With the Pixel 6 Pro, Google is introducing many innovations that should finally position their series as flagships. Above all, there is its own chip, a drilled camera unit and a 120 hz display. We tested and researched the Google Pixel 6 Pro.
The Google Pixel smartphones have long enjoyed the reputation of being the best Android smartphones. This is because the early Pixel phones were the first to offer unmodified Android. The operating systems of all other Android smartphones have been heavily modified by the respective manufacturers in order to achieve a recognizable look. This was often at the expense of overview and performance. You also often had to wait much longer for updates outside of the pixel universe.
So software has always been the focus of the Pixel series. It is all the more sad that the Google Pixel 6 Pro has massive problems here. Right from the start, individual users complained about bugs. Once the fingerprint scanner works unreliably, then the mobile connection breaks down or touch inputs are accepted inconsistently. The bugs got even worse with the December update.
Google reacted and withdrew the update. Affected users should downgrade to the previous firmware version, which only works with a reset of the phone, or wait for the update promised for the end of January. A disaster for the software specialists at Google and a slap in the face for affected Google Pixel 6 Pro buyers.
Table of Contents
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Pros & Cons
- Strong graphics performance
- Beautiful photos
- 5 years of security updates
- Battery charge time very long
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Design
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Our Rating for Design = 7.9/10
The processing of the Google Pixel 6 Pro is at the highest level. Nothing creaks or wobbles, the buttons offer a perfect pressure point and the mobile phone is protected against the ingress of water and dust according to IP68. Its frame is made of metal, the back is made of high-quality plastic. A visor with the camera module extends about two millimeters across the back. Advantage of the visor design: Even without a case, the pixel phone always rests on its back in such a way that nothing wobbles.
With dimensions of 164 x 76 x 9 millimeters and a weight of 210 grams, the Pixel 6 Pro is massive. For many it will be too big, we also feel the size is borderline. In the end, everyone has to decide for themselves. There are certainly buyers who are looking for such a large smartphone. In fact, this size is not uncommon in the high-end market that Google wants to play in with the Pixel 6 Pro. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is even slightly larger and heavier.
On its underside there are two slots next to the central USB-C port. The speaker sounds out of one, the other hides a microphone. On the left is the SIM tray, which doesn’t accept a micro SD card. Anyone who has ever dealt with Pixel phones will not be surprised. The volume rocker and the on/off button are on the right side, all with a perfect pressure point. Unusual: The power button is located above the volume control, which could confuse one or the other at first, after all, the arrangement on most smartphones is exactly the other way around.
Google sells the Pixel 6 Pro in three color combinations. While white and black appear rather conventional, the color combination of dusky pink, beige and gold called “Sorta Sunny” by Google is polarizing.
We recommend all buyers to get a case as soon as possible when buying a smartphone. We use the Pixel Pro Case direct from Google. This is expensive at a good 20 euros and with its semi-transparent TPU in four colors it doesn’t look very high-quality either. But it reliably protects the expensive smartphone thanks to sufficient thickness and a bezel that protrudes over the edge of the display. We were able to determine this first-hand: the smartphone fell out of our pocket from a height of a good four meters onto a marble slab. This left only marginal marks on both the case and the smartphone itself. Without a case, the fall would have meant certain death for the Google Pixel 6 Pro.
GOOGLE PIXEL 6 PRO: SCREEN
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Our Rating for Screen = 7.3/10
The 6.7-inch OLED display is huge and slightly rounded on its sides. It offers aspect ratio of 19.5/9 and resolution of 1440 x 3120 pixels. This results in a pixel density of 512 ppi. The brightness is very high and easily enough to recognize content even in direct sunlight.
Overall, the display is one of the highlights of the Google Pixel 6 Pro. It is wonderfully colourful, viewing angles are stable and it has the perfect black values that are typical for OLEDs. Thanks to the adaptive 120 Hertz, movements on the display also appear softer than on many devices with a lower refresh rate.
The predecessor Google Pixel 5 (test report) uses a physical fingerprint sensor. With its predecessor Pixel 4 (test report) , Google relies on facial recognition. Google now hides the optical fingerprint scanner behind the display in the Pixel 6 Pro. However, this does not initially work as reliably as with other flagship models. With an update from November 2021, however, Google has significantly screwed up the reliability of the sensor. Although it is still not fast, it has been one of the most reliable fingerprint scanners ever since.
GOOGLE PIXEL 6 PRO: Performance
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Our Rating for Performance = 7.5/10
There was one thing that Google fans were particularly looking forward to when the Pixel 6 Pro was released: for the first time, like Apple, Samsung and Huawei, Google is using its own SoC design – the so-called Tensor SoC. So far, Google has mainly relied on Qualcomm chips. The Tensor SoC offers eight cores: two powerful Cortex-X1, two Cortex-A76 and four efficient Cortex-A55. Samsung presses the chip design onto silicon using the 5 nm process on behalf of Google.
In the Geekbench 5 performance test, the Pixel 6 Pro achieved 1042 points single-core and 2963 points multi-core. Google has to admit defeat to comparable devices with Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100. Nevertheless, the Tensor SoC can already play with the big ones with its debut. We are already excited to see how future Tensor generations will fare.
The Pixel 6 Pro has 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM available on the RAM. When it comes to internal storage, buyers have to choose between 128 and 256 GB UFS 3.1. You cannot expand this. Dual SIM works, but only via eSIM.
The performance is excellent in everyday use. Everything is smooth, there are almost no stutters. Apps also open and change just as quickly as you are used to from other flagship cell phones in the 1000 euro price range.
