Yes, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are spectacular smartphones. But Google didn’t just unveil new smartphones on Tuesday night, but more importantly, it unveiled their own hardware platform. Tensor is the name of Google’s own SoC, which should bring a breath of fresh air to the smartphone market. In addition to sheer computing power, the focus here is particularly on AI features.
So far, it was Apple that could show off with a perfect symbiosis of hardware and software. Now Google is following suit – at an impressive event, the Internet giant presented its new Pixel smartphones along with the hardware platform. After just under an hour of presentation, it’s clear: The battle between Mountain View and Cupertino has only just begun.
SoC: Pixel 6 (Pro) with Google’s Tensor chips
“AI is the foundational technology for all of our services”, Rick Osterloh announced today’s event. But until now, SoC just haven’t been powerful enough to perform the necessary computations locally on the smartphone. After years of development, Google now claims to have created the perfect platform with the Tensor SoC.
In pure benchmark results, the Tensor SoC will not outshine the competitors Apple A15 Bionic or Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+. But in the meantime, it’s important to notice that it is not about pure computing power anymore: especially for features like intelligent image processing, a perfect match of software and hardware is inevitable – Apple’s discipline.
|SoC||Apple A15 Bionic||Google Tensor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+|
1x Cortex X1
3x Cortex A78
4x Cortex A55
True to the motto that Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro should become the “most personal, most helpful” smartphones, Google has worked on the speech recognition. For example, punctuation is now supposed to work much better, and names are written as they are stored in the address book. If there are several options, the voice input suggests several of them.
In addition, the voice input recognizes, for example, when dictating a message, what should actually be sent – and with which words the user wanted to correct certain words or with which a certain emoji was described. At least during the presentation, it looked impressive – and we’re already looking forward to testing it.
There’s even an exciting new feature for good old-fashioned phone calls. The Pixel 6 (Pro) recognizes whether you are on hold. You can then put the smartphone aside and get notified as soon as a person on the other end of the line picks up.
And the new Google Translate should further break down language barriers – it works much faster and will also work within apps in the future, such as in WhatsApp, Snapchat, in the camera app or via “Live Translate” as a simultaneous translator.
But of course, for the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the camera is again a key point.
The cameras: next level computational photography.
The two Pixel 6 smartphones have received better cameras compared to their predecessors. Instead of the usual 12 megapixels, the main sensors now feature 50 megapixels – and have grown significantly. For the sensors, Google is relying on Samsung’s GN1 sensors with a size of 1/1.31 inches.
Just as Apple’s Neural Engine takes care of all sorts of AI camera features, such as Cinema Mode, Google’s Tensor powers the camera. The image quality of the camera system around the new 50-megapixel camera sensor should benefit from this in particular. Thus, HDR video is now possible at 4K resolution with 60 fps – Google calls the feature “HDRnet”. But the normal HDR mode is also supposed to deliver better photos.
With the help of the new Tensor SoC, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro offer a range of smart camera features. Face Unblur is said to combine multiple photos to make faces look sharp – even when the person has just moved. Motion Mode works the other way around, turning moving objects into long tracks, such as passing cars at night.
With the Magic Erasor, Google is declaring war on photobombers. So in the future, disturbing people and objects should be able to be removed from the pictures in Google Photos even after they have been taken. During the presentation, it certainly looked impressive how profoundly objects can be removed from the pictures.
Last but not least, Google has done a lot of work on the camera to accurately reproduce the skin tones of people with all different skin tones. Google hasn’t said anything yet about whether and which features will come to other Android smartphones via Android 12 update.
Android 12 makes the Pixel 6 (Pro) an Android iPhone
Besides all the hardware features, the operating system of course plays a supporting role for the Pixel smartphones. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro run Android 12 out of the box, and the most spectacular feature here is definitely the new Material Yours design with a more unified system design across all apps, new widgets, and more.
As recently with Apple, however, there is also a focus on security. With the Tensor Security Core and the Titan M2 core, sensitive data is to be housed in a separate core of the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro – much like in the current iPhones. But the operating system itself will also be more transparent about permissions in the future and will now reveal, for example, whether the camera or microphone is currently being tapped.
All other details about Android 12 you can learn in the following article:
Here you can find out if and when your Android smartphone will receive the update to Android 12.
differences: google pixel 6 vs pixel 6 pro
“Our first, true flagship” – that’s how Rick Osterloh announced the Google Pixel 6 Pro at the presentation. We have already written about the software and the Tensor platform in detail. But what do the two smartphones actually offer aside from Tensor and Android 12?
There are three very big differences between the Google Pixel 6 and the Google Pixel 6 Pro:
- The price: the Pixel 6 is to cost $699, for the Pixel 6 Pro Google the price is $899.
- The cameras: The Google Pixel 6 Pro offers an additional 48-megapixel telephoto camera with optical quad zoom.
- The format: the Google Pixel 6 Pro is significantly larger than the regular Pixel 6, measuring 6.71 inches versus 6.40 inches.
Otherwise, the two models share the same hardware platform with the Google Tensor SoC. The Pixel 6 Pro offers a touch more RAM at 12GB, plus an optional 256GB of storage.
Conclusion: Are the Pixel smartphones the better iPhones?
In the end, no. But, even the biggest Apple fans in our editorial team were amazed during the presentation. We expect our test devices in the coming days and will then provide you with detailed hand-ons as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, requests or suggestions on what we should try out: Drop them in the comments!