That the first all-Google phones are now six months old is difficult to comprehend. The Pixel 6 Pro’s launch was spectacular, but since then, Google’s newest flagship hasn’t fared nearly as well. Let’s look at how well it has aged and whether or not things have gotten better.
It was always going to be difficult for Google to appease a loyal Android following because of the enormous hype surrounding the debut of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The Pixel 6 Pro succeeded in creating a benchmark for upcoming Made by Google smartphones in practically all regards, but there is always potential for improvement.
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– Design and Hardware
The Pixel 6 series is among the most distinctive in recent years, despite the fact that the Pixel series’ designs have always been fairly distinctive. In our opinion, fusing the Nexus 6P visor with the Panda Pixel 2 XL, a popular favorite, has been a surefire winner. More significantly, the huge camera bar serves as the support structure for the entire Pixel 6 Pro.
Although it’s simple to criticize conventional smartphone designs, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro stand out in a congested industry. If you’re being picky, it’s something that couldn’t always be true of more subdued visual aspects on more current Made by Google smartphones. It goes without saying that having an instantly recognizable design aids in brand and product exposure, and you can’t really blame Google for that given the lackluster sales results in recent years.
The transition between a front and back that are completely curved is a slight irritation. Although the Pixel 6 Pro does a good job of handling the curves, it is still subject to the issues that screen curvatures bring. This is a complaint that is frequently made about the absence of high-end phones with flat screens. The ordinary Pixel 6 at least provides an answer to that problem.
Although the build quality is superb, there are still a few stray rough edges. Although the Pixel 6 Pro feels wonderful in the hand, the seams between the backplate and the chassis are obvious. I still notice it right away while using the phone without a case, even if it isn’t detrimental to the design. I do feel like I’m whining purely for the purpose of complaining, but with the best phones available, these minute nuances are rarely overlooked. As build concerns on the Pixel 6 series seem small even after extensive usage and abuse, I have great hopes for the quality control of the Pixel 7 series.
The screen might sometimes feel hollow when you tap or touch it vigorously, which is a common irritation. There is a particular feeling here that is difficult to ignore once you see it, which I hadn’t actually noticed until it was brought out. Does it harm the experience in any way? If you locate an excellent screen protector, absolutely not. Unfortunately, it’s been difficult to locate one, but I’ve lately settled on the relatively expensive Whitestone Dome Glass, which has helped deflect some scuffs away from the real screen.
Even among the absolute largest Android phones now on the market, the phone is a beast, so the extra dimensions feel much more harmful to it. The Pixel 6 Pro may require continual grip shifting, but if you want the largest screen real estate on a Pixel to date, it’s an incredible experience. Unfortunately, you still can’t switch the QHD display to FHD , which would be a fantastic alternative to increase battery life.
Despite that complaint, when you force activate the 120Hz refresh rate, every piece of content—from online pages to video—looks clear, crisp, detailed, and sleek. While Samsung continues to top the rankings for smartphone displays, the Pixel 6 Pro is undoubtedly competitive with the best Android displays, and I enjoy returning to this screen because of the tweaks and enhanced sharpness.
I like the speakers, although occasionally the bass end can sound muddy or clipped. Oddly enough, there are no problems when conducting hands-free calls. It’s about time we got back to the Pixel 2 XL’s fantastic front-facing speakers, but for the time being, the earpiece and bottom-firing combo is still rather good.
In order to have the finest vibration-based experience, I’ve also discovered that reducing the haptic power is worthwhile. The default settings make UI interactions and taps feel very buzzy and empty. Here, a little tweak makes a huge effect.
PERFORMANCE AND SOFTWARE
I stated that the first-generation Tensor chip did not need to be at the top of the performance charts before the launch of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and I still stand by that statement. I haven’t encountered a significant lag, speed issue, or slowdown in my time switching between the normal 6 and 6 Pro. That doesn’t mean that bugs don’t effect owners and recent purchasers; in fact, we’re confident that for some people out there, dealing with bugs occasionally seems a bit like a lottery.
Thankfully, for the majority of users, the issues seem to be getting better with each update. However, I must say that on my personal retail handset, which is running the most recent Android 12 QPR Beta 3 release, certain UI artifacts still appear when the battery drops below the 15% mark.
