Best daily deals

Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

Let's take a look at what Google's Pixel 6 series brings to the table, how much it costs, and more.
Features
By
December 1, 2021
Table of contents

Google’s Pixel smartphones have a devoted following. However, the company hasn’t been able to lift Pixel phones up into the stratosphere of premium flagships, in which Samsung and Apple currently dominate. That changes in 2021 with the launches of the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Finally, we have two flagship phones from Google that don’t cut any corners. These are modern flagships for the modern consumer. It took way too long, but Google appears ready to drop its long-held belief that mediocre hardware is OK as long as phones have stellar software.

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the new Google Pixel 6 line!

See also: Everything you need to know about Google hardware

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro at a glance

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro camera closeups
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Google launched the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro on October 19, 2021. For months prior to that date, the company steadily pushed out plenty of official information related to the phones. By the time the launch event came around, we already knew almost everything there was to know.

google pixel 6 press image sorta seafoam
Google Pixel 6
The more affordable Pixel
The Google Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch FHD+ display and runs on the all-new Google Tensor SoC. It has an upgraded camera system, exclusive software features, and offers some of the best hardware Google has ever produced.

The vanilla Google Pixel 6 is the new standard flagship from Google. It features numerous upgrades over all previous Pixels, including a new 50MP main camera sensor, an in-display fingerprint scanner, a new custom-made processor, and a huge 4,600mAh battery. It also features a radical redesign, which makes it look more like the Nexus 6P than any previous Pixel.

The Pixel 6 starts at $599 / £599 / €649 for the model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It comes in three colorways: Kinda Coral (shades of pink), Sorta Seafoam (green and yellow), and Stormy Black (black and gray). Note that this unlocked model does not support mmWave 5G (it is Sub6 5G only).

google pixel 6 pro camera
Google Pixel 6 Pro
The Pixel 6 Pro outshines its little brother with a 6.7-inch QHD+ display and 120Hz refresh rate. It has the same two rear cameras as the Pixel 6 but with an additional 4x optical telephoto lens.

As one would expect, the Google Pixel 6 Pro is a bigger, more premium variant of the Pixel 6. It features a larger 120Hz curved display, an extra camera lens on the back (telephoto), and a larger 5,000mAh battery.

The Pixel 6 Pro is also more expensive than the Pixel 6. It starts at $899 / £849 / €899 for the model with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It also comes in three colorways: Cloudy White (white and gray), Sorta Sunny (yellow and orange), and Stormy Black (black and gray).

Regardless of which Pixel 6 you choose, pre-orders started on October 19. In the US, general sales started on October 28.

Are the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro worth buying?

Google Pixel 6 in hand on city street
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

As mentioned before, this is the first time Google has launched Pixel phones with no hardware compromises. Previously, you would need to have made certain sacrifices when buying a Pixel. For example, the Google Pixel 4 had a laughably small battery and relied totally on face unlock. The Google Pixel 5 from 2020 had a very small form factor, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and a mid-range chipset. This is just how Pixels have always been.

Check it out: Our Google Pixel 6 review

In 2021, we finally have Pixel phones that meet the rigorous hardware requirements consumers demand from flagship Android phones. The internal specs, cameras, and displays are all top-tier. Whether or not you like the new design is subjective, but at least the phones look and feel like premium devices.

These are the Pixel phones fans have been waiting for.

All that is to say that these are the Pixels fans have been waiting for. Not only that, but even buyers who have historically scoffed at Pixels due to the previously mentioned limitations might want to give the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro a look.

Google is also extending its software support promise for these new phones. The Pixel 6 series will see no less than five years of security patches and three years of version upgrades, making these phones a good investment for the long haul as it pertains to software.

What experts are saying about the Google Pixel 6 series

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro left angled rear panels
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

In our review of the Google Pixel 6 Pro, we gave it glowing marks. It received a 4.5/5 score and also received our coveted Editor’s Choice badge. In our opinion, it is the best phone Google has ever made and one of the best Android phones on the market right now.

