Google Pixel has forged a nice groove in a busy phone market. The Google Pixel 5 was an affordable flagship option, boasting an excellent camera – as we expect from this line of phones – and the Google Pixel 4 was a much-loved device bringing a similarly impressive camera.
Now, Google Pixel 6, always enigmatic on the news front, has reared its head with more information around what the device will be. We've got a round-up of all the pertinent information we know so far. It looks to be shaping up to be another great option for Google fans, anyone looking to disband their iPhone, and those who wish to try something that bit different to the Samsung Galaxy S21 or Apple iPhone 12 series.
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Google Pixel 6: Launch Date
Google has a fairly predictable rollout of its Pixel line. Its preferred month is in October of each year; however, the Google Pixel 5 launched a day earlier on September 30 of 2020.
Barring no last-minute Covid-19 surprises, it seems unlikely that Google will buck the trend this year, keeping things to the normal launch date, and aiming for an October release for the Google Pixel 6.
Google is likely to launch more than one phone, but rumors around the Google Pixel 5 Pro seem to have diminished to nothing as Twitter leakers have attested, and it’s unlikely that this model will ever see the light of day.
That said, there is space for a more budget alternative: erring on the side of caution because of the pandemic, Google has likely delayed news of a Google Pixel 5a. The Google Pixel 4a was postponed until the summer of 2020, and with the ongoing effects of the pandemic, a Google Pixel 5a may follow a similar trajectory.
Google Pixel 6: Price
The Google Pixel 5 launched at $699 / £599 / AU$999 making it substantially cheaper than the Google Pixel 4, which launched 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? 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
Reports suggest Google is possibly looking to enter the foldable niche, working to overhaul the Pixel form factor into something that is visually similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. Again, all rumors at this stage.
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 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2; conversely, the second would be like the Huawei Mate Xs, folding outwards (via WindowsUnited).
Google added a faster refresh rate to its flagship devices with the 2019 launch of the Google Pixel 4. The Google Pixel 5’s OLED, HDR10+ screen runs ever so smoothly at 90Hz: fluid, vivid, and bright, it was near faultless in T3's review. 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.
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.
A recent Google patent showed an under-display camera design, increasing optimism that the Google Pixel 6 could come with this feature. Such under-screen camera technology has been linked to various Samsung models, which could soon even stretch the realm of possibility by heading to laptops.
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.
With Qualcomm’s 8 series chipsets, like the blisteringly quick Snapdragon 865, Google has a decision to make around upgrading its chipset. The leader of the Qualcomm pack right now is the Snapdragon 888 – it’s used in the Samsung Galaxy S21, including the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and will no doubt become a mainstay of Android handsets in the year to come.
If Google uses the Snapdragon 888, the price will inevitably travel upwards. It does have options, though. It could, alternatively, opt for the Snapdragon 870 5G, presenting a viable substitute that costs less than the Snapdragon 888 but still delivers that premium spec set.
With Qualcomm ushering in a wave of cheap Android 5G phones with its Snapdragon 480, the Google Pixel 6 certainly weighs in at a more premium tier, but no less concerned with keeping the price down. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G packed in a Snapdragon 865 Plus that delivered supremely nippy speeds, so the Snapdragon 870 5G would more than suffice for the Google Pixel 6.
Either way, Google can do something special with the Google Pixel 6; it enters a hotly-contested market with the likes of Apple and Samsung's flagships dominating the sector, but there's space for a phone that blends performance with the sheer might of the Pixel-line cameras (and the backing of Google as a technical giant). Time will tell if Google can pull it off with a busy year ahead, but the previous models' records bode well for the brand.