So… I bought the Google Pixel 6, and sold it 3 days later. Before I get into the reasons why, I’d like to make some things clear. First and foremost, this is an opinion piece, so what I say here is subjective. The Pixel 6 is, by no means, a bad device, quite the contrary, but it just doesn’t suit me, for reasons I’ll talk about. Some of you may take those reasons into account, if it’s something that applies to you.
Another thing I’d like to make clear. Some of you may wonder why didn’t I simply return it, instead of selling it? Didn’t I lose money in the process? Well, the Pixel 6 is not yet available where I live, so I had to import it from a different EU country. Returning it would be a bit difficult, as I ordered it through a third-party. Instead, I sold it to a good friend of mine, and lost almost no money in the process. This way was much simpler, and it’s all good. My friend actually upgraded from the Pixel 4a, and he loves this phone, because, as I said, it’s a really great phone.
Now that that’s out of the way, we can get down to it. Below, I’ll do my best to explain why I sold this phone so quickly, why it didn’t suit me. I’ll start with the things that bothered me most, and go from there. Do note that these are only the top ones, though. So, let’s get started.
What I noticed almost immediately after I started using the Pixel 6 is how hollow its display is. To be quite honest, it felt cheap because of it, and plasticky as well. I’ve noticed that on a number of other phones, but all of those devices were much cheaper than this one. It bothered me so much, that I had to Google the issue behind it, to see if it’s a defect or what. It turns out it’s that way by design.
The Google Pixel 6 screen is not bonded to the mid-frame. This improves repairability quite a bit, but it also makes the display feel hollow. On top of that, it affects heat dissipation in a bad way. If it were bonded to the mid-frame, some heat would be able to go out through the display, as on other flagships. That’s not the case, though, so the heat goes out back, which is why its backplate heats up more.
Google’s reasoning for this is probably display repairability, but I do feel like this is a mistake. Just to be clear, the company did the same thing on the Pixel 6 Pro, so this is not exclusive to the Pixel 6. It did the same thing on a number of previous Pixels too. This is not something new that Google is doing, but it is new for its flagships. To be quite honest, I don’t remember the Pixel 4 XL having the same problem, but I could be wrong. In any case, this bothered me a lot, and was one of the main reasons I decided to sell the device.
It not only made the display feel hollow and cheap, but made the entire device feel less premium for me. Which is a shame. This probably wouldn’t bother the vast majority of you, though.
You may have heard by now that the fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro isn’t the best. That doesn’t mean Google didn’t use a good fingerprint scanner on these two phones, not at all. The company actually used a good optical fingerprint scanner by Goodix. So, what’s the issue then? Well, the company wanted to increase its security. Google admitted that it is using some extra algorithms to verify your identity, therefore this thing is slower than it should be.
Considering I’m coming from the OnePlus 9 Pro’s and Vivo X60 Pro+’s optical in-display fingerprint scanners, which are great, this is just really bad in comparison. Not only was it really slow for me, but it wasn’t as accurate in comparison. It may be more secure, as Google is claiming, I have no way to prove that, but the slowness and general performance of this fingerprint scanner were an issue for me, big time. I unlock my phone a ton of times every day, so I want its fingerprint scanner to be great in doing so.
Another fingerprint-related thing that bothered me is the way it worked when you tap the display. When you tap the display, the entire lockscreen appears, along with the fingerprint scanner icon. That is not the case on a number of other Chinese flagship smartphones. On the Vivo X60 Pro+, for example, when you tap the display, only the fingerprint icon appears, and it’s not too bright at that point. This is what I prefer to happen, as I can’t accidentally press something else on the display.
On the Pixel 6, that tended to happen a lot. When you grab your phone or something, the entire lockscreen lights up. I tended to interact with the display when that happens, even though I didn’t want to. It seems like a small complaint, but you’d be surprised how often it happened. I was trying to find an option to disable this, and for the fingerprint scanner to appear only, but it doesn’t seem to be available.
Material You colors
I’ve used Material You on my Pixel 4a the moment it became available. So I guess I’m to blame for this, as I knew what to expect. Material You tends to use pastel colors, which is generally fine, but the lack of customization drove me nuts. Whatever I did, with what’s on offer, the colors never looked right. The whole point of Material You customization is to adapt to you, as Google is saying, so it does that automatically. You do have some options to affect that, but not a lot, as I already explained in a separate article.
