Pixel 6 Professional overview: Google’s flagship is a prime iPhone rival in 2022

Google Pixel 6 Pro review: The best Android phone money can buy

Editor’s observe, Nov. 12: The Google Pixel 6 Professional’s strong all-round efficiency and glorious digital camera make it an excellent high-end Android cellphone that is properly value your cash, which is why we have given it a CNET Editors’ Selection award. The unique overview follows. 

Launched towards the top of 2021, the Pixel 6 Professional is not only the perfect cellphone Google has ever made, it is probably the greatest telephones you may nonetheless purchase in 2022. Its robust efficiency, nice software program additions, distinctive design and glorious digital camera system make it the most important rival to Apple’s iPhone 13 Professional and Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Extremely

That’s, till we see what Samsung’s subsequent flagship, the Galaxy S22, brings when it probably launches in February. With rumors for the S22 pointing to a brand new, sooner processor and upgraded digital camera specs. It could be that the Pixel 6 Professional continues to be the nicer of the 2 telephones, however in the event you’re searching for the newest, best in cellphone tech then it is a good suggestion to no less than wait a number of weeks to see what Samsung has to supply earlier than deciding both approach. 

However the Pixel 6 Professional manages to supply its profitable combo of specs and design at a worth that really undercuts its most important rivals. The 6.7-inch base 128GB mannequin prices $899 (£849, AU$1,299), a large chunk lower than the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Professional’s $999 worth and much more off the $1,099 Apple desires for the bigger 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Professional Max. 


  • Glorious cameras
  • Strong all-round efficiency
  • Neat Android 12 interface
  • Engaging design

Do not Like

  • Battery is nice, however not nice
  • Quick cost is not all that quick
  • No face unlock

Whereas final yr’s Pixel 5 was finest seen as a midrange cellphone with some higher-end touches, the Pixel 6 Professional is premium all the best way. From its glass and metallic design, to its high-resolution show and its very good triple digital camera, there’s so much to love right here. Then there’s the Tensor processor — a chip custom-made by Google for the cellphone — which supplies ample energy for your whole each day wants, higher security measures, 5G connectivity and a slick Android 12 interface. Battery life is nice — actually above common — however not nice, with the iPhone 13 Professional placing in a stronger efficiency.

Its finest Android rival proper now could be the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely which does have some neat digital camera additions (that 10x zoom, for one factor) but it surely prices extra and the Pixel 6 Professional affords a extra user-friendly expertise. The iPhone 13 Professional and Professional Max supply very good all-round use, however come at a better worth and in the event you’re already entrenched within the Android ecosystem, it is probably not value switching and shopping for all these apps once more. 

These searching for the perfect all-round Android expertise ought to completely look in the direction of the Pixel 6 Professional. However do bear in mind the Galaxy S22 might launch in February. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Pixel 6 Professional or Pixel 6?

The stepdown $599 (£599, AU$999) Pixel 6 packs the identical Tensor processor and beautiful Android 12 software program for $300 lower than the Professional, however there are a number of compromises it makes with a purpose to come to that cheaper worth.

It has a smaller and decrease decision 6.4-inch show that lacks the curving finesse of the Professional. Its battery is smaller, it has 8GB quite than 12GB of RAM and it lacks the 4x telephoto zoom lens discovered on the Professional. 


The Pixel 6 Professional has a 6.7-inch show whereas the Pixel 6’s measures 6.4 inches.

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Nevertheless it’s nonetheless an ideal cellphone that is properly value contemplating. It supplies most of the identical perks of the Pixel 6 Professional at a a lot lower cost, particularly in the event you do not care concerning the top-end efficiency supplied by the flagship. As my colleague Patrick Holland put it in his overview of the cellphone, “For the value, I am unable to consider a greater cellphone to advocate proper now.”

A recent design that stands out 

I did not love the look of final yr’s Pixel 5. The matte, rubberized again gave the cellphone a extra price range really feel than its $699 price ticket advised. The Pixel 6 Professional is worlds aside. The rear is all glass — toughened Gorilla Glass Victus, actually — that curves on the edges to satisfy the 100% recycled aluminum body. 

The glass curves on the edges on the entrance, too, as does the show beneath it, making it not solely look extra premium, however really feel like a very flagship gadget if you maintain it in your hand. It is large although, packing in a 6.7-inch show, which is able to make it extra cumbersome for some than the 6-inch Pixel 5 or 6.4-inch Pixel 6. That cup makes it slippery, too, so think about certainly one of Google’s protecting instances in the event you’re nervous about dropping it. 