Google also installs Wifi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC and a Titan M2 security chip. In addition to the loudspeaker on the underside, a second loudspeaker in the upper area behind the display should provide a stereo effect. This only works to an average degree, as the conventional speaker on the bottom is much more powerful and louder.
GOOGLE PIXEL 6 PRO: Battery
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Our Rating for Design = 7.9/10
The Google Pixel 6 Pro has a large battery with 5000 mAh. Nevertheless, the battery life is not always fully convincing. The smartphone achieves a time of a good 10 hours in PCMark. We assume that the high-resolution 120 Hertz adaptive display sucks away some capacity. However, we are satisfied with the battery performance over the course of the day. Only in extreme cases did the battery not last until evening. We also had the feeling that the smartphone was doing better and better over the weeks. We blame it on the new “smart battery” feature.
When charging, the Pixel 6 Pro is leisurely. While others go overboard with superlatives, Google is content with 30 watts. After all, about half of the battery charges in 30 minutes, after which it becomes significantly slower. Adaptive charging is even slower, but makes sense, as it protects the battery. Here the battery capacity only reaches 100 percent when the alarm clock rings. If you don’t feel like plugging in your smartphone, you can place it on a Qi charging station (comparison test) . Google specifies the maximum charging speed as 23 watts – at least that is fast for inductive charging.
Google Pixel 6 / 6 Pro BATTERY test Video
GOOGLE PIXEL 6 PRO SPECS
|Announced||2021, October 19|
|Dimensions||163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm (6.45 x 2.99 x 0.35 in)|
|Weight||210 g (7.41 oz)|
|Build||Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus), aluminum frame|
|SIM||Nano-SIM and/or eSIM|
|IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)|
|Type||LTPO AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+|
|Size||6.71 inches, 110.5 cm2 (~88.8% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1440 x 3120 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~512 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass Victus|
|Chipset||Google Tensor (5 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (2×2.80 GHz Cortex-X1 & 2×2.25 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A55)|
|Internal||128GB 12GB RAM|
|Triple||50 MP, f/1.9, 25mm (wide), 1/1.31″, 1.2µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, Laser AF, OIS|
|48 MP, f/3.5, 104mm (telephoto), 1/2″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 4x optical zoom|
|12 MP, f/2.2, 17mm, 114˚ (ultrawide), 1.25µm|
|Features||Dual-LED flash, Pixel Shift, Auto-HDR, panorama|
|Video||4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps; gyro-EIS, OIS|
|Single||11.1 MP, f/2.2, 20mm (ultrawide), 1.22µm|
|Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD|
|GPS||Yes, with dual-band A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, BDS|
|USB||USB Type-C 3.1|
|Sensors||Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|Ultra Wideband (UWB) support|
|Type||Li-Ion 5003 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||Fast charging 30W, 50% in 30 min (advertised)|
|Fast wireless charging 23W|
|Reverse wireless charging|
|USB Power Delivery 3.0|
GOOGLE PIXEL 6 PRO: Camera
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Our Rating for Camera = 8.2/10
Since the Pixel 3 from 2018, Google has been using the IMX363 from Sony as the sensor for the main camera in its smartphones. With the Pixel 6 Pro, Google finally gives in and shows a 50-megapixel main sensor (12 μm, 1/1.31″, f/1.85, laser focus). The ultra wide-angle camera offers 12 megapixels (114°, 1.25 μm, f/2.2, OIS) and the periscope telephoto lens offers 48 megapixels (4x focal length, 0.8 μm, 1/2″, f/3.5, OIS). The front camera has 11 megapixels (1.22 μm, f/2.2).
The photos from the main camera are always scaled down to 12 megapixels. Without exception, they convince us with an excellent color matching, which is now less gaudy than in the predecessors. Overall, the colors now appear more realistic. The Pixel 6 Pro does an excellent job of tonal correction. Even in difficult lighting conditions, there is always a balanced relationship between dark and bright areas.
Unfortunately, the wide-angle camera cannot quite keep up with the quality of the main camera. Certain fuzziness and distortions are particularly noticeable here. The color matching, on the other hand, is on a similarly high level as that of the main camera.
The photos of the 4x telephoto camera are impressive and offer significantly more details than a corresponding screen section of images shot with the main camera. Camera can be zoomed in up to a maximum of 20x. But then the results are muddy and not very useful anymore. The images from the front camera are okay, but they don’t blow us away. Overall, we miss details here. Anyway, the colors are great.
The video function has greatly improved over the previous models. In fact, the videos look just as good as the Pixel 6 Pro’s photos. The smartphone supports 4k recordings at 60 frames per second and offers an increased dynamic range.
Pixel smartphones are traditionally strong in night mode. The Pixel 6 Pro is no exception here either. Sometimes the smartphone exposes several seconds here. Nevertheless, thanks to clever software, the pictures can be taken by hand. The result impresses us. Also because Google does not rely on unnatural overexposure, but finds excellent color representation in night mode. If you have a tripod or lean your smartphone against something, you will achieve even better results. Google calls this Astro mode and the smartphone actually calculates the earth’s movement and displays stars and even the Milky Way perfectly.
The Google Pixel also offers simple and clever functions when it comes to post-processing. We were impressed by the magic eraser. Here, Google suggests image objects that can be removed by the software. However, any image areas can also be removed manually. This may not always work as reliably as a combination of Photoshop and an image editing professional could. Nevertheless, the results are impressive. Precisely because every layperson activates them with a swipe of their finger.