In this review, we’ll be taking a closer look at Google’s Pixel 6 Pro smartphone to evaluate its camera, gaming performance, battery life, and overall Android 12 experience to see if they still hold up as some of the best in 2023. While the Pixel 6 Pro doesn’t quite match the allure of certain competitors like the Xiaomi 12 or the Oppo Find X5 series in the long run, it still boasts dependable camera capabilities. Plus, for those who prefer a stock Android experience, you’ll find the Pixel 6 Pro appealing.
Read Also: Google Pixel 6A Review
Design and Build Quality
The Pixel 6 Pro stands out with its distinctive design, marked by unique aesthetics and a substantial build that sets it apart from the rest. With its generous 6.7-inch display, it strikes a balance between modern style and a sizable presence. However, it’s worth noting that the phone’s thickness and weight might make one-handed use a bit challenging. Nonetheless, its durability shines through as it manages to withstand daily wear and tear admirably.
While the design does a good job of concealing fingerprints, it’s important to keep an eye out for debris that can accumulate in the crevices, necessitating occasional cleaning. The phone is bolstered by an IP68 rating, ensuring protection against water and dust, which is a valuable feature that adds to its overall resilience.
It’s quite disappointing to see that the Pixel 6 Pro still has its fair share of issues, especially considering how long it has been on the market. By now, you’d expect most of these bugs to have been sorted out within the first month or so. These aren’t major issues, but rather annoying little quirks. For example, you might get a notification saying someone is calling you on WhatsApp when, in reality, you’ve already taken the call, had a conversation, and hung up. Additionally, there are times when you attempt to record an impromptu video, and the Pixel fails to pause any audio that might be playing at the moment.
For some users, these bugs appear to be a regular annoyance, but in my case, I only occasionally encounter a noticeable glitch. Nevertheless, even minor instances of buggy behavior shouldn’t be happening on a flagship smartphone, especially one branded by Google, where they have control over both the hardware and the software. I’ve also noticed that there seem to be more bugs on the Pro model compared to the regular Pixel 6, although I’m not sure if that’s just a matter of bad luck or something else. It’s just been my personal experience.
Setting aside these minor bugs, my experience with Android 12 has been nothing short of delightful. One standout feature is the call screening option, which is a true lifesaver if you’re constantly bombarded with spam calls and telemarketers. It has saved me countless minutes that would otherwise be spent politely asking them to leave me alone.
Android 12 also brings an array of revamped privacy features, allowing you to keep a close eye on what your apps are up to, putting you in control. Moreover, the improved theme options and various UI enhancements make Android feel sleeker and more polished than ever.
Many of Android 12’s best features are the unsung heroes, the ones you might not consciously notice because they seamlessly enhance your overall experience. Take, for instance, the excellent haptic feedback, which provides subtle vibrations at just the right moments.
I also appreciate the fresh updates, like the At a Glance widget, which keeps getting better with each iteration. Now, you can quickly see who rang your Nest doorbell without the hassle of navigating through notifications and apps, especially when time is of the essence, say, with an impatient courier waiting at your front door.
Lastly, when you opt for Google, you can rely on four more years of security and OS updates, a significant advantage over most of its competitors.
My only other gripe is directed squarely at the Pixel 6 Pro’s rather disappointing fingerprint sensor. While most optical sensors in today’s smartphones are generally quite reliable, this one has been a constant source of frustration for me. I understand it can be tiresome to hear people complain about the shortcomings of this optical scanner, but honestly, I’ve registered my thumbs multiple times just to see if that would improve its performance.
Display and Audio Quality
Moving forward, there isn’t much more to add to my initial review of the Pixel 6 Pro. When it comes to media features, the OLED screen on this device stands shoulder to shoulder with any other premium smartphone display on the market. It offers strikingly crisp visuals, remarkable contrast, making it an ideal choice for enjoying HDR content while on the move. What truly sets it apart are the vivid and vibrant colors, a hallmark of OLED technology, along with the added benefits like wide viewing angles.
Thankfully, the small selfie camera notch doesn’t disrupt the immersive experience when you’re using the full screen. The auto-brightness feature continues to work flawlessly, and the 120Hz maximum refresh rate ensures that the Android interface remains incredibly smooth.
In terms of audio, the Pixel 6 Pro doesn’t disappoint, apart from the absence of a headphone jack, which is standard in most flagship phones. Streaming to Bluetooth speakers or headphones provides a seamless experience, even when you’re pushing the limits of the supported range or in crowded, signal-interfering environments. Even the stereo speakers perform quite well for a smartphone, offering ample volume without sounding overly tinny.
As for storage, the Pixel 6 Pro features UFS 3.1 storage, in line with most flagship phones. It’s available in either 128GB or 256GB options, should you be willing to invest a bit more. However, in keeping with the norm for flagship smartphones, there’s no support for microSD memory cards to expand storage as needed.