The Pixel 6 Professional, flanked by the iPhone 13 Professional (left) and Pixel 5.

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It’s IP68-rated for water resistance, that means it might probably face up to being in 1 meter (about 3 ft) of water for as much as half-hour. No, that does not imply you may take it swimming, but it surely does imply it ought to have the ability to shake off having the odd beer spilled over it by your clumsy mates. 

An fascinating design alternative is the massive digital camera bar that stretches throughout the again. It protrudes from the cellphone by about 3mm, so it does not lie completely flat if you put it on a desk, however nor does it rock from nook to nook like telephones with digital camera bumps simply on one facet (just like the S21 Extremely). I just like the look of the cellphone and it actually stands out. One tip although: Get the Sorta Sunny orangey-peachy colour, if you could find it in inventory. The black-and-gray possibility, Stormy Black, appears quite uninteresting by comparability. 


The digital camera strip protrudes from the cellphone by about 3mm. Because of this, it will not lie flat on a desk.

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The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner seen on the Pixel 5 has been eliminated, changed as a substitute with an in-screen scanner, which I discovered labored precisely and rapidly more often than not, though Patrick discovered the Pixel 6’s scanner to be way more hit or miss in his overview. There is no face unlock skill, which is a little bit of a disgrace, however with masks nonetheless being a requirement in lots of indoor areas resulting from COVID-19, having a fingerprint scanner is arguably extra helpful anyway.

Three glorious cameras

That large bar on the again hides three cameras: a 12-megapixel ultrawide; a 48-megapixel telephoto that gives 4x optical zoom; and a most important digital camera that makes use of a bigger 1/1.3-inch sensor, which Google says captures 2.5x extra gentle than the Pixel 5. The cameras on the Pixel telephones have all the time been glorious, and this new era is not any completely different. 

Photos from the principle digital camera lens are beautiful. They’re vibrant, they’re full of element and there is a tremendous stability of publicity, with vibrant skies saved underneath management and shadowy areas being simply seen. 


Pixel 6 Professional, most important digital camera.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The golden colours of the leaves have been captured fantastically right here, with a wealthy blue sky seen behind. 


iPhone 13 Professional, most important digital camera.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And this is the identical picture taken on the iPhone 13 Professional. There’s little to decide on between them, but when I used to be being hypercritical, I might say that the white stability on the Pixel 6 Professional has resulted in a hotter, extra orange tone on the tree trunk, which I believe appears higher. You’ll be able to see how the Pixel 6 Professional’s digital camera actually stacks up in opposition to the iPhone 13 Professional’s in my pictures shootout.


Pixel 6 Professional, most important digital camera.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

This scene trying in the direction of the gorgeous Edinburgh fort is a difficult shot, with darkish shadows and a particularly vibrant sky past the timber. The Pixel 6 Professional has dealt with it properly although, sustaining a beautiful publicity total.


Pixel 6 Professional, most important digital camera.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And it is a lot the identical right here, with vivid blue skies, very good publicity and loads of element. 


Pixel 6 Professional, ultrawide digital camera.

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Switching to the ultrawide lens, the scene maintains the wealthy colours and publicity. Zoom nearer in and it is clear it has much less total element, but it surely’s nonetheless a beautiful shot. 


Pixel 6 Professional, ultrawide digital camera.

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One other from the Pixel 6 Professional’s ultrawide lens. However take a look at the iPhone 13 Professional’s:


iPhone 13 Professional, ultrawide lens.

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The iPhone’s affords a a lot wider view that permits you to seize extra within the scene. They’re each glorious vast lenses and each do an ideal job in packing in these lovely colours, however I might prefer to have seen the Pixel providing a barely wider scene.

The 4x zoom lens is wonderful too, offering tons of element because of its excessive decision sensor. I believe 4x is a good zoom stage for a cellphone as properly; it means that you can discover compositions that might be past the attain of lesser zoom ranges, but it surely’s not fairly as restrictive because the 10x zoom you will discover on the Galaxy S21. It is a zoom stage I really feel I might use so much on my travels and have already taken a number of 4x photographs with the cellphone that I am actually happy with as inventive pictures.


Pixel 6 Professional, 4x zoom.

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This zoomed-in picture is so pin-sharp I can truly learn the headline on the newspaper. It is a actually spectacular lens that does not pressure you to make any type of compromise on high quality with a purpose to obtain these zoom ranges. By comparability, the iPhone 13 Professional’s optical zoom maxes out at 3x, so the Pixel 6 Professional is ready to obtain a closer-up picture. Which, frankly, I might take any day over a wider-angle view.


