For the sixth straight year, we’re getting a new Pixel. But the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have generated far more hype and speculation, both inside Android Central and out. Whether it’s because of their unique new aesthetic, the Google-made Tensor chipset powering them, the exclusive Android 12 features like Material You, or the more powerful specs than the Pixel 5, the 2021 Pixels are set to make a big splash.
Google officially announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro on August 2 after months of rumors, giving us our first proper glimpse of the phone outside of leaks. But Google stated it won’t unveil the release date, price, or full specs until the fall, meaning there’s still plenty to speculate about. From price, specs, availability, and more, here’s everything we know (or suspect) so far about the Google Pixel 6.
Google Pixel 5
The best Pixel you can buy right now
We expect the Pixel 6 to be a darn good phone, but if you need something right now, the Pixel 5 has a ton to offer. Whether you’re searching for amazing cameras, a quality display, snappy performance, or reliable battery life, you get all of that with the Pixel 5. And thanks to its mid-tier price, it’s a lot more affordable than some competing flagship handsets.
Google Pixel 6 Announcement & release date
- Pixel — October 4, 2016
- Pixel 2 — October 4, 2017
- Pixel 3 — October 9, 2018
- Pixel 4 — October 15, 2019
- Pixel 5 — September 30, 2020
Based on past history and the recent announcement, expect the Pixel 6 unveiling to take place sometime in late September or early October, just a couple of months from now.
As for when you’ll be able to actually buy the Pixel 6, that remains a bit more uncertain. Pixel phones typically go on sale a couple of weeks or so after their unveiling, but Pixel 5 sales didn’t begin until October 29 — almost a full month after Google announced the thing. A large part of that delay likely had to do with Google trying to launch a phone in the midst of a pandemic, so fingers crossed the launch process is a bit smoother for the Pixel 6.
Google Pixel 6 Price
Looking ahead at the Pixel 6, one of the most interesting things to keep an eye on is its price. Between the Pixel and Pixel 4, Google was focused on competing toe-to-toe with high-end flagships. Naturally, this resulted in high price tags that we had to stomach.
The Pixel 4 and 4 XL started at $799 and $899, respectively, with 64GB storage configurations. If you wanted 128GB, you had to spend another $100 on top of those prices (bringing them up to $899 and $999). Those Samsung and Apple-level costs have always been one of the biggest downsides to the Pixel series, and with the Pixel 5, Google changed that a bit.
If you want a brand new Pixel 5 with 128GB of storage, you’ll spend $699. That value focus is one of the phone’s greatest strengths, but the Pixel 6 might go back to the higher-end pricing, including offering what’s currently known as the Pixel 6 Pro as the company’s upper echelon smartphone tier.
As for the Pixel 6, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh told The Verge that Google didn’t consider its past couple of phones “flagship tier,” but that the new Pixel “will certainly be a premium-priced product.” Given this framing, you can expect the Pixel 6 to launch at a much higher price than the Pixel 5 — possibly higher than any Pixel before it.
Google Pixel 6 Models
The Pixel 6 leakers have proven prescient. As predicted, Google will release both a Pixel 6 and a Pixel 6 Pro this fall. We won’t see a Pixel 6 XL, contrary to a recent leak from Google itself that suggested otherwise.
Based on the information provided by Google, we know the Pixel 6 Pro will have a more premium design, with curved edges and better aluminum materials compared to the flatter Pixel 6. Its display will be a quarter-inch larger, achieving better resolution and refresh rates. And it will have a triple-camera setup with a telephoto camera that the dual-camera Pixel 6 lacks. However, both Pixels will have the same Google-made chipset, Google Tensor.
Based on leaked information, we also predict the Pro will have a larger battery to offset the screen size difference, plus additional RAM and storage over the smaller model.
Google Pixel 6 Design
Google’s design language has varied greatly over the years, but the Pixel 6 appears to be the boldest design the company has ever produced. The original Pixel and the Pixel 3 XL shared some unfortunate similarities to iPhones at the time, while the Pixel 5 was a bit on the boring side. That leaves the Pixel 2 and Pixel 4 as the outliers, both of which appear to have played a huge part in the influence of the design of the Pixel 6.
Right from the get-go, it’s impossible to miss the dual-tone design that used to be so prominent with Pixels. Google bizarrely dropped this design with the previous two generations but brought it back in a big way with the Pixel 6. The raised camera bar on the back is reminiscent of the Nexus 6P’s Cylon-esque design — something I personally love — and the bold colors and multi-tonal aesthetic makes this phone immediately distinguishable in the sea of black rectangles across the land.
Based on the official renders Google released, the Pixel 6 will come in light orange, sage green, and black. The Pixel 6 Pro will sport silver, gold, or black. Each sports a different accent color on the top-back of the phone above the black camera module.
Objectively, the Pixel 6 Pro has a more stylish design. The Pixel 6 edges are black, flat, and thicker than that of the 6 Pro, which is curved and skinnier. The Pro gives you a curved finish with much thinner edges, plus a “polished aluminum finish” compared to a “matte aluminum finish” for the Pixel 6. On the other hand, the Pixel 6 colors call back to previous, more colorful Pixel phones, which older fans of the phone may prefer.
One interesting design omission: the Pixel 6 lineup has lost the trademark colored power button found on every other Pixel phone. The Pixel 6 buttons are black to match the edges, while the Pixel 6 Pro buttons blend into the phone’s silver/gold/black color.
