My full Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro reviews are coming soon, but for now, Google has agreed to let me share a look at the new phones after having them on-hand for about 24 hours.
You can read my full rundown of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro for a look at the technical specs and some of the new features, but here’s a close view of the hardware and some of my impressions based on my limited time with this pair of devices so far.
The smaller member of the Pixel 6 family is a sizable phone. But as a Pixel 4XL owner for the last 18 months or so, it feels like home to me; it is ever so slightly shorter than Google’s previous largest screened phone, but feels essentially the same in my hand. Turning it over reveals the progress made in the last two years, with the display now covering nearly the entire front of the phone rather than the massive top bezel of the Pixel 4XL.
My review unit is the Sorta Seafoam color combination, a very pale blue-green below the camera array and pale green above. While it is more muted than I expected based on some of the early images, I’m still a fan of the unique color option. The Kinda Coral alternative may offer a more vibrant splash of color and the Stormy Black is there for those who like a more staid choice.
The edgeless Gorilla Glass 6 back of the phone is a dramatic improvement over the Pixel 4XL; the rounded edges give it a pleasant feel despite the large size of the phone and should also keep it relatively scratch-free if you go caseless. The black alloy edges of the Pixel 6 that wrap the rear camera array keep the focus on the colorful back.
The camera array is the most prominent design detail on the Pixels. Some folks have voiced their concerns over the massive module but, in my limited time with the phone so far, it doesn’t seem like any more of an issue than it is on other modern flagships. While it runs the full width of the phone, it doesn’t protrude from the back of the phone any more than the rear cameras of the iPhone 13 Pro. You can place the phone on its back and it’ll sit flat, a trade-off I’m fine with the trade-off.
Pixel 6 Pro
The Pixel 6 Pro joins the cruiser class of flagship phones with its 6.7-inch display, matching the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The large phone is basically a scaled-up version of the Pixel 6; there are just a few details that signal its premium status.
The most obvious is the large telephoto lens on the rear of the phone. It is much more visible than it seemed in photos and appears as though you are seeing the lens deep inside the phone. The rear camera arrays are identical in size and aligned perfectly if you line up the bottom of the phones; this means the Pixel 6 Pro gives you a bit more of that top color in its two-tone split.
My review unit is the Sorta Sunny color, a yellowed peach below and a more traditional peach color above the camera array. The other two Pixel Pro options are Stormy Black and Cloudy White. The Pixel 6 Pro gets a polished alloy finish on its edges and the camera array, which adds a bit more of a premium feel to the phone.
Turning the phone over, the 6.7-inch display has waterfall edges, another premium touch that helps to make the large phone a bit easier to handle. While the two phones have slightly different front-facing hole-punch cameras, they look essentially identical.
Overall, I like the feel of both phones and look forward to diving into my full reviews, but it is interesting to me that Google settled on two similarly sized phones. The iPhone 13 Pro is 6.1-inches versus the 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. The Galaxy S21 is 6.2-inches compared to 6.8-inches on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Google isn’t really differentiating on size with its phones, which even holds true if you include the 6.34-inch Pixel 5a; choosing between them is more a question of whether you want additional premium features.