Overnight, Google has finally unveiled full details of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones which they first announced back in August. The phones will arrive in Australia soon with both phones available to pre-order from today, and when we get our hands on them we’ll see a number of new features including Assistant powered Call Screening.
Alongside the Pixel launch, Call Screen will be going live. Call Screen uses the Google Assistant to screen your calls for unwanted spammers, intercepting the calls and ensuring calls you receive are from a person you actually want to speak with.
This is the first feature from Duplex we’ve seen here in Australia, with users in the US able to take advantage of features such as booking restaurant reservations, or calling stores to automatically update their opening hours for public holidays.
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are a change from last year’s Pixel 5 launch which aimed mainly at the mid-range smartphone market. The ‘Premium’ Pixel 6 and ‘Flagship’ Pixel 6 Pro are aimed at a higher end market though.
The new phones introduce a new hardware paradigm for Google, with an in-house designed ‘Tensor’ processor on board both phones. Paired with the new Android 12 OS release which has the personalised ‘Material You’ theming, as well as improvements in security and media, Google says the phones will push the limits of what is possible in a smartphone and deliver a phone that offers a more helpful Google for everyone.
The new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are an evolution of the Pixel phone design language. The Pixel 6 is aimed at consumers who are looking for ‘the right amount of everything’ in their phone, while the Pixel 6 Pro is for those customers who want Google’s most advanced technology.
Tensor and Security
The headline for the hardware side of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro launch is the introduction of new processor hardware. Called Tensor, the processor allows Google for the first time to bring a lot of their Machine Learning (ML) models and Artificial Intelligence features down from the cloud to the Pixel phone.
The chip itself is fabricated using Samsung’s 5nm process, with CPU and GPU cores from Qualcomm. The octa-core processor uses dual X1 cores, dual A76 Performance and four A55 Efficiency cores.
The Tensor processor is paired with a Tensor Security Core which can process sensitive data separately to the CPU, as well as detect real world threats on the fly. There’s also an improved M2 Titan chip which also helps protect you, your data and your privacy.
The new improved security features will be incorporated into a new Security Hub and Privacy Dashboard, which puts all your security settings in one easily accessible place. The Security Hub will also deliver recommendations to improve your security.
Alongside the ability to bring ML models and AI down to the phone, Google has cited limited ongoing software support as another reason for developing their own silicon. Their own silicon gives them the ability to support their phones for longer.
For the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Google has said they will offer 5 years of security updates, with a guaranteed 3 years of OS updates.
There are reports out there of 4 years of OS updates, however Google has only committed to 3 years with a promise from Pixel VPs to ‘try our best to keep the pixel devices updated’.
There’s a size difference between the two phones, with the Pixel 6 using a 6.4-inch display, while the Pixel 6 Pro gets a 6.71-inch display. There’s differences here too with the Pixel 6 offering a 90Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 6 Pro bumps to an LTPO waterfall display that offers up to 120Hz refresh rate. Both displays are covered with Gorilla Glass Victus.
The phones are similar in design with a horizontal camera bar across the rear with the Pixel 6 getting a dual rear camera array with 50MP main sensor and 12MP Ultra-wide sensor with 114-degree field of view.
The Pixel 6 Pro gets bumped to a triple-camera array with the inclusion of a 48MP sensor that includes a 4x optical zoom, as well Google has brought back ‘Super Res Zoom’ which will boost those zoom pics with an up to 20x zoom using their machine learning models to build an accurate zoomed image.
Google is using premium materials for both phones, with glass and metal construction. Both phones also include IP68 dust and water resistance.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro come with a 4615mAh and 5,000mAh batteries with Google promising all-day battery life. The phones support up to 30W fast-charging, though you won’t find the charger included in the box.
You will get a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box which you can plug into any existing USB-C charging bricks you have around.
If you want to take advantage of the 30W fast charging though you’ll Instead have to pay $45 for a 30W charger from the Google Store.
The phones also support wireless charging up to 23W which will come in handy with the new Pixel Stand which will launch soon.
5G isn’t always 5G
Google is offering both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G on the Pixel 6 Pro, however the Pixel 6 will only get sub-6GHz 5G support.
What this means for customers in Australia is that Pixel 6 owners will not be able to use mmWave 5G, however that’s not going to be a show-stopper with most carriers in Australia offering mmWave in very limited markets – so limited you may need to visit a Telstra store or specific tower just to experience it.
