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For the Price, Google’s Pixel 6 Looks Like the Best Phone (Android or Otherwise)

The Google Pixel 6 in Seafoam Green.

In the world of smartphones, a $600 device isn’t all that expensive. It probably won’t offer flagship performance, its cameras may be a bit outdated, and it could lack a proper IPX water-resistance rating. But not the new Pixel 6. It costs just $600, and man, it offers everything you’d expect from a $1,000 handset.

Google just opened orders for the new Pixel 6, its first device to run on an in-house Tensor chip. Thanks to this new processor and other hardware improvements, the Pixel 6 offers cutting-edge camera quality, flagship performance, and a ton of exclusive features like Live Translate. Here’s the rundown.

Check the Specs

Are you just looking for the raw specs? Check them out here, or scroll down a bit to see what the new Pixel 6 is all about.

  • Display: 6.4-inch 20:9 FHD+ OLED 90Hz
  • HDR Support: Yes
  • Battery: 4614mAh
  • Charging: 30-watt USB-C PD
  • Wireless Charging: 12 watts, 21 watts with Pixel Stand (2nd Gen)
  • Memory: 8GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • Storage: 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.1
  • Processor: Google Tensor with Titan M2 security chip
  • Camera Array: 50MP Octa PD Quad Bayer wide camera, 12MP ultra-wide camera
  • Selfie Camera: 8MP
  • Video Capabilities: 4K 60FPS with main cameras, 1080p 30FPS with selfie camera
  • SIM: Dual SIM
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) with 2.4G+5GHz+6GHz, HE160, MIMO, Bluetooth® v5.2
  • Headphone Jack: None
  • IPX Rating: IP68 Dust and Water Resistance
  • Operating System: Android 12

These specs are impressive, especially for such an affordable phone. The new 50MP camera is particularly interesting—it’s one of the main things that sets Pixel 6 apart from previous Pixel releases. Clearly, Google wants its customers to understand that Pixel 6 and the Tensor chip set a new standard for mobile photography.

Google’s Homemade Tensor Processor

Google Tensor SoC

Before we get into the dirty details, we need to talk about Google’s new Tensor chip. This homemade processor was inspired by Apple’s M1 chip, and because Google built it from the ground up, it’s better optimized for Google’s AI software (and Android, perhaps) than any Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.

In other words, the biggest advancements in the Pixel 6 are software-based. Computational photography AI gets a big boost in power, of course, but there are also improvements to Google Assistant, the intelligent battery-saver, and even the Translate tool.

Google also says that the Tensor chip is 80% faster than the Pixel 5’s Snapdragon 765G processor. I’m not sure what Google is measuring here, though. In terms of raw clock speed, the Tensor is comparable to the Snapdragon 888, and it actually borrows several technologies from Samsung’s Exynos 2100 chip.

While I don’t think that you should expect better-than-Snapdragon performance from the Pixel 6, it’s crazy to see such an affordable phone run on a flagship processor like this. Paired with the new cameras, software features, and (supposedly) crazy battery life, we’re looking at one of the most insane values of all time.

It’s All About the Cameras, Baby

A person holding the Google Pixel 6

Even if you hate the new Pixel 6 design, you have to admit that it’s ambitious. Google is doing a lot with this new look—not only is it telling customers “look how big and powerful this new camera is,” it’s also referencing the classic Nexus 6P’s design and distinguishing itself from rival brands that use square-shaped cameras.

Yeah, cameras aren’t the only thing that will help Pixel 6 stand out from the competition, but this is a crazy camera upgrade. The last few Pixel releases have stuck with small 12MP sensors, but the new Pixel 6 leaps up to 50MP.

Clearly, Google held out on this camera upgrade until it could introduce the new Tensor chip, which is better optimized for Google’s computational photography AI than any Snapdragon processor. And that’s great, because we’re seeing a massive leap in capabilities here.

Not only does the Pixel 6 take better photos than previous phones, but it supports 4K 60FPS recording and comes with a ton of crazy video editing features, like a Magic Eraser to remove unwanted objects from images and Face Unblur to tidy up photos with motion blur. (These video editing features hide in Google Photos, but we’re not sure if they’re coming to other Android or Pixel devices.)

“Beyond 24-Hour” Battery Life?

A person holding the Google Pixel 6.

According to Google, the Pixel 6 has a “beyond 24-hour” battery life thanks to the new Tensor chip. Not only that, but you can get up to 48 hours of battery life with the Extreme Battery Saver. What’s going on here?

Google has spent the last few years developing its Adaptive Battery, a feature that intelligently learns your habits and reduces the power usage of apps that you don’t care about. Evidently, the Tensor chip’s provides a real double-whammy for battery life—it uses less power than Snapdragon chips and has the AI capabilities to make Adaptive Battery more effective than ever before.

The Extreme Battery Saver takes things a bit further. Instead of using an AI to decide which apps are important to you, Extreme Battery Saver lets you pick the apps you care about and disables the rest. I’m not sure if you’ll get the advertised 48 hours of battery life with this feature enabled, but it’s certainly possible.

This Thing’s My Jam—Where Can I Order One?

The Google Pixel 6 in all its colorways.

Orders for the Google Pixel 6 open today, starting at just $600. It comes in Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral, and Stormy Black colorways. Products ship October 28th. Keep in mind that Google offers five years of security updates for the Pixel 6—way more than the two years you usually get with Android phones at this price.

Google is also opening orders for its flagship Pixel 6 Pro, an upgraded phone with a larger display, extra camera, and appealing $899 price tag. Check out our full writeup on the Pixel 6 Pro to see if it’s right for you.

Google Pixel 6

The new Google Pixel 6 offers flagship performance and killer camera quality for just $600. It even has a proper IP68 water-resistance rating. Order it now from Google.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »