It's starting to sound like the Google Pixel 6 could be the most intriguing Pixel phone in a long time, with the company seemingly rebounding from its 2020 slump year that saw the less-than-interesting Pixel 4a, 4a 5G and 5.
Even the recent Pixel 5a was a familiar-feeling phone, but by what rumors suggest - and what Google itself has said - the Pixel 6 represents a big step up for the company.
Google has officially revealed these handsets, and they look just like the leaks predicted: sleek devices with a visor-like camera block that splits the back cover in two.
That's not the only interesting thing about them though, as the Google Pixel 6 range has been confirmed to pack an in-house chipset for the first time – one that we haven't seen in any other phone. It's called Google Tensor, and the company has hyped up everything the new phones can do with the new custom silicon.
There's lots we don't know about the Google Pixel 6 though, so we're waiting on a 'full' unveiling.
These phones could appeal to a wide audience too, with the Pixel 6 possibly being mid-range like the Pixel 5, while the Pixel 6 Pro might be a premium device like the Pixel 4. We don't have much in the way of specs or pricing yet, but we're eager to find out.
We might not have too much longer to wait for the Google Pixel 6 range either, as while the exact release date is unknown, Google confirmed it will launch in 'fall 2021' (meaning September, October or November) in the US, so it's likely to land in or around October like its predecessor, possibly alongside Android 12.
While Google has officially revealed a bit of information, leakers have gone to town on the Google Pixel 6, and we're hearing new information about the device all the time. You can scroll on down for all the important information we've heard so far, including the first official Pixel 6 images.
Expect to learn more about the Google Pixel 6 as the months go on, and we'll be keeping this article updated, so check back regularly.
Google Pixel 6: cut to the chase
- What is it? Google's next flagship phone
- When is it out? Likely October 28, following an October 19 announcement
- How much will it cost? Around $699 / £599 / AU$999, but possibly more
Google Pixel 6 release date and price
The Google Pixel 6 release date has been confirmed to be in 'fall 2021' (meaning September - November) in the US (Q3 to Q4 2021 elsewhere).
One rumor suggests the phone will be available to pre-order from October 19, with a full release on October 28. That's been backed up by a separate piece of information, from an Australian telecom company, which suggests a launch event could occur on October 19.
At the moment, we think later is almost certain based on what Google has done in the past. October is probably the best bet, though we really don't know for sure at the moment.
With regards to price, that's a bit harder to guess, because while the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 were more premium offerings, the Pixel 5 is a mid-ranged phone, and we don't know if Google will stick in that price range or return to the top end.
For reference, the Pixel 5 cost $699 / £599 / AU$999 so maybe we could see a similar price again. That said, given that there's a Pixel 6 Pro as well, we might see both a mid-range Pixel 6 and a high-end Pro model, with the latter probably costing a lot more than the Pixel 5.
While we still don't have an official price for either phone, Google hardware executive Rick Osterloh was quoted in Der Spiegel as saying the Pixel 6 'belongs in the upper segment' of phones as a 'mainstream premium product.'
The Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, Osterloh said 'will be expensive.' Given that he said the last two years of Google phones (including the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4) weren't competing in the flagship market segment, Osterloh may be suggesting that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will be pricier than we expected.
Meanwhile, the latest word from the production line is that Google has ordered a lot of these phones – so it should be widely and readily available.
Design and display
Google officially revealed the Pixel 6 in a series of tweets in early August – and the company essentially confirmed the design leaks that trickled out through 2021.
There's a camera block that runs across the width of the back, jutting out, and a three-tone color scheme in a range of options. The image above shows both the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro, with the Pro model having more space above the camera block.
That camera block has glossy silver edges on the Pixel 6 Pro and matte black ones on the standard Pixel 6. Flip the phone to the front and you can see an all-screen design with a selfie camera in a central punch-hole.
Since then, the company has even put the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro on display in New York City, albeit behind glass and only visible from the back. We captured some photos of the phones, and you can see some of them below.
Google was light on screen specs, but according to Marques Brownlee (a YouTuber who got hands-on time with the phones) the Pixel 6 Pro has a slightly curved 120Hz screen of around 6.7 inches, while the standard Pixel 6 has a smaller 90Hz flat screen.
Beyond that we're in leak territory for additional design and display details, with one source claiming that the Google Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.67-inch curved AMOLED display, and dimensions of 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm (with an 11.5mm camera bump), along with dual stereo speakers.
You can see that screen in a leaked hands-on video (below). The back also looks glossier here than we'd seen in official images.
I think this may be the first hands on video leak of a Google Pixel 6 Pro. FYI: The logo would indicate that this is likely an early production test unit, so that means there may be some differences between what you see here and the actual production device. #teampixel pic.twitter.com/4QSvdktqA7September 21, 2021
Another source points to a 1440 x 3120 screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and elsewhere we've similarly heard that the Pixel 6 Pro might have a QHD resolution, while the Pixel 6 might have a 6.4-inch flat screen.
