Google Pixel 6 Professional overview: The most effective Android smartphone?


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The Google Pixel 6 Professional is considered top-of-the-line (if not the greatest) Android smartphones at present obtainable, and that’s a really daring assertion. Whereas many argue it gives the most effective Android expertise you may get, others have highlighted contrasting viewpoints which spotlight quite a few bugs and stability points the gadget is plagued with. This is applicable to the usual Pixel 6 as nicely, however I don’t have any expertise with that gadget.

What I do have expertise with is the Pixel 6 Professional, and I’ve been utilizing it for the previous week and a half. This telephone, priced at $899, matches the mould for what I’ve wished from a Pixel telephone for years. A high-end design, a customized processor that competes instantly with Qualcomm’s newest and biggest, upgraded digicam {hardware}, and a silky easy model of Android. A minimum of on paper, this telephone sounds prefer it could possibly be a smash hit.

Throughout my overview course of, one query saved coming to thoughts: is that this actually the most effective telephone the Android market has to supply? In all honesty, I’m actually undecided. It’s a very compelling bundle, one that you just’ll doubtless take pleasure in should you do ultimately purchase it. Nonetheless, sure areas fall flat the place they shouldn’t, and the bugs folks speak about are undoubtedly current.

On no account is the Pixel 6 Professional an ideal Android smartphone, but it surely’s surprisingly shut.

Design

The factor that actually struck me in regards to the Pixel 6 Professional is how nicely it’s designed. Google, for what looks like the primary time within the Pixel telephone’s whole historical past, didn’t maintain again this era by way of appears. The corporate’s very first Professional-grade smartphone is a stunner irrespective of the way you take a look at it, particularly within the Cloud White end.

The whole lot from the chrome steel rails to the satisfyingly clicky buttons make for an expertise that may be summed up in two phrases: flagship-level. For years, the Pixel hasn’t garnered a lot consideration within the appears division just because Google didn’t make the telephones engaging. They have been rather more utilitarian than shiny objects you possibly can admire. This time round, the corporate flipped the script and delivered one thing worthy of displaying off.

To distinguish itself from the competitors, Google determined to take the concept of a digicam bump and make it an enormous bar that spans throughout the again of the telephone. It’s very harking back to the Nexus 6P from 2015, and it’s probably the most distinctive a part of the Pixel 6 Professional’s design.

I truly suppose I favor it over conventional bumps like on the iPhone, primarily as a result of it sits flush on tabletops so your telephone doesn’t rock while you textual content. Some may be turned off by its considerably polarizing look, but it surely’s not such as you’ll be it typically. I’m a fan of the look, particularly because it provides Google the chance to have a two-tone end on the again.

The dimensions of the Pixel 6 Professional can simply be a problem for folks. In any case, it has a 6.7-inch show. Whereas it’s undoubtedly larger than I sometimes favor, it’s not terribly massive the place it’s straight-up not possible to make use of with one hand. I’ve barely bigger than common arms, and using the notorious phone-shimmy to succeed in the highest of the display isn’t a problem. Nonetheless, should you’re not a fan of huge telephones, you in all probability received’t admire this one.

My largest gripe with the Pixel 6 Professional’s construct is simply how rattling slippery it’s. This telephone desires to slip out of each pocket I put it on, slip down each mushy floor I set it on, and slip out of my chapped arms each probability it will get. Fortunately, not lengthy into my overview, Spigen despatched over a field of their instances for me to take a look at. I’ve been utilizing their Liquid Air case which is low-profile and provides much-needed grip to the gadget. I’m undoubtedly a fan of this case, and should you’re cool with a normal black end, it is best to choose it up. (Be aware that Spigen didn’t sponsor this overview in any method – I genuinely like their merchandise.)

The remainder of the Pixel 6 Professional’s design isn’t a lot to write down house about. There’s a USB-C port on the underside, loads of plastic-coated antennas for 5G, and a hole-punch cutout for the selfie digicam.

Show, Fingerprints, & Audio system

What is value writing house about is the show. The Pixel 6 Professional sports activities a 6.7-inch 3120×1440 AMOLED panel which has nice coloration copy, readability, and brightness at round 500 nits. My favourite half is the 120Hz refresh fee which makes all the things silky easy. I’ve mentioned it earlier than and I’ll say it once more: if it has 120Hz, there’s a very good probability I’ll be shopping for it.

