Google Pixel 6 Pro review: Google’s best smartphone yet, but is it enough?


  • Battery lifestyle
  • Functionality
  • Android 12
  • Digital camera
  • Style and design

Will not Like

  • Magic Eraser will not often operate
  • Fingerprint sensor is finicky

I will confess. I’ve been a huge admirer of Google’s Pixel phone lineup because the initial Pixel. I appreciated the subtle tweaks the business created to the simple variation of Android. I also appreciated the Microsoft Floor-like strategy Google was employing to check out and affect the likes of HTC, LG and even Samsung with its individual smartphone initiative. 

For the very last few a long time, it really is felt as if Google’s Pixel lineup was dropped. The Pixel 4 had some guarantee but fell short on quite a few fronts. The Pixel five felt like the search big just mailed it in — likely back to the fundamentals, without having really pushing the Pixel line forward. In simple fact, during that time, the A-series — Google’s finances-helpful variations of its large-stop smartphones — ended up not only the finest offer, but ended up the finest phones Google created. 

It failed to come to feel appropriate for the business powering Android and all of the services thousands and thousands of men and women rely on everyday to have to settle for getting a lineup of low-stop entry-level smartphones. A couple of months ago, when Google declared that it would use its individual Tensor processor in the Pixel six and Pixel six Pro, it sent a concept that the business was ultimately getting significant about its smartphone ambitions. It is not a marginal expense to design, acquire and create your individual chips, particularly when Qualcomm has off-the-shelf chips for every tier of smartphone prepared on a yearly cadence. 

But asserting a little something as bold as Tensor and adhering to by way of by providing an encounter that goes beyond what’s been available in the previous are two distinct matters. And immediately after shelling out a week employing the Pixel six Pro, and dabbling some with the common Pixel six, it really is apparent to me that not only does Google produce on the guarantee of improved efficiency, but that the Pixel six Pro is the finest smartphone Google has ever created. Enable me reveal. 


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

This design is one hundred% Google

Early pics of the Pixel six Pro showed that Google was taking a new design strategy. Absent is the plastic back with a sq. digicam array in the best corner. Alternatively, you can find a glass entrance and back on the phone, with three distinct color combinations that give the phones some lifestyle and crack up the common solitary-tone strategy that most phone makers consider. Your color alternatives are Stormy Black, Cloudy White and Sorta Sunny. 

On the back of the Pixel six Pro, just below the best edge of the phone, is the Digital camera Bar. Alternatively of a sq. or vertical digicam array, Google opted to position a bar that spans the width of the Pixel six Pro, protruding from the housing and acting practically like a kickstand that sites the phone at a slight angle as it rests on your desk. There are three rear-facing cameras and a solitary punch-gap cutout entrance-facing digicam. 

Compared with the Pixel six and its flat edge design, the Pixel six Pro’s display screen has curved vertical edges. It is very similar to what Samsung used to do on some Galaxy phones, and a design strategy I rather like. Compared with older Samsung equipment, I have not had any concerns with accidental touches or faucets on the facet of the monitor when holding the phone and tapping or swiping my way close to. 

On the appropriate facet of the phone is the sleep/wake button, with a volume rocker just below it. On the bottom is a USB-C port. The remaining edge of the Pixel six Pro is bare, conserve for the SIM card slot. 

Photos do not really do the color combinations or the design as a total any justice. My very first considered immediately after opening the Pixel six Pro’s box was that this design is exactly what I would anticipate from Google. Blend the glimpse of the phone with the Material You design strategy we now have in Android 12, and it all can make feeling. 

Google Tensor packs efficiency and battery lifestyle


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Within the Pixel six Pro is Google Tensor, the businesses very first system on a chip that combines the Pixel’s processor with other needed radios and chips. Google’s Titan M2 safety coprocessor. The Pixel six Pro will come with 12GB of memory with storage alternatives of 128GB, 256GB or 512GB. A five,003mAh battery is also located inside the phone. 

