The much anticipated Pixel 6 smartphones are here. As expected, these are properly high-end smartphones from Google, and powered by the company’s own Tensor chip, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro truly are “Google Phones.”
But that’s not the most attractive aspect of the Pixel 6 series. In my opinion, it’s the competitive pricing of the two phones that will really win consumers over. With a $599 starting price – that comes up to only about RM2,490 – the value proposition of the Pixel 6 is compelling for a high-end flagship smartphone.
Of course, the $599 starting price is for the base model of the Pixel 6 with 128GB of storage. If you want double the storage (256GB), it will set you back $699 (about RM2,910). Regardless of which variant you go for, you’re getting 8GB of RAM.
As for the higher-end Pixel 6 Pro – it features 12GB of RAM for all configurations of the phone – it retails at $899 (approximately RM3,740) for the 128GB model. The 256GB variant, on the other hand, is priced at $999 (around RM4,155), while the 512GB model costs $1,099 (about RM4,575).
Out of the two phones, the Pixel 6 naturally offers the best value for money. In fact, there aren’t many (proper) flagship smartphones that sit at this price point. Anyway, for $599, the Pixel 6 is powered by the aforementioned Tensor SoC – Google’s very own chip.
Unfortunately, it remains to be seen how the Tensor chip compares to its competition, though Google did say that it is comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip. The latter is found in the majority of flagship phones in the market now.
If Tensor can really go toe-to-toe with the Snapdragon 888, great! Though we’ll have to put the Tensor chip through its paces for ourselves to know for sure.
Aside from that, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are equipped with a new camera system; quite a departure from the recycled camera setup of the Pixel 5 and its predecessors. The standard Pixel 6, for one, is packed with a 50MP primary sensor – which outputs 12.5MP images – as well as a 12MP ultra-wide angle lens.
The Pixel 6 Pro sports the same two camera sensors, but it adds on a 48MP periscope telephoto lens that can do 4x optical zoom or up to 20x zoom with the Super Res Zoom feature. If you don’t need the zooming capability of the Pixel 6 Pro, you’ll be just fine with the regular Pixel 6.
Another area where the Pixel 6 phones improved quite a bit is battery life; well, the battery capacity, at least. The Pixel 6 now comes with a sizeable 4,614mAh battery, while the Pro model has an even bigger 5,003mAh cell. According to Google, both phones “can last beyond 24 hours” with these battery capacities.
Last but certainly not least are the displays of the Pixel 6 phones. The standard Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch 2340 x 1080 OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 6 Pro has a slightly larger (and sharper) 6.7-inch 3120 x 1440 LTPO OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
It’s also worth noting that the Pixel 6 Pro has a dual curved screen, giving it a more premium look and feel. The Pixel 6, in comparison, has a flat display with more prominent side bezels. While it doesn’t look quite as upmarket, the flat nature of the panel may be preferred by certain folks for ergonomic reasons.
Without a doubt the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have hardware befitting of flagship smartphones. This, paired with their competitive price tags, may just be a winning formula for Google’s renewed focus on its smartphone business. So…what could work against them?
Well, a few things, actually. For example, we still don’t know how capable the Google Tensor chip is. Reviewers are still under embargo right now, so they cannot reveal just how powerful (or not) the Pixel 6 phones are. If their performance levels are not up to snuff, they won’t really be proper flagship phones anymore.
And then there’s the fact that the Pixel 6 series will not be officially sold here in Malaysia, so we’ll have to turn to imported units if we want to get either one of the two phones. Not only do we have to pay marked up prices for these imported Pixel 6 phones, we won’t even get official warranty support.
Of course, some folks may not mind this at all, but if I were to spend this amount of money for a phone – regardless of the value proposition – I would want proper aftersales service at the very least. In my opinion, this is what would work against the Pixel 6 phones. At least, in markets where Google’s flagship devices are not officially available.