Pixel 6 Pro Review: The flagship Google needs right now is the one buyers deserve

By Ben Schoon

October 25th 2021

The Pixel 6 Pro has arrived as Google's first true flagship phone and it brings a lot of great upgrades from past Pixels. Should it be your next phone? Here are 10 reasons we think so

1. A new take on Google’s  smartphone design

The Pixel 6 Pro is a flashy flagship that looks like it came straight out of the minds of Samsung and OnePlus. The glossy glass back, polished aluminum frame, and curved display sides all bring up the memory of a typical Android flagship more than they do a Google device.

2. A big, wonderful display

The 6.7-inch inch display is sharp and its 120Hz refresh rate keeps everything super smooth. The LTPO AMOLED panel shows vivid colors and gets bright enough for use even outdoors. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra certainly still has an edge here, but Google’s display has no apparent flaws and truly competes with the best of the best. And the return to offering a QHD+ display is refreshing.

3. Material You is an absolute delight

Android 12 brings a new design language on Pixel phones, and it's especially good on Pixel 6 Pro. Material You on Android 12 is all about changing the colors of your apps and the OS as a whole to suit your style based on your wallpapers. Changing your wallpaper to one of the many included on the Pixel 6 Pro or to something you picked out yourself results in the OS changing to match that new accent.

4. Tensor puts out an impressive debut

The Google Tensor chipset within the Pixel 6 Pro sets the stage for Google phones for years to come, and it’s legitimately impressive how strong the company’s initial offering is. In my testing over the past week, performance from Tensor has been virtually indistinguishable from the Snapdragon 888 used in recent Samsung and OnePlus flagships. Tests also show us that Tensor is up to the task of competing with the best processors currently used in Android phones.

5. Google’s clever tricks remain a key selling point

Call Screen, Gboard voice typing, Wait Time, Direct my Call, and more Pixel exclusive features make for practical and useful selling points for the Pixel 6 Pro. “Direct my Call” displays a visual menu for toll-free lines, and “Wait Times” shows an estimate of how busy that line may be.

6. Battery life is solid

Google is advertising the 5,000 mAh battery in the Pixel 6 Pro as lasting “all-day” and, in my use so far, that certainly seems accurate. Over this early testing, I’ve had the Pro easily coast from around 8 a.m. to around 11 p.m. without needing a charger. Generally, I go to bed at 11 p.m. or later, and the phone is under 15%, but I consider that solid endurance, all things considered. Plus, charging now hits up to 30W speeds.

7. By far the best camera for stills

As its competitors have caught up over the past few years, Google’s camera prowess on Pixel phones has diminished, with the crown handed over to Apple and, to a certain extent, Samsung. However, with the Pixel 6 Pro, it feels like Google has taken it back with an impressive new offering.

8. Magic Eraser is an amazing feature

With the new camera, Google also includes a tool called "Magic Eraser" which can automatically strip objects from photos. The results here are, for the most part, pretty impressive. Google typically suggests using the feature on pictures of cities where it can remove street lamps and people from the street with ease, and good results.

9. This phone will last you for years

Thanks to Tensor, too, Google will be able to support this phone for longer. It launches with Android 12 and will be updated all the way through 2024 with major Android versions and with security patches for 5 years.  That's class-leading for any Android phone.

10. It's just a great deal

With a starting price of $899, the Pixel 6 Pro is one of the best deals in a flagship-tier smartphone. It's $400 cheaper than the Samsung equivalent and $300 less than the matching iPhone. No matter how you slice it, the Pixel 6 Pro is a great deal. It's available from major carriers and retailers and ships on October 28.