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Google Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6 review: True flagships

Google Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6 review: True flagships

Google Pixel 6 Pro

Google is finally giving its fans what they really want: A true flagship smartphone with the Pixel 6 Pro, and to a lesser extent, the Pixel 6. The latest Pixels have all the bells and whistles you'd expect from an Apple or Samsung flagship phone, from the glass-and-metal builds to a triple-camera system (on the Pro). There's even a custom Google-designed CPU for the very first time. It's a big U-turn from previous Pixels, which always seemed a step behind the competition in terms of specs. But do these Pixels, which debuted in other countries last October, match up to the latest 2022 phones?

Quick specs

  • Pixel 6 Pro: 6.7-inch OLED screen (3,120 x 1,440 pixels, 10Hz -120Hz); Pixel 6: 6.4-inch OLED screen (2,400 x 1,080 pixels, 60/90Hz)
  • Google Tensor chip with 12GB RAM and 128GB storage (Pixel 6 Pro), 8GB RAM and 128GB storage (Pixel 6)
  • Pixel 6 Pro: 50MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide, 48MP telephoto; Pixel 6: Same cameras but no telephoto
  • Pixel 6 Pro: 5,003mAh battery; Pixel 6: 4,614mAh battery

Not many folks care about this, but I'm pleased that the Pixels retain the excellent haptic feedback of its predecessors. The vibrations are so tight and spot-on that I believe they improve my typing accuracy. In terms of design, the latest Pixels are quite the departure from the previous version. For one, they are the largest in the series. Both the Pixel 6 Pro and the Pixel 6 weigh over 200g. I especially had some trouble handling the bigger 6.7-inch Pro model. The slippery glass back doesn't help. A case is also a must. Due to the thick camera bar running across the rear, the Pixels won't lie flat on a desk without one. Besides being easier to hold, I also prefer the flat screen on the standard Pixel 6. The Pro has a curved one like many other flagship phones.

Google Pixel 6 Pro
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

The Pro model also has a better display. Not only does it have a higher 1,440p resolution, it's a LTPO screen that can dynamically vary its refresh rate from 10Hz to 120Hz, which can improve battery life. In comparison, the Pixel 6's display switches between 60Hz and 90Hz. However, the Pro's larger and sharper screen is more power-hungry. While it clocked a pretty good 13hr 10min in our video-loop battery test, the Pixel 6 lasted 2hr longer despite its smaller battery. Both screens are bright and usable outdoors in the sun, and supports HDR10 (no Dolby Vision). And while both phones have a hole-punch selfie camera, the Pro has a better 11MP version with 4K video recording compared to the 8MP, 1080p video on the standard.

Google Pixel 6 Pro
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

The most significant difference between the two Pixel 6 variants is the additional telephoto camera in the Pro model. This camera, which offers 4x optical zoom, brings the Pixel 6 Pro parity with other flagships. As a result, the Pixel 6 Pro is right up there with the best smartphone cameras. The telephoto is great, producing sharp detailed shots at 4x zoom. Photos, though, still have that distinct “Pixel look” — crisp and contrasty with detailed textures. Portrait shots, especially, brings out your subject with heavy background blur. Night photography is excellent, with low noise and natural colours. The ultra-wide camera, though, is so-so. A new Magic Eraser feature that lets you remove unwanted objects or people in your photos is cool, if not the most original. Overall, the Pixel 6 phones take great photos, but its signature “Pixel look” may not be everyone's cup of tea.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6 both sport the Google Tensor CPU that is said to be more efficient for machine language applications. Compared to last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, the Pixel 6 Pro falls short in the multi-core test (around 2,800), but is competitive in the single-core segment (around 1,050). You probably won't notice any difference in apps and games. What you will notice is the minimalist Pixel interface. There isn't any bloatware, if you're mostly use Google apps that is. In short, the new Pixels are among the best Android phones now. They are everything fans have wanted for years, albeit larger and heavier than expected. At S$1,299 for the Pixel 6 Pro and S$999 for the Pixel 6, they are also cheaper than the latest 2022 flagships like the Galaxy S22 series. You can get the Pixels now from the Google Store.

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Note: Review unit provided by Google.

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