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Google Pixel 6: Information, leaks, launch date, specs, and rumors

Google Pixel 6 Coming Soon NYC Display Unit Orange CloseSource: Michael Fisher / Android Central

Ready to snag Google's most intriguing smartphone in years? The Google Pixel 6 launch event is set for October 19 at 10 am PT/1 pm ET. We should learn the Pixel 6 release date, price, and specs — and could even see a surprise announcement of the Pixel Fold, though it's a long-shot.

We've officially known about the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro since August 2, when Google unveiled its striking design and Google-made Tensor chipset. Both phones will dramatically improve on the mid-range Pixel 5, offering true flagship specs and improved camera sensors. Plus, exclusive Android 12 features like Dynamic colors for the new Material You UI should be available at launch.

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Pixel sales haven't come close to competing with Apple or Samsung sales in past years, but this Pixel series could make Google flagships stand out from the crowd. Here's everything we know about the new phone until Google finally confirms the rumors.

Half the price, available now

Pixel 5a 5g Render Both Sides Adjusted

Google Pixel 5a

The best Pixel you can buy right now

Now that the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G have been discontinued, the Pixel 5a is your best option available right now. It has the same Snapdragon 765G chipset as those phones — no Tensor, but plenty speedy for a mid-range device. You'll get two days of battery life, water resistance, a bright FHD display, and decent cameras with Google's great AI improvements. The Pixel 6 has some major improvements in store, but this'll likely save you hundreds compared to the flagship.

Google Pixel 6 Announcement & release date

The Pixel Fall Launch will take place on Tuesday, October 19 at 10 am PT/1 pm ET/6 pm BT. That link will take you to the official launch site, where Google will undoubtedly embed the YouTube live stream link.

Pre-orders for the phone should become available shortly after the event on the Google Store; it may also appear on some retailers like Best Buy, though the Pixel 5a is currently a Google Store exclusive.

Google typically sells Pixels in far fewer countries than other OEMs. For instance, the Pixel 5 launched in nine countries: Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Canada. For Pixel 6 availability, we expect the phone to stick to those countries.

As for the actual Pixel 6 release date, we don't have any official information there, but we don't expect it to take very long to ship. We'll learn more this Tuesday.

Google Pixel 6 Price

Google Pixel 6  Portfolio Shot

Source: Google

We finally got our first Pixel 6 price leak in late September; if it proves accurate, the Pixel 6 will be surprisingly affordable, given its upgraded specs.

Brandon Lee from This is Tech Today claims the Pixel 6 will cost €649 in Europe, while the bigger Pixel 6 Pro will be priced at €899, based on an insider source. The conversion rate puts those prices at about $750 and $1,050, but Google will set specific prices based on regional considerations. Given that the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max cost $799 and $1,099, respectively, it's possible the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro could match those prices, or slightly undercut them.

In August, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh told The Verge that Google didn't consider its past couple of phones “flagship tier,” but that the new Pixel “will be different” as a “premium-priced product.” So we'd expected the Pixel 6 to cost much more than the Pixel 5 ($699 / €629 at launch) and Pixel 4 ($799 / €749). Instead, the new Pixels fall in a similar upper-mid-tier price range as its predecessors.

If this leak proves true, Google has stepped up its specs game without ballooning its asking price. The Pixel 6 will compete with top-tier phones like the iPhone 13 and upcoming Galaxy S22, at a similar price point. And the Pixel 6 Pro should fall in the range of premium flagships like the S21 Ultra.

If these prices are too much to pay upfront, we've also seen leaked information about a Pixel Pass where you pay monthly for your Pixel 6 and a variety of subscriptions like YouTube Premium and Google Fi — then get a free upgrade to a Pixel 8 down the line.

Google Pixel 6 Models

Pixel 6 Group Image Transparent

Source: Google

The Pixel 6 leakers have proven prescient. As predicted, Google will release both a Pixel 6 and a Pixel 6 Pro this fall. Unlike some predictions and leaks that suggested otherwise, Google won't release a Pixel 6 XL, abandoning this label for a more industry-standard name.

