The Google Pixel 5 continued to forge the groove that Google has found for itself in the smartphone market: with its relatively affordable price and flagship camera, it summed up everything the Pixels are about, and now we're looking forward to what's in store with the Pixel 6.
After months of leaks and rumors, we now know what to expect from the Google Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro ahead of their planned release in the fall. It very much looks like it's going to be the best Pixel yet, and a serious contender to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and the Apple iPhone 12.
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Google Pixel 6: Latest rumours
September 20 - There have been rumours around for some time now that we would get a folding Pixel this year. That's stepped up a notch when Evan Blass, who tweets as Evleaks, suggested a trusted source had confirmed the phone would be coming this year. Not only that, but there are rumours of a second device in the works for next year...
We believe that the Pixel 6 will have an under screen fingerprint reader after numerous leaks. The first was at the start of the year when code in Android suggested it was coming to the new device. Then, a few days ago a Google Exec was showing off his new wallpaper, when keen-eyed Twitter users spotted what looks like a logo indicating an under-screen reader. Overall, this rumour feels pretty likely.
Google Pixel 6: release date
Google follows a fairly predictable schedule when it comes to its Pixel line. Its usual preferred month is October of each year, even though the Pixel 5 launched one day early on September 30 of 2020.
Barring no last-minute surprises related to the global pandemic, it seems unlikely that Google will buck the trend this year. That means keeping the schedule normal, and aiming for an October release for the Google Pixel 6. Initial rumours that the phone would launch in September seem to have been dismissed now, making that October launch more likely.
Google has also now released a Pixel 5a but this is only available in Japan and the US.
Google Pixel 6: price
The Google Pixel 5 launched at $699 / £599 / AU$999 making it substantially cheaper than the Google Pixel 4, which went on sale at $799 / £669 / AU$1,049. The Google Pixel 6 could retreat to a cheaper price point, but this doesn’t seem likely with the rumored specs and premium innards it'll most likely contain.
So, where will the Google Pixel 6 price land? At this stage, nothing’s confirmed, but we estimate Google will not want to alienate users with a super-premium price tag, perhaps opting for a price point that sits in between the Samsung Galaxy S21 or the iPhone 12 mini.
Google Pixel 6: display and design
We're not expecting too many surprises when it comes to the display on the Pixel 6 though one thing that has changed is the placement of the punch hole front camera – rather than tucking it away at the side, it sits dead center at the top. The Pixel 6 Pro is larger though the exact sizing is still unconfirmed.
It's not directly relevant to the Pixel 6, but reports suggest Google is looking to enter the foldable niche too, working to create something like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – it's all rumors at this stage, but a Google Pixel Fold is starting to look more and more likely.
In 2020, Google filed two patents to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). One patent shows a sliding mechanism, while the other implements a foldable hinge. It’s not totally clear on how these operate, but it looks like one patent will see the device fold inwards like the Galaxy Z Fold 2; conversely, the second would be like the Huawei Mate Xs, folding outwards (via WindowsUnited).
All of which brings us back to the Pixel 6: it's unlikely that it will come with a foldable display, but we know that Google is thinking along those lines. What we'll probably see this year is more of the same.
The Google Pixel 5’s OLED, HDR10+ screen runs ever so smoothly at 90Hz. The Google Pixel 6 could benefit from the lofty heights of a 120Hz refresh rate, which is the gold standard for premium devices, as seen in the QHD+ screen of the OnePlus 8 Pro and the OnePlus 8T. This rumour feels even more likely, now the iPhone 13 Pro sports this tech.
Google Pixel 6: camera
The Google Pixel series has long maintained a reputation for boasting fantastic cameras. From the earlier Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 3, and the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Pixel-line phones have garnered a reputation for highly capable photo-taking. Namely, this ability comes from the image processing that Google is able to apply through its software, rather than the raw specs of the Google Pixel cameras.
While it seems that any under-screen camera technology is now ruled out for this model, the cameras on the back have seemingly had a large upgrade. The reason for the full-width camera bumper is apparently to accommodate the new lenses and sensors in the Pixel 6.
Google Pixel 6: specs
Google’s choice of processor for the Google Pixel 6 is perhaps the most pivotal conundrum the tech giant must solve, especially with the recent news around gargantuan supply issues threatening to impair phone production.
The Google Pixel 5 supports 5G and uses a Snapdragon 765G processor from Qualcomm, linking-up with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. These comfortably handle daily usage; more, our review showed that the Google Pixel 5 handles email and general photo editing with aplomb, and won't slow-up when handling multiple tasks.
However, Google has followed Apple's lead and produced a processor of its own to power the Pixel 6. The Tensor is a system on a chip (SoC) that has been custom-built for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. This should lead to performance increases, with a tighter integration of hardware and software.