We heaped similar praise on the Google Pixel 6. It received the same 4.5/5 score and the Editor’s Choice badge.

Check it out: Our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review

Of course, the phones are not without flaws. Our chief criticism of both phones is the slower-than-average fingerprint sensor. Google has addressed this with at least one software update, but it is unlikely it will be able to make it as fast/efficient as competitors with updates alone. We also were slightly disappointed with the power of Google Tensor (more on that in a bit).

Around the web, you can similarly find glowing praise for the devices. Check out some reviews from other publications:

Google Pixel 6 Pro

  • Andrew Hoyle at CNETHoyle made it very clear how he feels about the Pixel 6 Pro right in the headline: “the best Android phone money can buy.” He gave it a score of 9/10. He loved pretty much everything about the phone, with some minor criticisms of the battery and charging speeds.
  • Cherlynn Low at EngadgetLow gave the Pixel 6 Pro a score of 91/100, representing another stellar review for the device. As with us here at Android Authority, her chief criticism was the slow fingerprint sensor. However, other than that, she basically had nothing but praise.
  • James Peckham at TechRadarPeckham awarded the Pixel 6 Pro with 4/5 stars, representing one of the lower scores we’ve seen for the phone. Peckham wasn’t impressed with the battery life of the phone, calling it just average. He also criticized the “limited storage” of the phone, which is interesting because you can get a 512GB model in certain countries. However, he overall enjoyed the device and called it “one of the very best phones on the market.”

Google Pixel 6

  • Patrick Holland at CNET: Holland gave the vanilla model an 8.8/10, which is nearly the same CNET score as the Pro model. Like us, he criticized the fingerprint sensor and also agreed with his colleague Andrew Hoyle that battery life on the Pixel 6 series could be better. Still, he said the Pixel 6 is “everything I ever wanted in a phone.”
  • Ron Amadeo at Ars Technica: Amadeo called the Pixel 6 series in general “easily the best Android phone on the market.” He did agree that Google isn’t competitive with charging speeds and battery life, but overall loved the phones. The pricing of the vanilla Pixel 6 was praised as well.
  • Philip Michaels at Tom’s Guide: Finally, Philip Michaels thinks the Pixel 6 is “the best Android experience for the money.” He praised the unique design, great price, and AI-powered features of the phone. As usual, battery life and the slow fingerprint sensor were dinged.

What users are saying about the Google Pixel 6 series

Google Pixel 6 against lamp post
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

We’ve run a few polls here at Android Authority to help give us an idea of how our readers feel about the Google Pixel 6 series. We’ve got two charts to show you that make it very clear what our readers think.

First, we have a simple “Hot or Not” poll. Check out the results below.

Google Pixel 6 series: Hot or Not?

Obviously, our readers think the Pixel 6 series is quite hot. This chart was based on over 4,500 votes, so we’re very confident in its accuracy.

Next up, we asked our readers to choose between the Pixel 6 series or the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 series. Their votes show some very bad news for Samsung.

Pixel 6 series vs Galaxy S21 series: Which would you choose?

Once again, you can clearly see our readers love the Pixel 6 series. Along with the expert reviews in the previous section of this article, it’s a bygone conclusion that the Pixel 6 phones are poised to be incredibly successful.

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro specs

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro deck of cards
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

We say it all the time: raw specs aren’t everything. However, in the cases of the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, they are very notable, since this is the first time Google’s launched true flagship hardware. Below, you’ll find a summary of what you can expect with each phone.

