Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are official. But what’s the difference between the phones besides their price and size? Let’s find out…
For the last few years, Google’s MO with its Pixel phones has been focussed on delivering affordable phones that over-delivered in the performance and specs departments. Last year’s flagship, the Pixel 5, was a great phone but it lacked many of the features we normally associate with a true-flagship phone.
It was still a great phone, one I used for almost 12 months, but it never felt like a true flagship. Nor did the Pixel 4a or Pixel 4a 5G. And the reason for that is because they weren’t flagships; they were designed to be mass-market phones with killer software and great cameras.
All of the above helped Google carve inroads in the hearts and minds of consumers both here in the UK and in its native US. But in 2021, Google is changing its MO. It is now back making flagship phones – proper flagship phones with all the trimmings. But Google is still keeping its eye on value for money with brilliant pricing for both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
But how are the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro different? Let’s take a look at all the changes Google introduced on its 2021 Pixel phones, and also find out how the two phones are different from each other.
Pixel 6 & Pixel 6 Pro: All The Updates
Pixel 6 Updates
- Display – The Pixel 6 runs the same OLED display as the Pixel 5. It’s a 6.4in 90Hz AMOLED panel and while it lacks plenty of the Pro’s specs and fizziness, for the asking price ($599) this is still a very good display. It is more than equal to what you get on Apple’s iPhone 13 and 13 Mini.
- Battery – The Pixel 6 runs a 4614 mAh battery and, like the Pixel 6 Pro, it supports 30W wired charging and 21W wireless charging. Google does not include a charger with either the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, though, so you’ll need to buy a 30W charger in order to tap into its fast-charge abilities.
- Camera – Google has heavily updated the camera module on the Pixel 6 compared to what we got on the Pixel 5. The Pixel 6 runs a dual-lens camera module that is made up of a 50 MP, f/1.9, 26mm (wide) lens and a 12 MP, f/2.2, 114˚ (ultrawide). It doesn’t have lazer auto-focus like the Pixel 6 Pro, and it lacks the telephoto lens too, but for a $599 phone this is a very decent upgrade over the Pixel 5’s camera module.
- Fingerprint Sensor – Google has finally killed off the physical fingerprint scanner on its Pixel 6 range of phones. Both the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro now use under-display fingerprint scanners. I don’t know how I feel about this; I really love the fingerprint sensor on the back of the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5.
- RAM – The Pixel 6 runs 8GB of RAM and is available in either 128GB or 256GB storage variants. Neither the Pixel 6 nor the Pixel 6 Pro feature SD support or a headphone jack.
- Colors – The Pixel 6 is available in the following color options: Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral, Stormy Black
Pixel 6 Pro Updates
- Display – The Pixel 6 Pro runs a 6.7in 120Hz 1440 x 3120 pixels display with HDR10+. The screen tech is LTPO AMOLED. This is the most advanced display Google has ever deployed on a Pixel phone. From its size to its refresh rate, the Pixel 6 Pro’s dwarfs the Pixel 5’s from 2020.
- Battery – The Pixel 6 Pro has a large display and it runs 5G, so it needs a large battery to keep everything running smoothly. Google has opted for a 4905mAh battery inside the Pixel 6 Pro with 30W Fast-Charging. Although, to take advantage of the 30W fast charge, you’ll need to buy a separate charger; Google does not include a charger in the Pixel 6 box.
- Camera Tech – Google has massively updated the Pixel 6 Pro’s camera module. The Pixel 6 Pro uses a triple lens camera module that runs a 50 MP, f/1.9, 26mm (wide), a 48 MP, f/3.5, 104mm (telephoto), and a 12 MP, f/2.2, 114˚ (ultrawide). The camera supports 4x optical zoom, lazer auto-focus, and optical image stabilisation.
- Google Tensor – Google’s new Tensor CPU is jam-packed with AI and machine learning algorithms to make the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smarter than any other phone on the market. Tensor’s AI abilities extend to all areas of the phone, from live translation and voice typing, to its camera module for video and photo editing on the fly. Tensor even has things like Magic Eraser that removes unwanted things from images and video.
- CPU Performance – While Google’s Tensor CPU packs in plenty of special features and AI smarts, it likely won’t be as powerful as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 or Apple’s A15 CPU. This shouldn’t be seen as a deal-breaker, however. Google’s Pixel phones have always been underpowered compared to the competition. And Tensor’s AI abilities should more than make up for the shortfall in performance.
- Android Updates – Google has confirmed that it will be offering five years of Android support to everyone that buys a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro. This means if you buy the Pixel 6 Pro in 2021, you’ll get Android updates until 2026. That is the best you’ll get in the Android market and it is nearing Apple’s industry-standard support. Not too shabby.
- RAM & Memory – The Pixel 6 Pro runs 12GB of RAM and is available in the following storage options: 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.