By switching absent from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line of processors for phones, Google is able to customize and concentration the efficiency of the Tensor chips on what the business prioritizes. For example, Google touts AI and battery lifestyle as two places wherever the business targeted on generating a reputable encounter with Tensor. 

And from what I’ve witnessed, Tensor provides. The most obvious example is battery lifestyle. The Pixel six Pro’s battery lasts just as long as Apple’s Apple iphone thirteen Pro Max in my screening. Which means I can go a comprehensive working day and into the middle of the adhering to working day before the six Pro’s battery operates out of electricity. 

Google claims the efficiency of the Tensor chip is eighty% more quickly than any other chip formerly used in a Pixel phone, but that’s not a huge declare taking into consideration the Pixel five (and current A-series phones) have not used Qualcomm’s flagship processors. Alternatively, they’ve all been outfitted with a seven-hundred-series chip that’s much more cost-effective at the charge of efficiency. 

I can say this — the Pixel six Pro has not shown any sluggishness or efficiency concerns over the very last week. Applications not only open up quickly, be it from the homescreen, app drawer or when swiping throughout the bottom of the monitor when multitasking. But the animations that are element of Android 12 (much more on all those in a moment) are fluid and do not stutter. 

To be apparent, Tensor just isn’t impressively quickly when compared to other equipment. I ran Geekbench five on the Pixel six Pro (Google Tensor), Apple iphone thirteen Pro Max (Apple A15) and Floor Duo two (Qualcomm Snapdragon 888). Geekbench steps the CPU efficiency and presents a simple, quantitive way to evaluate efficiency in addition to serious-entire world encounter. 

The Pixel six Pro’s solitary-main score was 963, and its multi-main score was two,607. The Apple iphone thirteen Pro Max scored one,732 and 4,673 on the similar exams. When the Floor Duo two scored one,106 and three,520, respectively. 

But, once more, benchmarks are not the whole story. And when the scores may well suggest that Tensor is slower than the opposition, the encounter on the product will not replicate that. 

The Pixel six and Pixel six Pro both of those have 5G connectivity, but not all Pixel six products are made equal. What kind of 5G aid the phone has relies upon on wherever you buy it, at minimum for the common Pixel six. According to a Google aid document, any Pixel six Pro product offered in the US has Sub-six and mmWave aid. Which is the slower and more quickly variations of 5G, respectively. 

Nonetheless, the Pixel six is distinct. The Google Fi, Unlocked and T-Cell products only have Sub-six 5G. A Pixel six acquired from AT&T and Verizon have both of those mmWave and Sub-six. Baffling, appropriate? Yea. Your finest bet is to buy the phone right from your provider to ensure good aid. 

Digital camera improvements and other Pixel characteristics


A Portrait picture of my puppy employing the Pixel six Pro’s digicam. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Google’s Pixel phones earned the name of getting the finest smartphone digicam obtainable with the very first few generations. Nonetheless, the very last couple of releases started off to demonstrate the age of the components Google was even now relying on to seize and approach pics.

With the Pixel six Pro, Google added a 50-megapixel main digicam, a 12-megapixel 114-degree ultra-broad digicam, and a 48-megapixel telephoto lens with up to 4x optical zoom. The new digicam components blended with Tensor and Google’s personalized impression processing and tuning algorithm, I had large hopes for the digicam efficiency of the six Pro and I was not disappointed. 

I invested element of my time screening the six Pro’s digicam taking pics at a household party, capturing men and women in all kinds of distinct lighting conditions. A single detail that stood out to me about employing the six Pro’s digicam is how minimal work was demanded of me to get a excellent shot. I could double-press the electricity button to promptly open up the digicam and start out taking pics, just as promptly and simply as I do with my Apple iphone. 

The high-quality of pics the Pixel six Pro takes has improved, as nicely. Portrait images feel to discover the foreground and qualifications much more consistently than former Pixel phones, and the images are much more correct to lifestyle — a very similar strategy to what Apple does with the iPhone’s digicam. 


