After disappointing the last two generations with hyped up mid-range devices powered by Snapdragon 700 series chipsets, for the first time, Google chose to power its 6 series devices with the in-house designed Google Tensor chipset.
Built on a 5NM architecture, the latest series promises better voice and Google assistant features which hopefully can also provide finer uniformity between their software and hardware.
It would not be right to say there was not excellent integration between Google's software and hardware previously; considering they have the track record of providing the best android experience to consumers.
However, in recent times, with the ongoing global chip shortage crisis, companies are investing heavily to produce their own chipsets in order to be less reliant on third party suppliers. The biggest example is Apple's M1 series chips.
So, how does the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro perform with the Tensor at its heart? Let us find out.
Design, build quality, and display
Both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are very different from past Pixel devices sporting a 6.4 and 6.71 inch amoled screens respectively with a gorilla glass victus back and front structure. The 6 comes with a 90Hz screen while the Pro variant comes with a 120Hz screen.
However, we do not think everyone will be a big fan of the 3MM camera "visor" sticking out in the rear. Please note the Pixel 6 comes with a flat screen while the 6 Pro offers a curved screen offering more of a premium experience.
Unlike older devices, both the 6 and 6 Pro's in-display fingerprint scanners are housed quite upwards from the bottom compared to older offerings; you might like it or hate it, it is down to personal preference.
As usual, there is no headphone jack on either of the devices so you will have to depend on wireless or USB type-C audio options.
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are powered by Google's Tensor SoC with two powerful Cortex X1 cores which can go upto 2.8GHz, two 2.26GHz cores, and a low powered Cortex A-55 quad-core powered at 1.8GHz. For handling graphics, both the devices are fitted with a 20 core Mali G78 MP20 GPU.
Furthermore, the Tensor comes with a TPU (Tensor Processing Unit) which promises a better machine learning engine, camera features, and language model for faster, more accurate, and better google translation performance.
However, if you are out hunting for the best performer in the market, the Pixel 6 series will disappoint you as most flagship chipsets offer significantly better performance. But, one must keep in mind - the Tensor was never made to win benchmark scores, rather it was made for a more seamless integration between Google's software and hardware.
You might find a lot of similarities between the Tensor and Samsung's Exynos 2100 chip powering the Galaxy S21 because there have been lots of reports questioning if they are actually the same or not. Regardless of all the controversy, the Google Tensor Chip is a welcome breath of fresh air from the previous few releases by the Pixel line up.
Aside from the out-of-the-box Android 12 experience which deserves an article of its own, Google Pixel 6 series has some software features exclusive to the 6 series such as voice typing, live translation, and calling assist. There is also deeper integration with apps that use the camera.
Voice typing is not a new feature on android phones but what is new is that it now works without a WiFi or data connection due to the languages now being downloaded beforehand on the device which allows faster, near instantaneous voice typing. Furthermore, Google now detects when to insert a punctuation mark while voice typing automatically.
Google translation gets an upgrade too with the new interpreter mode which lets users speak in their native language and present the message in another language while communicating with someone with a different native tongue.
Both the 6 and 6 Pro houses a 50MP Samsung GN1 sensor primary camera that outputs 12.5MP images along with optical image stabilisation. Meanwhile, the ultrawide camera is still the same from the Pixel 5 meaning it lacks autofocus.
Google claims it has a 114 degree field of view. The selfie camera is still the same; an 8MP that has been carried over from the Pixel 5 to the 6, however, the 6 Pro gets an upgrade with a new 11.1MP 20MM camera.
Additionally, the 6 Pro has a 48MP periscope zoom camera that features four times optical zoom with PDAF and OIS.
The Pixel line-up always had the best smartphone cameras of the year and this year is no different; both the 6 and 6 Pro take the best in class images compared to other offerings in the market in every possible metric.
Most of this praise is down to Google's excellent image processing algorithms more than the camera. Therefore, I would ask any potential Pixel 6 and 6 Pro buyer to be patient as both these devices are being shipped with a new sensor, there may be some inconsistency which has been reported by reviewers recently.
But, we can safely say with more updates, this camera will only improve over time given Google's track record.
Notable to mention some Pixel 6 series exclusive features are the magic eraser which allows you to remove people or objects from any image and the work put in by the Pixel software team focusing on producing true to life skin tones for images which is appreciable.
Battery and charging
The Pixel 6 comes with a 4,614mAh and the 6 Pro comes with a 5,003mAh battery respectively. You can safely expect to get a full day's usage out of them both, however, the Pixel 6, with a 90Hz refresh rate screen, might just last you longer than the 6 Pro with a 120Hz screen.
As a first, Google bundles a 30W fast charger for both and they can be charged from 0-50 percent in 30 minutes. The battery life is excellent given Google's excellent software optimisation.
It does not sport the latest 120W fast charging, nor a 65W fast charging which is available in phones half its price but we feel 30W is a sweet spot between long term battery health and "fast" charging.
Who is the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro for?
The Pixel 6 series are undoubtedly a unique line up of smartphones which are not for everyone. They cater more to enthusiasts or people looking for a reliable smartphone that simply works whenever you need it.
Add in the fact that the 6 or 6 Pro is promised to get three major android version upgrades along with five years of security patch updates, these phones are designed to last. We do not know how it will age over time so we will reserve our judgment, for now, on that statement.
Price: Tk95,000 to Tk1,12,000
Where to find: None of the phones are now officially available in Bangladesh but you can bring them on request by Sumas Tech, Jack n Gadget and Kry International.