Pixel 6 is powered by the new tensor chip specially designed by Google This article contains affiliate links, we may receive a commission on all sales we generate from it. Learn more
That’s the Pixel 6. Yes, after all the details that Google has been reviling at over the past few weeks, we finally know everything about the next-generation flagship smartphone. The Pixel 6 series comes in two flavors – the regular 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro.
The Pixel 6 will start at £ 599 in the UK and will be on store shelves from October 28th. It is available in three colors – Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral and Stormy Black. It is supplied with either 128 GB or 256 GB integrated memory. Both models have 8 GB of RAM.
Pixel 6 marks a dramatic dawn for the smartphone series as it is the first to be entirely powered by a specially designed chip from Google. This is becoming more common as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei all design and build their own processors to increase performance and introduce new features.
Unlike using a commercially available chipset, such as the hugely popular Snapdragon series developed by Qualcomm that used to power the Pixel series, custom silicon can be better optimized for a single operating system or device. And that is exactly what the Tensor, the first system-on-a-chip developed by Google, wants.
Pixel 6 starts at £ 599 and will be available in the UK on October 28th
Monika Gupta, Senior Director of Google Silicon, said, “Every few years machine learning completely changes the way we use technology. And we pride ourselves on the fact that sometimes Google products include making your devices more helpful and Google Translate breaks language barriers, but we haven’t always been able to bring the best of machine learning to the smartphone. That’s why we developed Google Tensor. A chip that can bring entirely new functionality to Pixel users, keeping pace with the latest advances in machine learning. “
Thanks to the Tensor chipset, the Google Assistant is now available offline. Even if you get stuck without a cellular signal or Wi-Fi connection, you can use voice commands to set timers and reminders, start certain apps or change settings. Of course, if you want to ask the talkative AI some general knowledge questions – like the age of a famous actor or the height of the Eiffel Tower – you need to be connected to the internet.
Tensor also improves the pixel’s speech and speech recognition capabilities. For the first time, the Google Assistant can automatically add punctuation when dictating text or email. The AI is also smart enough to know the difference between a system command – like “send” – and a word that should be added at the end of messages, which is supposed to end the scourge of texts sent with hands-free assistants and end with “send text”.
Tensor is designed to improve speech recognition, multitasking, and battery life
This improved speech recognition also enables the tensor-powered pixel to translate in real time. So you can watch a YouTube video in a foreign language and view subtitles in real time while the Google Assistant listens, transcribes and translates the clip for you. The same technology enables real-time subtitles for your own videos.
Google wants to emphasize that all of this detection and processing takes place on the device, thanks to the clever new Private Compute Core built into its new, charged chipset, so none of your data leaves the handset. While this is good for privacy, it means more importantly that the feature will still work without a network connection.
For the first time, UK owners can use the call screen feature that was introduced in the US around 2018. When you get an incoming call from an unknown number, you can tell the Google Assistant to answer the call for you. A real-time transcription of the call is played on the screen, asking the caller to provide their name and the reason for the call. If you come across a familiar name – or expect a call, you can take over the call. If it’s spam, you can let Google handle it.
Google calls its new design on the back of the camera the Camera Bar
Android smartphones tend to be pretty shabby when it comes to security updates, at least when compared to the iPhone. While Apple will continue to bring the latest features and security patches to a five-year-old device, an Android competitor that cost the same four-digit price at launch will be without security updates within two or three years. But that changes with the tensor-powered Pixel 6 range. Google has promised to support its new processor with five years of security updates, which should ensure security.
But that’s enough with the tiny silicon brains in the Pixel 6, what about the handset itself?
Well, the first thing you’ll notice about the Pixel 6 is what shaped Google’s Camera Bar. According to the Californian company, it was designed to give the handset “a clean, symmetrical design that puts the camera at the center”. It seems like a nice way to cram the dizzying number of camera lenses that modern flagship smartphones require without creating a camera bump that makes the phone jiggle when it’s on a table. However, only you can decide if you think it will “create distinctive graphics and a vibrant look,” as Google notes in its blog post on the Pixel 6.
Google says it has rewritten its ISP software to better serve all skin tones
Regardless of what you think of the Camera Bar, Pixel fans are sure to be delighted with the lens hidden inside. Pixel 6 lands with a new 50-megapixel main camera with a 1 / 1.3-inch sensor. The latter allows this new phone to capture around 150 percent more light compared to the Pixel 5’s main camera, which should dramatically increase the amount of detail and color in still images. Both phones also have an all-new 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera.
Of course, the new Tensor-System-on-a-Chip comes with a new image signal processor (ISP) to improve everything that is sensed by these sensors. Additionally, Google says it has worked hard to make sure its new ISP caters to all skin tones, including those that are normally underserved by smartphone cameras.
Google also added some nifty new photo features like Magic Eraser. This can automatically remove any unsightly obstacles from your snaps – like a tree sticking out from behind a person’s head or power lines ruining aesthetics. You can also swipe your fingertip over an element in the image that you want to make disappear and Google will do its best to replace the object with what was in the background behind it.
Another new photo mode is called Motion Mode, which has two options – Action Pan and Long Exposure. Action Pan lets you snap photos of your kids riding their scooters or doing crazy skateboarding tricks against a stylish, blurred background. Or create beautiful long exposures in which your subject moves, like waterfalls or lively city scenes with light streaks from car taillights.
On the front, the Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch OLED display with a variable refresh rate of 90 Hz. That’s not quite as fluid as we’ve seen from competing brands like OnePlus and Samsung, but scrolling should be for that Make your eyes a little easier.
Pixel 6 is available in three new colors, three colors: Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral and Stormy Black
The chassis is made from recycled aluminum, which is a win for the planet. It’s also waterproof to IP68, which means it can withstand dust and submersion in water over 1 meter. The screen is shielded by the latest generation Gorilla Glass Invictus, which is twice as strong as the glass on the Pixel 5 and is designed to ensure that the Pixel 6 can withstand an accidental drop or two.
As you’d expect from a smartphone developed by Google, the Pixel 6 ships with the latest version of Android.
Android 12 is designed to adapt to you. So when you choose your wallpaper, the entire interface will be updated to reflect that choice. The colors for app icons, settings menus, and toggles will be updated to complement the image you’ve chosen on the theme of your device.
Google says it also worked on a number of under-the-hood tweaks to make sure everything feels more responsive. At a Glance, which shows up on the home and lock screens, has a fresh new look and some new features. It now shows, for example, your boarding pass on the day of your flight or statistics from your last exercise.