- Colors – The Pixel 6 Pro is available in the following color options: Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny, Stormy Black
Pixel 6 Deals
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Check all the latest deals for the Google Pixel 6. Prices start from £27 per month and include a FREE pair of Bose 700 Wireless Headphones…
How They’re Similar…
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro both run Google’s new Tensor chipset, so you get much the same performance and features-stack on both handsets.
Tensor brings AI to the forefront of the Pixel 6 experience, adding in things like advanced speech to text functionality, improved translation via Google Assistant, and a myriad of photo and video editing abilities that will set the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro apart from nearly all of its peers, including the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13.
|Specifications||Pixel 6||Pixel 6 Pro|
|Colors:||Stormy Black, Kinda Coral, Sorta Seafoam||Stormy Black, Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny|
|Display: size (resolution):||6.4-inch (1080×2400 pixels, 411ppi)||6.7-inch (1440 x 3120, 512ppi)|
|Refresh rate:||Up to 90Hz||Up to 120Hz|
|Processor:||Google Tensor with Titan M2||Google Tensor with Titan M2|
|Storage:||128GB | 256GB||128GB | 256GB | 512GB|
|Rear cameras:||50MP wide-angle (ƒ/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2)||50MP wide-angle (ƒ/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2), 48MP telephoto (ƒ/3.5)|
|Zoom:||7x Super Res digital||4x optical and 20x Super Res digital|
|Front camera:||8MP (ƒ/2.0), 84-degree field of view||11.1MP (ƒ/2.2), 94-degree field of view|
|Video:||Rear: 4K and 1080p (both up to 60fps), Front: 1080p at 30fps||Rear: 4K and 1080p (both up to 60fps), Front: 4K at 30fps, 1080p at up to 60fps|
|Authentication:||Fingerprint Unlock with under-display fingerprint sensor||Fingerprint Unlock with under-display fingerprint sensor|
|Battery:||Rated for 24 hours (48 with Extreme Battery Saver), at least 4524 mAh||Rated for 24 hours (48 with Extreme Battery Saver), at least 4905 mAh|
|Dimensions:||6.2 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches||6.5 x 3 x 0.4 inches|
|Weight:||7.3 ounces||7.4 ounces|
Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro look very similar; they have the same unique design, the same heavily styled camera module on their rears, and they both use under-display fingerprint sensors, doing away with the Pixel’s traditional rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.
They also both run Android 12 with Google’s new Material You UX which, despite plenty of beta builds, has been a long time coming. Android 12 is one of the most significant updates Google has made to Android in years, from a visual perspective. It packs in loads of new features and, on Pixel phones, it looks completely different from Android 11.
How They’re Different…
The Pixel 6 Pro is the flagship model. It runs the most advanced camera module ever fitted to a Pixel phone with its 50MP + 48MP + 12MP lens array, featuring wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses. Combined with Tensor’s new machine learning abilities, the camera performance on the Pixel 6 Pro – and the Pixel 6 – should be mightily impressive. Even by 2021’s already lofty standards.
The Pro model also ships with 12GB of RAM and three storage tiers: 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB, while the Pixel 6 runs 6GB of RAM and comes in two storage tiers: 128GB and 256GB. Beyond this, the Pixel 6 Pro has a better display; it runs an LTPO Super AMOLED panel with a refresh rate of 120Hz, while the Pixel 6 uses a basic AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. Both support HDR10+, though.
With battery sizes, the Pro model runs the largest, a 4905mAh battery with 30W fast charge and 21W wireless charging. The Pixel 6 has a 4525mAh battery and also supports 30W fast charge and 21W wireless charging. Neither phone comes with a charger, however, so if you want to access the Pixel 6 / 6 Pro’s 30W fast charge, you’ll need to buy a separate charger – we recommend this one.
Which is Best?
If you want the best camera performance, the best display, and the best battery life, as well as faster performance, go with the Pixel 6 Pro. It is Google’s flagship and it offers up the best performance of the two phones. And at $899, the Pixel 6 Pro is significantly cheaper than its nearest rivals, the iPhone 13 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
If you’re running an older Android phone, or even the Pixel 3a or 4a, the Pixel 6 will still feel like a big update. It has a completely new design, an improved and incredibly smart CPU, in the form of Google’s Tensor chip, and a vastly updated camera module that is fronted by a 50MP sensor which should produce remarkable results compared to the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a’s setup.
As a spread of phones, Google’s Pixel 6 lineup is very impressive. You have an option with all the trimmings for a price that undercuts all the big players, and an entry-level option that packs in plenty of spec and hardware AND also undercuts all the big players.
In this respect, Google has remained true to its traditional Pixel MO of overdelivering on spec and performance and undercutting its nearest rivals – specifically the Galaxy S21, the OnePlus 9 Pro, and the iPhone 13.
Over on PAGE 2, you’ll find all the pre-launch rumors…
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.