Performance and Gaming
While the Pixel 6 Pro may not match the sheer performance firepower of some of its competitors, everyday use of this phone feels incredibly smooth. This seamless experience is thanks in part to the generous 12GB of DDR5 RAM and the fact that it runs the clean stock version of Android, which synergizes well with the Tensor chipset. It’s worth noting that, on occasion, the back of the Pixel 6 Pro can get a bit warm, particularly when I’m engaged in activities like web browsing for 40 to 50 minutes with the screen continuously on or using it as a navigation system. These tasks tend to heat up the device. Thankfully, this hasn’t led to any noticeable performance issues, even during extended periods of screen usage.
When it comes to gaming, especially in demanding titles like Genshin Impact, you might encounter occasional minor stutters and hiccups, particularly when pushing the graphics settings to their maximum. While other competitors in this flagship price range handle this aspect better, the Pixel 6 Pro still delivers a perfectly playable gaming experience. Lowering the graphics settings slightly typically results in a smoother frame rate, enhancing the overall gaming experience.
I also appreciate that Google has introduced a gaming mode to stock Android, although it’s somewhat basic compared to the offerings from companies like Sony or the features found in ColorOS and MIUI. Nevertheless, it’s a welcome addition and proves useful, particularly for blocking notifications when you’re deeply engrossed in a Call of Duty session.
On the connectivity front, the Tensor platform brings some sub-6 5G capabilities, which are ideal for the UK. However, the super-fast millimeter wave technology is not yet available. The Pixel 6 Pro also supports Wi-Fi 6E, and I have no complaints in either of these departments. Both mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity have been reliable and pleasantly fast.
The battery life on the Pixel 6 Pro has seen a slight decrease over the past few months, which can be a bit frustrating. However, it’s still more than capable of lasting through a full day on a single charge. I can recall just one instance in recent memory where I managed to completely drain the battery within a day, and that was after approximately seven hours of continuous screen usage involving fairly demanding tasks.
The 30-watt wired charging is notably swift and on par with most competitors like Samsung and Sony. However, it falls short of the impressive charging speeds offered by brands like Realme and Xiaomi, which boast speeds of over 100 watts. Additionally, wireless charging is also a feature available here, as is the case with most premium flagship phones.
Pixel 6 Pro Cameras
The most compelling reason to opt for the Pixel 6 Pro over rivals like the Galaxy S22 Plus lies in its outstanding camera tech, led by an impressive 50-megapixel primary sensor complete with optical image stabilization. Regardless of what you’re photographing or the time of day, the odds of capturing lifelike and stunning results are incredibly high. This camera truly shines when it comes to capturing expansive landscapes, especially when you switch to the 12-megapixel ultrawide-angle lens or the 48-megapixel telephoto shooter to achieve diverse architectural perspectives. Moreover, the Pixel 6 Pro excels at taking close-up portraits of both your beloved pets and the people in your home.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are up against some stiff competition these days, with devices like the Vivo X80 Pro, Oppo Find X5 Pro, and the regular Oppo Find X5 in the mix. In fact, those Oppo models tend to outperform the Pixel in low-light conditions, especially when it comes to shooting videos in dimly lit settings. With the Pixel, I’ve noticed that your subject needs to remain relatively still in low-light conditions, or else the shots can end up blurry.
On the video front, you can capture impressive 4K resolution footage with accurate colors and clear audio recording. You also have the flexibility to switch between the three main lenses while recording, and the transitions are smooth, without distracting abruptness. While I acknowledge that the Find X5 phones excel in more natural lighting conditions and Samsung’s S series devices produce videos that look and sound cleaner, the Pixel does a commendable job for personal video recording.
Moving to the front-facing camera, there’s an 11.1-megapixel selfie shooter, offering a slightly wider viewing angle compared to the regular Pixel 6 but delivering similar results. Unfortunately, this remains one of the more disappointing aspects of the Pixel’s camera technology, especially in dimmer lighting conditions where you tend to get grainy, flat-looking selfies. This might not be a major concern for those who don’t take many selfies for purposes other than reviews.
In the six months since its launch, no significant new camera features have been added to the Pixel 6 Pro. The Magic Eraser tool continues to impress, as long as your expectations aren’t too high. Overall, the camera offers all the essential features you’d need. The portrait mode works exceptionally well, and all things considered, it’s a very satisfying camera, though perhaps not the absolute best available anymore.
The Google Pixel 6 Pro continues to hold a robust position in the smartphone market, thanks to its remarkable camera technology, vibrant display, and enjoyable software experience. Although it faces competition from more recent models, its distinct design and consistent performance make it a valuable option for users in search of a well-rounded and dependable smartphone.
The Google Pixel 6 Pro offers a strong package with impressive camera capabilities and reliable performance, making it a compelling choice in a competitive smartphone landscape.
Design and Build Quality9
Performance and Gaming8