Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro Info Roundup: Here’s everything we know about the Google flagship duo
The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are set to launch later this year. As their name suggests, these phones will be the sixth-generation Pixel flagship. Unlike in 2020 when Google decided to release just one flagship Pixel phone, the company will be launching two phones this year. Last year was an outlier for the Pixel lineup, so it will be good to see Google get back to one regular and one larger phone. In fact, Google has gone ahead and confirmed several details about their upcoming phones, months before their release.
As expected, months before the actual launch of the Pixel 6 series, rumors and leaks about the upcoming lineup are everywhere. Google themselves have let out a lot of information about the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro including some information about the internals and cameras. So let’s dive into everything that’s been rumored, leaked, or even straight-up confirmed about the upcoming Pixel 6 phones.
Google Pixel 6 series: Release date
Google typically launches its new flagship Pixel phones in the fall. Barring the Pixel 5 that was introduced on September 30, 2020, all other Pixel smartphones have been announced in the first half of October. So it’s very likely we’ll see the launch of the Pixel 6 series in early October. Given the pandemic, the company is expected to host a virtual event to unveil the new flagships.
Traditionally, Google has taken anywhere between a week and a fortnight after the announcement to start selling the new Pixel phones. Last year, however, the gap between the Pixel 5 announcement and the sale date ended up being almost a month because of the complications arising from the pandemic. So hopefully, the Pixel 6 launch this year will be smoother and the gap between announcement and sale date won’t be a month-long.
Google has recently uploaded a teaser video on its YouTube channel that shows the Pixel 6 in real life and some software elements of the phone. The focus of the teaser is to convey that the new Pixel 6 will adapt to the user and their needs and will be smarter than before. The end portion of the video also indicates that the Pixel 6 series will launch this Fall which isn’t too far off.
Google Pixel 6 series: Variants and Pricing
Although Google didn’t launch a Pro variant of the Pixel 5, the Pixel 6 is getting a larger Pro version. Initially, it was rumored that Google might be going back to their older naming scheme and would call the two phones Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL. However, Google has now confirmed the two phones will be Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. While we’re on names, the two upcoming Pixel phones are likely codenamed raven and oriole.
There’s no word on the storage variants of the two phones. Google could go one of two ways. It could release just one storage variant of each phone like it did with the Pixel 5 or it could have two storage variants each like the earlier Pixel phones. It seems more likely that Google will stick with just one storage variant per phone.
Google has always been experimental with colors on the Pixel phones (except for last year) and the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will also follow that pattern. While we’re not aware of what quirky names Google will give these colors, we know that the Pixel 6 will come in shades of Red, Yellow(ish), Gray, and Black. The Pixel 6 Pro will also be available in three color options — Cream/Beige, Silver, and Black.
The pricing of the Pixel 6 phones also remains a mystery for now. Google has dabbled in both value for money and top-of-the-line pricing in Pixel’s history. So it would be interesting to see which way Google leans this year. Having said that, since we’re hearing that Google is going the premium route with the larger Pixel, we may see a flagship-level price tag on the Pro. Even the standard variant will be on the higher end of the spectrum, so don’t hold your breath on getting a budget price tag.
The design of the Pixel 6 series is expected to be one of its most interesting aspects. The official images of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro that Google showed off have a striking new design. The two phones will employ a two-tone design with a black camera bump covering the entire width of the back. The two colors on the back of the phone will be divided by this bump. The space above the camera strip can be used to identify the two phones. The phone with more blank space above the camera bar is the Pixel 6 Pro.
The standard Pixel 6 is said to have a matte aluminum finish while the Pixel 6 Pro will have a light polished aluminum frame. Both phones have an industrial design with squared-off corners.
The front of the phones seems in line with pretty much most Android phones. It will have a centered hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera to keep the bezels to a minimum. Speaking of bezels, the Pixel 5 had an under-display earpiece speaker to save space on the top bezel. However, Google has got rid of it this time on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in favor of a conventional earpiece. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will also feature in-display fingerprint scanners instead of the rear-mounted one that was found on the Pixel 5.
Overall, the bold and unique design of the Pixel 6 series will certainly help it distinguish itself from other Android phones on the market. With many smartphone makers playing relatively safe with the designs of their phones, it’s nice to see Google leading from the front.
Internals: Processor, Display, and more
Another interesting aspect of the upcoming Pixel phones is going to be their processor. Google is confirmed to be using its own Google Tensor silicon in the two phones. This custom chip seems to be code-named “Whitechapel” — as spotted in a code-change submitted to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
The specifics of the chip are unknown right now but it’s reportedly being made in partnership with Samsung and will use the high-end Mali-G78 GPU. It’s the same GPU that powers Samsung’s Exynos variant of the Galaxy S21 phone. The Tensor chip will take the AI and ML capabilities of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro to the next level. The Verge reported the Tensor chip can supposedly record 4K 30fps video in HDR while being capable of applying HDRNet to every single frame. It can also help reduce blur in photos and help shoot images at higher speeds.
Google has always been keen on pushing computational photography and Tensor is rumored to take Google’s camera prowess a level above the competition. It’s not just about the cameras, though. Google also claims improvements in speech recognition, translation, and dictation. Even the new Live Translate feature that can generate live, translated captions when you’re consuming content in a different language can be attributed to the new Tensor chip.
The Pixel 6 series is also expected to come with the new and improved Titan M2 chip for security. We’ve also seen evidence that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro may come with support for UWB or Ultra Wide Band. UWB allows for precise positioning and location tracking, and it’s the same technology that Apple uses in its iPhone and AirTags for precision tracking.
