All you need to know about the Google phone

Google has teased the Pixel 6 smartphone that will arrive later this year, but there’s still a lot unconfirmed about the flagship handset. Read on to discover everything we know about the Pixel 6 so far.

Last year, the Pixel 5 launched with an excellent camera, improved battery life and a compact design all for a great price. However, it lacked the XL option of its predecessors. 

This time around, Google has shown off the Pixel’s colourful design and teased at its own Tensor chipset, but it appears as though the phone might not be as affordable as the Pixel 5.

Google has confirmed (albeit somewhat early) that it will launch two phones in its Pixel 6 line: the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. This guide will focus on the base Pixel 6.

Below is everything you need to know about the Pixel 6, including when the smartphone will launch, how much it’ll cost, what it will look like, what specs it’ll pack and details about the camera. 

So far Google has yet to confirm exactly when the Pixel 6 will go on sale, but has narrowed the release date down to “the fall” or autumn for us Brits.

The Pixel 5 was announced on September 30 and launched on October 15 2020 and previous Pixels have arrived in October, so it seems likely the Pixel 6 will launch September/October 2021. We expect the rumoured Pixel Watch to arrive alongside the smartphone this year.

In terms of pricing, the Pixel 5 cost £599/$699 at launch. This was cheaper than previous Pixel models, so the new model could cost more or less. However, it’s looking more likely that Google will abandon its efforts to keep the Pixel 6 series affordable this year.

In an interview with German news site Der Spiegel, Google’s SVP of devices and services Rick Osterloh explained that the Pixel 6 Pro “has been designed specifically for users who want the latest technology” and “will be expensive”. You might think this is good news for the base model, but Osterloh also added that the Pixel 6 is a “mainstream premium product” that “belongs in the upper segment and can keep up with competing products”.

While it has announced the Pixel 6, Google hasn’t published the full spec sheet yet. However, some of the earlier rumours have now been confirmed.

In terms of the industrial design, the rumours of a three-tone design proved accurate, with a large black camera bar spanning the width of the phone’s rear casing. It’s a big departure from some of the truly bland Pixel designs down the years.

The peach, red and black design (not official colour names) is particularly attractive. There’s also a more traditional black on charcoal design along with what’s best described as black/sky blue/lime green offering. Google is also excited about the matte aluminium finish offered by the Pixel 6.

It seems Google is making an effort to match its latest phone colours with the rest of its product catalogue, with the Made By Google Twitter account even agreeing that the “family resemblance” between the Pixel 6 and the company’s Stadia controllers is “uncanny”.

As for the front of the phone, Google has significantly slimmed down the bezels (casting aside another ancient Pixel hallmark) for a much greater screen to body radio. The front-facing selfie cam is now a tiny punch hole in the centre of the display. You can see it in the video below.

There’s no news yet of screen size or resolution. We also don’t know what kind of panel Google is using yet. This Pixel 5 had a 6.0-inch display with a 1080 x 2340 resolution. The panel was OLED.

According to a more recent report by John Prosser, the Pixel 6 will feature a 6.4-inch AMOLED display.

One of the biggest updates rumoured to be coming to the Pixel line this year was a new homemade processor. That has now been confirmed by Google. The SoC is called Google Tensor and is designed to make the most of Google’s AI and machine learning advances.

In a blog post announcing Tensor, Google says: “The team that designed our silicon wanted to make Pixel even more capable. For example, with Tensor we thought about every piece of the chip and customized it to run Google’s computational photography models. For users, this means entirely new features, plus improvements to existing ones.

Google Tensor image

“Tensor enables us to make the Google phones we’ve always envisioned — phones that keep getting better, while tapping the most powerful parts of Google, all in a highly personalised experience. And with Tensor’s new security core and Titan M2, Pixel 6 will have the most layers of hardware security in any phone.”

Google says evidence of the new chip’s prowess will be showcased in the “completely revamped” camera system as well as speech recognition when using the Assistant.”

More recently, a report by GalaxyClub (via SamMobile) has suggested that the Tensor chip in the Pixel 6 could actually be Samsung’s unreleased Exynos 9855. This is due to the fact both processors share the codename ‘Whitechapel’. The Exynos chip also features a very similar internal model number to the Exynos 2100 (internally known as the 9840) that launched in the Galaxy S21 earlier this year, meaning we might be able to expect similar performance to Samsung’s flagship smartphone.

There’s no more confirmation of other specs yet – that will come this autumn when the phone is officially announced. Reports from John Prosser have indicated Pixel 6 specs like a 4,614mAh battery, 8GB of RAM and 128GB/256GB of storage on the standard Pixel 6.

The phone will run on the Android 12 OS, which has now been confirmed by Google. Google recently made the beta 4 version of the OS available to registered users with compatible devices, stating that it has now reached platform stability ahead of the full release.

The smartphone will also reportedly feature Wi-Fi 6E, support for 5G, and will take advantage of five years of software updates. 

Google hasn’t confirmed camera specs at the time of writing. However, we do know for sure there’s a single lens selfie camera (rumoured to be 8-megapixels).

Pixel 6 camera bump

The new camera bump has two lenses that reports have claimed will comprise of a 50-megapixel wide camera and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera.

More recently, Twitter user Cstark27 (via 9to5Google) spotted code in the Google Camera app that specifically points to the 50-megapixel Samsung GN1 camera being in the Pixel 6.

However, we’ll have to wait for Google’s confirmation on which cameras the Pixel 6 will actually include.

Google does say the main camera allows in 150% more light than the Pixel 5 snapper, which should mean the series’ heralded low-light photography mode is about to get even better.

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