Google doesn’t try to keep its Pixel phones secret prior to launch anymore — the company started talking about the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro several weeks back. Now, the devices have been officially announced, and they’re much more impressive than the 2020 Pixel phones. That’s not just because of the specs, either. As rumored, the Pixel 6 starts at just $599, and the Pixel 6 Pro is $899. You can pre-order them today, and they’ll ship later this month.
The two Pixels have a lot in common. They run on Google’s new Tensor system-on-a-chip (SoC), which has two super-fast X1 CPU cores, two slightly slower A76 cores, and four A55 efficiency cores. The real magic of Tensor is the dedicated machine learning hardware. Google says features like Assistant and speech recognition are capable of new feats of artificial intelligence voodoo. Plus, Tensor can run ML tasks locally, so less of your data leaves your phone.
Both phones also have a redesigned body with an enormous camera visor on the back. Google’s new primary sensor is 50MP, and it’s backed by a 12MP ultrawide in the Pixel 6. The Pixel 6 Pro adds a 4x telephoto lens, Google’s first periscope cam ever. Google’s cameras have long been best-in-class, and that probably won’t change now that the hardware has gotten a boost. There are also new software features like Magic Eraser, which can remove distracting objects from your photos. It can even recognize and sharpen faces in photos.
The displays set these phones apart, and this might explain why the naming convention doesn’t include an “XL” phone this year. Both Pixels are pretty large. The Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch 1080p OLED, and the 6 Pro ups that to 6.71 inches at 1440p. The Pro phone also has a 120Hz refresh rate, whereas the regular Pixel 6 runs at just 90Hz. Inside, the Pro also has more RAM—12GB vs. 8GB.
As Google announced the new phones, it also released Android 12 to the Pixel-owning masses. That software will be pre-installed on the new Pixels, complete with Google’s new Material You interface. Unfortunately, you won’t find many apps supporting the new theme features outside of Google’s own apps.
Google’s pricing for the new phones is very competitive, but there’s an even better deal if you’re the type to load up on Google services. The Pixel Pass subscription includes a phone, 200GB of Drive storage, YouTube Premium, and more, starting at $45 a month with the Pixel 6. The Pixel 6 Pro bumps the price to $55. Pixel Pass subscriptions run for two years, at which time you can upgrade to the latest Pixel.
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