Based on the information provided by Google, we know the Pixel 6 Pro will have a more premium design, with curved edges and better aluminum materials compared to the flatter Pixel 6. Its display will be a quarter-inch larger, achieving better resolution and refresh rates. And it will have a triple-camera setup with a telephoto camera that the dual-camera Pixel 6 lacks. However, both Pixels will have the same Google-made chipset, Google Tensor.

Based on leaked information, we also predict the Pro will have a larger battery to offset the screen size difference, plus additional RAM and storage over the smaller model.

Google Pixel 6 Design

Google Pixel 6 Coming Soon Nyc Display Unit Orange Close

The Google Pixel 6Source: Michael Fisher / Android Central

If you live in New York City, you can see the Pixel 6 design for yourself! It's on display at the Google Store in Chelsea. Plus, we've already seen the first leaked video of the Pixel 6 Pro in all its curved, glassy glory. Otherwise, we have the rundown on how the Pixel 6 will look and feel.

Based on the official renders Google released, the Pixel 6 colors will be light orange, sage green, and black. The Pixel 6 Pro colors will include silver, gold, or black. Each sports a different accent color on the top-back of the phone above the black camera module.

Various leakers claim to have the official color names and renders of the devices, though they disagree on some. @evleaks claims the Pixel 6 will have Seafoam Green, while Brandon Lee asserts it'll be called Sorta Seafoam. Both agree on Cloudy White for the silver Pixel 6 Pro and Stormy Black for the black version of both Pixel 6s. Lee also suggests Kinda Coral for the red Pixel 6 and Sorta Sunny for the gold Pixel 6 Pro. Google loves playful color names, so we'll see if these prove accurate.

Google Pixel 6 Pro Coming Soon Nyc Display Unit Gold Close

The Google Pixel 6 ProSource: Michael Fisher / Android Central

Objectively, the Pixel 6 Pro has a more stylish design. The Pixel 6 edges are black, flat, and thicker than that of the 6 Pro, which is curved and skinnier. The Pro gives you a curved finish with much thinner edges, plus a “polished aluminum finish” compared to a “matte aluminum finish” for the Pixel 6. Either way, the Pixel 6 has a glass back; some people prefer plastic for the improved durability, but at least it gives the new Pixel a premium look.

One interesting design omission: the Pixel 6 lineup has lost the trademark colored power button found on every other Pixel phone. The Pixel 6 buttons are black to match the edges, while the Pixel 6 Pro buttons blend into the phone's silver/gold/black color.

As for the Pixel 6 display, it'll have a flat display with a center punch-hole camera and fairly small bezels; leaks suggest it'll have front-facing stereo speakers and an in-screen fingerprint scanner as well. Pixels used to impress audiophiles with their speakers, so we hope that quality will return here. With the Pixel 6 Pro, you upgrade to a curved display with narrower bezels and a faster refresh rate.

Google Pixel 6 Specs

Google Pixel 6 Coming Soon Nyc Display Unit Camera Bump Compare

Source: Michael Fisher / Android Central

Based on everything we've seen and heard, the Pixel 6 is the first premium Google phone. While Google hasn't unveiled the full Pixel 6 specs yet, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh confirmed to The Verge a few spec details that have been rumored for months.

The Pixel 6 Pro will feature a 6.7-inch QHD+ display, 120Hz refresh rate, and three cameras: a “wide-angle main sensor, an ultrawide, and a 4X optical-zoom folded telephoto lens.” With the Pixel 6, you downgrade to a 6.4-inch FHD+ screen supporting a 90Hz refresh rate, plus a dual-camera array that loses the telephoto lens. Both models will have in-screen fingerprint sensors.

Even more exciting, the latest rumor is that the Pixel 6 Pro will have an LTPO OLED screen with a variable refresh rate, a feature that only a few other flagships have so far. This would mean the Pro will run 120Hz when it needs to but drop down lower for less active apps, prolonging its battery life.

Google Tensor chipset

Source: Google

We know from Google that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will incorporate the new Google-made SoC, Google Tensor. According to the most recent Pixel 6 Tensor leak, the chip will have a 2x2x4 configuration with two Cortex-X1 “prime” cores, two A76 cores, and four high-efficiency A55 cores. The X1 cores will give it powerful performance, while the A76 backup cores — which launched in 2018 — are surprisingly last-gen for a 2021 flagship.

Supposedly, Tensor will use an Arm Mali-G77 GPU and a Titan M2 security module, plus support for aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC codecs.

