The Pixel 6 Is the Google Flagship We’ve Been Waiting For

The Pixel 6 Is the Google Flagship We’ve Been Waiting For
Photo: Sam Rutherford

After months of leaks and rumours, Google has finally officially announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. These are the Pixels people have been waiting for. While we unpack both devices a little more over here, let’s dive into a bit more of what the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro deliver.

Tensor Unlocks Powerful Pixel Features

Google’s Pixel lineup is always about the software, and the Pixel 6 is no different. The new features packed into the Pixel 6 wouldn’t be possible without Google’s new custom-built Tensor chip, which uses a more accurate on-device voice model while also sucking up 50% less power than before.

The improved machine learning performance from Tensor allowed Google to add a Live Translate feature, which works across a range of chat apps including Google Messages, WhatsApp, Twitter, and more, so you can communicate more easily in other languages.

Google’s Live Caption is now able to translate audio in podcasts and videos while captioning on the fly, something Google says wasn’t possible on previous phones due to excessively highly power and energy usage.

Case or no case, no problem.  (Photo: Sam Rutherford) Case or no case, no problem. (Photo: Sam Rutherford)

A new dictation feature called Assistant Voice Typing not only uses an improved and more accurate speech recognition model (once again, something Google says would drain too much power with Tensor’s extra ML efficiency) to turn your speech into text, it’s also multi-modal, meaning you can talk and edit the text as it appears without confusing Google’s AI.

You can even dictate emojis by saying what you want (dog emoji, cat emoji, etc.) or input commands like send, clear, stop, and more without needing to interrupt yourself to say “Hey Google.”

Google also expanded the role of the Google Assistant with a new Calling Assistance feature, which gives the Pixel 6 the ability to tell you the best times to call customer support in order to avoid long wait times. And if you do get put on hold, the Google Assistant via Hold For Me, can step in and monitor the call so you don’t have to, before sending you a notification whenever a real live customer service agent finally jumps on the line. (Only works when you call a toll-free number and a business puts you on hold).

Google is also debuting its Quick Phrases feature on the Pixel 6, which lets you make more commands without needing to say ‘OK, Google’ first. And thanks to Duplex, the Pixel 6 will even help you navigate those annoying touch-tone phone menus by creating a visual UI on the phone’s screen.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Click through for more close-up pics of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

On the camera side, which we unpack over here, the Pixel 6’s improved ML performance helps power more new features like Magic Eraser and Face Unblur. When it comes to video, Tensor even allows the Pixel 6 to process 4K HDR video on-device, which should automatically add more vivid colours and enhanced dynamic range to your clips.

Notice the different finishes on the Pixel 6 (top) and the Pixel 6 Pro (bottom).  (Photo: Sam Rutherford) Notice the different finishes on the Pixel 6 (top) and the Pixel 6 Pro (bottom). (Photo: Sam Rutherford)

In addition to Tensor, the Pixel 6 is actually packing a second Google-designed processor, the Titan M2 security chip. Not only does the Titan M2 allow the Pixel to offload sensitive authentication processes to dedicated security hardware, the Pixel 6 also features a new Security hub that helps make it easier to manage your security settings while also providing suggestions and tips on how to safeguard your data and block potential malware.

A Smarter Pixel With Sophisticated Hardware to Match

I’ve only had the Pixel 6 for a short time, so I can’t go into too much detail about all of its many features just yet. My early impression is that after five generations, this is the Pixel I’ve wanted Google to make for years.

For a long time, I’ve maintained that the best smartphone (at least on the Android side of things) would be a device that combines Samsung hardware with Google software.

Feast your eyes on the Pixel 6's colour options.  (Photo: Sam Rutherford) Feast your eyes on the Pixel 6’s colour options. (Photo: Sam Rutherford)

And while it’s unclear how much of a hand Samsung may or may not have had in supplying Google with components like the Pixel 6’s display or camera sensors, the Pixel 6 marries flagship-level specs and industrial design to Google’s sophisticated AI and machine learning. It’s a hugely inviting combination, and when you tack on what is unquestionably aggressive pricing, Google is taking aim directly at Apple and Samsung.

Pixel 6 And 6 Pro Pricing And Availability

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be available for pre-order from today, October 20, and they’re both coming soon to the Google Store, Telstra, JB Hi-Fi, Optus, Vodafone, Harvey Norman and Officeworks.

Pixel 6

  • 128GB model RRP $999
  • 256GB model RRP $1,129

Pixel 6 Pro

  • 128GB model RRP $1,299
  • 256GB model RRP $1,449
  • 512GB model RRP $1,599

Stay tuned for our full Pixel 6 review.