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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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Google's Pixel 6 phones.

Google

Google's new phones, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, made their debut on Tuesday at the company's recent launch event. (Here's everything Google announced including Pixel Pass, Android 12 and its in-house Tensor chip.) Google's first Pixel phone made a splash when it was unveiled almost five years ago, but since then, the search giant's foray into mobile devices has been inconsistent. Last year's Pixel 5 received high marks for its cameras, but the Pixel 5 lacked the premium features you'd expect from a flagship smartphone, especially for the price. CNET's Lynn La called it "hard to recommend." Compared with the original Pixel phone ("pure Android at its absolute best" and "our favorite phone, bar none"), Google's phone trajectory looked rough.

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. 

Read more: Google's Pixel 6 may be more exciting than the iPhone 13, but how does it compare to older Pixels?

Now playing: Watch this: Google's Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro features detailed
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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.

Read more: Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 5

Rumors about the now-confirmed Pixel 6 Pro began when leaker Jon Prosser shared renders depicting the "Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro" in May. Prosser's renders were purportedly based on actual images of the phones, but released as renders to protect his source's identity. 

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The Pixel 6 phones come in black along with pastel shades of green and red.

Google

Release date: When will you be able to buy the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro?

Google launched its new phones on Oct. 19, and the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are both available for preorders now through Google's website

Google has unveiled a new Pixel phone in October every year since 2016, with the exception of last year's Pixel 5, which was announced on Sept. 30. But 2020 was an exceptional year for many reasons, including phone release schedules.

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

Google Pixel 6

Google's Pixel 6 is shown above in Kinda Coral.

James Martin/CNET

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."

Read more: Google Pixel 6's Tensor chip aims to make the Android 12 phone smarter and last longer

The Tensor chip loads the Pixel with more power and abilities without sacrificing battery life. Thanks to Google's new in-house chip, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro has features like real-time language translations, highly accurate voice transcription and new camera features like the ability to unblur the face of a person in motion. The new features come as Google promises 24 to 48 hours of battery life for its Pixel 6 line. 

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The Google Tensor chip's unveiling is a prominent part of the first look at the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Google

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? 

Read more: Google builds equity into the Pixel 6 with Real Tone photos and new voice features

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. 

Read more: Will Google's Pixel 6 and 6 Pro work with 5G? The answer is complicated

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

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Images from leaker Evan Blass show off the second generation Pixel stand with 23-watt wireless charging. 

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. 

Read more: Pixel Pass: Google bundles the Pixel 6 and a bunch of its services for $45 a month

Below are all of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro specs. For more, here's how to decide between a Pixel 5, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL, the Pixel 5 versus the Pixel 4A 5G and the Pixel 5 versus the iPhone 11, Galaxy S20 FE and OnePlus 8. Plus, six reasons to buy a Pixel and what we think of the Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds.

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro specs


Google Pixel 6 Google Pixel 6 Pro
Display size, resolution 6.4-inch OLED; 2,400x1,080 pixels; 60Hz or 90Hz 6.7-inch LTPO OLED; 3,120x1,440 pixels; 10-120Hz
Pixel density 411 ppi 512 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.2x2.9x0.4 in 6.5x3.0x0.4 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 158.6x74.8x8.9mm 163.9x75.9x8.9mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 7.3 oz; 207g 7.41 oz; 210g
Mobile software Android 12 Android 12
Camera 50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel ultrawide 50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 48-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel 11-megapixel
Video capture 4K 30, 60fps (rear), 1,080p 30fps (front) 4K 30, 60fps (rear), 4K 30fps (front)
Processor Google Tensor Google Tensor
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM 8GB 12GB
Expandable storage No No
Battery 4,614 mAh 5,003 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Under display Under display
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No No
Special features 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)
Price off-contract (USD) $599 (128GB) $899 (128GB)
Price (GBP) £599 (128GB) £849 (128GB)
Price (AUD) Converts to AU$1,100 Converts to AU$1,570