To the aversion of some, the 6 Professional comes with curved edges which make the facet bezels appear smaller than they are surely. Past aesthetics, there’s no perform to the curves, and I’m truly barely confused as to why they’re right here within the first place. Many customers have voiced their displeasure for curved edges, citing unintentional display touches on account of poor palm rejection in addition to shadowing on both edge when watching full-screen movies. The shadowing impact is tough to keep away from (thanks, legal guidelines of physics), and I’ve seen it myself when watching content material on the gadget. Nonetheless, I didn’t have any points with palm rejection.

One other space the place customers have expressed frustration with the Pixel 6 Professional’s display is beneath it. There, you’ll discover the gadget’s solely biometric safety choice: a fingerprint sensor. In contrast to Samsung’s telephones which use ultrasonic sensors, Google’s implementation makes use of an optical reader which is slower and fewer correct. After a couple of software program updates, the corporate has been in a position to enhance the standard of the sensor itself, however in my testing, it’s nonetheless fairly hit-or-miss.

When you’ve got something in your finger (whether or not it’s filth, pure oils, or sweat), there’s a robust probability the reader merely received’t acknowledge your print. I assume it will be even worse if I took it kayaking and tried to unlock it whereas my thumb was coated in salt water. Backside line, it’s in no way a fantastic in-display fingerprint sensor.

I’d additionally like to say the audio system on the Pixel 6 Professional. They’re superb, so good that they’re in a position to rival Apple’s audio system on the iPhone. You get an inexpensive quantity of low-end with out a lot distortion at excessive volumes. If you could find these two qualities in a set of stereo telephone audio system, you’ve acquired a winner, and the 6 Professional is unquestionably a winner on this case.

Google Tensor & Efficiency

The Pixel 6 Professional is all-new on the surface, certain, however maybe probably the most notable “new” factor within the gadget is Google’s Tensor processor. It’s the corporate’s first in-house SoC (system-on-a-chip) and sends the strongest sign within the Android market that Qualcomm isn’t as elementary to delivering a fantastic smartphone expertise as as soon as believed.

Constructed at the side of Samsung, the Tensor chip permits Google to have rather more granular management over {hardware} optimization for its software program, enabling extra superior options whereas sustaining effectivity and efficiency.

It’s just like the components Apple has adopted for years with its A-series chips for the iPhone, that are broadly considered a few of the best-performing processors in the marketplace. So naturally, the query on everybody’s thoughts is whether or not Google’s chip can compete with the newest A15 Bionic or Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888. As many different reviewers have mentioned, it certainly can.

That’s to not say it’s a 1:1 comparability to both chip. The Snapdragon 888 is confirmed to be much less highly effective than the A15 regardless of it remaining a lot highly effective, and Tensor falls barely behind each of them. Nonetheless, solely while you run benchmark checks will you discover these variations. In day-to-day operation, I couldn’t inform the distinction between any of them.

For context, at the side of the Pixel 6 Professional, I’ve used Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Apple’s iPhone 13 Professional. I’ve switched between the units to see if I might spot any notable distinction in efficiency, and I actually couldn’t. All three are very quick, fluid, and able to dealing with something I threw at them.

That is spectacular since my expectations for Tensor have been comparatively excessive. Google has spoken very extremely of the chip in its advertising citing its developments in machine studying, safety, and efficiency. To see it handle related day-to-day efficiency as extra established chips is a feat that’s not solely spectacular, however vital for the Pixel line as an entire. This chip was a giant gamble for Google, and for it to excel within the efficiency class is a giant win.

The processor isn’t alone in delivering nice efficiency, both. Google included 12GB of RAM on the Pixel 6 Professional, a primary for any Pixel telephone. And that’s the story of this gadget’s specs: Google lastly went all-in. After years of taking part in issues conservatively, it’s now simply gone forward and included twelve complete gigabytes of RAM in a telephone, as much as half a terabyte of storage, an enormous battery, and so on.

