Google Pixel 6 Pro: the better iPhones with Android?

Yes, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are spectacular smartphones. But Google not only presented new smartphones on Tuesday evening but much more importantly: its own hardware platform. Tensor is the name of Google’s own SoC, which should bring a breath of fresh air to the smartphone market. In addition to sheer computing power, AI features are in the foreground here.

So far, it has been Apple that has been able to boast a perfect symbiosis of hardware and software. Now Google is following suit – the internet giant presented its new pixel smartphones and hardware platform at an impressive event. After just under an hour of presentation, it is clear: the battle between Mountain View and Cupertino has only just begun.

Contents:

  • SoCs: Pixel 6 (Pro) with Google’s tensor chips
  • The cameras: Next Level Computational Photography
  • Android 12 turns the Pixel 6 (Pro) into an Android iPhone
  • Differences: Google Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro
  • Conclusion: are the Pixel smartphones the better iPhones?

SoCs: Pixel 6 (Pro) with Google’s tensor chips

“AI is the basic technology for all of our services,” announced Rick Osterloh for today’s event. But up to now, SoCs were simply not powerful enough to be able to carry out the necessary calculations locally on the smartphone. After years of development, Google now wants to have created the perfect platform with the Tensor SoC.

Google Pixel 6 Pro tensor chips
The new Pixel 6 smartphones place great emphasis on security. Does this screen just happen to be reminiscent of the Apple infographics? / © Google

The Tensor SoC won’t outshine the Apple A15 Bionic or Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ in the pure benchmark results. But in the meantime it is no longer a question of pure computing power: Especially with features such as intelligent image processing, perfect coordination of software and hardware is essential – Apple’s top discipline.

SoC Apple A15 Bionic Google Tensor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+
CPU 6 cores

2x performance

4x efficiency

8 cores

2x performance

2x mid cores

4x efficiency

8 cores

1x Cortex X1

3x Cortex A78

4x Cortex A55

True to the motto that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro should become the “Most personal, most helpful” smartphones, Google has worked on speech recognition. For example, punctuation should now work much better, and names are written as they are stored in the address book. If there are multiple options, the voice prompt suggests multiple options that might fit.

Google Pixel 6 Pro specs
Here you can see the new voice input features at a glance. / © Google

In addition, when dictating a message, for example, the voice input recognizes what should actually be sent – and with which words the user wanted to correct certain words or what a certain emoji was described with. At least during the presentation, it looked impressive – and we’re looking forward to testing it.

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There’s even an exciting new feature to good old phone calls. This is how the Pixel 6 (Pro) recognizes whether you are on hold. You can then put the smartphone aside and you will be notified as soon as someone on the other end of the line picks up. And the new Google Translate is intended to further reduce language barriers – it will work much faster and in future also within apps, for example in WhatsApp, Snapchat, in the camera app or via “Live Translate” as a simultaneous translator.

Screenshot 2021 10 19 at 19.51.12
This one sparks joy: During the presentation, the two women talked to each other via the translator. / © Google

But of course the camera is also a central point for the Google Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro.

The cameras: Next Level Computational Photography

Both Pixel 6 smartphones have got better cameras than their predecessors. Instead of the usual 12 megapixels, the main sensors now have a resolution of 50 megapixels – and have grown significantly. For the sensors, Google relies on the Samsung GN1 sensors with a size of 1 / 1.31 inches.

Google Pixel 6 Pro design
The new 50-megapixel camera has a significantly larger sensor. / © Google

Just as the Neural Engine at Apple takes care of all kinds of AI camera features, such as the cinema mode, Google Tensor also powers the camera. The image quality of the camera system based on the new 50-megapixel camera sensor should particularly benefit from this. HDR video is now possible at 4K resolution with 60 fps – Google calls the feature “HDRnet“. But the normal HDR mode should also deliver better photos.

Google Pixel 6 Pro price
Moving objects can be provided with additional motion blur thanks to computational photography. / © Google

With the help of the new Tensor SoC, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro offer a range of intelligent camera features. Face Unblur is supposed to combine several photos with each other in order to show faces in focus – even if the person has just moved. Motion mode works the other way around and transforms moving objects into long tracks, such as cars driving by at night.