Suffice to say, you’ll be able to connect to the most widely available 5G option – sub-6GHz – in Australia with no issues.
|Pixel 6||Pixel 6 Pro|
|CPU||Google Tensor Processor||Google Tensor Processor|
60-90Hz refresh rate
LTPO Smooth Display
|Rear Camera||50MP Main Sensor|
48MP Telephoto (4x Optical, 20x with Super Res Zoom
|Software amd Updates||– Android 12|
– 5 Years Security Updates3 Years OS – but will try to keep it updated
|– Android 12|
– 5 Years Security Updates3 Years OS – but will try to keep it updated
|5G||Sub-6GHz only||Sub-6GHz and mmWave|
|Colours:||– Kinda Coral|
– Sorta Seafoam
– Stormy Black
|– Sorta Sunny|
– Cloudy White
– Stormy Black
The phones will come in three colour options. Pixel 6 will be available in Kiinda Coral, Sorta Seafoam (my favourite) and Stormy Black. The Pixel 6 Pro will be available in Sorta Sunny, Cloudy White and Stormy Black.
Google is of course launching Android 12 on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and as usual there’s some features launching as exclusives.
Pixel 6 has an on-device speech recognition model, that can transcribe speech with incredible accuracy and also account for nuance in speech. This translates to features including Assistant Voice Typing in apps, as well as Live Translate.
Tensor dramatically improves translation features in Pixel. Live Translate is one of the features applied to messaging apps on-device. This gives users the ability to perform smart, simple translation on the fly, with best in-class speed and accuracy.
The Live Translate feature is live in a number of different messaging apps to start with including Android Messages, Whatsapp, Signal, Line, Twitter, Instagram, FB Messenger Lite, Google
Chat, GroupMe and Snapchat. There’s only a limited number of languages supported so far with English, as well as French, Japanese, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Hindi, Polish and Russian
Google is offering a different theming setup with Android 12. Called Material You, the feature applies highlights from a pre-defined colour palette gleaned from highlights in your wallpaper and uses them to theme highlights in your apps, widgets. notification shade, lockscreen, volume controls, new widgets and more in your OS.
There’s a focus on better quality images for people of colour in the new Camera app, with the feature, called Real Tone, better rendering skin tones and colours and making it the ‘most inclusive camera available’.
A new feature being introduced is Motion Mode. A way to add in a little blur to an image to make action shots seem a little more, well, ‘action-y’.
The Pixel camera stacks images using machine learning and computational photography, to analyse the scene and apply a little artistic blur to the background and areas which should look a little blurry. This works for both action shots, as well as things like water motion.
Google set excitement levels high a few years ago at their Google I/O developer conference, by showing off a feature which removed a fence between the camera and the subject. While this feature has never launched, a new feature called ‘Magic Eraser’ is coming to Pixel 6.
Magic Eraser will let you remove people or things in the background from your shot – it even works on images you’ve already taken.
Google has announced new accessories for the Pixel phones, with cases, the previously mentioned 30W Charger and a new Pixel Stand charger.
In terms of the Pixel Stand, Google has advised that they are ‘putting the finishing touches on the new improved version of the Pixel Stand” and we’ll hear more about it when it’s ready. The Stand IS showing on the Google Store for $119 though you can’t actually pre-order it just yet.
The Pixel Stand is made from TPU and Polycarbonate materials and has a ‘nearly silent built-in fan’. There’s a 30W charging brick included, as well as a 1.5m USB-C cable.
The Pixel Stand can delivery up to 23W for compatible Pixel phones, while also supporting up to 15W (EPP) for Qi Certified devices including your Pixel Buds and other wireless charging devices.
Their new cases though are a big change from their previous fabric cases. Priced at $49 AUD, these new cases are made from recycled materials and are frosted and translucent allowing the colours of the new Pixel phones to still be seen.
The cases will fit seamlessly around the phone offering easy access to buttons and also surrounding the camera bar and protecting it. Google will offer the Pixel 6 cases in three colours: Cotton Candy, Light Rain and Stormy Sky, while the Pixel 6 Pro cases come in Golden Glow, Light Frost, Stormy Sky and Soft Sage/
The 30W Pixel charger for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro offers up to 30W of charging, though you’ll need to pay $45 for the charger itself.
You can pre-order the 30W USB-C Pixel Charger from the Google Store online now.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be priced from $999 and $1,299 respectively for the 128GB models, and will be available from the Google Store as well as from all three Australian Telco’s Telstra, Vodafone and Optus and at retail from JB Hifi, Harvey Norman and Officeworks.
The phones will be available from the end of October, with October 28th the tenative go live date.
If you’re still struggling to decide which you want, you can check out our Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro first Impressions post here, and if you want the best deals you can find all the details for both telcos and retailers here.