That is what I’ve been asking Google to do for years. Add premium {hardware}, make it look as attractive because the competitors, and worth it accordingly. A minimum of in relation to efficiency, the corporate did precisely that.

Clearly, normal efficiency doesn’t inform the entire Tensor story. It additionally helps energy lots of Google’s machine learning- and AI-based options just like the Google Assistant, voice typing, dictation, digicam processing, and safety.

In apply, all of that is true. The Google Assistant is blazing quick, typing together with your voice and dictation within the Recorder app are scarily correct, reside language translations can be found in additional apps, the digicam is able to extra sophisticated images and videography (extra on that later), and the brand new Tensor safety core paired with the Titan M2 chip and TrustZone give the telephone “probably the most layers of {hardware} safety in any telephone.”

Notably, none of those options are mind-blowing or smartphone revolution-driven. Somewhat, they concentrate on high quality of life elements of the gadget to reinforce the expertise and make the Pixel telephone distinctive. I used to be curious as as to if any of the enhancements Google touts within the AI and ML sectors of Tensor can be noticeable, and I’m completely happy to report they’re.

Android 12

Working on the Pixel 6 Professional is Google’s massive Android 12 launch, one of the crucial vital upgrades to the Android working system since its inception. It comes with the corporate’s Materials You person interface, smooth animations, and a revitalized view of what it means to make use of an Android telephone.

Paired with the massive 120Hz show and spectacular efficiency of Tensor, I’ve discovered Android 12 to be nothing however pleasant to make use of. It takes a minute to get used to with its extra ethereal UI components, but it surely’s undoubtedly a stable improve from Android 11 and makes the Pixel 6 Professional really feel extra pleasant to make use of. I particularly like how the accent coloration will be primarily based on the wallpaper you choose, offering a constant theme throughout the OS to raised replicate your character.

There are some quirks I’ve discovered with the brand new OS, notably in relation to Google Pay and toggling Wi-Fi. You must soar right into a separate menu to disable Wi-Fi from the Web shortcut in Fast Settings, and there’s no simple option to fireplace up Google Pay with the press of a button. These are the one two areas of Android 12 that I discovered have been higher in Android 11, however neither are dealbreakers by any means.

By far, the largest benefit to this software program are the early upgrades you’ll obtain. Google’s Pixel telephones are all the time first in line for the newest updates to Android, and the Pixel 6 sequence doesn’t change that. Google additionally says it’ll assist the Pixel 6 sequence for 5 years by way of software program updates, though you’ll solely obtain three 12 months’s value of main system upgrades (all different updates will come within the type of safety patches). Regardless, that is significantly better than the earlier three-year restrict Google used to inflict on its handsets when it got here to software program assist.

Digital camera

For the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional, Google has lastly moved away from the traditional 12.2MP Sony IMX363 predominant digicam it’s been utilizing for the reason that 2018 Pixel 3, changing it with a brand new 50MP Samsung GN1 sensor together with an upgraded 12MP ultra-wide lens. In the meantime, the Professional will get an all-new 48MP 104mm telephoto lens with 4x optical zoom. Each telephones acquired an 11.1MP selfie digicam.

With this quantity of recent {hardware} paired with Google’s developments in post-processing, expectations couldn’t have been increased for these cameras main as much as their launch. Would they be higher than the iPhone 13 Professional, broadly considered the most effective digicam system in the marketplace? Will Google lastly attain Samsung’s degree of digicam {hardware} versatility? May the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional retake the crown for the most effective smartphone digicam?

So far as I’m involved, none of that occurred. As a substitute, we acquired a digicam system that’s constant and higher than previous Pixels, however received’t be taking the throne from any of the main smartphone cameras, which is sort of a disgrace.

Google’s post-processing performs a giant function within the aesthetic of photographs taken with the Pixel 6 Professional. Colours are vibrant with punchy contrasts as well, very similar to many different Pixel telephones that got here earlier than it. The 50MP predominant digicam makes use of pixel binning to supply extra traditionally-sized 12MP photos which mix in further element captured by the bigger sensor. The outcomes are images that really feel a bit sharper and higher-end, in a method, in comparison with previous Pixels. You additionally get a number of pure depth of area for the reason that 50MP sensor is so massive.

