Pixel 6 review: Google Hardware finally lives up to its potential

By | November 2, 2021

Enlarge (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Google did it. The company finally made a phone that feels like a full-effort flagship device. It took six long, frustrating years, but with the Pixel 6 it finally feels as though Google isn’t holding back out of concern for its Android licensees or some other commitment issue. The Pixel 6 has a custom Google SoC, tons of AI software features that really work, and a new and exciting version of Android. These combine into the best Android smartphone out there—the One True Flagship of the Android ecosystem. With a great price, the Pixel 6 is an easy “buy” recommendation.

That’s if you can buy one. The one negative thing you can say about the Pixel 6 is that Google, while it has improved its phone-building skills, hasn’t improved its phone-selling skills. The Pixel 6 is only sold in 12 countries instead of the 100+ that Apple and Samsung sell in, and Google is already experiencing stock issues. Despite Google’s brand recognition and several mega billion-dollar businesses, Google Hardware remains a tiny side project. So buy a Pixel 6 if you can—just don’t do it from an eBay scalper.

Low prices and big camera bars

The back of the Pixel 6 Pro, with that distinctive camera bar. Google says this is supposed to be a "two-tone" design, but it's hard to spot on my model.

The back of the Pixel 6 Pro, with that distinctive camera bar. Google says this is supposed to be a “two-tone” design, but it’s hard to spot on my model. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Google Pixel 6 & Pixel 6 Pro

  • From $599 at Amazon
  • From $599 at Best Buy
  • From $599 at B&H

(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

We expected the Pixel 6 to sell at comparable prices with other vendors, but the biggest win for the line is that Google has priced these phones aggressively. The Pixel 6 Pro is $900, and with a 120 Hz 1440p display, 12 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, and a 5000 mAh battery, spec for spec it’s relatively comparable with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The S21 Ultra has an MSRP of $1200, though, so Google is coming in $300 cheaper.

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