Pixel 6 and 6 Pro leaks round-up: Everything we know so far about Google’s flagship iPhone rival

The phone will have a bigger screen and a better camera than previous versions, with a specialised chip for more on-device machine learning and AI

Adam Smith
Friday 15 October 2021 18:41

Google is set to launch the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro at an event on 19 October – the first time the Android manufacturer has attempted to compete at the premium level against Apple and Samsung.

“The product is really, now, The Google Phone,” Google’s hardware chief Rick Osterloh has said, “so we are ready to invest a lot in marketing and we want to grow.”

The phones were officially revealed by Google at the beginning of the month, but numerous details about the devices have leaked ahead of time.

Google has officially said that the Pro version of the new Pixel 6 will feature three camera lenses, including a telephoto lens with a four-times optical zoom, while the standard Pixel 6 will only have two lenses – both of which are likely to be a main wide-angle camera and an ultra-wide camera. Rumours suggest the sensors can take in 150 per cent more light compared to those on the Pixel 5.

Both phones have Google’s Tensor chip, is a chip manufactured specifically for the devices to allow artificial intelligence and machine learning to run directly on the phone – powering tools such as Google Translate or Google Lens.

The tensor chip will also provide greater camera capabilities, as the lenses will snap multiple photos of the same moment and combine them into a single image. This allows the phone, theoretically, to keep details sharp when taking a picture of something in motion, or to adjust a scene to ensure a natural balance between light and shadow.

As well as the Tensor chip, the phone will have a new Titan M2 chip for improved on-device security after a leaked listing from Carphone Warehouse, and Google will be providing five years of security updates for the device.

Some media were given access to the devices ahead of time by Google, revealing that the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 6.7-inch QHD+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The regular Pixel 6, by contrast, will have a 6.4-inch FHD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate. Both phones will have under-screen fingerprint scanning, in contrast to the sensor on the back of the device for the Pixel 5.

Other leaks include the battery, which is set to be 4614mAh for the Pixel 6 and 5003mAh for the Pixel 6 Pro – the latter being approximately the same as Samsung’s Galaxy S21 device.

The software for Google’s new Pixel devices is well documented, as Android 12 is already available for previous Pixel phones (and Google says that there will be more device-specific updates for the operating system to come).

The main focus of this iteration is the ‘Material You’ design, which will update widget and button palettes to match the colours in the phone’s background image. Google has also made notifications and the quick-settings functions that appear when users swipe down from the top of the screen more rounded and larger.

Widgets have been a part of Android for a long time, and recently garnered more attention by their addition to Apple’s iOS 14 last year, but whether they will be used here remains to be seen. Google’s own widgets, such as Calendar or a Memories function for Photos, are either too small to be useful in comparison to having more apps on the home screen, or require extra curation in the case of photos.

There is a smattering of other changes too: smart home controls are no longer in the power menu but have their own button on the lock screen along with Google Pay, and there are rumours that future updates will bring more features such as better multitasking – but that remains to be seen.

Pricing for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro has not yet been revealed for the devices, but in order to compete with premium phones it will likely be around $1000, or £1000. Eventually, Google is set to announce a foldable phone, according to rumours, but knowledge of that device has remained scarce.

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