In the meantime, the ultra-wide lens takes general high quality down a couple of notches, producing softer photos in comparison with the primary lens and never providing as broad an angle as rivals at 117-degrees. The telephoto digicam, I discovered, was notably helpful with its 4x optical zoom. Even zooming to 20x hybrid zoom isn’t dangerous, but it surely’s clearly no 100x Area Zoom like on the Galaxy S21 Extremely.

Nonetheless, these photos aren’t exempt from the downfalls of Google’s images practices. When taking pictures in conditions that demand good HDR efficiency (e.g. an alley), the Pixel 6 Professional tends to carry shadows up and highlights down a bit an excessive amount of, resulting in photographs that come off as unnatural. The identical factor occurs when taking pictures in low-light, the place all the things will get an pointless publicity enhance. I included an instance of this beneath, the place full auto mode produced the photograph on the left whereas I manually adjusted the publicity earlier than capturing the photograph on the proper.

In comparison with different telephones just like the iPhone 13 Professional, the Pixel 6 Professional tends to oversaturate colours like reds and blues. This leads to inaccurate magentas and ultra-vibrant blues that look extra like what come out of lower-end Samsung telephones than previous Pixels.

With the obtainable {hardware} on the Pixel 6 Professional, one wouldn’t suppose Google must overcompensate within the post-processing division because it tends to. As a result of it does, it’s led to the overall opinion that the Pixel 6 Professional isn’t pretty much as good as many thought it will be, which in impact provides a leg as much as Apple and Samsung for persevering with to supply the most effective smartphone cameras you may get.

That’s to not say the Pixel 6 Professional takes dangerous photographs. I wanna be abundantly clear right here: this telephone takes implausible photos, whether or not you’re taking pictures in direct daylight or pitch-black darkness. Nonetheless, over the previous couple of years, Apple and Samsung have raised the bar for what it means to have a flagship smartphone digicam system, and the Pixel stays slightly below that bar. Not dangerous by any means, simply not as wonderful.

See additionally

Within the video division, Google didn’t make a lot progress this era. It applies the identical HDR results it does to images due to the horsepower in Tensor, and there’s lastly 4K/60fps assist. However in comparison with the Pixel 5, I didn’t see any main steps ahead by way of high quality that might immediate me to say “the iPhone has a brand new competitor for king of smartphone video.”

The place the Pixel 6 Professional has an edge over the competitors is its software-based options which might be additionally powered by Tensor. By far, my favourite one is Magic Eraser which might erase undesirable objects or topics out of your photographs with ease. It’s clearly not as succesful as eradicating objects or topics in an expert photograph editor like Photoshop, however for what it’s value, it’s a nifty software to have obtainable.

Google additionally contains Motion Pan and Lengthy Publicity, two separate modes discovered within the “Movement” tab within the digicam app which might replicate these kinds of photographs with a press of the shutter button. These options are all very enjoyable to play with and have been the spotlight of my expertise utilizing the Pixel 6 Professional’s cameras.

Battery

I want I might sit right here and write about how insane the battery lifetime of the Pixel 6 Professional is. In any case, this telephone has an enormous 5,003mAh cell inside it. I understand the display’s massive and quick, however I anticipated the processor to deal with effectivity notably nicely. Sadly, it doesn’t.

Granted, the Pixel 6 Professional can final a full day. That’s not an issue. However when you will have a 5,003mAh battery, you sort of anticipate to eek out two full days of utilization. As a substitute, the telephone’s solely able to one, with the gadget frequently draining to 35-40 % earlier than I hit the sack.

To place this into context, the iPhone 13 Professional Max and its 4,352mAh battery is persistently confirmed to final at the least two full days on a single cost. It has a equally sized 6.7-inch show with a barely decrease decision and extra highly effective chip, but nonetheless manages to punch above its weight in relation to battery life.

By no stretch of the creativeness is the Pixel 6 Professional a failure at endurance, but it surely struggles to maintain up with the massive canine.