Pixel 6 Professional, 4x zoom.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It is helpful as properly for focusing your view on a smaller scene like this, capturing intimate little still-life scenes, quite than grand, sweeping vistas. The high-quality textures on the leaves listed below are extraordinarily sharp. 

Google has thrown some additional options in too, together with a software that routinely removes individuals from the background in a picture, which typically works properly, and typically leaves a giant splotch the place an individual as soon as stood. Then there’s the lengthy publicity mode, which lets you create ethereal blurred waterscapes and the Nightscape mode, which does a wonderful job of taking photographs at midnight. 


Pixel 6 professional, Nightscape photograph.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I am critically impressed with the pictures skills of the Pixel 6 Professional and there is not any query that it is among the many finest cameras you will get on a cellphone proper now. Video high quality is superb as properly, with very good dynamic vary, glorious picture stabilization and loads of element because of the 4K decision. 

Does Google’s Tensor processor make a distinction?

On the coronary heart of the cellphone is Google’s first home-baked processor, named Tensor. It is a important transfer for Google to supply its personal silicon and it reveals a powerful dedication to stay within the {hardware} sport — in any case, you do not go to the hassle of creating your individual processors as a one-off experiment.  

Nevertheless it’s basically irrelevant when you get the Pixel in your hand, because it capabilities identical to every other cellphone. It is nippy to navigate across the Android 12 interface, video games like Asphalt 9: Legends and Name of Responsibility play completely, whereas photograph enhancing and video streaming are dealt with precisely in addition to you’d get from every other top-end cellphone proper now. 

Pixel 6 Professional benchmark assessments


Geekbench 5 (single core)

Geekbench 5 (multi core)

3DMark Wild Life Excessive

Be aware:

Longer bars equal higher efficiency

On benchmark assessments just like the Geekbench 5 processor take a look at and 3DMark’s Wild Life Excessive graphics take a look at, the Pixel 6 Professional does not rating fairly as extremely because the iPhone 13 Professional, but it surely’s up there with the Galaxy S21 Extremely (and it edged out the highly effective OnePlus 9 Professional on the graphics take a look at too). Benchmarks are not at all a direct indicator of real-life efficiency, but it surely’s good to no less than see that Google’s new silicon is working in the identical ballpark as its rivals. 

No, the Tensor chip shouldn’t be setting a brand new commonplace for lightning-fast efficiency. Nevertheless it does not have to; immediately’s telephones already pack far more energy than any of us are more likely to want each day. Google’s push into chip manufacturing goes past merely making a “benchmark beater” and a number of the actual advantages will come over time as the corporate develops extra methods to reap the benefits of its personal {hardware}.

The Tensor processor is especially designed with machine studying, AI and speech-recognition functions in thoughts. There are already speech-recognition capabilities constructed into the keyboard (for dictating messages or emails) in addition to real-time translation instruments and improved visible language translations when utilizing Google Lens by way of the digital camera. 


Each the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional run the newest Android 12 software program.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Android 12 is gorgeous to make use of

The Android 12 interface is extraordinarily neat and straightforward to make use of. It is my favourite model of Android thus far, providing an uncomplicated expertise that even Android novices will not take lengthy to become familiar with. One of many larger options that is (for now) unique to the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional is the power to create {custom} themes for the cellphone based mostly on no matter picture you’ve got as your background. 

Whenever you select a brand new wallpaper (both one of many many built-in ones, or any of your individual pictures saved to your cellphone), the cellphone will routinely select the dominant colour and can use that, and its complementary colours, to vary the look of components of the interface, together with among the default Google app icons on the house display screen, such because the Play Retailer, Gmail and Pictures. It is a good thought, though it in all probability should not be the principle motive you determine to half together with your money.

Safety has been given a specific push each on the software program and {hardware} facet. The Tensor processor has a devoted Titan coprocessor that apparently permits for significantly better on-device safety, whereas Android 12 affords extra granular management of your safety and privateness settings. That features a dashboard that reveals what apps have used what data not too long ago and helpful buttons within the pull-down notification tray that flip off system-wide entry to your digital camera and microphone. 


These quick-access privateness buttons may come in useful.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Google has additionally promised that the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional will obtain safety updates for 5 years, which is able to imply these telephones will probably be safer to make use of for longer. Many older telephones are nonetheless completely usable from a {hardware} standpoint, but when they do not have the newest safety patches on board then they’re inclined to every kind of hacking nastiness. From each a value and environmental perspective, with the ability to use our telephones safely for longer is just an excellent factor.

