Tech

Google Pixel 6 Pro review: Finally, a proper iPhone rival

The Pixel 6 Professional has the whole lot you’d search for in a 2021 flagship cellphone. It is the very best cellphone Google has ever made, showcasing sturdy efficiency, some nice software program additions, a singular design and an excellent camera 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 desires for the bigger 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Professional Max. 

Like

  • Wonderful cameras
  • Stable all-round efficiency
  • Neat Android 12 interface
  • Enticing design

Do not Like

  • Battery is sweet, however not nice
  • Quick cost is not all that quick
  • No face unlock

Whereas final 12 months’s Pixel 5 was finest seen as a midrange cellphone with some higher-end touches, the Pixel 6 Professional is premium all the way in which. From its glass and steel design, to its high-resolution show and its excellent 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 day by day wants, higher security measures, 5G connectivity and a slick Android 12 interface. Battery life is sweet — definitely above common — however not nice, with the iPhone 13 Professional placing in a stronger efficiency.

Its finest Android rival is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra which does have some neat digicam additions (that 10x zoom, for one factor) nevertheless it prices extra and the Pixel 6 Professional gives a extra user-friendly expertise. The iPhone 13 Professional and Professional Max supply excellent all-round use, however come at a better value and in case you’re already entrenched within the Android ecosystem, it is doubtless not price switching and shopping for all these apps once more. 

These searching for the very best all-round Android expertise ought to completely look in direction of the Pixel 6 Professional. 

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Pixel 6 Professional or Pixel 6?

The stepdown $599 (£599, AU$999) Pixel 6 packs the identical Tensor processor and wonderful Android 12 software program for $300 lower than the Professional, however there are just a few compromises it makes in an effort to come to that cheaper value.

It has a smaller and decrease decision 6.4-inch show that lacks the curving finesse of the Professional. Its battery is smaller, it has 8GB fairly than 12GB of RAM and it lacks the 4x telephoto zoom lens discovered on the Professional. 

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The Pixel 6 Professional has a 6.7-inch show whereas the Pixel 6’s measures 6.4 inches.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

However it’s nonetheless an awesome cellphone that is effectively price contemplating. It offers most of the similar perks of the Pixel 6 Professional at a a lot cheaper price, particularly in case you do not care in regards to the top-end efficiency provided by the flagship. As my colleague Patrick Holland put it in his review of the phone, “For the value, I am unable to consider a greater cellphone to suggest proper 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 price range really feel than its $699 price ticket instructed. The Pixel 6 Professional is worlds aside. The rear is all glass — toughened Gorilla Glass Victus, the truth is — 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 very flagship gadget while you maintain it in your hand. It is massive 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 tumbler makes it slippery, too, so think about one in all Google’s protecting circumstances in case you’re nervous about dropping it. 

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The Pixel 6 Professional, flanked by the iPhone 13 Professional (left) and Pixel 5.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It’s IP68-rated for water resistance, that means it may possibly stand up to being in 1 meter (about 3 toes) of water for as much as half-hour. No, that does not imply you possibly can take it swimming, nevertheless it does imply it ought to be capable of shake off having the odd beer spilled over it by your clumsy mates. 

An attention-grabbing design selection is the massive digicam bar that stretches throughout the again. It protrudes from the cellphone by about 3mm, so it would not lie completely flat while 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 Extremely). I just like the look of the cellphone and it definitely stands out. One tip although: Get the Sorta Sunny orangey-peachy coloration, if you could find it in inventory. The black-and-gray choice, Stormy Black, seems fairly boring by comparability. 

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The digicam strip protrudes from the cellphone by about 3mm. In consequence, 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 shortly more often than not, though Patrick discovered the Pixel 6’s scanner to be rather more hit or miss in his evaluation. There is no face unlock skill, which is a little bit of a disgrace, however with masks nonetheless being a requirement in lots of indoor areas as a consequence of COVID-19, having a fingerprint scanner is arguably extra helpful anyway.

