Barely presented, the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro passed through our hands. While waiting for our full test, here are our first impressions of these two smartphones serving as a showcase for Android 12. What a surprise (no)! Google has just unveiled the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, smartphones that had already revealed all their secrets in recent weeks but are eagerly awaited. For the first time, this generation of Pixels is positioning itself in the high-end segment while maintaining a very aggressive price compared to the competition. But is it successful?
A DESIGN THAT CHANGES (A LITTLE) BUT THAT WEIGHS
While all smartphone brands have been declining ( ad nauseam ) the same design for years by changing here the thickness of a border and the positioning of the photo module, Google starts again every year with a blank copy and presents a different phone each time from the previous ones. We will remember the Pixel 3 with its “two-tone” design, the Pixel 4 with its sizeable upper border giving way to Soli (the little angel who left too early), the adorable Pixel 5 with its resin shell, and its all small size for more lightness and we will remember the Pixel 6 for their strip of photo modules.
Goodbye swimming against the tide, Google embraces the standard with a back made of Gorilla Glass 6, but we should not fall too far into the ranks either. It is the visual peculiarity of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. There is an omnipresent strip to house the photo modules, separating the phone in two across the width and different colors above and below it. It’s remarkable, and the result is divisive: we like it or not, but we cannot deny that the finish is impeccable with integration without false technical notes.
The black band is also more discreet than the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and, above all, much less heavy. Once in hand, the Pixel 6 is not unbalanced and does not lean forward. Likewise flat, the phone remains stable in all conditions. Everything has been thought out so as not to interfere with use. At worst, you have to be careful with the positioning of your hand when shooting at ultra-wide-angle to avoid seeing a finger appear in the corner of the image, but this is not a problem.
Since we are talking about positioning, Google has chosen to position all the buttons on the right edge of its phones, which pushes the power key a little high. It’s a helping hand to take and unlock the phone with the fingerprint sensor, also a bit high compared to the standard. It doesn’t remain charming at times, however. For example, you will need to use both hands to take a simple screenshot.
THE WEIGHT OF THE TOP OF THE RANGE
What could be more of a problem, however, is the weight of these Pixel 6. Goodbye the featherweight of the Pixel 5, here we adopt the codes of ultra-premium with its advantages and shortcomings. Result: we are at 207 grams for the Pixel 6 and 210 grams for the Pixel 6 Pro. Because yes, the two phones are very similar, both in terms of their size and weight. The difference is mainly made in the photo (the Pixel 6 Pro has an additional telephoto lens and a more protruding module) and the screen, 6.7 inches on the Pro against 6.4 inches for the non-Pro. But since this display pushes back the edges and slightly hugs the phone’s edge, that doesn’t particularly extend its overall dimensions.
THE DIFFERENCE UPFRONT
It is, therefore, instead of at the front that the two smartphones are different. There are many differences if the two screens are OLED panels pierced with a small bubble centered on the upper part for the selfie camera.
On the Pixel 6 side, we are on an FHD + screen (1080 x 2400 pixels) in 20: 9 format and with a refresh rate rising to 90 Hz, while the Pixel 6 Pro opts for a QHD + screen (1440 x 3120 pixels). ) in 19.5: 9 format and a variable refresh rate are ranging from 10 to 120 Hz. As it uses pOLED technology, its flexibility allows it to push back edges and thus gain a much more premium appearance.
This premium aspect is also felt in hand but gives a “colder” and more angular feel in the palm, while the Pixel 6 adopts the same soft and warm coating as on the Pixel 4 at the time for its frame in aluminum.
At first glance, the screen looks very good, although it could be a bit brighter. However, we will have to wait to be sure to put the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro on our test bench.
ANDROID 12, BEAUTIFUL AND CONFUSING
Unsurprisingly, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro run Android 12 in its Pixel Experience version. And the experience is there. For several years now, Google has been offering some always appreciable improvements, such as Now Listening, a sort of automatic Shazam that displays the music currently listening in the room on your home screen, the Google search bar attached under the dock of the screen. ‘welcome, perfect integration of Google Assistant, etc.
To this, Android 12 adds Material You, the new design code from Google, with Monet, the algorithm that allows you to change the accent colors of the system on the fly depending on the wallpaper used. The idea is excellent and will enable you to give the impression of having a new phone with each change of wallpaper.
All is not all rosy, however, and some points could be improved. It is a shame, for example, to have removed the Power Menu from Android 11, which is very practical for accessing NFC payment cards or connected household objects. These options are now found in the quick settings, but this increases the number of actions that must be done before accessing them. We also see this defect with certain tiles, such as the one dedicated to WiFi that is no longer used to activate or deactivate the connection to the local network but opens an “Internet” window with many options. For “fast” settings, a lot of time is wasted.
Apart from these few illogical small changes and labyrinthine parameters, the interface remains very pleasant to use daily and, above all, very fluid, whether in terms of actual performance or the feeling provided by the very polished animations of the system.
PHOTO AND AUTONOMY: THE TWO UNKNOWNS
There remain two points that will have to be clarified during our complete test: the performance in photography and the autonomy of these Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. With its Tensor chip, Google promises a lot on these two points, and it will take a little more time to spend with these two phones to judge.
However, we can expect the best; Google has accustomed us to excellent results thanks to its powerful machine learning algorithms. This year, new modes appear Magic Eraser to remove an element from a photo, panning with movement or even long exposure. It sounds a bit gimmicky, but we can’t wait to try this anyway.
The first tests look promising, but we prefer to keep our judgment for the entire test.
BEST-SELLERS IN THE MAKING
Google has gone all out on marketing and production to ensure solid sales. The Mountain View firm does not just want to be a technological showcase but a viable product that everyone will want to snatch up for the first time. And at first glance, it is pretty successful.
Overall, if one can criticize a few accessory choices, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro don’t seem to have made any drastic concessions to bring their price down. Everything is there or almost. With a call price of 649 euros, it might as well be saying that it will be challenging to be more aggressive this year.