Running preview or beta software shouldn’t ever be a workaround for upgrade problems. Google has just begun to address the most significant bugs, and Android 12L now feels much more finished than Android 12 did at launch. While we weren’t quite out of the woods with regard to update delays, there wasn’t much of an explanation for the botched update rollouts in recent months, and it appears that Google now has control of this. I also have high hopes that things will become better as time goes on.
Another significant point is that 120Hz seems natural and that it is obvious that Google’s vision for Android was created for such a refresh rate with subtle tweaks that enhance the smooth attractiveness of the most streamlined OS available.
Material You feel immediately at home with the new hardware, which is the ideal complement to the future revival of the Pixel series. By no means is it flawless; for example, I immediately detested some of the large, bubbly UI components like the toggles for Quick Settings. I’m still not convinced about that particular change, but after experimenting with Android 12 in a number of different ways, my annoyance is less noticeable. When Android 13 finally launches later this year, we’d love to see more customization choices return from Android 11.
Some Pixel 6 Pro owners are still having issues with the fingerprint scanner. Rightfully so, the in-display optical scanner has been a major source of dispute. At introduction, the dependability was at best questionable, and the unlock speed was significantly slower than that of other smartphones. Another problem that hasn’t entirely been solved, but has seen significant improvement thanks to updates and software upgrades. For what it’s worth, the fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 6 Pro has never given me any trouble, and it unlocks more quickly now than it did in late 2021. In my experience, several registrations of your digits do help this picky scanner.
The newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip and the Tensor chip do not appear to be significantly different. I’ve only noticed a few reduced framerates when playing games compared to other top-tier phones, but I’d be lying to say that this has a negative impact on the Pixel 6 Pro experience. I would advise not to be concerned about artificial benchmark scores. A scoreboard figure can never capture the nuances of trying a method for yourself and real-world experience.
Additionally, Tensor gets to exercise its muscles in various contexts. The speed at which photographs are processed has greatly increased, and I adore how precisely Google Assistant’s voice typing works with Gboard. Considering how remarkable it may be for someone with a regional English accent, I always feel like I should use the feature more.
Even with 128GB of base storage, which will be sufficient for the majority of users, I am beginning to regret not choosing at least 256GB. As app sizes grow year over year, it won’t take long for you to surpass 100GB if you regularly shoot lots of 4K films and photographs. Offloading images and videos to Google Photos has become a routine process, but in my case, a little more headroom would have been helpful.
It is impossible to discuss the Pixel 6 Pro without praising the improved camera system. Finally, with three separate focal lengths to dig your teeth into, there is no compromise. Switching to a larger 50-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL GN1 sensor was a stroke of genius, even as the Pixel 5 continued to try to squeeze every last megapixel out of the Sony IMX363 sensor.
The Pixel 6 Pro joins the elite group of smartphone shooters by fusing this sizable sensor with Google’s computational picture expertise and reintroducing Pixel Neural Core for on-device processing. And that’s before you take into account the outstanding 12-megapixel ultrawide and the amazing 4x periscope zoom lens. When zooming in, images are sharp and detailed up to about a 10x mark, but images are more than usable and, to be honest, enjoyable at 20x.
This is the point at which a zoom lens really convinces me that it is preferable than an ultrawide. It never ceases to amaze me how you can crop into scenes to reveal and unearth minute, nuanced elements that you might not normally be able to see or notice. It’s a success that the Pixel series is totally on board with the ability to zoom in further and that you get the recognizable Google processing.
You won’t need to use the dedicated Portrait mode as frequently because to the bigger sensor. The natural focus fall-off is significantly better because of the bigger sensor. You may sometimes take better portrait-style pictures without the use of false bokeh effects by utilizing the zoom to crop in.
On a few occasions, I have noticed some image oversharpening, which may be a holdover from the processing techniques employed with the earlier Pixels’ lower resolution IMX363 sensor. This is exceedingly uncommon, though, and to be quite honest, it would be difficult for me to name a single photo in my Google Photos library that I dislike.
You can count on the top Android smartphones to be versatile, and you have a wide range of camera options at your disposal. The additional camera features like Motion Mode, Long Exposure, and Face Unlur assist to neatly finish the package, but it’s about time Google gave the Pixel series a dedicated Pro Mode. Although it is feasible with some third-party apps, it is a little disappointing to not be able to use the entire 50 megapixel sensor.
