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The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro aren't far off now! Here's everything we know

Counting down the days until Google opens up Pixel 6 preorders.

Not since the original Pixel launch have we seen this level of hype for a new Google phone. The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will dramatically improve on the mid-range Pixel 5, offering true flagship specs. Thanks to its striking two-toned design, Google-made Tensor chipset, exclusive Android 12 features like Dynamic colors for the new Material You UI, and improved camera sensors, the 2021 Pixels are set to make a big splash.

Google gave us the first official peek at 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. Since then, Google has kept silent about the phone; but recent rumors and leaks suggest we could see the final announcement soon.

Pixel sales haven't come close to competing with Apple or Samsung sales in past years. We'll have to see whether the Pixel 6 can attract a larger consumer base when it arrives. Thanks to leaks, we have firm evidence for the Pixel 6's price, release date, and full specs sheet. Here's what you need to know.

Half the price, available now

Google Pixel 5a

$449 at Google Store

The best Pixel you can buy right now

Now that the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G have been discontinued, the Pixel 5a is your best option available right now. It has the same Snapdragon 765G chipset as those phones — no Tensor, but plenty speedy for a mid-range device. You'll get two days of battery life, water resistance, a bright FHD display, and decent cameras with Google's great AI improvements. The Pixel 6 has some major improvements in store, but this'll likely save you at least $500 compared to the flagship.

Google Pixel 6 Announcement & release date

In its August 2 teaser, Google stated that the "Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro debut this fall." This tracks with the release dates of every Pixel up to the most recent Pixel 5:

  • Pixel — October 4, 2016
  • Pixel 2 — October 4, 2017
  • Pixel 3 — October 9, 2018
  • Pixel 4 — October 15, 2019
  • Pixel 5 — September 30, 2020

Contrary to previous rumors that the Pixel 6 would launch in mid-September to compete with the iPhone 13, Google will take its sweet time this year. A recent Google Instagram post appears to show "Tues 19" in some widgets, which suggests Tuesday, October 19 as a launch date. This is backed by several credible leaks: a FrontPageTech leak and a Telstra promotion both indicated an October 19 Pixel 6 launch. Jon Prosser also claimed the Pixel 6 release date will be October 28.

Google is currently stepping up its Pixel 6 advertising campaign, and both new Pixels allegedly have been given to the FCC for testing. So even if the above dates aren't accurate, expect the new Pixels to arrive very soon.

Google Pixel 6 Price

We finally got our first Pixel 6 price leak in late September; if it proves accurate, the Pixel 6 will be surprisingly affordable, given its upgraded specs.

Brandon Lee from This is Tech Today claims the Pixel 6 will cost €649 in Europe, while the bigger Pixel 6 Pro will be priced at €899, based on an insider source. The conversion rate puts those prices at about $750 and $1,050, but Google will set specific prices based on regional considerations. Given that the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max cost $799 and $1,099, respectively, it's possible the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro could match those prices, or slightly undercut them.

In August, 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 be different" as a "premium-priced product." So we'd expected the Pixel 6 to cost much more than the Pixel 5 ($699 / €629 at launch) and Pixel 4 ($799 / €749). Instead, the new Pixels fall in a similar upper-mid-tier price range as its predecessors.

If this leak proves true, Google has stepped up its specs game without ballooning its asking price. The Pixel 6 will compete with top-tier phones like the iPhone 13 and upcoming Galaxy S22, at a similar price point. And the Pixel 6 Pro should cost in the range of a premium flagship like the S21 Ultra.

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. Unlike some predictions and leaks that suggested otherwise, Google won't release a Pixel 6 XL, abandoning this label for a more industry-standard name.

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

The Google Pixel 6

If you live in New York City, you can see the Pixel 6 design for yourself! It's on display at the Google Store in Chelsea. Plus, we've already seen the first leaked video of the Pixel 6 Pro in all its curved, glassy glory. Otherwise, we have the rundown on how the Pixel 6 will look and feel.

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.

Look through the history of Google phones' color design, and it's impossible to miss the consistent dual-tone designs. The raised camera bar on the back is reminiscent of the Nexus 6P's Cylon-esque design, and the bold colors and multi-tonal aesthetic makes this phone immediately distinguishable in the sea of black rectangles across the land.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro

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. Either way, the Pixel 6 has a glass back; some people prefer plastic for the improved durability, but at least it gives the new Pixel a premium look.

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.

As for the Pixel 6 display, it'll have a flat display with a center punch-hole camera and fairly small bezels; leaks suggest it'll have front-facing stereo speakers and an in-screen fingerprint scanner as well. Pixels used to impress audiophiles with their speakers, so we hope that quality will return here. With the Pixel 6 Pro, you upgrade to a curved display with narrower bezels and a faster refresh rate.

Google Pixel 6 Specs

Based on everything we've seen and heard, the Pixel 6 is the first premium Google phone. While Google hasn't unveiled the full Pixel 6 specs yet, 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.

Even more exciting, the latest rumor is that the Pixel 6 Pro will have an LTPO OLED screen with a variable refresh rate, a feature that only a few other flagships have so far. This would mean the Pro will run 120Hz when it needs to but drop down lower for less active apps, prolonging its battery life.

