About six months after its release, in our long-term evaluation of the entry-level Made by Google flagship phone for most of 2021 and 2022, we’re taking another look at what the Pixel 6 has done right and wrong.
We already examined the Pixel 6 Pro, which is excellent in and of itself. However, the majority of individuals who are interested in purchasing one of Google’s flagship phones this year may want to consider the normal model. This is our comprehensive assessment of the Pixel 6 after using it every day for more than six months.
– Design and Hardware
The highest unqualified compliment I can give the Pixel 6 is how eager I am to put my SIM back in it after using another review device or trying out another Android phone. While I’d want to say that the combo of previous Pixel designs is what has me yearning for a return, the truth is that it’s the flat screen and matte side rails.
I frequently use the Pixel 6 without a case but with a screen protector installed; these two features are what make the phone so easy to use on a daily basis. That’s significant because, compared to the Pixel 4a, which served as my primary device for the majority of 2020, the Pixel 6 series represents a significant improvement in usability. For better or worse, small phones appear to be off Google’s product pipeline going forward.
Additionally, you may choose among colors that are bolder, more fun, and clearly more Google-like than those on the larger premium model. I have a case, but I like to use the phone without it more since I can observe the gorgeous Sorta Seafoam hue, which is much more muted than I had anticipated. In some lighting, it almost appears blue. I do frequently send an envious glance in the direction of the Kinda Coral model before questioning my decision regarding color.
It feels more in sync with earlier generations than the Pro, despite a difference. The Pixel 6 lacks the excessively curved edges and sides that I bemoaned in my lengthy assessment of the Pro, and as a result, it is generally more approachable. One of my few big criticisms regarding the design is that it is hefty. Just three grams separate it from the 210g Pixel 6 Pro. It’s a slab, but it’s a comfortable one.
I can’t fully endorse the build quality because I had to have my retail unit replaced after a little accident. My Sorta Seafoam model’s top rear glass piece broke free after I left my phone on a table next to a heater (which was not on or in front of, I hasten to note). Although the adhesive probably weakened, I must commend Google Store assistance for finding a solution for me.
The Pixel 6 feels delightfully tiny compared to the Pixel 6 Pro, which is only a few millimeters smaller. But make no mistake, this is a big smartphone that practically need two hands to operate correctly. The FHD display, which measures 6.4 inches, is clear, sharp, and offers dark, rich blacks that elevate practically all video content.
In particular, it is flat. As a result, your taps, swipes, and touches will have superior edge detection, better handling, and great viewing angles. I’m okay with the 90Hz refresh rate because it enhances the fluidity of Android 12, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally wish it were as fluid as the 120Hz Pixel 6 Pro panel. Then I come to the realization that I’m not angry enough to accept my decision and give up a flat-screen.
I originally struggled with the fingerprint scanner because it only unlocked my handset around seven out of ten times. The delisted December 2021 update fixed my scanner troubles, and while it’s slower than I’d like, it’s reliable—except when my thumb is greasy or damp. I didn’t have these concerns with the Pro model. I continue to register my thumb on both hands numerous times to make sure the unlock process is still simple, and I strongly advise doing the same.
Although slightly inferior to the Pixel 6 Pro, the haptics and vibrations are still excellent. The speakers are not quite the comeback I had personally hoped for, though. Although they are fairly reliable, they don’t quite measure up to the Galaxy S22 series. Although I would prefer for the speakers to be a little louder, generally I can’t really complain because they’re excellent for watching and absorbing material.
PERFORMANCE AND SOFTWARE
According to the online tech community, Android 12 has been a rather polarizing release, but it feels especially suited for the Pixel 6 series. As two of the most significant devices in the series to date, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro benefit from the modifications that provide something different from past Android updates.
Since the product’s launch, numerous significant bug-fixing patches have been made available, and persistent issues now seem to be under control. Material For a smartphone operating system that hasn’t undergone any significant changes since the Pixel 3, You has a lot of changes and improvements that make sense.
A phone can undoubtedly feel more personal thanks to a theming system based on wallpaper, but I sincerely hope that in the future, elements like typefaces and icon shapes will be added again. Although Android 12 took me a little longer to get acclimated to, it is a wonderful experience and a reinvention of how a Pixel should behave when being used.
The look and feel of your entire system can be changed by simply changing your wallpaper. This keeps things interesting, and I frequently search for the ideal wallpaper to match my current mood. It’s sublime to see how your widgets, apps, keyboard, and tiny OS details change, and I can’t wait to watch it improve with each new Android iteration. The red end of the spectrum may use more tuning, though, as in my experience it seems to be more subdued than many other colors.
Before its release, the Google Tensor processor’s potential were much-discussed, but I have never since felt let down, irritated, or restricted by what it is capable of. Tensor holds its own well even when compared head-to-head with other leading Android devices running Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. I can’t predict how it will perform over the long term, but if the performance of the Pixel 6 starts to decline, I’ll probably come back to this evaluation.
Every function a smartphone would typically have is available, and even when I choose to play some mobile games, it’s a pretty enjoyable experience. Tensor’s other advantages, like as incredibly precise voice typing and faster processing times for photos thanks to the Pixel Neural Main, feel very much like Google focus points even though raw performance is not one of its core tenets. Things that impress non-technical people more than those who understand the distinction between the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 and 8 Gen 1.
In all honesty, I’m just glad I was right when I said that the Tensor chip needed a processor that can manage the Pixel’s daily needs rather than the best processor available. After a strong entry, Google has now shown its first-generation effort is viable for contemporary smartphones, allowing it to start flexing its muscles in the mobile chipset field.
Tensor provides the power that the Pixel 5 series was lacking, but in my opinion, the biggest and most significant improvement in the Pixel 6 is the move to a 50-megapixel ISOCELL GN1. Despite my protests, the differences might not be as noticeable as you might have anticipated considering the significant increase in sensor size.
Pixel-binning reduces images of 50 megapixels to 12.5 megapixels. You can start to see significant advancements if you take a deeper look or directly compare it to prior models. The Pixel series has never had issues with illumination, but the improvements result in clearer, more detailed images coming from the primary sensor.
I occasionally detected a slight over-sharpening problem, but this seems to be a holdover from the processing algorithm’s attempt to take into consideration the smaller Sony IMX363 sensor seen in prior models. For what it’s worth, I experienced this problem for a few months, but it has just started to lessen in frequency. If I’m being honest, I’m not quite sure, but it might be related to a Google Camera app upgrade.
Although I’m always pleased with the photographs produced by this dual-camera setup, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the ultra-wide lens is a step inferior to the primary wide lens. Even though things are much softer and frequently duller, having an ultra-wide shooter available is still a smart idea. I also don’t want to bemoan the lack of a telephoto zoom lens here too much because I’ve kind of accepted it over the previous few months. However, I would have loved a setup more akin to the Pixel 4’s, but I’m sure I’d be in the minority there.
For Google, it would have been nearly difficult to include a 4x telephoto lens on the Pixel 6 while keeping the price around $600. Despite being a poor substitute, if you keep below the 3x range and let Super Res Zoom handle the rest, the digital cut doesn’t significantly degrade photographs. Beyond that point, things begin to radically disintegrate.
With a bigger sensor, Night Sight mode can gather more light, making low-light photography even simpler than before. Easy because you don’t have to stand or hold still as much to take pictures in this mode. Things go up a notch when you get out the tripod or lean against a stationary object, but that is time-consuming and unnecessary when the main sensor can produce such excellent low-light shots.
Google has updated the Pixel 6 phones with a number of additional modes, but I’d be lying if I said I have used them much since my pre-order arrived in the latter part of 2021. Only the Long Exposure mode of the new additions has my attention enough to use it more than once, and even then, I prefer to shoot simple shots without any extra effects until I add them later.
The front-facing selfie camera is the poorest part of the camera arrangement here, and I do have a few very small complaints about it as I use it more and more. It is undoubtedly not a high-resolution camera at 8 megapixels, but it is a little softer than some of the rivalry in the market. That may sound like a complaint, but it’s really just an observation because I don’t do selfies very often.
Over the last few years, we’ve complained about battery life difficulties with Pixel phones, but that problem seems to be behind us now. The Pixel 6 has a huge 4,614mAh battery inside, and it gives me more than enough room to spare to get me through the day.
Since I spend practically every day at my desk, my usage is very light. As a result, I often charge once every two days during the week and go to bed with between 30 and 45 percent of the battery still left. I frequently utilize light mode during the day and am constantly connected to a VPN service. Beyond that, I use my Pixel primarily for social media surfing and occasional light photo capturing. If it’s any use at all, that’s my typical use case.
I never stress about needing to find my nearest power outlet to recharge, not even when shifting through the gears and utilizing Google Maps for hours on end or snapping thousands of images on a quick trip.
The charging speeds you can achieve with the Pixel 6 are a minor quibble. Since there is currently no charger in the box, your options are restricted if you don’t purchase the official Google 30W charger. The fact that it isn’t even a full 30W speed is more frustrating. With the cord, you’ll receive roughly 23W of power, which is just a little bit faster than the 18W in-box charger included with the Pixel 5.
The Pixel 6 internal cell needs about two hours to fully charge when your battery percentage is in the single digits. As a result, I usually charge little and frequently to keep above the 50% barrier because that appears to work well for my usage patterns.
LAST THOUGHTS We won’t talk about the Pixel 6 Pro because it is without a doubt the best phone Google has produced in a while. The Pixel 6 feels like the most logical phone Google has produced since the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a when viewed in its everyday configuration. It takes advantage of all the positive aspects of earlier Pixel models and then condenses the majority of the Pixel 6 Pro’s top features into a little more manageable compact.
At $599 its a steal . The early bugs seem to be gone, and using the most recent Android 13 Beta still results in a fantastic experience each and every day. Many people will be considering whether to get the impending Pixel 6a or another model. The Pixel 6 might end up providing a better value given the suggested features and expected hardware downgrades.
In a nutshell, the Pixel 6 is the best phone Google has ever produced, even while not every feature is charming in the same way that prior Pixels have been. Sometimes you would never guess that it is the base model in the Pixel 6 series since it defies its price point. Similar to how the A-series introduced the Pixel camera to the more cheap market, the $599 entrance into the flagship Pixel series offers less compromises and, as of recently, fewer issues.