Google Pixel 6Google Pixel 6 Pro
Display
Google Pixel 6:
6.4-inch OLED
20:9 aspect ratio
FHD+ resolution
2,400 x 1,080
411ppi
90Hz refresh rate
HDR support
24-bit depth

Gorilla Glass Victus front
Gorilla Glass 6 back
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
6.7-inch OLED
19.5:9 aspect ratio
QHD+ resolution
3,120 x 1,440
512ppi
120Hz adaptive refresh rate
HDR support
24-bit depth

Gorilla Glass Victus front and back
Processor
Google Pixel 6:
Google Tensor
Titan M2 security
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
Google Tensor
Titan M2 security
RAM
Google Pixel 6:
8GB LPDDR5
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
12GB LPDDR5
Internal storage
Google Pixel 6:
128GB or 256GB
UFS 3.1
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
128, 256, or 512GB
UFS 3.1
Battery and power
Google Pixel 6:
4,600mAh (typical)
Fast wired charging
USB-PD 3.0 (PPS)
21W wireless charging (w/ Pixel Stand)
12W Qi wireless charging
Battery share

No charger in box
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
5,000mAh (typical)
Fast wired charging
USB-PD 3.0 (PPS)
23W wireless charging (w/ Pixel Stand)
12W Qi wireless charging
Battery share

No charger in box
Cameras
Google Pixel 6:
Rear:
- 50MP main
1.2 μm, ƒ/1.85, 82-degree FoV
1/1.31-inch sensor
LDAF, OIS, and EIS
- 12MP ultra-wide
1.25 μm, ƒ/2.2, 114-degree FoV
- Laser AF

Front:
- 8MP single
1.12 μm, ƒ/2.0, 84-degree FoV
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
Rear:
- 50MP main
1.2 μm, ƒ/1.85, 82-degree FoV
1/1.31-inch sensor
OIS and EIS
- 12MP ultra-wide
1.25 μm, ƒ/2.2, 114-degree FoV
- 48MP telephoto
0.8 μm, ƒ/3.5, 23.5-degree FoV
1/2-inch sensor
4x optical zoom
OIS and EIS
- Laser AF

Front:
- 11.1MP single
1.22 μm, ƒ/2.2, 94-degree FoV
Video
Google Pixel 6:
Rear:
4K at 30/60FPS
1080p at 30/60FPS

Front:
1080p at 30FPS
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
Rear:
4K at 30/60FPS
1080p at 30/60FPS

Front:
4K at 30FPS
1080p at 30/60FPS
Audio
Google Pixel 6:
Stereo speakers
Triple mics
Bluetooth 5.2
No 3.5mm port
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
Stereo speakers
Triple mics
Bluetooth 5.2
No 3.5mm port
Security
Google Pixel 6:
In-display fingerprint
Titan M2 chip
5 years security updates

IP68-rated
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
In-display fingerprint
Titan M2 chip
5 years security updates

IP68-rated
Buttons and ports
Google Pixel 6:
USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
Power button
Volume rocker
Dual SIM (single nano and eSIM)

No expandable storage
No 3.5mm port
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
Power button
Volume rocker
Dual SIM (single nano and eSIM)

No expandable storage
No 3.5mm port
Connectivity
Google Pixel 6:
Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC support
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC support
UWB chip
Bands
Google Pixel 6:
[5G Sub 6GHz] Model GB7N6
GSM/EDGE: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1,2,4,5,6,8,19 LTE: Bands
B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13
14/17/18/19/20/25/26
28/29/30/32/38/39/40/
41/42/46/48/66/71
5G Sub-62: Bands
n1/2/3/5/7/8/12/14
20/25/28/30/38/40
41/48/66/71/77/78
eSIM

[5G mmWave + Sub 6GHz] Model G9S9B3
GSM/EDGE: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1,2,4,5,6,8,19
LTE: Bands
B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14
17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29
30/32/38/39/40/41/42
46/48/66/71
5G Sub-6: Bands
n1/2/3/5/7/8/12/14
20/25/28/30/38/40
41/48/66/71/77/78
5G mmWave: Bands n257/n258/n260/n261
eSIM
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
[5G Sub 6GHz] Model GLUOG
GSM/EDGE: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1,2,4,5,6,8,19 LTE: Bands
B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14
17/18/19/20/25/26
28/29/30/32/38/39
40/41/42/46/48/66/71
5G Sub-62: Bands
n1/2/3/5/7/8/12/14
20/25/28/30/38/40
41/48/66/71/77/78
eSIM

