The hype is beginning to build ahead of the launch of 2021’s flagship Made by Google devices. While the Pixel 5 was a great stepping stone, we’re hoping for a true return to form, and it has seen us dream up a relatively short Pixel 6 wishlist of features and extras.

We already have a very vague idea of what to expect, courtesy of renders and the confirmation that the Pixel 6 will come with Google’s own silicon. That said, compared to previous years, we’re not exactly inundated with details about what the next Pixel devices will be capable of.

Video — Google Pixel 6 wishlist

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120Hz display

A natural progression for flagship Pixel devices would be the jump from 90Hz to 120Hz displays. We’re seeing almost every other top-tier Android smartphone add the super-smooth refresh rate, including the likes of the Galaxy S21, Oppo Find X, and the OnePlus 9 series.

At the very top of our Pixel 6 wishlist is a bump to this higher refresh rate. You might not think it makes that much difference, but the added frames would enhance all UI animations and interactions. Gaming would be enhanced, while the battery negatives could easily be offset by capping the resolution to FHD+ — as seen with the Galaxy S21 series. Upping from a 90 to 120Hz display would be the icing atop an already enticing cake.

Periscope zoom lens / Super-super Res Zoom

Rumors suggest that the Pixel 6 Pro will come with a periscope zoom lens, and that makes us very happy. While an ultra-wide-angle lens is a nice inclusion to the Pixel 5, its utility is lost when you want to punch in and unveil details you would ordinarily miss when taking a photo.

It’s the combination of dedicated smartphone camera hardware to achieve added zoom plus the excellent Super Res Zoom post-processing that has us salivating at what the Pixel 6 Pro camera might provide. Things could be disappointing if the standard Pixel 6 misses out, but we hold out hope that our wishlist will be fulfilled with regard to the camera setup.

Battery health metrics

Gauging the health of your smartphone battery is something that we’d really love to get a grasp of with the full release of Android 12 and, hopefully, the Pixel 6/6 Pro. Sure, you can use third-party apps like AccuBattery to get an idea of your overall smartphone battery health, but a Pixel 6 wishlist has to include the option to get at least a ballpark rating for the overall health of the internal cell of your device.

Apple has had the feature baked into iPhones for some time, and while it can never be considered a perfect way to determine device lifespan, it at least gives a rudimentary metric to help you decide if a replacement battery may be due. We’re very unlikely to ever return to a time where a user-replaceable battery is something all smartphones come with. A battery health feature would at least allow you to expand the lifespan of your device with a repair or by making some changes to device usage.

More colors

Those early renders that have given us an idea of what to expect from the Pixel 6 whet the appetite for a look that has one step in the past, one in the future. However, last year was a big disappointment for anyone that usually likes to see Google get experimental with the smartphone color options.

It would be really neat to see some expanded options — more than just a plain black model and one, admittedly nice, color. Given the history of the entire Pixel series, we’re seriously overdue a red model or at least a model with a splash of red. The red, black, and white color used in early Pixel 6 renders would be near the top of our wishlist too.

Re-refined haptics

The haptics on Made by Google devices since the Pixel 3 have been among the best on Android, but the Pixel 5 took a noticeable step back over the Pixel 4 and 4 XL. That’s not to say they were “bad,” but the likes of the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro expand upon the haptics seen in other devices in meaningful ways.

Qualcomm and Lofelt joining forces to improve haptics across all of Android is a good sign, but it would be great for Google to lead with even better haptics on the Pixel. Apple leads the way in device haptics, and while Android has closed the gap in recent years, a resurgent Pixel 6 with great vibration-based feedback would be a killer quality of life improvement.

Face Unlock

Face Unlock is one of our Pixel 6 wishlist long shots as we are expecting an in-display fingerprint reader as the sole form of biometric security. The Pixel Imprint capacitive scanner has been fantastic with mask-wearing becoming a normal part of life post-COVID-19. A successful vaccine rollout across massive parts of the planet means that mask-wearing isn’t quite as necessary as it once was.

It’s hard to deny that the Pixel 4’s Face Unlock was excellent, and although we don’t expect a full return of the feature without a 3D face scanning camera, a software-based option could work. Sure, it wouldn’t be quite as secure, but it would be a nice inclusion nonetheless. Maybe, eventually, we’ll see Face Unlock properly return, but until then, we can at least hope.

Superfast charging

pixel 6 wishlist - faster charging

18W charge speeds likely won’t be used forever, but in 2021, it’s relatively slow compared to the competition. The evidence that the Pixel 6 may support faster wireless charging speeds with a new Pixel Stand is a good indication that we’ll get higher wattage charging on the Pixel 6. Faster charging would really help, although there are some permutations on battery lifespan and longevity.

Not having to wait hours for your phone to charge would be a nice bonus, even if we only see a bump to 30W on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Improved speakers

pixel 6 wishlist - better speakers

I’m sure that any Pixel 5 owner out there can agree that the speakers were way below par. The vibrating under-display earpiece was clear, but it didn’t get anywhere close to loud enough to be considered “good.” This really ruins the experience when watching videos or playing games, and so the Pixel 6 needs to up the ante with regard to audio again this year.

We’re never likely to see dual front-facing stereo speakers as displays keep expanding and bezels shrinking. High-quality audio is on our Pixel 6 wishlist, but it wouldn’t quite be at the very top. That said, it’s an important part of the hardware package that often gets overlooked – let’s just hope that it’s not overlooked on the Pixel 6.

What hardware or software features do you have on your own Pixel 6 wishlist?

Is there anything you are really hoping for or looking forward to seeing from the Pixel 6? Let us know your Pixel 6 wishlist items down in the comments section below.

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email:

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