In other specifications, the Google Pixel 6 is rumored to feature a 6.4 inch 90Hz flat display with an in-display fingerprint sensor. Additionally, the phone is said to support wireless charging, and pack bottom-firing stereo speakers and a USB Type-C port. It will measure roughly 158.6mm x 74.8mm x 8.9mm (11.8mm with the camera bump). 8GB of RAM with 128/256GB of onboard storage is what we’re hearing along with a large 4614mAh battery.
The Pixel 6 Pro will reportedly pack a 6.67 inch 120Hz curved AMOLED screen with an in-display fingerprint sensor. It’s also said to include dual stereo speakers, and support faster wireless charging with the Pixel Stand. The 6 Pro will measure roughly 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm (11.5mm with camera bump). Just like the display size, the RAM is also being bumped up to 12GB on the Pro variant along with 128/256/512GB of onboard storage. The battery will be slightly larger at 5000mAh.
It was also recently confirmed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will not ship with a charger in the box, just like most modern flagship phones. Apple started this trend with the iPhone 12, with Samsung soon following suit. Now, Google has also decided to exclude the charger from the box of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
Speaking of charging, some recent rumors have indicated towards the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro having support for 33W fast charging which is higher than the 18W currently supported by both the Pixel 5 and the new Pixel 5a.
On the software front, Android 12 is pretty much a certainty for both Pixel 6 and the 6 Pro. The new Android version that’s currently in beta will come with the Material You design language and the wallpaper-based UX theming. It will also pack a privacy dashboard to show which apps are using your phone’s camera, microphone, or location. Additionally, it will have a number of other useful features.
It’s also expected that Google will provide software support to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro for up to five years which would be terrific and right in line with what Apple does with the iPhone. Extended software support may encourage more people to opt for a Pixel device over phones from other OEMs for that extra longevity.
Cameras have long been a key component of the Pixel lineup. It’s the camera prowess of Pixel phones that drives a lot of buying decisions. Hopefully, that will continue with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. While Google has revealed some information about the cameras on both phones, the actual camera quality, and specifics will only be known after the release of these two phones.
Google has confirmed the Pixel 6 will have a dual-camera setup whereas the Pixel 6 Pro will come with triple cameras on the rear. The third camera on the Pro variant is confirmed to be a telephoto camera that will provide 4X optical zoom. Google says they omitted the telephoto from the standard Pixel 6 to reserve it for the “Pros”.
As per the latest leak by Jon Prosser of FrontPageTech, the Pixel 6 is rumored to come with a dual rear camera setup — a 50MP primary camera and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. The Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, will reportedly have a triple rear camera setup that would include an additional 48MP telephoto lens along with the two cameras from the Pixel 6. The Pixel 6 will reportedly have an 8MP camera while the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 12MP shooter.
Earlier, an APK teardown of the Google Camera app version 8.3 by renowned camera modder and XDA Forums Senior Member cstark27 hints towards the Pixel 6 Pro getting support for up to 5X zoom capabilities. The optical zoom capability of the phone is rumored to be around 4.3X with digital zoom making up the rest of the 5X zoom.
In other rumored camera-specific details, the selfie camera on the Pixel 6 is said to support 4K video recording. The Pixel 5’s selfie camera only supports 1080p video recording at 30fps. One thing that was already confirmed at the I/O 2021 is that Google is tweaking the camera algorithms to make them better at shooting diverse skin tones.
Google Pixel 6 series: Availability
Google now has a landing page on its store for the Pixel 6 series you can take a look at if you’re interested in these phones. The Google Pixel 6 series will be available in at least eight countries, based on the fact that landing pages for them have already gone live.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro seem like the most interesting and most anticipated phones of 2021. The new Tensor chip is something we’re looking forward to seeing along with the changes Google has made with regards to the cameras. It’s safe to say we’re now looking at a new direction for Pixel.
XDA’s Wishlist for the Pixel 6 series
Thanks to the various rumors and leaks, we already know a lot about the two phones. But from the things that are still a mystery, here’s what we would like to see in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
High refresh rate display
For the last couple of flagship Pixel phones, Google has been kind of stuck at a 90Hz refresh rate. So it would be great to see the company make a jump to at least 120Hz. Pretty much all major flagships these days come with 120Hz displays, so it makes no sense for Google to provide anything lower. A higher refresh rate not only helps you while gaming, but also affects how smooth a phone feels while in use.
While Google made a significant jump in the Pixel 5’s battery capacity, there’s still scope for improvement. Given that Pixel phones don’t normally come with crazy-fast charging speeds, seeing a 4,500mAh or 5,000mAh battery would certainly make a lot of people, including us, very happy.
No more hardware issues
Pixel phones don’t have the best record when it comes to hardware and software issues. Every year, after the new Pixel phones are released, Google support forums are filled with consumers complaining about one thing or another. While software issues can be rectified by updates, hardware issues can cause unnecessary hassle to users. Nobody likes to see their brand new phone having problems. So Google, let’s not repeat history this year.
So this is everything that’s been confirmed, rumored, or leaked by credible sources about the Pixel 6 phones over the last couple of months. Since the launch of the new Pixel phones is still a few months away, we will very likely hear a lot more in the coming weeks and months. We’ll continue to update this article as we know more details.
What are your expectations or wishes for the upcoming phones? What would you like to see? Let us know in the comments section.
Featured Image: Google Pixel 5