Compared to previous generations, Google is following Apple (and Samsung) much more aggressively with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Google detailed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 this morning after teasing key aspects a few weeks ago.

Tensor + software functions

It starts with Tensor, or what Google called “the greatest mobile hardware innovation in the company’s history”. Not competing for performance like Apple’s A-chips, Google wanted a SoC that was optimized to run its machine learning algorithms and the resulting user-centric functions.

The Tensor Chip is specifically designed to bring the latest Google advances in AI right to a mobile device. This is an area we’ve held back for years, but now we can start a new chapter in AI-powered smartphone innovation. Tensor also provides us with a hardware foundation that we will build on for the years to come so that you can get the personal, helpful experience you have come to expect from a Google phone.

Rick Osterloh, SVP Hardware

This includes a local speech recognition model that uses “half as much power” when executed on Tensor. It drives a “Assistant voice input“Which allows users to edit their transcriptions completely hands-free (and offline). This includes being able to use your voice to “send”, say “delete” to remove the last sentence, and use “next” / “previous” to move through text boxes. Meanwhile, you can spell letter by letter if you make mistakes, and there’s easy emojis to insert too.

The call screen, on which your Pixel automatically answers unknown calls and asks them to state their purpose, is also more accurate with Tensor while translation gets a big upgrade. According to Google, translation quality has improved by 18% thanks to Tensor, a jump typically requiring “several years of research”. Other functions are:

camera

The Pixel 6 also makes heavy use of Tensor for the camera. According to Google, the chip enables the characteristic pixel look and photo quality for videos. The HDRnet algorithm can be processed live on 4K video at 60 FPS for “superb” color accuracy with improvements in vibrancy and stabilization.

In the meantime, still photography is benefiting from functions such as “Face Unblur”. If there’s a face in a scene with lots of movement but not enough light, Google will activate the ultrawide camera to take a second picture when you tap the main lens shutter button.

The main image uses normal exposure to reduce noise and the ultrawide uses faster exposure that minimizes blurring. Machine learning merges the sharper face of the ultra-wide angle with the low-noise recording of the main camera in order to bring the best of both into the picture.

Other tools include a magic eraser in Google Photos that can remove photo bombers and other unwanted objects. Meanwhile, you quickly take long exposures that creatively blur a moving subject, while “Action Pan” does the opposite for the background.

hardware

In terms of specs, the key differences between the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are listed below. In the past few years, Google has offered two phone sizes with similar specifications (outside of the battery and the screen). In 2021, the Pixel 6 is pursuing a more iPhone-like strategy by offering a model with more advanced hardware and a more expensive price tag.

Pixel 6 Pixel 6 Pro
OLED 6.4 inch (1080 × 2340) OLED 6.7 inches (1440 × 312)
Update rate 90Hz 120Hz, up to 10Hz (LTPO)
battery 4,614mAh 5,003mAh
R.A.M. 8GB LPDDR5 12 GB LPDDR5
storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Wide angle camera 50 MP (82 ° field of view, f / 1.85) 50 MP (82 ° field of view, f / 1.85)
Ultra wide 12MP (114 °, f / 2.2) 12MP (114 °, f / 2.2)
Telephoto x 48MP (23.5 °, f / 3.5)

In the meantime, the choice of colors is similar, with the cheaper offer getting playful hues (coral, green and black), while the premium version is more sedate with gold / yellow, white / silver and black. There is also no charger included for minimalist packaging that consists of just a USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter (for Lightning).

Of course, one thing that is different from Apple is that the Google Store has a very difficult time actually getting the Pixel 6 to buy. In the US, it starts at $ 599 for a 128GB model without the mmWave, while the 6 Pro starts at $ 899.

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