What does this mean in practice? Google Tensor is rumored to greatly improve battery life, performance, security, and voice command response times. CEO Sundar Pichai claims it will provide perks like “better speech recognition that uses half the power consumption” or “the best face detection to improve blurry photos in low lighting.”

Pixel 6 Group Image Transparent

Source: Google

Google has also promised “improved sensors and lenses” for its cameras, but it didn't give any hard data on how the three new lenses improve on the Pixel 5.

So as long as Google keeps the Pixel 6 specs shrouded in mystery, we can turn to leakers. Based on various rumors over past months, we have a pretty clear idea of what the two new Pixels bring to the table.

Specs (rumored) Pixel 6 Pixel 6 Pro
Operating System Android 12 Android 12
Display 6.4 inches, FHD+ resolution, 90Hz, AMOLED 6.71 inches, QHD+ resolution, 120Hz, POLED, VRR
Processor Google Tensor
2 Cortex-X1, 2 x A76, and 4 x A55 cores
Google Tensor
2 Cortex-X1, 2 x A76, and 4 x A55 cores
Memory 8GB RAM 12GB RAM
Storage 128/256GB 128/256/512GB
Rear Camera 50MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (ultrawide-angle) 50MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (ultrawide-angle) + 48MP (telephoto)
Front Camera 8MP 12MP
Battery 4614mAh 5000mAh
Charging 33W wired, 23W wireless 33W wired, 23W wireless, reverse wireless charging

Both phones will offer a significant improvement on the Pixel 5 thanks to their faster refresh rates, larger batteries, and speeds supposedly on par with the Snapdragon 780G. As for the Pixel 6 Pro, it will bring back the telephoto lens that the Pixel 5 lost, and its rumored 5,000mAh battery could be nearly 1,000mAh larger than its predecessor.

Also, recent rumors suggest the Pixel 6 will support 33W wired charging — much faster than the 18W standard on the Pixel 5 and 5a — plus at least 23W wireless charging with a new Pixel Stand.

Unfortunately, Google won't include a charger in the box, so you'll have to buy the wired and/or wireless ones separately. But most buyers will make do with chargers they currently have.

Google hasn't revealed the specs for its “revamped” camera system, aside from the fact that the Pixel 6 will have wide-angle and ultrawide sensors, while the Pro will add a telephoto lens. But leaked specs have revealed the possible megapixels for these sensors. Compared to the Pixel 5's 12.2MP main sensor, the 50MP wide-angle sensor appears to be a big upgrade; but its 16MP ultrawide sensor matches the Pixel 6.

In addition to the regular and ultra-wide angle lenses, the new superzoom camera will finally give the Pixel line the hardware upgrade it needs to match Google Camera's software smarts. Here's also hoping that Google finally gives the Pixel camera the overhaul it needs when it comes to video recording, which has always been quite basic at best.

Finally, a recent FCC leak suggests the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will support Wi-Fi 6E and mmWave 5G. Plus, the Pixel 6 Pro, in particular, could house Ultra-Wideband and reverse wireless charging.

Google Pixel 6 Software

We know for certain the Pixel 6 will launch with Android 12 installed. Alongside the other Pixel phones, the Pixel 6 will get exclusive access to the new Material You color picker tools. You'll also see software improvements like a proper one-handed mode, scrolling screenshots, faster auto-rotation, improved privacy tools, new emojis, and other cool perks that other flagships won't see for several months.

A recent leak suggests Android 12 will launch on October 4 on past Pixel phones. Once the Pixel 6 launches later that month, we'll have to see if Google releases any exclusive software features for the new handset, as part of a separate OS update.

What matters most here is Google Tensor. Not only will it offer much faster speeds than the Pixel 5 chipset, but it'll also reportedly receive four OS updates up to Android 16, plus five years of security updates. Just as Apple can support its iPhones for longer because it creates and controls its own chips, Google will do the same with Tensor, no longer restricted by Qualcomm hardware.

Most current Android phones only get two or three years of support, with Samsung recently promising three OS updates and four years of security updates for future phones and tablets. With the Pixel 6, you'll get an extra year plus faster Android OS updates down the line.