That screen size has been echoed by Jon Prosser (a leaker with a good track record), who also points to both models using OLED, and says that the Pixel 6 Pro's screen is 6.71 inches (which is in line with Brownlee's claim of it being around 6.7 inches).
Camera and battery
When Google officially revealed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro via tweet in early August, the company confirmed the former will get two cameras and the latter will get three shooters – with the extra being a 4x optical telephoto.
There wasn't any other information from Google itself, but Marques Brownlee (who was granted hands-on time with the phones) claims that the other two lenses are main and ultra-wide ones.
He also stated that Google has switched to all new photo sensors, for basically the first time since the Pixel 2, and that the Pixel 6 is likely to offer a significant video upgrade on the Pixel 5, thanks to the new chipset (more on which further down) powering computational photography.
Beyond that, a leak previously suggested that we'd see a 50MP main camera with a larger sensor than on the Pixel 5, plus an 8MP periscope snapper and an ultra-wide camera.
But another leak points to the Pixel 6 having a 50MP main and 12MP ultra-wide camera, while the Pixel 6 Pro apparently has both of those along with a 48MP telephoto one. This source also claims that the Pixel 6 has an 8MP selfie camera while the Pixel 6 Pro has a 12MP one. A more recent leak has also said the same about the Pixel 6 Pro.
Android 12 code also suggests that both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will have a 50MP main camera.
Code in the Google camera app meanwhile suggests that the front-facing camera on the Pixel 6 might support 4K video recording, which is higher resolution than most selfie cameras can get.
As for the battery, there's no official news about this but multiple sources claim the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 5,000mAh one, with the Pixel 6 having a smaller one. Elsewhere we've heard the same claim, but this leak details the Pixel 6's battery too, saying that it's 4,614mAh.
We've also heard that - unsurprisingly - the phones will support wireless charging.
They might support faster wireless charging than the 12W offered by the Pixel 5 though, as evidence of a new wireless charger has been found in Android 12 code, and there's mention of fans - a feature which helps keep the phone and charger cool when pumping out lots of power. More evidence was revealed by retailers who could stock the wireless charger, letting us know this kind of powering could hit 23W.
Wired charging might get a speed boost too, with one source pointing to 33W charging, up from 18W on the Pixel 5, and we've heard this leak multiple times. However, that charger won't come in the box - in fact the Pixel 6 won't have an in-box charger at all.
Specs and features
When Google revealed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in early August, the company also unveiled the Google Tensor – its first custom chipset, which the tech giant suggested will improve the cameras, speech recognition, and other features – especially improving voice commands, translation, captioning and dictation, with more things carried out on device.
According to Brownlee (who got an official look at the phone) the Tensor chipset also allows the Pixel 6 to decode voice and process it on the device (rather than on Google servers), which allows for faster responses from Google Assistant and other vocal interface features.
Neither Google nor Brownlee have said much about the power of this chipset, but rumors around this chip are gaining momentum, and we've heard that it could be a 5nm one. However, it sounds like it won't match the best Android chipsets for performance, with a source claiming it will basically slot between the top-end Snapdragon 888 and the older Snapdragon 865 in terms of power.
Another source has echoed these claims, saying that it rivals the Snapdragon 870 for power - a chipset that's high-end but not top-end. They added that its GPU performs well under stress.
One report has suggested that the Tensor chipset is in fact the Samsung Exynos 9855, previously rumored but never put inside a phone. If that's correct, the performance of the Pixel 6 phones would be somewhere in between the Galaxy S21 and the Galaxy S22 launching next year.
We've also heard that the Pixel 6 might have 8GB of RAM and a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage, with the Pixel 6 Pro upping the RAM to 12GB and offering 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. Additionally, this source claims that the two phones will get at least five years of software updates, which is far more than other Android devices.
A benchmark for the Google Pixel 6 Pro has also now appeared, and this backs up the leak above by listing 12GB of RAM - though the scores achieved by the phone are unimpressive. Another leak has also pointed to 12GB of RAM.
Expect an under display fingerprint scanner on the Google Pixel 6. An executive from Google included a screenshot - which has since been deleted - that showed a phone with a fingerprint in the middle of the screen.
Hiroshi Lockheimer apparently posted (and then deleted) a screenshot from what's likely the Pixel 6 Pro (the image resolution was 1440x3200.) The phone is connected to Verizon 5G, likely the carrier's sub-6GHz network. Also shown is the position of the UDFPS.H/T @jspring86az pic.twitter.com/Pessh7RvNVAugust 24, 2021
Speaking of Android 12, the Pixel 6 range will of course run that, and we know already that this includes a whole new visual design, along with a real focus on privacy and security. That extends to the hardware too, as Google itself has said that the Pixel 6 is built with the most layers of hardware security in any phone.
And a leak also suggests that the Pixel 6 could get a redesigned version of Google Translate, which should be easier to operate with one hand.
Finally, we've heard the Pixel 6 could have UWB, or ultra-wideband technology. This is a short-range communications function that lets devices talk to each other if they're nearby - it can be useful for location tracking, so maybe the Pixel 6 will have some new feature regarding this?
- These are the best Google Pixel smartphones