Despite the fact that my skin tone is rather pasty, Google has made a conscious effort to improve skin tone reproduction, and I find that when I use the Pixel 6 Pro camera, I feel secure in the final outcome. It’s wonderful to see Google take into account the nuances of skin tone and make sure the Pixel 6 Pro camera works for everyone who will use it. The additional benefit of having the best motion detection of any smartphone camera is available. When you see something or someone kept in stasis, it makes snapping short pictures an utter thrill.
The Pixel 6 Pro delivers improvements outside just still photography. The video quality has been improved, which is instantly apparent. The larger sensor and Live HDR feature work together to produce even better footage at up to 4K 60fps. It’s a recipe for outstanding footage when combined with the already outstanding Locked, Active, and Cinematic Pan modes.
Even when focusing in on a topic closely, video stability is superb. Additionally, audio zoom helps focus on your subject and adds an additional level of clarity to all of your recordings. It’s wonderful to see that the video modes on Pixel devices are receiving more attention and resources because they have historically felt highly stills-focused.
The durability of Pixel batteries has been problematic in recent years. The life expectancy of each gadget might be drastically different, and up until the release of the Pixel 5, it might have seemed like a game of chance as to how long your smartphone might last on any given day. It’s possible that Google’s software-driven smartphone strategy was a large part of the lifespan issues. There are only so many things you can accomplish with a subpar internal battery, but happily the Pixel 6 Pro is an all-day performer thanks to the upgraded chipset and a sizable 5,000mAh battery hidden inside.
Sure, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of some other flagship phones, but in my experience, most days, it averages in or near 6-7 hours of screen time. Given that my usage is, at most, moderate, the current Android 12 QPR Beta 3 has improved battery life, which was already really good. Given that the display is set to QHD resolution as well, I’m kind of amazed. I’m drooling at the thought of Google providing an option to lower the resolution because I’m almost positive this might extend your life even more. Please Google, if not a setting, then at least a Developer options section for those of us that desire it.
The Pixel 6 Pro can be swiftly depleted once you start pushing it, just like with almost any other current smartphone. The typical offenders, such as extensive GPS use and video recording or streaming, can significantly reduce longevity. Although this is not shocking, it still seems disrespectful that the maximum charge speed is only 23W even though a 30W charger is an optional extra.
The internal battery is so big that it takes a long time for the slower charging than the competition to charge from 0% to 100%. As a result, I’ve adjusted how I charge. I usually charge the Pixel 6 Pro on the Pixel Stand in sporadic short stints throughout the day as opposed to doing it all at once in the morning. This helps to mitigate any significant wear and tear from overcharging and means that I rarely worry about having to wait hours to top up.
I have to warn you that your battery experience can be completely different from mine. The longer I use the Pixel 6 Pro, the better lifespans I am getting, thus it’s important to be conscious of the Adaptive Battery settings.
Tensor, Google’s huge bet, has paid off in some respects while probably causing issues in others. Pixel owners aren’t used to update delays, and while day one upgrades haven’t been used in the major marketing blitz in some places, it’s still a painful point that has dimmed the luster of what is theoretically and practically the best Pixel to date.
In order for Google to fully flourish in the smartphone hardware market, prospective customers and fans must notice tighter attention to all elements rather than just a few picky or conspicuous areas. Word-of-mouth is important for a tiny participant in the smartphone market, and there are vocal groups that love the Pixel series and others that have very good reasons to gripe about the hardware and software quality.
My personal shop space hasn’t encountered many problems. Which, by internet consensus, indicates that I’m probably in the minority. Without taking into account specific owner experiences, the Pixel 6 Pro is still among the greatest Android devices when things are going well, which they do in the majority of cases. It features an outstanding camera, a very distinctive design, a great display, and all of that is connected by Material You and Android 12.
The biggest irritant is still the Pixel 6, just like when it first debuted. Because the sake of $300 offers what feels like a more fan-oriented design with a flat display, the same basic internals, and software updates but without the fantastic telephoto zoom lens, despite lacking a few hardware features. For the purpose of cost savings, I’d think that’s actually a reasonable compromise for the majority of people.
The Pixel 6 Pro is not flawless, but then again, no phone is. Despite this, there aren’t many flagship phones at the same $899 price point that can provide such a complete package. The asterisks on Pixel phones have gotten bigger in subsequent years. This time, the asterisks are smaller and less noticeable, but the phone is still among the greatest Google has ever produced.
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