Google Pixel 6 or Google Pixel 6 XL: 5 key differences you should expect

Google Pixel 5
The Google Pixel 5 (Image credit: Future)

The Google Pixel 6 is expected to land later this year - likely in October - but it probably won’t be alone, with the Google Pixel 6 XL also rumored.

This would be a return to Google’s old smartphone approach seen with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL – an approach it dropped in 2020 by only launching a standard Google Pixel 5.

But what will this choice of phones mean for buyers? While nothing has been confirmed just yet, we have a good idea of what the key differences between the Google Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 XL are likely to be, and you can read them all below.

1. The camera configuration

A leaked render showing the possible design of the Pixel 6 XL from the front and back

Leaks suggest this is what the Pixel 6 XL's camera looks like (Image credit: Jon Prosser / @RendersbyIan)

The Pixel 6 range looks set to include big camera upgrades, with both models probably having a 50MP main snapper (up from just 12.2MP on the Pixel 5). But while the standard Pixel 6 will probably stick with just two rear lenses, the Google Pixel 6 XL is rumored to be the first Google phone with a triple-lens camera.

There’s some disagreement as to the specs of these, but the latest leaks suggest the Pixel 6 XL will have both a 12MP ultra-wide camera and a 48MP telephoto one, with the standard Pixel 6 just getting the ultra-wide.

So if you want to be able to take telephoto shots, then the Pixel 6 XL will likely be the phone to opt for – and with talk of the optical zoom reaching either 4.4x or 5x, it could be able to snap more distant subjects than any previous Pixel phone too.

And the Google Pixel 6 XL might have camera upgrades on the front as well, with rumors of a 12MP snapper there, and just an 8MP one on the basic Pixel 6.

2. The screen size

The Google Pixel 6 XL wouldn’t be an XL without a bigger screen, so it’s no wonder that we’ve heard rumors it has a 6.71-inch (or possibly 6.67-inch) screen, while the standard Google Pixel 6 is rumored to have a 6.4-inch one.

So neither of these phones will be exactly tiny if that pans out, but the Pixel 6 will be fairly average sized, while the Pixel 6 XL would be large.

Of course, bigger isn’t always better. That will make it harder to use one-handed, and also make the body bigger, so you might struggle to fit the Pixel 6 XL in smaller pockets – especially with the big camera bump we’ve seen on the back in leaks.

But having a bigger screen can also be beneficial when watching videos, playing games, and even browsing apps and websites. So you’ll have to decide which option is the better fit for you.

3. The battery capacity

A Google Pixel 5 face down on a stone surface

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL could both have bigger batteries than the Pixel 5 (Image credit: Future)

Being a bigger phone means there should also be room for a bigger battery in the Google Pixel 6 XL, and indeed it’s rumored to have a 5,000mAh one, with the Pixel 6 thought to have a smaller 4,614mAh one.

That’s roughly a 400mAh difference, which could have quite an impact, except of course that as the Pixel 6 XL also probably has a bigger screen, it might take more battery to power. So it remains to be seen which of these two phones will actually last the longest between charges.

4. The storage and RAM

While both the Google Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 XL are thought to use a new Google-made chipset that we haven’t yet seen in any other phones, the Pixel 6 XL might still have the edge when it comes to power, as it’s rumored to have 12GB of RAM, while the standard Pixel 6 reportedly has 8GB.

As is often the case, that extra RAM might also be paired with extra storage, as while the standard Pixel 6 is said to come with 128GB or 256GB, the Google Pixel 6 XL might come with a choice of those capacities or 512GB. Of course, you might have to pay a lot for the 512GB model.

5. The price

A Google Pixel 5 held in someone's hand

Expect both upcoming models to cost more than the Pixel 5 (Image credit: Future)

That brings us neatly to the price, and this is one aspect of the Pixel 6 range that we haven’t actually heard anything about yet. But with rumors of a bigger screen, more RAM, more cameras, a bigger battery and potentially more storage, the Google Pixel 6 XL is sure to cost more than its smaller sibling.

What that price might be we can only guess, but the Google Pixel 5 retailed for $699 / £599 / AU$999 and we’d expect the standard Pixel 6 to cost at least that much. If anything it might cost more, since the Pixel 5 only had a mid-range chipset and the Pixel 6 is rumored to have a fairly high-end one.

Whatever the Pixel 6 ends up costing, we’d think the Pixel 6 XL might be around $200 / £200 / AU$300 more, so it could get close to four-digit pricing in the US and the UK.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.