Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 6 Pro: the differences explained

We explain the key differences between the Pixel devices

Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Google )

Google has today finally unveiled the long-awaited Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones at its keynote, in advance of the launch date of October 28. You can follow the action as it unfolds over on the Google Pixel 6 live stream.

Unlike Apple, which kept schtum about iPhone 13 until its launch, we've known pretty much all there is to know about Google's new flagship thanks to plentiful leaks and retailer mishaps. Though both phones have lots in common, they also hold some big differences. With this thought in tow, we take a look at how the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro stack up next to each other to help you make a decision on which device is best suited to your needs (and purse).

Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Price

Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Google)

Finally, it's here and available to pre-order now! The Pixel 6 debuts as an outstanding all-around phone and it starts at only $599 in the US, making it less costly than the Google Pixel 5 when it launched. Internationally, you'll find it costs £599 in the UK and AU$999 in Australia. If you're a power user and want more advanced capabilities and upgraded finishes, then you'll likely want the Pixel 6 Pro, which starts at $899 / £849 / AU$1,299, respectively. 

Both devices look to hold the potential to take our best phones list by storm, so don't be surprised if you start seeing a lot more of the word 'Pixel' cropping up in the internet's choice of what are the best phones currently available on the market. They've certainly got the credentials to earn a spot amongst the best and we can't wait to see how they perform next to other devices like the Samsung Galaxy S21.

Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Design

Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Google)

Now the wait is over, we can finally see the Pixel 6's bold new design in all its searing glory. The phone exhibits a cohesive look across the software on the inside and the hardware on the outside. What's immediately striking is the Pixel Camera Bar, which gives the phone a clean, symmetrical design that puts the camera front and center. It's a bold new look and it'll be interesting to see how the wider tech community receives it.

True to form and what we were expecting from the slew of internet leaks, the Pixel 6 arrives, then, in a truly distinctive graphic and vibrant look, with the matte black metal band underscoring its new range of expressive color options. According to Google, the Pixel 6 Pro was inspired by the finishes you see in luxury jewelry and watches. This is clearly visible on the flagship: it’s made with a polished metal unibody that transitions into curved glass in colors that complement the metallic frames. Pure finesse and utterly versatile for a range of different tastes.

The Pixel 6 128 GB model arrives in three colorways: Stormy Black, Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral. Pixel 6 Pro 128 GB ships in the colorways, including Stormy Black, Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny, while the 256GB model will release exclusively in Stormy Black.

Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Display

Pixel 6

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 6 gets a 6.4-inch 90Hz OLED display (FHD+ 1080 x 2400). This was tipped in the earlier run of leaks, and it uses the Gorilla Glass Victus cover glass to protect the new Always-on screen. This should go some way to thwarting cracks forming if you accidentally drop the device which, of course, we've all done many times before!

Separately, Pixel 6 Pro debuts with a bang with its 6.7-inch 120Hz screen. Refresh rate is one of the biggies in the phone arena, especially with that all-pervasive day-to-day screen usage; as such, if you want a silky-smooth refresh rate then you'll need to opt for the more expensive Pro model. 

Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Camera

Pixel 6

(Image credit: Google)

Google has announced that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro use the most advanced cameras the company has ever built. Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have a new 1/1.3 inch sensor on the back. This primary sensor now captures up to 150% more light (compared to Pixel 5’s primary camera), meaning users' photos and videos will show even greater detail and richer color. Both phones also have completely new ultrawide lenses with larger sensors, meaning your photos still look great if you need to fit more in your shot.

Where the Pixel 6 Pro steps up, though, is with its stunning telephoto lens with 4x optical zoom and up to 20x zoom; it uses an improved version of Pixel’s Super Res Zoom, says Google. For the extra cash that you splash on the Pro, you also get an upgraded ultrawide front camera that records 4K video, useful when using such things as Snapchat’s new ultrawide selfie feature.

Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Battery and Charging

Pixel 6

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 6 features a 4,614 mAh battery, while the Pixel 6 Pro features a beefy 5,003 mAh cell. Both reportedly offer 24-hour battery life and Up to 48-hour battery life with Extreme Battery Saver. For comparison, the Pixel 5 had a 4080 mAh battery, so it's a big improvement. 

As per many of the leaks, both devices get faster-charging capabilities: Pixel 6 can charge up to 30 percent charge in about 30 minutes, whereas the Pixel 6 Pro gets up to 50 percent charge in about 30 minutes, respectively. However, to be able to use the Fast Charging feature, you'll need to purchase a 30 W USB-C Charger, which is sold separately and does not ship with either device, annoyingly!

Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Smarts and Security

Pixel 6

(Image credit: Google)

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro both deliver much-improved speech recognition and language understanding, so they can make everyday tasks easier (one of Google's guiding principles). For instance, you can now use your voice to quickly type, edit, and send messages with Assistant voice typing in Messages, Gmail, and more. 

Powering the new Pixel lineup is Google Tensor, a mobile system on a chip designed specifically around Google’s industry-leading AI. Tensor is popping up a lot in the presentation because Google says that it's the effective nerve center for all the AI-based improvements. Tensor is at the heart of each Pixel's smarts, which rely on the AI-driven smartphone innovation that the new Tensor chip is able to deliver. Google says that Tensor enables entirely new capabilities, which in practical terms means that Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro can be more helpful and more personable than their predecessors. 

Security is one of the big buzzwords in the presentation, with Google noting that the Pixel is the most secure smartphone now available to purchase on a market saturated with similar (yet often phony) claims. How is Google able to claim this? Well, the jury is still out here as it's early days, but a new Titan M2 element of the Tensor chip is reportedly engineered to help safeguard your smartphone's data.

Luke Wilson
Luke Wilson

Luke covers all things tech at T3. Disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors (when not indoors messing around with gadgets)