Vibrant show, strong battery life and quick charging

The Pixel 6 Professional’s 6.7-inch show is pin-sharp because of its 3,120×1,440-pixel decision. It is vibrant, too, with vibrant colours that do justice to colourful video games like Sweet Crush Soda Saga or video like Netflix’s world-dominating present Squid Recreation. It has an adaptive refresh price that may go as much as 120Hz if you’re enjoying fast-paced video games, but in addition slows all the way down to solely 10Hz when the cellphone is principally sitting idle. Efficiency if you want it; power-saving when you do not. 


The Pixel 6 Professional and maybe its greatest rival, the iPhone 13 Professional.

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The cellphone runs on a 5,003-mAh battery, which needs to be good for a full day of combined use. After one hour of streaming a YouTube video at max brightness it had dropped from full to 98%. In contrast, the OnePlus 9 Professional had dropped to 90%, whereas the iPhone 13 Professional dropped to solely 99%. After an additional hour the 6 Professional had dropped to 89%, whereas the iPhone 13 Professional was at 93%. You actually should not wrestle to get by the day with it, however as with all telephones, you may assist it by preserving display screen brightness down, avoiding demanding duties like gaming or video streaming till you are close to a plug, and turning off GPS. 

It has Qi wi-fi charging and it helps quick charging with a 30-watt charger (not provided), which is able to take the cellphone to 50% full in half-hour. That is respectable, however not likely a match for OnePlus’s 65-watt quick charging, which is able to absolutely cost the gadget in the identical time. Nonetheless, it is quick sufficient to have the ability to give your cellphone a fast enhance earlier than you head out and about, and the Excessive Battery Saver mode pauses all however your important apps to protect the remaining juice.

Google Pixel 6 specs vs. Google Pixel 6 Professional, Google Pixel 5, Apple iPhone 13

Google Pixel 6 Google Pixel 6 Professional Google Pixel 5 Apple iPhone 13
Show measurement, decision 6.4-inch OLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels; 60Hz or 90Hz 6.7-inch LTPO OLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 10-120Hz 6-inch FHD+ OLED; 2,340×1,080 pixels 6.1-inch OLED; 2,532×1,170 pixels
Pixel density 411 ppi 512 ppi 432 ppi 460 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.2×2.9×0.4 in 6.5×3.0x0.4 in 5.7×2.8×0.3 in 5.78×2.82×0.3 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 158.6×74.8×8.9mm 163.9×75.9×8.9mm 144.7×70.4x8mm 147x72x7.65mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 7.3 oz; 207g 7.41 oz; 210g 5.33 oz; 151g 6.14 oz; 174g
Cell software program Android 12 Android 12 Android 11 iOS 15
Digital camera 50-megapixel (vast), 12-megapixel ultrawide 50-megapixel (vast), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 48-megapixel (telephoto) 12.2-megapixel (commonplace), 16-megapixel (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (vast), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Entrance-facing digital camera 8-megapixel 11-megapixel 8-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video seize 4K 30, 60fps (rear), 1,080p 30fps (entrance) 4K 30, 60fps (rear), 4K 30fps (entrance) 4K HDR video recording with Dolby Imaginative and prescient as much as 4K at 60fps
Processor Google Tensor Google Tensor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Apple A15 Bionic
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM 8GB 12GB 8GB Undisclosed
Expandable storage No No No No
Battery 4,614 mAh 5,003 mAh 4,000 mAh Undisclosed; Apple lists 19 hours of video playback
Fingerprint sensor Beneath show Beneath show Rear No (Face ID)
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Particular options 5G sub 6 (some service fashions even have 5G mmWave) assist, Wi-Fi 6E, 30W fast-charging, wi-fi charging, Magic Eraser, Movement mode, Actual Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years OS safety updates, IP68 ranking for mud and water resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (entrance), Gorilla Glass 6 (again), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) 5G sub 6 and mmWave assist, Wi-Fi 6E, ultra-wideband, 30W fast-charging, wi-fi charging, Magic Eraser, Movement mode, Actual Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years OS safety updates, IP68 ranking for dust- and water-resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (back and front), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) 5G enabled; waterproof (IP68); 90Hz-refresh-rate show; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); reverse wi-fi charging; quick charging 5G enabled; MagSafe; waterproof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)
Worth off-contract (USD) $599 (128GB) $899 (128GB) $699 $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB), $1,099 (512GB)
Worth (GBP) £599 (128GB) £849 (128GB) £599 £779 (128GB), £879 (256GB), £1,079 (512GB)
Worth (AUD) AU$999 (128GB) AU$1,299 (128GB) AU$999 AU$1,349 (128GB), AU$1,519 (256GB), AU$1,869 (512GB)
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