Google recently previewed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro on its Twitter account, and even with a few weeks to go before the phones are ‘officially’ unveiled, the latter of the two is already shaping up to be one of the very best smartphones of 2021. As a longtime fan of the Pixel series, writing a sentence like that is pretty exciting. Google got off to a solid start with the original Pixel and Pixel XL in 2016. In the years since then, however, it seems like every generation has been plagued with at least one deal-breaking issue. A low-quality display tarnished the Pixel 2 XL, the Pixel 3 suffered from memory management issues, and the Pixel 4’s minuscule battery couldn’t make it through one day of regular use.
Then there was last year’s Pixel 5. It wasn’t the most powerful or eye-catching phone Google’s ever released, but it was also the most stable. It has a friendly design, fast enough performance, a quality display, great cameras, and surprisingly long battery life. The Pixel 5 is a phone that’s still perfectly enjoyable to use almost one year later, though it lacks the flagship pizzaz of its predecessors. It didn’t drop the ball in any major category, but the Pixel 5 also failed the push the needle forward in any meaningful way — resulting in a device that often fell to the sidelines compared to its Apple and Samsung competition.
Five years after the first Pixel hit the scene, it looks like Google has finally found its footing with the upcoming Pixel 6 (more specifically, the Pixel 6 Pro). Google confirmed many of the rumored specs/features in a Twitter thread on August 2, and simply put, the phone has everything this writer has been hoping for. Let’s start first with one of the biggest conversation starters: the design. The Pixel 6 Pro looks like no other phone Google’s ever released. The two-tone color scheme is playful, the horizontal ‘camera bar’ is distinctly different from most camera humps/bumps on the market, and it’s an obvious departure from the design language Google used for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5. Looks certainly aren’t everything, but this is the first Pixel in a long time that makes a statement. The glass and aluminum combo of the original Pixel was wonderfully playful. With every generation since then, however, Pixel designs have become progressively more boring. The Pixel 6 Pro is a return to the playfulness the Pixel series once had, albeit more refined. Assuming the sleek aesthetic is paired with quality construction (which it sounds like is the case), this should be the best hardware from the Pixel series to date.
The Pixel 6 Pro Seems To Check Every Box — And That’s Exciting
The second major component of the Pixel 6 Pro is its processor. Rather than using a Snapdragon 888 or another chip from Qualcomm, Google created its own in-house piece of silicon. It’s called Google Tensor, and it should dramatically improve many of the AI functions that Pixel phones are already so darn good at — including better voice commands, translation, captioning, and a “transformed experience” for the camera. Google’s always done a phenomenal job of improving its phones with AI and machine learning. With the Pixel 6 Pro being powered by a chip that can push those boundaries further than ever before, it’s hard to imagine what kind of doors that’ll open up.
And then there are all of the other specs. It’s confirmed that the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 6.7-inch curved AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, and three rear cameras — consisting of wide, ultra-wide, and 4x zoom lenses. Those are all staples of a 2021 flagship, and when paired with Google Tensor + the Pixel 6 Pro’s stunning design, it sounds like every aspect of the phone is coming together perfectly. It’ll look amazing, have a groundbreaking chip, and all of the other flagship specifications someone would expect to find in any of the Pixel 6 Pro’s competitors.
With that said, all of this excitement is coming with a grain of salt. The Pixel 6 Pro looks like a perfect smartphone on paper, but so did the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 that came before it. Those phones were also supposed to be the ‘best Android phone ever’ when they launched, but as we all know, they didn’t exactly pan out that way. Maybe that makes it unwise to be so amped up about the Pixel 6 Pro this early on, but considering everything it’s bringing to the table, it’s difficult to look at a phone like this without eager anticipation. If Google launches the Pixel 6 Pro and it encounters the same fate as its siblings, it’ll be hard to trust the series ever again. But if it does somehow stick the landing and follows through on everything Google’s promising, the Pixel 6 Pro could be the device that finally puts Samsung and Apple’s best to shame.