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel ultrawide 50-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 48-megapixel (telephoto) 12.2-megapixel (commonplace), 16-megapixel (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Entrance-facing digital camera 8-megapixel 11-megapixel 8-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video seize 4K 30, 60fps (rear), 1,080p 30fps (entrance) 4K 30, 60fps (rear), 4K 30fps (entrance) 4K HDR video recording with Dolby Imaginative and prescient as much as 4K at 60fps
Processor Google Tensor Google Tensor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Apple A15 Bionic
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM 8GB 12GB 8GB Undisclosed
Expandable storage No No No No
Battery 4,614 mAh 5,003 mAh 4,000 mAh Undisclosed; Apple lists 19 hours of video playback
Fingerprint sensor Underneath show Underneath show Rear No (Face ID)
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Particular options 5G sub-6 (some service fashions even have 5G mmWave) help, Wi-Fi 6E, 30W fast-charging, wi-fi charging, Magic Eraser, Movement mode, Actual 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, Extremely-wideband, 30W fast-charging, wi-fi charging, Magic Eraser, Movement mode, Actual 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; fast-charging 5G enabled; MagSafe; water resistant (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)
Worth off-contract (USD) $599 (128GB) $899 (128GB) $699 $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB), $1,099 (512GB)
Worth (GBP) £599 (128GB) £849 (128GB) £599 £779 (128GB), £879 (256GB), £1,079 (512GB)
Worth (AUD) AU$999 (128GB) AU$1,299 (128GB) AU$999 AU$1,349 (128GB), AU$1,519 (256GB), AU$1,869 (512GB)



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