Google Pixel 6 release date, price, specs, features, and leaks

Google Pixel 6 release date, price, specs, features, and leaks

The Pixel 6 is a new phone from Google that will be released this fall. Here's what to expect from it.

The Google Pixel 5 has only been on the market for a short time — it was only released in October of last year — but the world of smartphones moves quickly. And information about the Google Pixel 6 is starting to emerge, including a major update to the device's CPU.

While we won't see Google's new flagship phone until later this year, rumors and theories about the Pixel 6 are already circulating. A few enticing reports have offered us a glimpse of what the phone may have to do when it finally arrives.

Last year, the internal code names for upcoming Google phones — Passport, Raven, and Oriole — were leaked. Passport is thought to be a codename for a Google foldable handset, while Raven and Oriole may be early iterations of the Pixel 6. Maybe a basic and an XL version?

There's definitely room for growth over the Pixel 5, which is a decent phone that continues Google's legacy of making excellent cameras but is underpowered as opposed to some of the better Android phones around.

Here's what we know about the Pixel 6's release date, price, specifications, and features so far, as well as what we'd like to see from Google's next handset.

Latest Google Pixel 6 news (updated Mai 1)

Google Pixel 6 release date

When it comes to releasing Pixel flagships, Google is fairly predictable. Its flagship phones are almost always released in October. There is one notable exception. The Pixel 5, which was delayed by a day to September 30 last year.

We expect Google to stay true to form and release the Pixel 6 in early October, but no report or leak has confirmed this yet.

Google Pixel 6 release date, price, specs, features, and leaks

The Pixel 6 isn't expected to be Google's only phone this year. Although the proposed Pixel 5 Pro is unlikely to materialize, a Pixel 5a is expected to appear in 2021. The Pixel 3a was unveiled at Google I/O in May 2019, while COVID-19 problems delayed the Pixel 4a's release until later in 2020. Google's new budget phone is expected to debut in the spring, but that might change.

When it arrives, the Pixel 6 will be accessible from a wider range of carriers. T-Mobile and Google are collaborating on a series of new projects, including making Google's texting software the default chat app on every Android phone they offer. T-Mobile, on the other hand, has committed to offering more Pixel phones, which we believe includes the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6 price

The Pixel flagships' price policy is more difficult to decipher. While the Pixel 4 was positioned as a luxury device with a starting price of $799/£699, the Pixel 5 was priced at $699/£599. Of course, in order to get the cheaper price, Google had to make concessions, such as choosing a processor that was less efficient than what you'd expect from a flagship handset.

Google is unlikely to cut the Pixel 6's price any more, but the issue would be if it returns to make a more expensive phone or continues with the Pixel 5's pricing. Provided that both Apple and Samsung have chosen lower entry-level pricing for their phones — the iPhone 12 mini costs $699, while the Galaxy S21 begins at $799 — we believe it will be the latter.

Google Pixel 6 cameras

The Pixel series has always been known for its outstanding camera efficiency. Although we were impressed with the Pixel 5's images, it felt like a step back in some ways. Google ditched the Pixel 4's telephoto lens in favor of an IMX363 12.2MP camera, which was already outdated when it was published.

It's uncertain if the telephoto lens would be used in the Pixel 6 as a substitute for the ultrawide camera or as a third lens. (In case Google is looking for feedback, we'd go for the latter.) The only Pixel 6 sensor speculation we've heard is that Google's latest phone would have an under-display front camera.

Google Pixel 6 release date, price, specs, features, and leaks

A Google patent depicts what an under-display camera might look like, fueling speculation that the feature would be included in the Pixel 6. With the ZTE Axon 20 5G, which was the first phone with an under-display sensor, ZTE beat Google to the punch.

Google Pixel 6 design

The Pixel 6 could look drastically different from its contemporaries, as Google hasn't been afraid to redesign the look of the Pixel line in its multiple iterations.

The Pixel 5 was noteworthy for its aluminum chassis, which was cleverly combined with bio-resin plastic to allow wireless charging. That design factor is likely to be carried over to the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6 release date, price, specs, features, and leaks

We don't want Google to want to trim down the sensor cutout, as chunky camera arrays appear to be all the rage these days. If anything, Google can take a page from Samsung's book with the Pixel 5 and work out a way to make the camera array less prominent.

When we get closer to the fall, we should see more model drawings and real leaks that give us a better understanding of how the Pixel 6 will appear.

Google Pixel 6 display

Recently, display refresh speeds have become a big focus for mobile displays, and Google's Pixel 6 is expected to continue the theme. With the Pixel 4 in 2019, Google introduced a quicker refresh rate to its flagship phones, and this trend is expected to continue with its latest model. The only concern is whether Google will increase the Pixel 6's refresh rate from 90Hz to 120Hz.

A Developer Preview of the Android 12 OS, which is expected to be released this year and which the Pixel 6 is almost certain to use, has revealed a few details about the display's capabilities.

The knowledge comes from Mishall Rahman, the editor-in-chief of XDA Developers, who was able to preview the operating system and discovered a slew of new facts.

Face verification, for one, seems to be making a comeback. It'll be a welcome addition to the Pixel 5 after being used in the Pixel 4 and then scrapped for the Pixel 5. It'll clash with Apple's Face ID scheme.

Furthermore, the code suggests that the Pixel 6 would have an under-display fingerprint reader. This will be a significant improvement over the Pixel 5's out-of-date rear sensor screen. Another news, citing Android 12 beta code, said that Pixel phones would get an under-display fingerprint sensor.

