Google announced the Pixel 6 (and Pixel 6 Pro) at a virtual event on October 19, 2021.
The Pixel 6 represents a lot of changes for Google, when it comes to the Pixel lineup. Gone is the “XL” model, gone is the metal back, and much more. Instead, Google is providing TeamPixel with a premium smartphone, and a premium price to boot.
Pixel 6 is a big deal because it is the first smartphone Google is launching with its own chipset – Tensor SoC. It also brings in a new main camera sensor for the first time since Pixel 2.
Everything about the Pixel 6 looks really great. But we are here to break it down for you, and help you decide whether it is worth the price or not. And perhaps tell you some things that Google may not have. Here’s everything you need to know about the Google Pixel 6.
When does the Pixel 6 go on sale?
Pre-orders started on October 19, with general availability on October 28 in the US.
Other countries will likely get the Pixel 6 a bit later on, likely due to the ongoing global chip shortage.
How much is the Pixel 6?
The Google Pixel 6 starts at $599 in the US.
That’s not quite the most expensive Pixel ever made, but pretty close. The Pixel 6 Pro is, indeed, the most expensive, however.
This is actually cheaper than the Pixel 5 was last year, at least in the US. In the US, the Pixel 5 was priced at $699 due to there only being a mmWave model. But it was equivalent to $599 elsewhere since there was both Sub-6 and mmWave 5G models available.
It’s quite a feat for Google to release a much more impressive phone that likely cost a bit more to make, for a cheaper price than its predecessor. But definitely good to see.
Should I wait for a price drop?
Where these are more premium Pixel phones this year, and the given chipset shortage around the world, the Pixel 6 may not get a price drop anytime soon. In fact, we may see it go up in price, if you wait too long. Not because Google is going to raise the prices, but it will run out of stock and scalpers will then sell them on sites like eBay, Swappa, Amazon and others for much more.
If you’re due for an upgrade, and want to get the Pixel 6, we’d recommend not wasting anytime. With the ongoing chip shortage, there’s no real way to tell if you’ll be able to get one later on down the road or not.
Where can I buy the Pixel 6?
The Google Pixel 6 will be available at all of the usual retailers that sell the Pixel. That includes the Google Store, Best Buy, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Carriers will have some special deals for the Pixel 6, but you can finance your Pixel 6 purchase through Google Fi, in addition to AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. In case, you don’t want to pay for the whole thing right now.
What carriers will support the Pixel 6?
In the US, all three major carriers will support the Pixel 6. This includes AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. The Pixel 6 will support mmWave and Sub-6 5G networks. So you will get fast speeds from all three networks, on 5G.
In addition to that, a number of MVNO’s will also support the Pixel 6. That includes Straight Talk, Mint Mobile, Cricket, Metro by T-Mobile, Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Google Fi and more. Though some of them will not sell the Pixel 6, so you will want to buy it unlocked from Google. We do know that Google Fi will sell it, but you can also bring an unlocked Pixel 6 over to Google Fi.
What colors does the Pixel 6 come in?
The Google Pixel 6 will come in three colors. Those include Stormy Black, Sorta Seafoam and Kinda Coral.
All three are two-toned finishes, with the camera bar being black on all colors. The Stormy Black is black and a sort of dark gray above the camera bar. While the Sorta Seafoam is like a teal and yellow. And then there’s the Kinda Coral color that is a light orange and red.
Each color is pretty cool looking, but most people will probably go for the Stormy Black model. And we’d expect that Google will have more stock of that one, compared to the other colors.
What are the specs of the Pixel 6?
Here are the specs for the Google Pixel 6. You can check out a more detailed spec list here.
|Google Pixel 6|
|Screen size||6.4-inch FHD+ OLED 90Hz, 20:9 Aspect Ratio|
|Dimensions||158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm|
|Processor||Google Tensor SoC|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB UFS 3.1|
|Cameras||50MP (Main), 12MP (Ultrawide)|
|Battery||4614mAh; Qi wireless charging|
|Security & OS Updates||5 Years of Pixel Updates|
|Colors||Stormy Black, Kinda Coral, Sorta Seafoam|
|Release Date||October 28|
What new features did Google debut this year?
Google really focused on the camera this year, which makes sense. That’s because this is the first year that Google has actually updated the camera sensor in the Pixel, since the Pixel 2. Which was released back in 2017. So there’s a lot of changes to the camera this year, and a few new modes too.
A lot of the other software features that were added are actually Android 12 features that you’ll find on other Pixels and other Android phones.
New camera features
The camera has always been a big focus point on the Pixel smartphones. And this year, there are a few new features available, to help you take full advantage of these new sensors.
First up is Magic Eraser, which is an AI-powered tool that will automatically suggest objects to remove with just a tap. Google will also allow you to manually circle and object to remove it. Allowing you to get rid of those photobombers after you have taken the photo.