Google hasn’t shown as many shots of the Pixel 6 display, but based on the above render of the Pixel 6 Pro, it has tiny bezels, a center punch-hole camera, and (based on leaks) an in-screen fingerprint scanner. While the smaller Pixel 6 appears to have a flat screen with slightly larger bezels — at least, based on the leaked renders we’ve seen — both models are bringing back the stereo front-facing speakers. Those speakers will, undoubtedly, bring back the Pixel’s pedigree of best-in-class speakers for a smartphone.
Google Pixel 6 Specs
Google won’t reveal the full official specs for the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro for some time. But Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh confirmed to The Verge a few spec details that have been rumored for months.
The Pixel 6 Pro will feature a 6.7-inch QHD+ display, 120Hz refresh rate, and three cameras: a “wide-angle main sensor, an ultrawide, and a 4X optical-zoom folded telephoto lens.” With the Pixel 6, you downgrade to a 6.4-inch FHD+ screen supporting a 90Hz refresh rate, plus a dual-camera array that loses the telephoto lens. Both models will have in-screen fingerprint sensors.
We know from Google that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will incorporate the new Google-made SoC called Tensor. Originally codenamed Whitechapel, Tensor is rumored to greatly improve battery life, performance, security, and voice command response times. CEO Sundar Pichai claims it will provide perks like “better speech recognition that uses half the power consumption” or “the best face detection to improve blurry photos in low lighting.”
Google has also promised “improved sensors and lenses” for its cameras, but it didn’t give any hard data on how the three new lenses improve on the Pixel 5.
So as long as Google keeps the Pixel 6 specs shrouded in mystery, we can turn to leakers. Based on various rumors over past months, we have a pretty clear idea of what the two new Pixels bring to the table.
|Specs (rumored)||Pixel 6||Pixel 6 Pro|
|Operating System||Android 12||Android 12|
|Display||6.4 inches, FHD+ resolution, 90Hz, AMOLED||6.71 inches, QHD+ resolution, 120Hz, POLED|
|Processor||Google Tensor||Google Tensor|
|Memory||8GB RAM||12GB RAM|
|Rear Camera||50MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (ultrawide-angle)||50MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (ultrawide-angle) + 48MP (telephoto)|
Both phones will offer a significant improvement on the Pixel 5 thanks to their faster refresh rates, larger batteries, and a new chipset supposedly on par with the Snapdragon 780G. As for the Pixel 6 Pro, it will bring back the telephoto lens that the Pixel 5 lost, and its rumored 5,000mAh battery could be nearly 1,000mAh larger than its predecessor.
Google hasn’t revealed the specs for its “revamped” camera system, aside from the fact that the Pixel 6 will have wide-angle and ultrawide sensors, while the Pro will add a telephoto lens. But leaked specs have revealed the possible megapixels for these sensors. Compared to the Pixel 5’s 12.2MP main sensor, the 50MP wide-angle sensor appears to be a big upgrade; but its 16MP ultrawide sensor matches the Pixel 6.
In addition to the regular and ultra-wide angle lenses, the new superzoom camera will finally give the Pixel line the hardware upgrade it needs to match Google Camera’s software smarts. Here’s also hoping that Google finally gives the Pixel camera the overhaul it needs when it comes to video recording, which has always been quite basic at best.
Google Pixel 6 Software
We know for certain the Pixel 6 will launch with Android 12 installed. Alongside the other Pixel phones, the Pixel 6 will get exclusive access to the new Material You design language. You’ll also see software improvements like a proper one-handed mode, scrolling screenshots, faster auto-rotation, improved privacy tools, new emojis, and other cool perks that other flagships won’t see for several months.
Most impressively, Google could announce up to five years of Android software support for the Pixel 6 series, which would best Samsung’s four-year promise for most of its recent devices. It would even help Google compete against the long-lived iPhone 13.
Google Pixel 6 FAQ
Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central
Is the Pixel 6 going to be another “value flagship?”
Pixel phones used to be seen as regular flagships, but as we know, that changed with the Pixel 5. It’s still very much a high-end phone, but by using a lower-end processor, Google was able to cut back on costs considerably while still delivering an excellent product.
Current leaks, renders, and other information all point to Google returning the Pixel 6 to premium status. There’s no telling how much less the Pixel 6 will be compared to the Pixel 6 Pro, though. It’s also distinctly possible that Google will make the Pixel 6 the more affordable “value flagship,” while the Pixel 6 Pro will be the “premium flagship.”
Will there be a Pixel 6 XL?
Yes and no. There will be a Pixel 6 Pro, which is certainly larger than the Pixel 6. But it will drop the ‘XL’ moniker for the first time in Google Pixel history.
Is this phone 5G?
Yes, given the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G both supported 5G technology, it’s a given the new phone will support it. However, we don’t know yet which 5G modem the new Google Tensor chipset will have a Google-made 5G modem or one made by another company — likely Qualcomm or Samsung.
The Pixel 5 is still a fantastic phone
Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central
We can’t wait to see what comes of the Pixel 6, but for anyone shopping for a new phone right now, there’s no sense in waiting months and months for it to come out. Instead, just go out and buy the Pixel 5.
The Pixel 5 is a seriously incredible handset, no matter how you slice it. Its 90Hz AMOLED screen looks great, it’s more than fast enough for just about any task you throw at it, and the cameras continue to be nothing short of incredible. And, unlike the Pixel 4, the battery is actually usable.
If you want a premium Android phone without going completely broke, it’s hard to do much better than the Pixel 5.
Google Pixel 5
The best Pixel you can buy right now
We expect the Pixel 6 to be a darn good phone, but if you need something right now, the Pixel 5 has a ton to offer. Whether you’re searching for amazing cameras, a quality display, snappy performance, or reliable battery life, you get all of that with the Pixel 5. And thanks to its $699 price, it’s a lot more affordable than some competing handsets.
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