[5G mmWave + Sub 6GHz] Model G8VOU
GSM/EDGE: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1,2,4,5,6,8,19
LTE: Bands
B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13
14/17/18/19/20/25
26/28/29/30/32/38/39
40/41/42/46/48/66/71
5G Sub-6: Bands
n1/2/3/5/7/8/12/14
20/25/28/30/38
40/41/48/66/71/77/78
5G mmWave: Bands n257/n258/n260/n261
eSIM
Software
Google Pixel 6:
Android 12
Pixel UI
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
Android 12
Pixel UI
Dimensions and weight
Google Pixel 6:
158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm
207g
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm
210g
Colors
Google Pixel 6:
Stormy Black, Kinda Coral, Sorta Seafoam
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
Stormy Black, Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny
In-box contents
Google Pixel 6:
1m USB-C to USB-C cable (USB 2.0)
Quick Switch adapter
SIM tool
Paperwork

No charger in box

(*France has charger and headphones included per local laws)
Google Pixel 6 Pro:
1m USB-C to USB-C cable (USB 2.0)
Quick Switch adapter
SIM tool
Paperwork

No charger in box

(*France has charger and headphones included per local laws)

What is Google Tensor?

Google Tensor SoC chip
Sundar Pichai

On the specs table above, you’ll note that the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have a processor known as Tensor. Unlike most Android smartphones, this is not a chipset from Qualcomm, MediaTek, or Samsung. This is a processor designed by Google (and created in collaboration with Samsung) and represents the first Google-made mobile chipset ever.

We have a full breakdown of what to expect from Tensor. We also have a Speed Test G run to give you an idea of its power. In a nutshell, the processor shares some similarities to Samsung’s Exynos 2100 chipset found in the Galaxy S21 series. This makes sense since Google worked with Samsung to build the chip. However, Google has made many tweaks to the inner workings, including a different 2+2+4 CPU layout and its own Tensor processor to increase the machine learning and AI capabilities of the chip.

See also: How on-device machine learning has changed the way we use our phones

However, the SoC isn’t quite on the cutting edge of CPU and GPU hardware, and you should not expect Tensor to surpass the performance capabilities of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. Instead, you should expect the chip to perform at a flagship level and have a few AI-powered tricks up its sleeve that competitor chipsets lack.

Check out some data below:

Remember, this is Google’s first attempt at making something like this. As such, we can’t say much about the long-term when it comes to Tensor. With other companies, we know how well chipsets hold up over time, but Tensor is new territory. Keep this in mind if you plan to purchase a Pixel 6.

Are the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro cameras good?

Google Pixel 6 Pro top view of camera bump
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

For the past five years, Google’s phones have been market leaders when it comes to photography. It’s been able to do that while barely updating the hardware that appears in its phones. In true Google fashion, it has relied on its top-tier computational photography software to do all the heavy lifting.

Related: The best camera phones you can get

This year, though, the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro finally up the hardware ante. The two phones feature newer and better camera sensors than we’ve ever seen in a Pixel before. This leap forward in hardware quality combined with Google’s usual market-leading software makes the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro some of the best camera phones of the year.

Here’s what each phone is packing as far as hardware:

Google Pixel 6

  • 50MP wide with EIS and OIS
  • 12MP ultra-wide
  • Laser auto-focus
  • 12MP selfie camera

Google Pixel 6 Pro

  • 50MP wide with EIS and OIS
  • 12MP ultra-wide
  • 48MP telephoto with EIS, OIS, and 4x optical zoom
  • Laser auto-focus
  • 12MP selfie camera

While we’ve seen more advanced camera systems on other phones this year, the specs above are solid.

Google Pixel 6 Pro camera examples

In our review of the Pixel 6 Pro, we found the camera to be exemplary. It probably isn’t the best camera we’ve ever tested, but it is certainly one of the best of the year.

Here are some sample images captured with the Pixel 6 Pro’s main lens.

