Google pixel 6 pro in test: home run thanks to tensor?

Google Pixel 6 Pro test

Top Software 2021

Google Pixel 6 Pro Test (© 2021 CURVED )


David doesn’t pay attention to the name of his smartphone, but pays even more attention to the features. And for him the price must also be right.

Article from 17.11.21

After Google ventured into the handy mid-range with the Pixel 5, the Internet giant is now swinging in a different direction again with the Pixel 6 Pro. An own top chipset, a better camera and a new design are advertised. But can Google also deliver here? Find out in our test.

First of all: I am a fan of the Pixel devices. At least in principle. Because so far no Pixel has ever made it to the Daily Driver with me. There was always a catch somewhere that kept me from buying it. With the Pixel 4 (XL) it was the disastrous integration of the (actually very good and snappy) face recognition. On the other hand, the Pixel 5 was too small and underpowered. So with a return to the fingerprint sensor, flagship performance, and a decent size, the Pixel 6 Pro in review could be right up my alley. Whether this succeeds?

Table of contents

Our recommendation

Pixel 6 with Google Buds Black front view 1

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Bar as an eye

The first thing you notice is the sheer size. 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm measures the phone, especially in comparison to the rather handy Pixel 5 a clear difference. Nevertheless, the device feels good in the hand, at least if you don’t want to operate the fingerprint sensor (but more on that later). The clearly rounded edges on the front and back ensure this. Fortunately, the Edge display is also not susceptible to erroneous inputs with the heel of the hand. Small drawback: The back is once again extremely smooth. Even a slightly sloping surface is enough for the Pixel 6 Pro to take flight. So pay attention to what you put your smartphone on.

Google Pixel 6 Pro review

Love it or hate it: The design of the Pixel 6 Pro is polarizing (©) 2021 CURVED )

There has been some heated debate around the design of the Google Pixel 6 (here with contract) and Pixel 6 Pro beforehand. Also in our editorial office. The camera bar, which divides the back into two different color areas, at least divides opinions. Unlike the iPhone 13 Pro, the base does not blend smoothly into the case, but stands out with metal accents. With this Google already stands out clearly from the mass of different smartphones. Not for you if you prefer to be a bit more discreet.

OLED of the best quality

With "discreet The display also doesn’t have much to do. With a diagonal of 6.7 inches and the rounded edges, the Pixel 6 Pro strongly reminds of Samsung’s Galaxy Note series from the front. That actually fits quite well, because after all, the South Koreans have not released a new Note model this year. Fans of large phones can now go for the Pixel 6 Pro instead. However, you don’t get clever stylus support here, which is almost a pity for such a large screen.

Google Pixel 6 Pro review

High-resolution, high-contrast, bright: We have nothing to complain about the display (Left: Pixel 6, Right: Pixel 6 Pro) (©) 2021 CURVED )

In return, the display delivers top rates. The resolution is crisp at 3120 x 1440 pixels and there’s nothing wrong with the brightness either. Your content always looks great here and Google plays on the level of an iPhone 13 Pro Max or Galaxy S21 Ultra. The refresh rate of 120 hertz, which is particularly useful when scrolling through social media feeds, also ensures this. As with these flagships, the Pixel 6 Pro also relies on an adaptive frame rate. That means you only get the full 120 Hertz when you really need it, to save power, but the display can then throttle down to 10 Hertz. This is clearly noticeable in the battery life, especially when you are mostly looking at static content on the screen.

Biometric authentication disappoints

The first big point of criticism is also found under the display: the optical fingerprint sensor. Google still relies on the resistive variant on the back of the Pixel 5. It is not only easy to reach, but also unlocks the device quickly and reliably. At least in terms of reliability, the Google Pixel 6 Pro can keep up in the test. On the other hand, the new sensor is not fast or easy to use.

To unlock the phone, the grip has to be adjusted first, which is not at all easy to do on such a large smartphone. With a long thumb and good mobility, it just about works with one hand. If you are not blessed with this, you have to use your second hand. In addition, the sensor lets you stay in this unfavorable position for a moment. I haven’t unlocked a smartphone that slowly in a long time.

Google Pixel 6 Pro: Tensor in test

The biggest innovation under the hood is probably the Tensor chipset. Google still used Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm in previous models, but now an in-house development is used for the first time. This is fully geared towards machine learning and should thus support AI functions better. Improvements can be found here in software areas like photo, video or the Google Assistant. But what about the pure performance??