Three wonderful cameras

That massive bar on the again hides three cameras: a 12-megapixel ultrawide; a 48-megapixel telephoto that provides 4x optical zoom; and a predominant digicam 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 all the time been wonderful, and this new technology is not any completely different. 

Pictures from the principle digicam lens are gorgeous. They’re vibrant, they’re filled with element and there is an incredible stability of publicity, with brilliant skies saved beneath management and shadowy areas being simply seen. 

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Pixel 6 Professional, predominant digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The golden colours of the leaves have been captured fantastically right here, with a wealthy blue sky seen behind. 

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iPhone 13 Professional, predominant digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And this is the identical picture taken on the iPhone 13 Professional. There’s little to decide on between them, but when I used to be being hypercritical, I might say that the white stability on the Pixel 6 Professional has resulted in a hotter, extra orange tone on the tree trunk, which I feel seems higher. You may see how the Pixel 6 Professional’s digicam actually stacks up in opposition to the iPhone 13 Professional’s in my photography shootout.

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Pixel 6 Professional, predominant digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

This scene trying in direction of the attractive Edinburgh fort is a difficult shot, with darkish shadows and an especially brilliant sky past the bushes. The Pixel 6 Professional has dealt with it effectively although, sustaining a beautiful publicity total.

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Pixel 6 Professional, predominant digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And it is a lot the identical right here, with vivid blue skies, excellent publicity and loads of element. 

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Pixel 6 Professional, 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 total element, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a beautiful shot. 

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Pixel 6 Professional, ultrawide digicam.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

One other from the Pixel 6 Professional’s ultrawide lens. However try the iPhone 13 Professional’s:

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iPhone 13 Professional, 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 huge lenses and each do an awesome job in packing in these stunning colours, however I might wish to have seen the Pixel providing a barely wider scene.

The 4x zoom lens is superb too, offering tons of element due to its excessive decision sensor. I feel 4x is a good zoom stage for a cellphone as effectively; it means that you can discover compositions that will be past the attain of lesser zoom ranges, nevertheless it’s not fairly as restrictive because the 10x zoom you may discover on the Galaxy S21. It is a zoom stage I really feel I might use so much on my travels and have already taken just a few 4x pictures with the cellphone that I am actually happy with as creative photos.

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Pixel 6 Professional, 4x zoom.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

This zoomed-in picture is so pin-sharp I can truly learn the headline on the newspaper. It is a actually spectacular lens that does not pressure you to make any sort of compromise on high quality in an effort to obtain these zoom ranges. By comparability, the iPhone 13 Professional’s optical zoom maxes out at 3x, so the Pixel 6 Professional is ready to obtain a closer-up picture. Which, frankly, I might take any day over a wider-angle view.

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Pixel 6 Professional, 4x zoom.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It is helpful as effectively for focusing your view on a smaller scene like this, capturing intimate little still-life scenes, fairly than grand, sweeping vistas. The high quality textures on the leaves listed below are extraordinarily sharp. 

Google has thrown some further options in too, together with a instrument that mechanically removes individuals from the background in a picture, which typically works effectively, 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 nighttime. 

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Pixel 6 professional, Nightscape picture.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I am severely impressed with the images talents of the Pixel 6 Professional and there is not any query that it is among the many finest cameras you may get on a cellphone proper now. Video high quality is great as effectively, with excellent dynamic vary, wonderful picture stabilization and loads of element due to the 4K decision. 

Does Google’s Tensor processor make a distinction?

On the coronary heart of the cellphone is Google’s first home-baked processor, named Tensor. It is a vital transfer for Google to provide its personal silicon and it reveals a robust dedication to stay within the {hardware} sport — in any case, you do not go to the trouble of growing your personal processors as a one-off experiment.  

However it’s primarily irrelevant when you get the Pixel in your hand, because it capabilities identical to some other cellphone. It is nippy to navigate across the Android 12 interface, video games like Asphalt 9: Legends and Name of Obligation play completely, whereas picture modifying and video streaming are dealt with precisely in addition to you’d get from some other top-end cellphone proper now. 