These photos look great to us. Note the natural color on show here. This is great for professionals as accuracy is something they would prize. However, general consumers usually prefer more “pushed” photos with heavy color saturation, such as those you usually get from Samsung phones. The Pixel 6 Pro prizes accuracy above saturation, so keep that in mind if you prefer one or the other.

The ultra-wide camera produces some great results, too:

We were also very impressed with the zoom capabilities of the telephoto lens:

There are also a lot of terrific camera features that only appear on the Pixel 6 series. If you want a deeper dive, we recommend reading our full review of the Pixel 6 Pro.

Google Pixel 6 camera examples

For the vanilla Pixel 6, here are some example shots:

Generally, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have the same camera hardware. The Pixel 6 Pro has a telephoto lens, but that’s only advantageous when using telephoto features, in particular zooming in on subjects. If you don’t use that feature, though, you should see pretty much the same results on the Pixel 6 as you would the Pixel 6 Pro.

Here are some other shots:

In brief, we loved the camera quality of the Pixel 6, especially when you consider its low price. Once again, if you’d like to go deeper into the camera on the Pixel 6, read our full review.

See also: Google Pixel series camera shootout

How is the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro battery life?

Google Pixel 6 Pro standing in the park
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Google Pixel 6 Pro has the largest battery capacity of any Pixel phone ever. At 5,000mAh, it is roughly 7% larger than the one we saw in the Google Pixel 5a, which was the battery leader in the Pixel line-up until now. In our Pixel 5a review, we were blown away by how long the phone lasted on a charge.

Check it out: Our Google Pixel 5a review

As one would expect from a battery of that size, we were impressed with the battery life of the Pixel 6 Pro. We found it nearly impossible to kill the battery within one day of use. Even with pushing the limits, we found we still had about 20% of the battery left at the end of each day. That makes the phone easily a two-day device, assuming a light-to-moderate usage.

As for the vanilla Pixel 6, that phone has a battery that’s about the same size as the one in the Pixel 5a. Since the Pixel 6 has a smaller, lower-resolution display as compared to the Pixel 6 Pro, it should be unsurprising to learn we were also very impressed with battery life on this phone. We found it nearly impossible to kill the battery with just one day of normal use.

See also: The Android phones with the best battery life

Either way, the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro both fast charge with a USB-C cable. Unfortunately, you’ll need to grab your own charger for this, as the Pixel 6 series ships without chargers in the box (except in France, where a charger is required by law). Much like the Galaxy S21 series, you’ll also need an adapter the supports USB Power Delivery with the Programmable Power Supply standard to achieve the top speeds. Check out our best wall chargers list for some great options.

The Pixel 6 has 21W wireless charging and the Pixel 6 Pro has 23W wireless charging, although you’ll need the proprietary Pixel Stand (2021) to see those speeds. With a standard Qi-compatible charger, you’ll see 12W speeds. There is also Battery Share onboard, aka reverse wireless charging.

Google Pixel 6 software and updates

Google Pixel 6 Pro screen in the hand
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Google has always wanted the Pixel line to be the iPhone of the Android world. However, iPhones get up to five years of iOS version upgrades, and Pixel phones have never been able to match that.

That changes this year. For the first time ever, Google is promising five years of support for the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Now, five years of Android support is not the same as five years of iOS support for iPhones. Those five years will cover security patches and other updates, not new Android versions.

There will be three Android upgrades and five years of security patches for the Pixel 6 series.

Instead, Google will offer up to three Android version upgrades for the Pixel 6 line. That means the Pixel 6 series would get Android 13, Android 14, and Android 15, and then hang on Android 15 from then on. Once you receive Android 15, you should see two more years of security support before the phone would officially reach its end-of-life.

The big reason Google is able to offer this is due to Tensor, the Pixel 6 chipset. Since Google won’t need to rely on Qualcomm for Android support, it can finally offer an extended schedule. Time will tell if Google can extend support even further for the Pixel 6 series or if we’ll need to wait for the Pixel 7 series for the full five-year upgrade cycle seen on iPhones. After all, prior to launch, we’d heard rumors of four years of platform upgrades, not three.