Google Fence Removal

Source: Google

Google Tensor isn't just useful for longevity, though! A recent Google Camera features leak suggests it will add several useful new AI tools to better process your photos, including a Magic Eraser tool (shown above) that removes unnecessary objects blocking your photos and fills in the missing data. There's also the “Face deblur” tool, which combines data from your main and ultra-wide sensors into one beautiful photo with crisp faces and bokeh backgrounds.

Google Pixel 6 FAQ

Google Pixel 5 Review

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Do we know anything about Pixel 6 cases?

XDA Developers spotted a recent retailer leak suggesting that the Pixel 6 will have official fabric cases for $29 in the following colors:

  • Pixel 6: “Stormy Sky, Light Rain, and Cotton Candy”
  • Pixel 6 Pro: “Stormy Sky, Light Frost, Golden Glow, and Soft Sage”

These fabric cases are made of recyclable materials, have a striking look that will (unfortunately) mask the Pixel 6's natural color, and don't have as much fall protection as other TPU cases. Rest assured that third-party accessory makers will be making clear cases and more shockproof cases that'll launch alongside the phone in late October.

What is Pixel Pass?

According to leaked marketing materials, Pixel Pass is a Google phone upgrade plan that lets you pay monthly for a new Pixel, Google Fi, YouTube Premium, Google One, Play Pass, and an extended warranty.

If you subscribe to Pixel Pass, you'd get the Pixel 6 or 6 Pro and the above subscriptions; Google Fi would be optional, as you could use it with your current carrier instead. And in two years, you'd get a free upgrade to Pixel 8. We'll wait to hear from Google whether Pixel Pass is real and how much it'll cost.

Is the Pixel 6 going to be another “value flagship?”

Pixel phones used to be seen as regular flagships, but as we know, that changed with the Pixel 5. It's still very much a high-end phone, but by using a lower-end processor, Google was able to cut back on costs considerably while still delivering an excellent product.

Current leaks, renders, and other information all point to Google returning the Pixel 6 to premium status. There's no telling how much less the Pixel 6 will be compared to the Pixel 6 Pro, though. It's also distinctly possible that Google will make the Pixel 6 the more affordable “value flagship,” while the Pixel 6 Pro will be the “premium flagship.”

Will there be a Pixel 6 XL?

Yes and no. There will be a Pixel 6 Pro, which is certainly larger than the Pixel 6. But it will drop the ‘XL' moniker for the first time in Google Pixel history.

Is this phone 5G?

Yes, given the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G both supported 5G technology, it's a given the new phone will support it. A recent (supposed) FCC leak suggests the phone will support mmWave and sub-6 5G technology; but we can't confirm this as of yet, and it will depend on your carrier and location.

Which Pixel to buy now

Google Pixel 5a

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

The Pixel 6 release date is close enough now that we can practically taste it. So if you're looking for a new stock Android phone, you have every reason to wait until later this month. But if you really need a new phone now, you could look at the other Pixel phones available. You may have trouble finding them, though.

Google discontinued the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G in late August. You may find some stock available at marked-up prices on certain sites — or refurbished handsets available — but Google is currently all-in on its Pixel 5a launch.

The Pixel 5a is essentially a retooled Pixel 4a 5G with the same chipset, RAM, storage, and cameras, but with a slightly larger screen and battery, plus new water resistance. Even comparing the Pixel 5a vs Pixel 5, the newer, cheaper phone matches the 2020 “flagship” in most areas, even beating it in screen size and battery life (though losing in RAM).

Honestly, the true fight will be between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5a. If the new flagship is as expensive as we fear, then the Pixel 5a will be a great phone for those who can't afford a flagship. You'll have to accept missing out on Google Tensor, but a budget phone like the 5a isn't meant to last five years anyway. It'll do just fine for three years while costing half as much.

Half the price, available now

Pixel 5a 5g Render Both Sides Adjusted

Google Pixel 5a

The best Pixel you can buy right now

Now that the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G have been discontinued, the Pixel 5a is your best option available right now. It has the same Snapdragon 765G chipset as those phones — no Tensor, but plenty speedy for a mid-range device. You'll get two days of battery life, water resistance, a bright FHD display, and decent cameras with Google's great AI improvements. The Pixel 6 has some major improvements in store, but this'll likely save you hundreds compared to the flagship.

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