Pixel 6: Everything to know about Google's newest phone
Google launched its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro on Tuesday. Here are all the details about its release date, price, Tensor chip, camera specs and more.
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Now that Google took a larger creative leap with its Pixel line, the question remains whether the changes will help the company compete against the best phones from Apple and Samsung or continue to disappoint its one-time fans. Let's go over what we've learned about the devices, which are available for preorder. Here's everything you need to know about the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro and which rumors about the phone have been debunked or proven true.
Watch this: Google's Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro features detailed
What are Google's new phones called? The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
Unlike Apple and Samsung, Google has overall been consistent with its phone nomenclature. The original Pixel was followed by the Pixel 2, then the Pixel 3 and so on. Google's 2021 phones are indeed called the Pixel 6 and -- instead of an XL model -- the Pixel 6 Pro.
Google previously announced that both phones would have many of the same features: the new Tensor system-on-chip designed by Google, a camera bar that runs along the back of the phone, camera sensors that take in 150% more light than the Pixel 5's and an ultrawide lens. Software improvements also hit both models, including Android 12's Material You design, along with speech recognition and photography improvements powered by the Tensor.
Google's Pixel release dates usually follow a similarly predictable pattern: The company usually makes its phones available for purchase within a week or two of being announced. The Pixel 6 will be released on Oct. 28, which is in line with these expectations.
Price: How much do the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro cost?
We now know that Google's Pixel 6 has a starting price of $599, and the Pixel 6 Pro will cost you a bit more with a $899 starting price. In his first look at the Pixel 6, CNET's Patrick Holland says the phone is "priced to compete with the iPhone 13, the Samsung Galaxy S21 and other midtier Android phones such as the current Motorola Edge."
In comparison to older Pixel phones the Pixel 6 costs $100 less than the Pixel 5 did at launch. Last year's Pixel 5 made some compromises to get the launch price down to $699, making it more of a midrange phone than its predecessors, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4, which both launched at $799.
This means rumors about the Pixel 6's steeper price tag from leaker Yogesh Brar have been debunked. The tipster previously speculated the Pixel 6 would have a $749 starting price, while the Pixel 6 Pro could have cost between $1,049 and $1,099.
Although the Pixel 6 costs less than its predecessors, Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of Google's hardware division, described the line as a "premium-priced product" in an August interview with the Verge.
Design and colors: What does Google's new phone look like?
Confirming Prosser's renders, the Pixel line has a new look for 2021. The Pixel 6 is available in three colors: Stormy Black, Kinda Coral and Sorta Seafoam. The official Pixel 6 Pro color options are Stormy Black, Cloudy White and Sorta Sunny.
Moving to the front of the phone, the Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.7-inch LTPO OLED (3,120x1,440 pixel) display with a 120Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 6 will have a 6.4-inch OLED (2,400x1,080) display with a 90Hz refresh rate. A hole-punch-style front-facing camera is centered up top, as opposed to on the left side of the screen as on the Pixel 5, and has 11 megapixels on the Pixel 6 Pro and 8 megapixels on the standard Pixel 6.
Pixel 6 has a Tensor chip, but what can Google's first in-house processors do?
Google's reveal of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro put a particular spotlight on Google's new system-on-chip, named Tensor. Going in-house moves Google away from the Qualcomm chips that have powered its previous devices, and Google says the chip brings with it notable improvements to speech recognition and photography.
"Part of the goal is to show the very best that Google can offer," Osterloh said in an interview with CNET's Rich Nieva. "There is a big segment of the market that wants the latest, and we love building technology. So we're going to try to appeal to that part of the market, too."
Camera specs and features: What's new on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro?
Along the phone's camera bar, the Pixel 6 Pro has three cameras: a 50-megapixel wide lens, 12-megapixel ultrawide lens and 48-megapixel telephoto lens. The standard Pixel 6 won't have the telephoto lens, but houses the 50-megapixel wide and 12-megapixel ultrawide lens.
As for the selfie camera, Google's new phone has a hole-punch-style front-facing camera with 11 megapixels on the Pixel 6 Pro and 8 megapixels on the standard Pixel 6. The earliest rumors about the Pixel 6's camera setup included speculation that Google might upgrade to an under-display selfie camera, but that's not on the Pixel 6. Since this rumor is based on a patent filed by Google that appeared not to have a visible front camera, however, it's possible another phone will include it. Perhaps the Pixel 7?
Google also designed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro's cameras to be more accurate no matter your complexion with Real Tone. The feature comes after the company announced improvements to its software for "a more accurate and inclusive camera" that works better for a variety of skin tones, in May.
Google's new Pixel phones also see other photography improvements thanks to the Tensor chip. A new feature called Face Unblur can put the face of a moving subject in focus, while keeping the blur around the rest of the body, and another camera feature called Motion Mode can add blur into still pictures.
Do Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro support 5G?
It's complicated. The Pixel 6 supports sub-6 5G. Some carrier versions of the Pixel 6 will also support mmWave, which is the fast version of 5G that's not widely available.
What's in the box: Google's Pixel 6 won't ship with a charger
Google's Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro won't ship with a charger in the box. The tech giant previously shared that tidbit about the new phone alongside the reveal of the Pixel 5A. Instead, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will ship with a USB-C to USB-C cable and a Quick Switch Adapter.
Google's decision to ditch the accessory from its phone boxes follows both Apple and Samsung. Apple stopped including an AC adapter in the box of the iPhone 12 in 2020, and Samsung later did the same for the Galaxy S21.
Although Google's Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro won't have a charger in the box, the new phone supports 30-watt fast charging. This debunks earlier rumors about the smartphone from tipster Yogesh Brar and Android Police, which said that the Pixel 6 would support 33-watt and 23-watt fast charging, respectively.
Google also released a new Pixel Stand for the Pixel 6. The stand is said to be an alternative to wired charging, and was leaked before the phone's launch by tipster Evan Blass.
Do the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have an under display fingerprint sensor?
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro both have an under-display fingerprint reader. The feature was previously leaked by Android Senior Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer, who shared two screenshots on Twitter showing an embedded fingerprint sensor within the Pixel's display. The tweet, which was originally posted to show off Android's new Material You design, has since been deleted from Lockheimer's account. Screenshots of the tweet were then later posted by leaker Mishaal Rahman.
Pixel Pass: What is Google's new subscription service?
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro launched alongside a new subscription option to bundle phone financing and services under one bill. The plan is called Pixel Pass, and is described as a "monthly subscription that addresses users' mobile needs end-to-end." The subscription bundles Pixel device financing, YouTube Premium, Google One storage, Play Pass, Google Fi, Google's preferred care and device protection.
5G sub 6 (some carrier models also have 5G mmWave) support, Wi-Fi 6E, 30W fast-charging, wireless charging, Magic Eraser, Motion mode, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years OS security updates, IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (front), Gorilla Glass 6 (back), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)
5G sub 6 and mmWave support, Wi-Fi 6E, Ultrawideband, 30W fast-charging, wireless charging, Magic Eraser, Motion mode, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years OS security updates, IP68 rating for dust- and water-resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (front and back), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)