Regardless, Pixels will still be some of the very first phones in the world to get the latest Android versions. The bottom line here is that if Android updates and upgrades are important to you, the Pixel 6 series would be a good investment.

Pixel 6 Pro vs Pixel 5: What’s new?

Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Google Pixel 5
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Technically, the Google Pixel 5 was the 2020 top-tier phone from Google. The Google Pixel 6 Pro is the 2021 top-tier phone from the company. As such, the Pixel 6 Pro could be viewed as the follow-up to the Pixel 5.

However, this feels silly to even think about. The Pixel 6 Pro is leaps ahead of the Pixel 5 in nearly every respect. It even looks drastically different. Really, the Pixel 5 (and the Pixel 5a) was kind of the end of one era of Pixel phones, and the Pixel 6 series is the start of another.

Regardless, here are the main differences between the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 5:

  • Display: The Pixel 6 Pro is a massive step up over the Pixel 5 when it comes to the display. The Pixel 5 had a 6-inch OLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 1080p resolution (2,340 x 1,080). The Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.7-inch LTPO OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 1440p resolution (3,120 x 1,440).
  • Processor: The Pixel 5 had a decidedly mid-range processor in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G. The Pixel 6 Pro has the Google-made Tensor chipset that can exist very comfortably next to other flagship chipsets of 2021.
  • Camera: The Pixel 5 had two camera lenses on the rear: a 12.2MP main and a 16MP ultra-wide. The Pixel 6 Pro has a 50MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, and 48MP telephoto. This makes the Pixel 6 Pro a more capable shooter as well as more versatile as compared to the Pixel 5.
  • Biometrics: The Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6 are the first phones from Google with in-display fingerprint scanners. The Pixel 5 had a capacitive scanner on the back of the phone.
  • Battery/power: The Pixel 6 Pro’s battery is roughly 19% larger than the Pixel 5’s. It also charges faster compared to the Pixel 5. However, the Pixel 5 had a charger in the box, which the Pixel 6 Pro lacks. The Pixel 6 Pro also charges faster wirelessly (23W instead of 12W), but you’ll need the Pixel Stand (2021) to get that speed.
  • Design: The Pixel 6 Pro has a radical redesign as compared to the Pixel 5. The Pixel 5 looked a lot like other Pixels with some subtle refinements, but the Pixel 6 Pro looks like a whole new phone. The Pixel 6 Pro also comes in three colorways, while the Pixel 5 only came in two.

What are some good Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro alternatives?

Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

There’s a lot to love about the Pixel 6 series. However, no phone is ever going to be perfect for everyone. If you like the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro but want something a little different, here are some other choices you might want to look into.

Do note the price of the vanilla Pixel 6 undercuts competitors. Even if you can find a comparable phone, you’ll likely pay more for it than you would the entry-level Pixel. The Pixel 6 Pro, though, is priced along the same lines as competitors.

Google Pixel 6 alternatives

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 ($799) — The Galaxy S21 will have some advantages over the Pixel 6. One of the biggest is that it has a telephoto lens on the rear, which the Pixel 6 lacks. However, the Pixel 6 has a more premium construction, including a glass back. Ultimately, these phones will be very similar hardware-wise but offer very different software experiences.
  • iPhone 13 ($799— If you don’t want to stick with Android, the iPhone 13 is a very comparable device to the Pixel 6. It has the same number of cameras and other similar hardware. The Pixel 6, though, will have a higher display refresh rate than the iPhone 13’s typical 60Hz.
  • OnePlus 9 ($729) — Like the Pixel 6, the OnePlus 9 does not have a telephoto lens. However, it does have a third lens over a monochrome sensor, so it would have slightly more versatility when compared to the Pixel 6. Keep in mind that the future of OnePlus’ Android software is up in the air at the moment, so that might be something that would deter you from investing in this device.
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 (€749) — The Mi 11 joins the Galaxy S21 in offering a telephoto lens, unlike the Pixel 6. The main sensor on the Mi 11 is even 108MP, which is pretty hefty. However, the Mi 11 is difficult to get in many parts of the world, including the United States, which might mean this option would be unavailable to you.
  • Google Pixel 5a ($449) — Unfortunately, Google has discontinued the Pixel 5, so that is no longer an option. If you like the idea of being in the Pixel ecosystem but don’t want to shell out for the Pixel 6, the Pixel 5a might be worth a look. Just remember that this now represents the “old” Pixel, so it will be a very, very different experience.

