2021 has been an interesting year so far, as Samsung and OnePlus have largely been battling out for the top spot of best Android phones. But the year is not over just yet, and we’re still awaiting the arrival of Google’s 2021 offering. No, we’re not talking about the Pixel 5a, instead, we’re taking a look at the Google Pixel 6.
What we know
Google took a step back with the Pixel 5, as the Pixel 4 and 4 XL were lambasted with horrible battery life despite sporting flagship hardware. The Pixel 5 marked a change, as it was released with the mid-range Snapdragon 765G, along with only being available in one size. This marked the first year that Google did not release a proper flagship since the inception of the Pixel lineup.
According to rumors, Google will return to its old ways with the Pixel 6, as we are expecting to see the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The Pixel 6 is said to feature a 6.4-inch AMOLED display, while the 6 Pro will be bumped up to 6.71-inches. Both of these will dwarf the Pixel 5, which features just a 6-inch display with a 2340 x 1080 resolution.
Ever since the original Pixel was released, Google has opted to stick with a more reserved design language for years. According to renders that we’ve seen from @OnLeaks and Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech, that’s going to change with the Pixel 6.
On the front, we’ll have a hole-punch display, placed at the top of the screen like the Galaxy S21 lineup. The right side will be home to the power and volume buttons, along with a USB-C charging port at the bottom. Looking just at the front, you might not think there’s a lot going on here, but it’s on the back where the exciting changes are to come.
The back of both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will feature a design that’s somewhat reminiscent of the Nexus 6P days. But really, it looks more like a cyborg with the camera module jutting out from the rest of the phone. We’re also expecting to see a dual-color design, but the renders that we’ve seen so far are not exactly representative of the final design.
Ignoring the processor for just a moment, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are going to be able to handle everything that you want to throw at it. These will likely launch with Android 12 while sporting either 8GB of RAM on the Pixel 6 or 12GB on the 6 Pro. Storage options will top out at 256GB for the smaller Pixel, and the 6 Pro is said to offer a 512GB configuration.
We’ve already touched on the display sizes, but we are expecting to see at least a 90Hz refresh rate across the board. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if at least the Pixel 6 Pro features a variable refresh rate going up to 120Hz.
Pixel 6 (codename: Oriel)
- Screen size: 6.4″
- Display: AMOLED
- Rear camera setup: 50MP (Wide) + 12MP (Ultra wide)
- Front camera: 8MP
- Battery: 4614mAh
- Processor: Google
- Ram: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB / 256GB
- OS: Android 12
Pixel 6 Pro (codename: Raven)
- Screen size: 6.71″
- Display: Plastic OLED
- Rear camera setup: 50MP (Wide) + 48MP (Tele) + 12MP (Ultra wide)
- Front camera: 12MP
- Battery: 5000mAh
- Processor: Google
- Ram: 12GB
- Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
- OS: Android 12
Last year, reports arose claiming that Google was finally beginning the development of its own processor. This has since been revealed to be known as Whitechapel or GS101, as its being referred to internally.
Google is said to be working with Samsung on the development and manufacturing of this processor. This comes as no surprise given Samsung’s history in the chip-making department, as it has released the Exynos series for years in Galaxy phones.
Although this processor will be built on the 5nm process, just like the Snapdragon 888, performance isn’t expected to match up. Instead of swinging for the fences with an over-powered processor with the GS101, Google’s first chipset is likely to rest between the SD888 and Snapdragon 870. For reference, the SD870 offers slightly better performance over the SD865+ that is found in devices like the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Z Fold 3.
With the combination of this GS101 and stock Android, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro should be able to fly. Gaming, image processing, and the overall experience should simply be a dream combination.
While Google’s Pixel 5 still offers one of the best camera performances on the market, it’s definitely starting to show its age. That’s because Google has continued using the same camera hardware since the Pixel 2, at least with the primary 12MP lens. Google has fine-tuned its image processing over the years, helping to keep its lead until now.
With the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, Google is said to be finally updating the camera sensors being used. Both of these devices are likely to feature a 50MP wide-angle primary lens, along with 12MP ultra-wide camera. But the 6 Pro will take advantage of the screen real estate and adds a 48MP telephoto lens.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the return of the Pixel Visual Core chipset, which was removed in the Pixel 5. As a result, image processing tends to take a little bit longer compared to the Pixel 4 and 4 XL. Perhaps with Google creating its own silicon for the Pixel 6, there will be some integration to increase performance.
Price and availability
Surprisingly, not much has been shared in regards to how much the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will cost. Expectations are that the smaller Pixel 6 will start around the same $699 price point as the Pixel 5, with the 6 Pro being bumped up another $100 or so.
As for when we can expect to see these handsets, rumors claim we’re looking at an October launch. This will leave plenty of time between the Pixel 5a launch, along with the final release of Android 12. But until Google actually makes an announcement, we’re merely just speculating.