Google has also announced Face Unblur for the Pixel 6 series. This will allow you to change the blur after you take the picture to make sure that the face is not blurred. This can be an issue if you are taking a photo with people at different distances from the camera.
Real Tone is here to help you photograph all different skin colors. Typically, cameras will show a bias towards those that are lighter skinned. With the Pixel 6, Google worked with a diverse set of expert image makers and photographers to tune their Auto White Balance, AE and stray light algorithms to ensure that Google’s camera and imagery products work for everyone. This feature cannot be disabled, however.
Google has also improved video this time around. Thanks to the new chipset that Google designed for Pixel, HDRnet is able to be processed live on 4K video. That is going to provide you with rich, vivid colors, improved night time performance and enhanced tone mapping.
This is not exclusive to the Pixel 6, but Material You is here with Android 12. Basically, your theme on your Pixel 6 will change based on your wallpaper. The operating system is designed to take out some highlight colors and use it for the clock on the lock screen, the quick toggles in the notification shade and even within apps.
So you can change your wallpaper and really completely change your entire phone’s look and feel.
This is another Android 12 feature that will be available on every Android 12-powered smartphone. But the Privacy Dashboard will clearly show you what permissions were used in the past 24 hours. You can see how often something like your location was used. By clicking on each permission, you can see what app used it and when.
Additionally, Google has also added indicators to the status bar, that indicate when the camera and/or microphone are being used. This will help you find those apps that are using those permissions and shouldn’t be.
Recorder is one of our favorite apps that debuted on the Pixel 4 two years ago. And now it has gotten even better. It now supports English, Japanese and German. Recorder also allows you to share a video clip to social media.
How long will I get updates for?
One of the issues with Android smartphones has always been updates. Most smartphone makers do promise two years of updates now, with Samsung moving to three for this year’s smartphones. But that’s still nothing compared to Apple, who updated the iPhone 6S to iOS 15 this year – a phone that came out in 2015.
Google is upping its game with software updates this year. Promising at least four years of OS updates, and at least five years of security updates. That means that your Pixel 6 will get updated at least until Android 16 in 2025.
That’s pretty impressive for Google, but how is this major jump possible? One word. Tensor. Now that Google is controlling every bit of hardware and software on the Pixel 6, it can guarantee updates for longer periods. Unlike when they used Qualcomm chipsets, they would have to wait for Qualcomm to release binaries for those SoCs before they could work on an update. That is the case for every manufacturer too.
That’s something that Apple had over Google and the rest of Android. It makes every part of the iPhone from hardware to software. So it can really dictate how things are done. And now we’re starting to see that from Google starting with the Pixel 6.
Now, Google says four years of OS updates, but in all honesty, you might see even more. The Pixel (the original Pixel) was only supposed to get two years, but got at least three years of updates. So this is huge for Google.
What cases are available for the Pixel 6?
Google will of course offer its popular cases for the Pixel 6. And they do sort of match the colors of the Pixel 6. But there are other cases available too. Here’s a small handful of Pixel 6 cases that you can pick up for your new phone.
Google is not releasing fabric cases anymore for the Pixel. Instead, it is using a plastic case which is made from 100% recycled material. So you can pick up a first-party case and protect your Pixel, and it’s also good for the environment.
These cases come in three different colors, for each Pixel 6 model. The Pixel 6 cases come in Stormy Sky, Light Rain and Cotton Candy.
Spigen Liquid Air Armor
The Spigen Liquid Air Armor is another popular option, and it’s under $20. This is a matte black case, so if you’re not one for colors, then this is a good option too. This is a pretty slim case, and has military grade protection. So you can drop your phone and not worry about it breaking. As this case will keep it in tact.
Caseology Vault Protective Case
If you want a case that is a bit more protective against the elements and potential drop, there’s also the Caseology Vault case. This is a case that they make for just about every phone. And it looks really nice. It adds a nice bit of grip to the back, and comes in sage green, black and grey.
Spigen Ultra Hybrid
If you decided to get the Sorta Seafoam or Kinda Coral options, then this is the case you’ll probably want. It’s a clear case from Spigen, so you can still show off the color of your new Pixel 6 smartphone. It does have the reinforced sides and corners. So that if you do drop your new Pixel 6, you’ll be covered.
Should I buy the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro?
Now, the big question is whether you should buy the Pixel 6 or the Pixel 6 Pro. There are some major differences between the two, actually.
You should buy the Pixel 6 if you don’t want to spend a grand on a new phone, if you want a smaller screen, and if you don’t want a telephoto camera. If money isn’t an issue, and you want the bigger screen (and battery), then the Pixel 6 Pro is going to be the better option for you.