We know from Google that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will incorporate the new Google-made SoC, Google Tensor. According to the most recent Pixel 6 Tensor leak, the chip will have a 2x2x4 configuration with two Cortex-X1 "prime" cores, two A76 cores, and four high-efficiency A55 cores. The X1 cores will give it powerful performance, while the A76 backup cores — which launched in 2018 — are surprisingly last-gen for a 2021 flagship.

Supposedly, Tensor will use an Arm Mali-G77 GPU and a Titan M2 security module, plus support for aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC codecs.

What does this mean in practice? Google 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, VRR
Processor Google Tensor
2 Cortex-X1, 2 x A76, and 4 x A55 cores
Google Tensor
2 Cortex-X1, 2 x A76, and 4 x A55 cores
Memory 8GB RAM 12GB RAM
Storage 128/256GB 128/256/512GB
Rear Camera 50MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (ultrawide-angle) 50MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (ultrawide-angle) + 48MP (telephoto)
Front Camera 8MP 12MP
Battery 4614mAh 5000mAh
Charging 33W wired, 23W wireless 33W wired, 23W wireless, reverse wireless charging

Both phones will offer a significant improvement on the Pixel 5 thanks to their faster refresh rates, larger batteries, and speeds 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.

Also, recent rumors suggest the Pixel 6 will support 33W wired charging — much faster than the 18W standard on the Pixel 5 and 5a — plus at least 23W wireless charging with a new Pixel Stand.

Unfortunately, Google won't include a charger in the box, so you'll have to buy the wired and/or wireless ones separately. But most buyers will make do with chargers they currently have.

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.

Finally, a recent FCC leak suggests the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will support Wi-Fi 6E and mmWave 5G. Plus, the Pixel 6 Pro in particular could house Ultra-Wideband and reverse wireless charging.

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 color picker tools. 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.

A recent leak suggests Android 12 will launch on October 4 on past Pixel phones. Once the Pixel 6 launches later that month, we'll have to see if Google releases any exclusive software features for the new handset, as part of a separate OS update.

What matters most here is Google Tensor. Not only will it offer much faster speeds than the Pixel 5 chipset, it'll reportedly allow Google to support five years of Android software support for the Pixel 6 series. Just as Apple can support its iPhones for longer because it creates and controls its own chips, Google will do the same with Tensor, no longer restricted by Qualcomm hardware.

Most current Android phones only get two or three years of support, with Samsung recently making a four-year update promise for most of its recent devices. If we know in advance we'll get Android 17 on the Pixel 6 in late 2026, that'd more than justify the flagship price.

Google Fence Removal

Google Tensor isn't just useful for longevity, though! A recent Google Camera features leak suggests it will add several useful new AI tools to better process your photos, including a Magic Eraser tool (shown above) that removes unnecessary objects blocking your photos and fills in the missing data. There's also the "Face deblur" tool, which combines data from your main and ultra-wide sensors into one beautiful photo with crisp faces and bokeh backgrounds.

Google Pixel 6 FAQ

Do we know anything about Pixel 6 cases?

XDA Developers spotted a recent retailer leak suggesting that the Pixel 6 will have official fabric cases for $29 in the following colors:

  • Pixel 6: "Stormy Sky, Light Rain, and Cotton Candy"
  • Pixel 6 Pro: "Stormy Sky, Light Frost, Golden Glow, and Soft Sage"

These fabric cases are made of recyclable materials, have a striking look that will (unfortunately) mask the Pixel 6's natural color, and don't have as much fall protection as other TPU cases. Rest assured that third-party accessory makers will be making clear cases and more shockproof cases that'll launch alongside the phone in late October.

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. A recent (supposed) FCC leak suggests the phone will support mmWave and sub-6 5G technology; but we can't confirm this as of yet, and it will depend on your carrier and location.

Which Pixel to buy now

The Pixel 6 release date is close enough now that we can practically taste it. So if you're looking for a new stock Android phone, you have every reason to wait until October. But if you really need a new phone now, you could look at the other Pixel phones available. You may have trouble finding them, though.

Google discontinued the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G in late August. You may find some stock available at marked up prices on certain sites — or refurbished handsets available — but Google is currently all-in on its Pixel 5a launch.

The Pixel 5a is essentially a retooled Pixel 4a 5G with the same chipset, RAM, storage, and cameras, but with a slightly larger screen and battery, plus new water resistance. Even comparing the Pixel 5a vs Pixel 5, the newer, cheaper phone matches the 2020 "flagship" in most areas, even beating it in screen size and battery life (though losing in RAM).

Honestly, the true fight will be between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5a. If the new flagship is as expensive as we fear, then the Pixel 5a will be a great phone for those who can't afford a flagship. You'll have to accept missing out on Google Tensor, but a budget phone like the 5a isn't meant to last five years anyway. It'll do just fine for three years, while costing half as much.

Half the price, available now

Google Pixel 5a

$449 at Google Store

The best Pixel you can buy right now

Now that the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G have been discontinued, the Pixel 5a is your best option available right now. It has the same Snapdragon 765G chipset as those phones — no Tensor, but plenty speedy for a mid-range device. You'll get two days of battery life, water resistance, a bright FHD display, and decent cameras with Google's great AI improvements. The Pixel 6 has some major improvements in store, but this'll likely save you at least $500 compared to the flagship.

Source: androidcentral

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