Pixel 6 Professional benchmark exams

Legend:

Geekbench 5 (single core)

Geekbench 5 (multi core)

3DMark Wild Life Excessive

Notice:

Longer bars equal higher efficiency

On benchmark exams just like the Geekbench 5 processor check and 3DMark’s Wild Life Excessive graphics check, the Pixel 6 Professional would not rating fairly as extremely because the iPhone 13 Professional, nevertheless it’s up there with the Galaxy S21 Extremely (and it edged out the highly effective OnePlus 9 Professional on the graphics check too). Benchmarks are on no account a direct indicator of real-life efficiency, nevertheless it’s good to a minimum of 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. However it would not have to; 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 lots of the actual advantages will come over time as the corporate develops extra methods to benefit from its personal {hardware}.

The Tensor processor is especially designed with machine studying, AI and speech-recognition functions 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. 

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Each the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional run the most recent Android 12 software program.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Android 12 is gorgeous to make use of

The Android 12 interface is extraordinarily neat and straightforward to make use of. It is 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 many larger options that is (for now) unique to the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional is the power to create {custom} themes for the cellphone based mostly on no matter picture you may have as your background. 

Whenever you select a brand new wallpaper (both one of many many built-in ones, or any of your personal photos saved to your cellphone), the cellphone will mechanically pick the dominant coloration and can use that, and its complementary colours, to alter the look of components of the interface, together with among the default Google app icons on the house display screen, such because the Play Retailer, Gmail and Images. It is a good concept, though it most likely should not be the principle motive you determine to half along with your money.

Safety 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 reveals what apps have used what data not too long ago and helpful buttons within the pull-down notification tray that flip off system-wide entry to your digicam and microphone. 

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These quick-access privateness buttons would possibly come in useful.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Google has additionally promised that the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional will obtain safety updates for 5 years, which is able to imply these telephones can 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 most recent safety patches on board then they’re susceptible to all kinds of hacking nastiness. From each a value and environmental perspective, with the ability to use our telephones safely for longer is barely a superb factor.

Vibrant show, strong battery life and quick charging

The Pixel 6 Professional’s 6.7-inch show is pin-sharp due to its 3,120×1,440-pixel decision. It is brilliant, too, with vibrant colours that do justice to colourful video games like Sweet 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 while you’re taking part in fast-paced video games, but additionally slows all the way down to solely 10Hz when the cellphone is mainly sitting idle. Efficiency while you want it; power-saving when you do not. 

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The Pixel 6 Professional and maybe its greatest rival, the iPhone 13 Professional.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The cellphone runs on a 5,003-mAh battery, which ought to 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%. In contrast, the OnePlus 9 Professional had dropped to 90%, whereas the iPhone 13 Professional dropped to solely 99%. After an additional hour the 6 Professional had dropped to 89%, whereas the iPhone 13 Professional was at 93%. You definitely should not wrestle to get by way of the day with it, however as with all telephones, you possibly can assist it by protecting display screen 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 is able to take the cellphone to 50% full in half-hour. That is 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. Nonetheless, it is quick sufficient to have the ability to give your cellphone a fast increase earlier than you head out and about, and the Excessive Battery Saver mode pauses all however your important apps to protect the remaining juice.

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 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) 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
Digicam 50-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel ultrawide 50-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 48-megapixel (telephoto) 12.2-megapixel (normal), 16-megapixel (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Entrance-facing digicam 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 Beneath show Beneath 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 provider fashions even have 5G mmWave) assist, 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 assist, Wi-Fi 6E, ultra-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; 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)
Value off-contract (USD) $599 (128GB) $899 (128GB) $699 $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB), $1,099 (512GB)
Value (GBP) £599 (128GB) £849 (128GB) £599 £779 (128GB), £879 (256GB), £1,079 (512GB)
Value (AUD) AU$999 (128GB) AU$1,299 (128GB) AU$999 AU$1,349 (128GB), AU$1,519 (256GB), AU$1,869 (512GB)

https://www.cnet.com/tech/cell/google-pixel-6-pro-review-finally-a-proper-iphone-rival/ | Google Pixel 6 Professional evaluation: Lastly, a correct iPhone rival

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