Google has officially unveiled its new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones, signaling a new look and new features on both the inside and outside. Both phones look very different from their predecessors, and sport the largest screens of any Pixel phones to date.
That means glass on both sides, a more refined finish and new colour schemes. It also means a noticeable camera bump in the rear housing three lenses, including new image sensors. The cameras on both the rear and front are entirely different from previous Pixels, but Google’s computational photography software is still prominent, with several changes there, too.
The new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
The Pixel 6 Pro will come with a 6.7-inch QHD+ AMOLED display with a variable 10-120Hz refresh rate. Google has finally added a fingerprint sensor in the screen itself. The sides are made of aluminum. A nicer back panel will look more premium, retaining the ability to both charge wirelessly, or reverse charge a device you lay on its back.
The Pro’s rear triple camera array starts with the 50-megapixel primary lens. It is complemented by a 48-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with 4x optical zoom. Google claims the primary image sensor and lens can take in 150% more light (compared to the Pixel 5) when you shoot in Night Sight.
The Pixel 6 will have a 6.4-inch FHD AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. Instead of aluminum on the sides, Google is outfitting it with a matte finish. Except for the telephoto lens, it retains the same camera layout, making it possible to take the same quality photos.
A new processor makes its debut
Google raised the amount of internal storage, with options for 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. You also get more RAM, with 12GB for all of the phones, regardless of which one you use.
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will also run on a new proprietary chipset called Tensor. It’s a system-on-a-chip that will take the CPU, GPU, and other chips to handle all the machine learning, artificial intelligence, image rendering, and more. A new Titan M2 chip handles security, which Google says it enhanced, including with a guaranteed five years of monthly Android security updates.
That new hardware will power new features, like better real-time transcription when you’re recording someone speaking, or when communicating with others via text. Rather than typing in everything, you can respond hands-free and see the letters and words appear, including with punctuation. That also includes improved translation features for those times when you might communicate with someone in a foreign language.
Call Screen will get even better, letting you root out spam and scam callers before they even hear you. The overall look and feel of Android will feel more integrated with the hardware, Google says, though it’s not clear what that fully means until I test it.
New camera features
Beyond just taking better photos than before, Google claims it will let you take different ones through new modes. One is called Motion, where it keeps a subject in focus while blurring whatever action is happening in the background. Long Exposure is another one where you will be able to get nice blur effects when shooting certain scenes, like a waterfall, moving vehicles, and more.
Portrait mode is supposed to get better, with smarter computation through something called “Real Tone,” which will render faces and skin better for people of colour, so they don’t look washed out in certain lighting conditions.
Another new feature is Magic Eraser, an editing tool you can use to remove an unwanted portion of an image. It’s exclusive to Google Photos, and its effectiveness is also unclear based on what you want to actually remove. We’ll see about that with the full review coming on the blog.
The Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will be available from October 28, and you can pre-order yours to get it right on time.