In any case, the colors never seemed right to me, no matter what wallpaper and color combinations I tried. Google didn’t provide us with more granular options, and messing around with display-related settings didn’t really help. The whites never seemed white to me, and the display colors always seemed to be a bit too warm for my taste. Compared to the displays on the OnePlus 9 series and Vivo X60 Pro+, which I used prior to this as my daily drivers, this just doesn’t get cool enough for me, nor color-accurate.
Don’t get me wrong, Google used a really good panel here. It is 90Hz, and it feels like a 120Hz panel. Touch responsiveness is excellent, and there are really no complaints here. Those colors really did a number on me. The same “issue” was present on the Pixel 4a, so I guess I knew what to expect. I love using AMOLED wallpapers, so I tried different combinations with blues and whites in them to make the colors as they should be, but that didn’t help either, nor did choosing “basic” colors, nor opting for “Boosted” colors in the display settings. In the end, it annoyed me too much to continue using that display. It was definitely one of the main reasons that I decided to sell the phone.
Issues with third-party launchers
I’m used to using third-party launchers on my phones. Launchers like Nova Launcher, Microsoft Launcher, and Action Launcher. I usually cycle through those, and Smart Launcher, when I’m not trying something completely different. I was hoping Google fixed some issues with third-party launcher compatibility, as they were present on last-gen phones. Basically all Pixel phones with Android 11 had some issues, and the Pixel 4a with Android 12 as well. I was hoping that won’t be the case with the Pixel 6, for whatever reason, but I was wrong.
Truth be said, it’s much less of an issue now, but it’s still annoying. Let’s take Nova Launcher as an example. It started crashing the moment I installed it on the device. Reinstalling it didn’t help, nor did clearing cache. It turns out I had to remove all widgets from both launchers, restart the phone, and then set Nova Launcher as the default launcher. That sorted out almost all issues, well, all but one. The touch delay upon return to the home screen was still present.
When you swipe up to go home, you have to wait for a second or so to be able to interact with the display. I’m guessing this is because it redraws the launcher in the background. It redraws it in the foreground on the Pixel 4a. This became really annoying to me, as I tend to press something really fast when I return to the home screen, it’s a habit, like launch a different app I’d like to access, or whatever.
Do note that this is not an issue if you’re using on-screen buttons. The issue seems to be with Google’s navigation gestures. That’s, at least, what Nova Launcher developers said, and various other launcher developers out there. That’s what was said for Android 11, but it still seems to be an issue with Android 12.
Charging was a rather minor reason why I sold the Pixel 6, but it still affected my decision. Google is selling a 30W PPS charger for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but that charger doesn’t charge at 30W. Truth be said, Google never claimed it does, but it’s still implied. 30W charging isn’t slow by any means, but the problem is, this phone doesn’t support it. It chargers at around 22W from 0 to 50-percent, and after that, it slows down considerably, as explained here.
The average charging speed over a full cycle is at around 13W, which is really slow. I get why Google did this, to preserve the battery, and keep the phone cool, but I don’t find it to be a great idea. Selling a 30W charger for a device implies it charges at 30W. Google’s competition offers faster charging, pretty much every single competitor flagship smartphone. Charging the Pixel 6 from 0 to 100-percent takes just under two hours, which is really bad, needless to say. If your phone ends up lasting through the entire day without the need to charge it, well, then this is a non-issue, as you can charge it overnight. If it doesn’t, well, then it’s a problem.
I’m not sure if Google’s Pixel Stand will charge both devices at 21W and 23W, respectively. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro support up to 21W and 23W charging from the Pixel Stand, respectively, that’s what Google confirmed. I just can’t confirm they will constantly be charging at that speed. The Pixel Stand is still not out, so there’s no way to test it. Other Qi chargers will charge these devices slower.
All in all, coming from 65W charging, this seemed really slow, which was an issue for me. I managed to deplete the battery due to heavy image and video taking two days straight. It took an age for the phone to charge. Google could have at least gave us an option (via a toggle) to utilize 30W charging without any slowdowns.
The bottom line
The bottom line is, these are things that bother me, personally. You may not be affected by any of it. Many people bought the Pixel 6 and are enjoying the device, a lot (including my colleague who reviewed both phones). In fact, it seems like most people prefer the Pixel 6 over its “Pro” sibling. The price is not the only reason, actually. We are all different, though, and these are the things I couldn’t stand, which is why I decided to sell my unit. When you try something better, and have an option to use it, it’s really difficult to downgrade. I have to admit that letting go of the Pixel 6 camera setup was difficult, though. The phone really can take great images and video, and for that sole reason I almost decided to keep the phone, but there were too many tradeoffs, for me personally.