Pixel 6 Pro alternatives

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra ($1,199) — Nothing is set in stone yet, but the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will likely land as a contender for the best Android phone of the year. Its camera system is a marvel, its specs and hardware are top-tier, and its design is a big step up over the 2020 model. However, it is still really expensive, so keep that in mind.
  • iPhone 13 Pro ($999) — You’d need to leave Android to get this one, but the entry-tier Pro model iPhone this year is quite comparable to the Pixel 6 Pro. Cameras and other hardware specs are similar, including the shared 120Hz display refresh rate.
  • OnePlus 9 Pro ($969) — Dollar-for-dollar, the OnePlus 9 Pro might offer the best ROI of the phones on this list. You’ll likely spend less for this than you would any other premium flagship, and you’ll still get all the specs and camera hardware you could want. As with the OnePlus 9, though, do remember that Oxygen OS is changing in some big ways that you might not like.
  • Sony Xperia 1 III ($1,299) — One of the most expensive phones of the year is also one of the best. The Xperia 1 III is the best-ever phone from Sony and features a top-tier camera system, attractive design, simple stock-like software, and even a headphone jack. You’ll pay a lot but you’ll get a lot. Just don’t expect good software support!
  • Asus ROG Phone 5S ($1,049) — The ROG Phone 5S won’t be able to hold a candle to the Pixel 6 Pro when it comes to photography. However, it does have specs that would leave even the Pixel 6 Pro in the dust and is easily the best gaming phone on the market right now. It also has a software skin that is very similar to Pixel UI, so Pixel fans will feel right at home.

Where to buy the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro perpendicular
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Pixel 6 (128GB): $599 / £599 / €649 / CA $799 / AU $999
  • Pixel 6 (256GB): $699 / CA $929 / AU $1,129
  • Pixel 6 Pro (128GB): $899 / £849 / €899 / CA $1,179 / AU $1,299
  • Pixel 6 Pro (256GB): $999 / £949 / €999 / CA $1,309 / AU $1,449
  • Pixel 6 Pro (512GB): $1,099 / AU $1,599

Unlike most of its competitors, Google does not do such a great job of making Pixel phones available all around the world. With the ongoing global chip shortage still in effect, this is only making that problem even worse. As such, it might be tricky to get your hands on a Google Pixel 6, so shop wisely.

That being said, here’s how to get one and how much they’ll cost you. Pre-orders started on October 19 with general availability starting on October 28 globally.

google pixel 6 press image sorta seafoam
Google Pixel 6
The more affordable Pixel
The Google Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch FHD+ display and runs on the all-new Google Tensor SoC. It has an upgraded camera system, exclusive software features, and offers some of the best hardware Google has ever produced.
google pixel 6 pro camera
Google Pixel 6 Pro
The Pixel 6 Pro outshines its little brother with a 6.7-inch QHD+ display and 120Hz refresh rate. It has the same two rear cameras as the Pixel 6 but with an additional 4x optical telephoto lens.

United States

In the US, there are two models of Pixel 6 (128GB and 256GB). The 128GB model goes for $599 and the 256GB model goes for $699. They come in three colorways: Kinda Coral (shades of pink), Sorta Seafoam (green and yellow), and Stormy Black (black and gray). Do note that the unlocked model of this phone does not support mmWave 5G connections.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 Pro starts at $899 for the model with 128GB of storage. The 256GB model goes for $999 and the 512GB model goes for $1,099. There are also three colorways for this variant: Cloudy White (white and gray), Sorta Sunny (yellow and orange), and Stormy Black (black and gray).