Google Pixel 6 Pro camera
If the feature worked so effectively, that would be really impressive. / © Google

With the Magic Eraser, Google declares war on the photobombers. In the future, it should be possible to remove disturbing people and objects from the images in Google Photos even after they have been taken. During the presentation, it definitely looked impressive how deeply objects can be removed from the pictures.

Last but not least, Google has worked hard on the camera to accurately map the skin tones of people with all different skin tones. Google has not yet said anything about whether and which features will also be available on other Android smartphones via the Android 12 update.

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Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max: New SoCs with 10 cores make Intel superfluous

Android 12 turns the Pixel 6 (Pro) into an Android iPhone

In addition to all the hardware features, the operating system naturally also plays a key role in the Pixel smartphones. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro run from the factory with Android 12. The most spectacular feature is certainly the new Material-You design with a more uniform system design across all apps, new widgets and more.

Google Pixel 6 Pro
“Uniquely Yours”: Google relies on a lot of design not only for the hardware, but also for the software. / © Google

As recently with Apple, the focus is also on security. With the Tensor Security Core and the Titan M2 core – just like the current iPhones – sensitive data are to be accommodated in a separate core of the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. But the operating system itself will also be more transparent in terms of authorizations and will now reveal, for example, whether the camera or microphone is being tapped.

All further details about Android 12 can be found in the following article:

Related:

Android 12: all new features explained

Here you can find out if and when your Android smartphone will receive the update to Android 12.

Differences: Google Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro

“Our first, real flagship” – this is how Rick Osterloh announced the Google Pixel 6 Pro at the presentation. We have already written in detail about the software and the tensor platform. But what do the two smartphones actually offer apart from Tensor and Android 12?

There are three major differences between the Google Pixel 6 and the Google Pixel 6 Pro:

  1. The price: The Pixel 6 price is 649 euros in Germany, for the Pixel 6 Pro Google calls for 899 euros.
  2. The cameras: The Google Pixel 6 Pro offers an additional 48-megapixel telephoto camera with fourfold optical zoom.
  3. The format: The Google Pixel 6 Pro is significantly larger than the normal Pixel 6 at 6.71 inches compared to 6.40 inches.

Otherwise, both models share the same hardware platform with the Google Tensor SoC. The Pixel 6 Pro offers a touch more memory with 12 GB and also an optional 256 GB memory.

product Google Pixel 6 Google Pixel 6 Pro
Illustration Google Pixel 6 Google Pixel 6 Pro
Display 6.4 inches, AMOLED, 90 Hz (adaptive), Full-HD + (1080×2400 pixels) 6.71 in. AMOLED, 120 Hz (adaptive), QHD (3120×1440 pixels)
SoC Google Tensor Google Tensor
Storage 8 GB RAM | 128 GB internal 12 GB RAM | 128 GB or 256 GB internal
Micro SD no no
Main camera 50 megapixels 50 megapixels
Ultra wide angle 12 megapixels 12 megapixels
Telephoto 48 megapixels, 4x zoom
Video Max: 4K at 60 fps Max. 4K at 60 fps
Selfies 8 megapixels 8 megapixels
battery pack 4614 mAh 5003 mAh
Charge Max. 30 watts (wired)
Max. 21 watts (wireless)
Max. 30 watts (wired)
Max. 23 watts (wireless)
safety Fingerprint reader in the display
face recognition
Fingerprint reader in the display
face recognition
Prices From 649 euros From 899 euros

Conclusion: are the Pixel smartphones the better iPhones?

Yes and no. But even the biggest Apple fans in our editorial team were amazed during the presentation. We expect our test devices in the coming days and will soon provide you with detailed hands-ons. If you have any questions, requests or suggestions about what we should try: Put it in the comments!

Related:

Google Pixel 6 Launch event: This is how you follow today’s event

You can find the current prices of the Pixel smartphones in the price comparison below. Otherwise, you can already pre-order the smartphones in the official Google shop – Google is also offering an attractive pre-order campaign for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

 

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