I’ll be honest in the fact that I haven’t had much experience with Google Pixel phones before this last week. I’ve always heard really great things and expected it to be a great experience, but what I got with the Google Pixel 6 Pro really exceeded my expectations.
The design won’t be for everyone but it’s certainly striking. On the front, you’re met with a 6.7″ QHD+ 120hz display, which is one of the most stunning phone displays that I’ve seen, right up there with the iPhone 13 Pro. As with other smart phones, the Pixel Pro 6 is able to toggle its refresh rate up or down depending on the content that you’re viewing to save battery. The display curves ever so slightly around the front, which makes for a futuristic feeling device.
Within the display, you’ve got a tiny camera cut-out, which I much prefer to a notch, and a fingerprint reader under the display, which again, I prefer to unlocking using your camera (but I’d still rather the Pixel 6 Pro had face unlock as well).
Turning the phone around is where things get a bit contentious. All three colours have a three tone design. I’ve been using Stormy Black which is absolutely delicious looking, but the thing that quite obviously stands out is that camera bump. I don’t really mind it (especially given how good the photos are which we’ll get into shortly), but I did have at least a couple of people voice their distain for it after seeing it in real life. The biggest concern point for me is that without a case, these lenses are probably going to get scratched up as they’re the point obviously hitting the surface first.
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is probably the slimmest flagship phone that I’ve ever used, which is nice as it feels quite light, which is welcomed given the size of the display, but the fact that it’s light, coupled with the back being quite slippery, means you’ll want to put a case on this thing as soon as you get it.
Turning the phone on, you’ll immediately realise that Google has gone all in on personalisation (even more so than usual). The phone does a great job at taking colours from your set wallpaper and rolling them out to everything from you app icons, to widgets colourings to the clock face on your lock screen. It’s a super simple idea that just works, and for someone who is so into aesthetics, I had a ball playing with different wallpapers to find what suited me best.
Similarly, the phone seemed to do a really great job of showing me the information and notifications that I wanted to see, always popping my Nest Doorbell alerts to the top of notifications and showing me things such as the weather exactly when I wanted to see it.
The Google Pixel 6 uses Google’s new Tensor processor and it just makes everything that much more pleasant. No matter what I opened up or did on the Pixel 6 Pro, Tensor never struggled to keep up. That’s what I expect from a flagship phone in 2021, but that was just the beginning.
You’d expect Google to have the smartest phone on the market given the company’s status, and the Pixel 6 Pro delivers. I was in constant disbelief how well Assistant was able to transcribe my voice whilst using the Pixel 6 Pro. Whilst messaging, you literally don’t need to touch buttons at all, with Google able to undo, send, clear or stop on the fly just by using your voice.
The Tensor smarts doesn’t stop there either. You’re able to translate foreign messages, take a photo and have Google translate the words, or even record a foreign language and have Google Pixel 6 read it back to you in your requested language. It’s not perfect 100% of the time, but it’s pretty damn close and I can only imagine it’s going to get better with time. Whilst I haven’t had a huge chance to use them, Google has introduced its Call Screen and Hold For Me features in Australia which are able to not only able to screen incoming scam calls, but Google A.I can also literally sit on hold for you and let you know when the call is ready.
Just by looking at the specs it’s no secret that Google went all in on its camera system this year. On the Pixel 6 Pro, you’ve got three lenses on the back. A 50 MP wide camera, a 48 MP telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom and a 12 MP ultrawide camera with a 114 degree field of view.
The best compliment that I can give this phone is that it’s really hard to take a bad photo. The improved sensors mixed with the Google Tensor processor means that the phone will do everything in its power to ensure that a good snap is taken.
The three lenses provide so many options in capturing your shot. You’re able to scroll from 0.7 to 1x to 2x to 4x in an instant to grab your shot, each providing just as much clarity and vibrancy as the next. When compared to the iPhone 13 Pro camera, I’d say that the Pixel 6 Pro wins out on clarity and vibrancy, whilst the iPhone 13 Pro camera is maybe just a tad more realistic and natural looking.
Portrait mode on the Google Pixel 6 Pro is a massive winner, it was able to really provide more depth than the iPhone could, getting closer to DSLR than every imaginable. Everybody that I showed the photos too were super impressed.
When it comes to night mode on the Google Pixel 6 Pro, the phone will automatically sense that not enough natural light is coming into the sensor and presumably use A.I in order to brighten up the shot in the right places. It was fairly good experience, but iPhone 13 Pro faired maybe a tad better at highlighting the correct part of the shot without as much blur, but the Pixel 6 Pro was no slouch either.
On the front there’s an 11.1 MP camera with a 94 degree ultrawide field of view. This allows you to take ultrawide selfies on the Pixel 6 Pro, which in turn allows you to fit more people in, or maybe that object that’s just out of frame.
There’s a couple of cool little features that the camera introduces too. Magic Eraser uses Google Tensor to removed unwanted people or objects out of your photo. In seconds, I was able to remove an unwanted cord out of a shot, as well as my doubles partner on the Tennis court. I’m really excited to see where this technology goes in the next couple of years.
Motion Mode is in beta, and was a bit more hit and miss, but it resulted in some cool looking shots. Action Pan focuses on a moving subject, whilst blurring the background, whilst long exposure keeps the lens open in order to give you a super artistic photos. I can’t see either shot being used a whole lot, but it’s really cool to see companies keep pushing these phone cameras in new directions.
Google is pushing security and privacy in a big way with the Pixel 6 and it shows. The Privacy Dashboard will tell you which apps have been using key device functionality such as location, camera and microphone in the last 24 hours whilst the Security Hub will tell you of any password breaches and the like. A new Personal Safety feature lets you tell Google to check in with you after a set amount of time (such as walking late at night) and will call emergency services if you don’t respond to the alert. For those that are not wanting their mics and cameras to be live ta all times, Google has added tiles to the quick settings so that you can quickly enable or disable too.
Google says that the Pixel 6 Pro has an all-day battery life and that’s pretty much what I experienced, with the phone maybe coming in at at a few hours lighter of use than the iPhone 13 Pro (which is to be expected given the 13 pro is quite a bit chunkier). There’s no charger in the box, but you can buy a 30w fast charger separately, and interestingly enough, my Apple MagSafe charger stuck to the Pixel 6 Pro and charged it too.
all-in-all, I was really impressed with my time using the Google Pixel 6 pro. The phone’s design, Google Tensor and cleverly implemented features come together to create a phone that’s one of the best that has hit the market.
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is hands-down one of the best phones that I've used. It combines a stunning design, Google's powerful Tensor processor & smart software to create an experience like no other.