Exclusive: Here’s everything we learned about the Pixel 6 Pro from the actual phone
Apple may have just launched the iPhone 13 series today, but they’re not the phones I’m most excited about this year. My attention is focused on the Google Pixel 6 series, of which the Pro model will be Google’s first-ever ultra-premium flagship smartphone. The Pro model has it all: a high-resolution and high refresh rate display, a periscope zoom camera, a flagship-tier SoC, the latest Android 12 software, wireless charging, a sleek design, and more. Google itself revealed the most important details of the Pixel 6 lineup, but there’s still some details left to be uncovered. Today, I received new information about the Pixel 6 Pro from a leaker who wishes to remain anonymous. Here’s what I learned.
The majority of what I learned today corroborates information that was already leaked by others, most notably Jon Prosser, so I recommend reading our previous coverage as I won’t be rehashing every little detail.
First of all, our source reached out to clarify something we were wondering about: Does the Pixel 6 support both Active Edge (squeezable sides) and Battery Share (reverse wireless charging)? The answer is no, as at least on the Pro model, Active Edge is not present. Sadly, this means you can’t squeeze the sides of the Pixel 6 Pro to activate the Google Assistant. You can, however, double tap the rear of the device to launch the Assistant (and do other things), thanks to the new Quick Tap feature introduced in Android 12. Battery Share is present, however.
We also caught a glimpse at the display options on the Pixel 6 Pro. Smooth Display, which bumps the display’s refresh rate above 60Hz for a smoother scrolling experience, has been updated to note that the Pixel 6 Pro supports a 120Hz refresh rate. The native resolution of the panel is 3120 x 1440, and the Pixel 6 Pro can operate both at 120Hz and 1440p. However, we don’t know if the Pixel 6 Pro supports a variable refresh rate or if the display modes are discrete. When the display needs to enter a low power state — such as when the Always on Display is active — the refresh rate can dip down to 10 or 30Hz, though.
As we reported earlier this year, the Pixel 6 series will come equipped with ultra-wideband (UWB) support, a short-range wireless communication protocol that’s useful for precisely tracking the location of nearby objects. UWB is implemented in phones by Samsung, Apple, and others to locate UWB-equipped trackers, but we haven’t heard if Google plans to launch its own tile tracker. However, we do know the company is working on digital car key support, which will let your Pixel unlock your car using either NFC or UWB. The Pixel 6 Pro comes preinstalled with a digital car key application, and the UWB hardware is provided by Qorvo, an American semiconductor company that specializes in this kind of hardware.
Google is expected to use a 5G modem from Samsung in the Pixel 6 series, and firmware analysis suggests the modem is related to Samsung’s Exynos 5123. We can now independently corroborate this finding, as we have found another reference to “g5123b” in the phone’s radio firmware. We can’t confirm the supported bands, but the Pixel 6 series is expected to support mmWave 5G, at least in the U.S.
Late last week, a Geekbench result purportedly from the Pixel 6 Pro appeared online, though many were skeptical of its veracity. The Geekbench result suggests the phone has a 2x2x4 core configuration, consisting of 2 cores at 2.80GHz, 2 cores at 2.25GHz, and 4 cores at 1.80GHz (which many assumed meant the SoC has 2x Cortex-X1 cores, 2x Cortex-A78 cores, and 4x Cortex-A55 cores). The RAM was listed as 12GB, while the GPU was listed as the Mali-G78. While we can’t confirm the exact microarchitecture of each CPU core, the 2x2x4 core configuration and the frequencies match what we’ve seen on real Pixel 6 Pro hardware. Furthermore, we can corroborate the 12GB RAM figure, which is expected to be an LPDDR5 module. We can also corroborate that the GPU will be the Mali-G78, and it will be clocked at up to 848MHz. Google itself leaked the GPU already, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
We can also corroborate the camera specs, which on the Pixel 6 Pro will include a triple rear camera setup on the rear and a single camera on the front underneath a hole-punch cutout in the top middle. The Pixel 6 Pro will have a main rear camera with Samsung’s 50MP GN1 image sensor, a secondary rear wide-angle camera with Sony’s 12MP IMX386 image sensor, and a tertiary telephoto camera with Sony’s 48MP IMX586 image sensor. Google previously confirmed the telephoto supports 4X optical zoom. As for the front camera, it may have Sony’s 12MP IMX663 sensor.
We can corroborate a couple of other hardware details, including the battery capacity, one of the storage variants, the Wi-Fi spec, the fingerprint scanner type, and the audio amplifier. The Pixel 6 Pro will have a 5000mAh battery, at least one model with 128GB of storage, Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz Wi-Fi) support, an optical under-display fingerprint scanner from Chinese vendor Goodix, and the Cirrus Logic CS35L41 amp. There are a few details we’re waiting for more info on, but we’ve heard that the rumored “slider” code-name applies to the Pixel 6’s bootloader, the new TPU is code-named “abrolhos” and is clocked at up to 1230MHz, and some of the possible new camera features include a “baby mode” and motion deblur.
Lastly, we learned that the Pixel 6 Pro firmware is based on Linux kernel version 5.10, which lines up nicely with the rumor that the Pixel 6 series will get 5 years of software updates. The 5.10 LTS kernel will be supported until the end of 2026, so that’s when Google may stop providing security updates if the 5 year rumor is true.
If we learn more information about the new Pixel phones from our source, we’ll follow up with another article. It wouldn’t surprise us if Google just came out and confirmed a lot of these details, though, considering how they’ve pretty much announced every detail that most people care about, save for the pricing and availability.