The Pixel 6 Professional comes with quick charging, but it surely’s been confirmed that it may’t fairly attain the 30W Google says it may. The telephone additionally doesn’t include a wall adapter within the field, requiring you to both buy a brand new one for $25 or use one you have already got. It’s for a similar cause Apple and Samsung started omitting the brick from their telephone packing containers: an environmental effort to cut back waste and ship telephones extra effectively. Regardless, it’s nonetheless a little bit of an inconvenience.

You additionally get wi-fi charging at as much as 23W, however that requires you to purchase a second-generation Pixel Stand which retails for $79. I’ve been utilizing one with my Pixel 6 Professional, and I’ll be publishing my full ideas on CNN Underscored. I’ll hyperlink again to that overview as soon as it’s reside.

Bugs

The Pixel 6 Professional isn’t an ideal telephone, and that’s been confirmed by the cameras, battery life, and fingerprint reader. However a sure controversy surrounding the gadget stands as one more reason you would possibly take into account not shopping for it: bugs.

It’s not a brand new Pixel telephone if there isn’t a set of surprising software program bugs or efficiency hiccups. Like clockwork, Google appears to all the time slip up a bit with the rollout of its newest Pixel whether or not it’s a display situation, a battery life blunder, or a sticky software program state of affairs. The 6 Professional, for instance, has been accused of many alternative issues from random app crashes to critical show failures, a few of which have been patched in updates that arrived quickly after the gadget went on sale.

In my very own expertise, I’ve seen some bizarre issues occur. There have been a couple of occasions the Google Assistant would set off with out me prompting it to, and the keyboard would pop up with no typable textual content field for miles. The refresh fee would additionally frequently drop to 60Hz whereas I used to be scrolling, which makes its sometimes easy expertise really feel extremely uneven.

One in every of my largest points with the telephone is the sluggish digicam app, which is by far probably the most inconvenient. I’ve been coping with Pixel digicam apps for years and their reluctancy to carry out at their greatest, however I really feel like this specific digicam app shouldn’t be as sluggish as it’s. This can be a model new telephone with a customized processor from Google, customized software program from Google, and customized firmware optimizations from Google. How the corporate didn’t acknowledge any points with the app earlier than transport the telephones is past me, as a result of it’s very weird.

We’re speaking two to 3 seconds for the app to open; stutters just about each time I attempt to swap the lenses; and winter solstice molasses in relation to viewing {a photograph} I simply took and, shortly afterward, returning to the viewfinder. It’s disappointing, to say the least, to see one of these efficiency from such a high-end smartphone’s digicam.

Thankfully, I didn’t expertise any random system failures, reboots, or UI crashes throughout my testing, but it surely’s clear to me that the software program isn’t as polished correctly. The month-to-month safety patch updates for the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional can’t come quickly sufficient – Google actually must iron out these bugs.

Conclusion

Trying previous the bugs, let’s reply the query: is the Pixel 6 Professional the most effective Android smartphone?

The quick reply? No. The Pixel 6 Professional is a superb smartphone, nonetheless. Its massive display, quick efficiency, good battery life, and nice digicam high quality make for a tool definitely value shopping for, and its $899 worth level helps should you’re deciding between it and one thing dearer.

By definition, some might argue the Pixel 6 sequence are the most effective Android telephones you should buy due to them being first in line for main Android upgrades. However in order for you probably the most polished and steady smartphone, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

For everybody else, I actually do suppose you’ll benefit from the Pixel 6 Professional. It’s certainly one of my favourite telephones I’ve ever reviewed, regardless of the annoying efficiency and stability points. Google actually has a pleasant bundle right here.

If Google can repair the bugs I and plenty of others have reported (and there’s no assure of that), I’ll rethink it for the “greatest Android telephone you should buy” title. In any other case, it’ll stay in my thoughts as a “nice Android telephone with some points.”

The most effective Android smartphone?

With quick efficiency, nice cameras, good battery life, and wonderful software program, the Pixel 6 Professional does sufficient proper to be a stable different to the iPhones and Galaxies of the world, but it surely’s shortcomings hinder its possibilities of being the most effective Android telephone obtainable.

Professionals

Glorious 120Hz show

Nice cameras

Google Tensor exceeds expectations

Cons

Fingerprint sensor is sluggish

Software program bugs far too frequent

Battery life is nice, however ought to be higher



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