US carriers

The three major mobile carriers in the US — Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile — will all carry the Google Pixel 6 series. However, some are increasing the pricing of the phones due to the Pixel 6 not having mmWave built-in.

The Verizon model of the Google Pixel 6 is $100 more expensive since it supports both mmWave and Sub6 5G, making its total price $699. The Pixel 6 Pro stays at $899, though.

The AT&T variant of the Pixel 6 is also similarly overpriced at $739, with the Pixel 6 Pro boosted by $40 to $939. It is unclear why AT&T increased the price of the Pixel 6 Pro, as it supports mmWave and Sub6 5G out of the box.

T-Mobile is the only one of the three big carriers to not increase pricing at all for the phones. The Pixel 6 is $599 and only supports Sub6 5G while the Pixel 6 Pro is $899.

Additionally, Verizon subsidiary Visible will carry both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Interestingly, Visible’s models are slightly cheaper at $576 for the Pixel 6 and $864 for the Pixel 6 Pro (both 128GB models). Visible is also giving away $200 in online-only cash for folks who port their number to Visible from another carrier.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the phones start at £599 for the Pixel 6 with 128GB of storage and £849 for the Pixel 6 Pro with 128GB of storage. You add £100 for the devices with larger storage capacities.

Unfortunately, the 512GB model of the Google Pixel 6 Pro and the 256GB model of the Pixel 6 are unavailable in the UK as of right now. This might change, so stay tuned.

Europe

Europeans can get the 128GB Pixel 6 for €649. The 128GB Google Pixel 6 Pro starts at €899. These are the only two models available in most European countries.

Canada

Our neighbors up north can grab a Google Pixel 6 (128GB) for CA $799. The 256GB model goes for CA $929.

Meanwhile, the Google Pixel 6 Pro comes in only two variants in Canada: 128GB and 256GB. They go for CA $1,179 and CA $1,309 respectively.

Australia

Australia is the only country other than the United States that sees all storage variants. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Google Pixel 6 (128GB): AU $999
  • Pixel 6 (256GB): AU $1,129
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro (128GB): AU $1,299
  • Pixel 6 Pro (256GB): AU $1,449
  • Pixel 6 Pro (512GB): AU $1,599

FAQs

Q: Are the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro water-resistant?
A: Yes, both phones have a full IP68 rating against water and dust.

Q: Do the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have headphone jacks?
A: No, neither phone has a 3.5mm headphone port. Google has not offered this in the main Pixel line for over four years.

Q: How many Android upgrades will the Pixel 6 series receive?
A: Google has promised to deliver three Android upgrades. Since the phones ship with Android 12, that means they’ll get Android 13, Android 14, and Android 15.

Q: Do both phones support mmWave and Sub6 5G connections?
A: Sort of. The unlocked Google Pixel 6 ($599) only connects to Sub6 5G connections. If you buy the Pixel 6 from Verizon or AT&T, though, it will cost more and support both Sub6 and mmWave. All models of the Pixel 6 Pro support both 5G standards.

Q: Is there a charger in the box with a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro?
A: No, neither phone has a charger in the box. You will need to buy a charger or use one you already own. A PD PPS-compliant charger would be best. The only exception to this is France, where smartphones need to come with a charger and headphones in the box by law.

Q: How fast can the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro charge wirelessly?
A: The Pixel 6 can wirelessly charge at 21W, while the Pixel 6 Pro can charge wirelessly at a speed up to 23W. However, to get those speeds, you’ll need the proprietary Pixel Stand (2021) from Google. You can still use your own wireless chargers, but they won’t deliver the full 23W speed.

Help other readers out

Will you be buying a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro?

882 votes

Is the Google Pixel 6 Pro worth the price?

795 votes

Are you a fan of the new designs of the Pixel 6 series?

841 votes