Pixel 6 Pro test

For the first time, there is also a Google processor under the Google logo (© Google) 2021 CURVED )

In direct comparison: not bad, but not outstanding either. If you expect performance like Apple’s current A15 Bionic, we have to disappoint you. Instead, Tensor is more on par with the Exynos 2100 or Snapdragon 888, which can be found in other Android flagships. Whether Tensor performs better here depends on the benchmark.

In Geekbench, the Google chipset is a bit behind devices like the Galaxy S21 Ultra with just under 2800 points in the multi-core result. 3DMark presents a completely different picture. This benchmark tests the graphics performance and certifies that the Pixel 6 Pro currently has the best performance among Androids.

This graphics performance also pays off in games. Demanding games, such as "Genshin Impact or "Wild Rift Run smoothly and look good, nothing to complain about here. Presumably, there are still enough performance reserves under the hood to keep up with the development of the next few years.

Battery needs a wake-up call

The battery is again a bit less good. The energy storage with 5003 mAh has a decent stamina and did not run out during our extensive photo tour. In the test, the device had to be recharged after about two days of moderate use, and at least one full day of use was always possible.

Pixel 6 Pro test

30 watts of charging speed are a bit low in 2021 (© 2021 CURVED )

However, a weakness is then revealed during charging. Because the otherwise so fast phone is a real sleepyhead here. The Pixel 6 Pro only supports a maximum of 30 watts, which means a charging time of over one and a half hours. Particularly annoying: You have to buy the matching power supply yourself. Only a USB-C cable is included in the package. Wireless charging with the second generation Pixel Stand is still possible at 21 watts. At least that’s what Google claims. At the time of this test, the accessory was not yet available.

Android in perfection

On the software side, Google has delivered again with the Pixel 6 Pro. Directly included is Android 12 and with it the new UI design "Material You". This not only looks very nice, but is also clear and particularly customizable. Here you can set practically everything exactly as you like it. This starts with the various widgets that you can customize according to your own taste and ends with automatic adjustments of the color scheme to match the selected background.

Google completely dispenses with bloatware, there are only a handful of sensible Google apps preinstalled. The Google Pixel 6 Pro so accurately reflects the vision of the Android developers. A fact that pleases me very much as a purist. I don’t miss other features like Samsung’s One UI or Xiaomi’s MIUI. Most of these are already covered by stock Android anyway and thus redundant or simply unnecessary in my everyday life.

Pixel 6 Pro test

Minimalist or fancy: You can simply transfer your style to the Pixel 6 Pro (© 2021 CURVED )

What is really useful for me, however, is the "call screening" Google Assistant. If you call an unknown number, it will be compared with a database. Known spam callers screen out the phone so automatically. If you’re not sure, then Assistant can answer the phone for you and you’ll just read along via a transcript for now. During the call you can decide to pick up the phone or to mark the caller as spam.

You are also well provided for in terms of software updates with the Pixel 6 Pro. The manufacturer promises three years of new Android versions and five years of security updates. This is, especially compared to the Android competition, quite a lot, but still leaves something to be desired. With the switch to its own chipset, I had hoped for Apple-like update periods. At least, this doesn’t seem to be in line with Google’s current plan.

The camera in test

If there’s one thing the Pixel has made a name for itself with, it’s its excellent camera. After Google has used practically the same main sensor here since the Pixel 3, a big update is due this year. And this is also quite noticeable in the results.

First of all the basic data. In the Pixel 6 Pro you will find a wide-angle camera with laser autofocus and optical image stabilization (OIS) that allows a resolution of up to 50 MP. In addition, there is an ultra-wide-angle camera with 12 MP resolution. Finally, there is a telephoto lens with OIS in the device. Here you get a quadruple optical zoom with up to 49 MP served up. And up front, there’s an 11MP camera for selfies.

Main lens with too much sharpness

As expected, the main camera delivers very good results. Thanks to the new, larger sensor, the Pixel 6 Pro can capture 2.5 times more light than its direct predecessor. This pays off especially in scenes with large brightness differences. Whereby the automatic HDR function also quickly steps in here to simulate a higher dynamic range. Sometimes the phone goes a bit too far with this, brightening up dark areas a bit more than is actually necessary.

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