Slide is here. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

There are quite a few new computer software tricks built-in into the Pixel six Pro, both of those for pics and for every day use. Magic Eraser is a person these types of software, promising to take away undesirable goods in a picture either mechanically or merely by you circling an item. When the demonstrations Google displays are impressive, in practice, it really is nowhere in the vicinity of as excellent. Typically times it really is very obvious an item has been taken out from the picture. But when the characteristic gets it appropriate, it really is good. 

The Pixel six Pro also acquired some new Assistant calling characteristics that all goal to make the approach of calling a toll-free of charge amount significantly less annoying and much easier. For example, when dialing a corporations phone amount you can now see the typical hold out time based mostly on time of working day to assist you determine when to phone. Multi option menus when you phone a enterprise are now presented as buttons on your phone’s monitor, so you do not have to truly pay attention to the recording — and you can even have the phone hold out on hold for you until an individual truly answers (that’s an aged characteristic worthy of calling out once more).

All explained, the Pixel six Pro’s digicam is a person of the much more impressive cameras I’ve used on a smartphone in current memory — outdoors of Apple’s new Cinematic Movie method. 

Android 12 is the finest variation of Android nonetheless


The Pixel six Pro with Android 12’s new climate and time widgets. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

I cannot recall the very last time I installed a main Android update and felt like the platform was shifting forward as a total. Alternatively, incremental characteristics bundled with Assistant characteristics and variations have been pushed out on a yearly foundation. With Android 12, not only do Android homeowners acquire a long and attractive checklist of new characteristics, but the new design strategy to Android 12 is a little something I am a big admirer of. 

There are new animations in the course of the interface that make it pleasurable to do simple matters like wake or set your phone to sleep — you can find a sluggish animation that show’s the monitor turning black and minimizing into the electricity button. The similar result is utilized when closing leaving an app and likely back to the homescreen. It is a very minimum, but powerful trick that can make a big distinction even if it takes you a working day or two to notice it. 

The new Material You design strategy takes advantage of your device’s wallpaper or qualifications to decide the color palette for the rest of the interface. From the color of Google’s keyboard to app icons to the app drawer and widget colours — it all hinges on the color of your qualifications. I like this strategy, but it feels fairly buggy at times. For example, the present wallpaper I have set offers me three accent color alternatives to decide on from — a person of which has a predominantly peach theme to it, together with two blueish color alternatives. I opted for a person of the blue alternatives, but if I restart the phone, it defaults back to the mild-peach theme, forcing me to go back in and find a distinct option. 

Android 12 also incorporates quite a few new privacy characteristics. Some of them have been borrowed from Apple’s iOS, these types of as indicators when an app is accessing your device’s microphone or digicam, or the capability to management how specific the location information and facts you share with an app is. Nonetheless, you can find a privacy dashboard that not only displays how typically applications are accessing your individual information and facts, but it also offers ideas about your Google account as a total and how to greater lock it down. 

It is a shame that Google has not figured out how to streamline the update approach to bring main updates to much more equipment than its individual Pixel line. Alternatively, quite a few Android product homeowners are remaining ready on their phone maker to put into action and then release the update. Android 12 is a big change on quite a few fronts. A single that the Android ecosystem as a total will gain from, and end users should not have to hold out for it — particularly when privacy characteristics are included. 

Bottom line

Without having a doubt, the Pixel six Pro is the finest smartphone Google has ever created. From Android 12 improvements and personalized Pixel characteristics that strengthen on the encounter, to Google Tensor’s efficiency, battery lifestyle and the return of the Pixel’s top-quality digicam encounter — you can find a large amount to like there. 

But the issue stays — even even though this is Google’s finest, is it enough? With every Pixel release, we listen to about how significant the business is taking its components initiatives, and much more particularly how significant it is about competing with other smartphone makers. 

It is a rhetorical issue, of study course. Only time will convey to if consumers new and aged are as fond of the Pixel six Pro as I am, and that will come down to units offered. I continue to hope that this is the Pixel when Google breaks by way of the Samsung and Apple smartphone duopoly in the US. 

If the Pixel six Pro cannot do it, I am not positive what can.

Maria J. Danford

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