Google Pixel 6: Should we expect an XL model?

Google used to release two Pixel models, a regular model, and an XL model, but that practice changed with the Pixel 5, which is now available in a 6-inch model. The 6.2-inch Pixel 4a 5G is the only way to get a larger screen. If Google returns to offering different screen sizes is likely to be determined by how well the new versions sell.

As previously stated, leaked documents reveal two code names for the Pixel 6: Raven and Oriole. It seems that one of these is the regular Pixel 6 and the other is the Pixel 6 XL.

The latest Android 12 Developer Preview has just contributed to the flames. By allowing the ‘Silky home' feature, the device settings UI adjusts to being more convenient to one-handed use by moving main keys, sliders, and toggles closer to the bottom of the device, according to Mishaal Rahman (of XDA).

This user interface is somewhat similar to Samsung's One UI, which is seen on the company's larger tablets. If Google is working on a user interface that is better suited to single-handed use, it's a good indicator that the company is considering releasing a larger smartphone in the future.

These signals, of course, are not a promise. And if there is a second Pixel 6 model, Google might just as quickly abandon it as it did with the Pixel 5 XL, according to reports.

Google Pixel 6 release date, price, specs, features, and leaks

Google Pixel 6 specs

This is when things start to get interesting. One of the most important decisions Google will have to make is which processor to use in its new flagship. Google chose the Snapdragon 765G for the Pixel 5, which is a capable system-on-chip but not as powerful as Qualcomm's 8 Series chipsets, such as the Snapdragon 865, which powered many of last year's top Android phones.

The Snapdragon 888 is the most popular Qualcomm processor right now, and it powers the Galaxy S21 family as well as the OnePlus 9 sequence. By the time the Pixel 6 is out, you'll almost certainly see it in more tablets. While choosing the Snapdragon 888 could raise the price of the Pixel 6, there are a few other options for Google.

Google Pixel 6 release date, price, specs, features, and leaks

The Snapdragon 870 5G, which is effectively a more improved version of the Snapdragon 865 Plus, was also announced by Qualcomm. We expect the chipset to be less expensive than the 888, making it a viable choice for handset makers like Google who want to manufacture high-end flagship phones while keeping costs down. The Snapdragon 870, like the Snapdragon 888, has a 5G modem, ensuring that the Pixel 5 will be compliant with the new wireless network specification regardless of which chipset it uses. If Google wants to stay with Qualcomm's more economical 7 series of silicon, the Snapdragon 780G is another choice.

However, Google could take a totally different path. Rumors circulated a year ago that Google was working on its own chipset with Samsung's assistance. Today there's a new post from 9to5Mac. Google says that such chips are ready to use for Google's upcoming phones this fall, implying that the Pixel 6 will feature a Google-designed chipset, similar to how Apple creates its own chips for the iPhone lineup.

Switching to Google's own chips would be a major step forward for the industry, but it would also be fraught with dangers for the company and its tablets.

Google Pixel 6 battery

The battery life of previous Pixels has been a problem. In our battery test, the Pixel 5 ran for 9 hours and 29 minutes on its default 90Hz mode, which is below average for a smartphone with a 4,000 mAh battery. The Pixel 5 has an Adaptive Battery option that allows you to control which applications use the most resources.

For the Pixel 6, Google can opt for a larger battery, particularly if the phone's display refresh rate is increased. (The higher the refresh rate, the more battery life is sacrificed.)

Google Pixel 6: Will there be a charger?

Another problem with battery life and charging that has recently become important for upcoming phones like the Pixel 6 is whether or not it will come with a charger.

When Apple shipped all four iPhone 12 models without chargers in the box last fall, it made history as the first handset manufacturer to do so. Apple claims that the change is safer for the climate, and although some competitors scowled at Apple's announcement, they too followed suit. Samsung also excludes a battery from the Galaxy S21 versions.

As a result, it shouldn't come as a huge disappointment if the Pixel 6 comes with nothing more than a USB-C charging cord. Start stockpiling some power bricks just in case, since this market pattern seems to be here to stay.

Google Pixel 6: What we want

Not only will we be awash in current phones like the Galaxy S21 by the time the Pixel 6 launches, but Apple will almost certainly have released the iPhone 13. (There could also be additional Samsung phones, such as a new Galaxy Z Fold model.) With such fierce rivalry, Google will have its job cut out for it to make the Pixel 6 stand out.

Here's how we think Google can do that.

Three camera setup

With three rear cameras soon becoming the industry norm (at least in flagship models), Google's Pixel phones stand out as an outlier with only two. The Pixel 6 could make up for this omission by using a trio of cameras: a primary camera, a telephoto lens, and an ultrawide lens. Plus, it will maintain the Pixel's status as one of the best camera phones.

120Hz display

The 90Hz refresh rate on the Pixel 5 is cool, but a 120Hz refresh rate would be much nicer, and we'd love to see that on the Pixel 6. The higher refresh rate would really take games up a notch, particularly with services like Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly known as xCloud) bringing big-budget game streaming to phones.

HDMI support

We understand Google's need to inspire people to purchase a Chromecast, but there's no reason why the Pixel 6 can't output HDMI video through a USB-C to HDMI connector. It's extremely handy to be able to connect your phone to a TV in this manner, particularly while traveling. It seems archaic to have to use a Chromecast (let alone have to buy one in the first place) to get content from your phone to a TV, so this is something Google might easily correct.

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