The Google Pixel 6 Pro was announced on October 19, at a virtual Made By Google event.
The Pixel 6 Pro is the most high-end and premium smartphone that Google has ever released. And it’s the first time that Google has gone with a “Pro” model. In the past, Google has used Pixel and Pixel XL naming for its smartphones. Though, we have not seen a Pixel XL since the Pixel 4 XL in 2019.
It’s also the first smartphone to use Google’s own chipset, the Tensor SoC. Which has a lot of promise, and is also going to bring updates for at least four years, among other things.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the new Pixel 6 Pro.
When can I buy the Pixel 6 Pro?
Pre-orders for the Google Pixel 6 Pro will start on October 19, and be available in stores and online starting on October 28 in the US.
Other countries will likely get availability for the Pixel 6 Pro in the coming weeks.
How much does the Pixel 6 Pro cost?
The leaks were wrong. Many leaks had the Pixel 6 Pro pegged at well over a grand, but that’s not the case. Google is selling the Pixel 6 Pro starting at $899. With the 256GB model likely for $999 and the 512GB at $1099. That makes the Pixel 6 Pro pretty competitive with other flagship smartphones on the market. For example, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is $1099, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is $1199.
Google says that the Pixel 6 Pro sets a new bar for Pixel phones, but it’s still the same price as the Pixel 4 XL was two years ago. The Pixel 5 wasn’t available as a high-end, larger smartphone, so we will compare it to the Pixel 4 XL.
Should I wait for a price drop?
Normally, we would say yes, wait for a price drop. Pixel smartphones typically drop in price pretty quickly after they go on sale in stores. However, this year, things are a bit different. With the global chip shortage, supply is likely going to be very constrained for the Pixel 6 Pro. And it wouldn’t be crazy to see scalpers buying them up and selling them for much more. Like they have done with the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X.
So our recommendation is, if you need a new phone, pre-order the Pixel 6 Pro. Or the Pixel 6 if you want the smaller phone. And don’t wait for Black Friday, as there may not be any available by then.
Where can I buy the Pixel 6 Pro?
Like previous Pixel smartphones, the Pixel 6 Pro will be available at all of the usual retailers and carriers. That includes the Google Store, Best Buy, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Carriers will most likely have some special deals for the Pixel 6 Pro. Make sure to check out their website to see what deals they have. As these will change pretty often. But we’d expect to see some sort of BOGO when you add a line and trade-in your current phone.
You will be able to finance the Pixel 6 through the Google Store if you purchase it on Google Fi. Otherwise, you’ll need to order it through a carrier to finance it.
What carriers will support the Pixel 6 Pro?
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 Pro come in?
The Google Pixel 6 Pro will be available in three colors this year: Stormy Black, Cloudy White and Sorta Sunny. Slightly different names from Google’s usual color names, but still pretty easy to tell what is what.
These are all two-toned finishes, which leaves the stormy black as a black and dark gray color. While the cloudy white is a white and a very light beige. Finally, there is the Sorta Sunny, which is yellow with a very light orange.
They are pretty unique colors this year, but still mostly sticking to Google’s usual options of having a black, white and a special color. In this case, the Sorta Sunny is the special color.
What about the specs?
Here are the specs for the Google Pixel 6 Pro.
|Google Pixel 6 Pro|
|Screen size||6.7-inch QHD+ OLED 90Hz|
|Dimensions||163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm|
|Processor||Google Tensor SoC|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|Cameras||50MP (Main), 48MP (Telephoto), 12MP (Ultrawide)|
|Battery||5000mAh; Qi wireless charging|
|Security & OS Updates||5 Years of Pixel updates|
|Colors||Stormy Black, Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny|
|Release Date||October 28|
What new features did Google add to the Pixel 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.
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.
There are also a few features that are exclusive to the Pixel 6 Pro. That includes 4X Optical Zoom. This is exclusive because the Pixel 6 does not have a telephoto sensor. Allowing you to shoot at 0.7x, 1x, 2x, or 4x. And you can take ultrawide selfies along with 4K video on the front-facing camera.
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, and Samsung moved to three years starting with the Galaxy S21 this year. But Apple is killing everyone, having updated its iPhone 6S to iOS 15. That is a 6 year old phone.
Google is finally catching up to Apple though, 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 Pro?
Google will of course offer its popular cases for the Pixel 6 Pro. 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 Pro 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 Pro model. The Pixel 6 Pro cases come in Stormy Sky, Light Frost and Soft Sage. The soft Sage is a really nice color, and would look great on last year’s Pixel 5 in Sorta Sage.
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.