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This past month reminded me of why I really love (and hate) my Pixel 6 Pro

There's so much understated delight in using a Pixel phone. Plus a lot of frustrations.

Published onSeptember 15, 2022

pixel 6 pro canada berlin
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

If you ask me where the past month went, I could only answer with these words: in a blur. I crossed the Atlantic on one of the most, uh, confusing flights of my life, and spent two weeks in Canada walking, hiking, kayaking, and running around non-stop. Back to France, I only had 24 hours to recuperate from jet lag and tiredness before heading to Berlin for my first IFA, where I sprinted around the show floor for days, attended conferences and meetings, checked out cool products, and wrote all the stories I could write. Back to France again, I had another 24 hours to breathe before Apple’s keynote and its iPhone 14 series launch.

Now that the dust has settled a bit and I’ve had a few nights of normal sleep, I can look back at the past month and see one common thread through it all: Having a Pixel 6 Pro as my daily driver was a blessing in so many instances. And a constant curse as well because, of course, nothing is too perfect.

Astrophotography and anytime-photography

pixel 6 pro astrophotography
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Living in Paris, I don’t always find myself in a situation where I could see the stars or take really good astro shots. So when I found myself in the middle of Ontario’s cottage country on a very clear night, I had to stop for a moment and enjoy it.

I sat on one of those famous Muskoka chairs, set up the Pixel 6 Pro on a tripod in front of me (using the Moment M Force case and MagSafe Tripod Mount for easy, magnetic mounting and removal), and launched the camera app. I tapped the shutter button and just enjoyed the stillness and night sky. I took several snaps that evening, capturing stars I could see with my own eyes plus smaller and fainter ones that I couldn’t even perceive. The Pixel even made timelapses of the few clouds’ movements. I’m still astonished at how a simple phone can do this; ASTRO mode is truly magical.

I can tap the shutter and not even look at the result because I trust the Pixel 6 Pro got a perfect shot. Every time.

But beyond this niche use case, the Pixel 6 Pro is still the most reliable camera I have used. I can tap the shutter and not even look at the result because I trust it got a perfect shot. Every time. Wide angle, regular, zoom, portrait, day, night, motion — it just does it all and does it so well.

Proof? Just see the gallery below. Zero edits.

There’s that one particular moment when I was on a ferry headed back from the Toronto Islands to the city after sunset. I snapped a couple of excellent pics from the moving ferry, even using zoom. Then I sat down and observed people on the deck trying to take selfies and cityscapes. The blur, the bad colors, the difficulty focusing on the skyline — yikes. Until my eyes landed on a screen with the most accurate color rendition and clearest snap of all. It took me a second to realize the interface was the Pixel’s camera app, and then I saw the 6 Pro’s signature bump when the woman carrying it turned around.

It was my first time spotting a regular person using a Pixel, and I’m still taken by how much it stood out from the rest of the Apples and Samsungs on that ferry deck. It wasn’t just me, either; my friend, who has an iPhone 13 Pro, was sitting next to me and noticed the very same thing. I swear I heard a “wow” from her, and we spent the next half hour debating Google’s marketing strategies and why it was limiting its Pixel line-up to a few countries instead of going for more markets and grabbing photo enthusiasts.

The Pixel recorder is an interviewer’s dream

pixel 6 pro recorder app
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

During IFA, I went on several booth tours and meetings, and during all of these, I had the Google Recorder app on my Pixel ready. If I couldn’t take notes on the spot, I launched the app and started recording. It was an absolute game-changer.

Even the thickest accents were instantly transcribed in creepy accuracy — it even got a few words that I didn’t understand. Sure, it missed a few technical jargon terms here and there, but I could always tap the transcription and hear the corresponding recorded voice to help me understand. After every meeting, I could search across entire recordings and back them up to my account then access them from my laptop while working on articles. Recorder even assigned “smart” titles to each voice note, picking what the general topic was and saving it under that name so I could easily find it later.

With automatic transcriptions, search, and backups, Recorder helped me do my job better and faster at IFA.

This was amazing. A perfect instance of technology helping me in my life and job. I didn’t have to transcribe the recording manually, or rewind and restart it multiple times to get a quote. I could easily skip those menial parts and do the actual work of synthesizing it all into articles.

If you’re a journalist, an interviewer, or someone who likes recording their own thoughts or writings, you simply can’t beat the convenience. And unlike many other smart voice recorders, the Pixel Recorder is free.

A simple matter of copy and paste

pixel 6 pro pixel launcher overview copy paste
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

You’d think that copying bits of text from an app — say the official IFA app or the Air France app — to another would be easy. But not every developer allows you to do that in their app. That’s where the Pixel launcher’s ability to detect and select any text and image in the Overview screen (app switcher) becomes super useful.

I never realized how used I was to this simple copy/paste hack until I tried a phone without it.

Each time I wanted to grab a piece of text — anything from my plane’s booking reference or ticket number, to a small announcement used by an exhibitor at IFA — I just swiped the app up and tapped and held to select. I could copy that and switch to WhatsApp, Slack, or any other app to share it.

And every time I wanted to look into a specific product or search for an image, Google Lens was there as the top suggestion, letting me easily start my search. It’s such a minor improvement, but I feel lost each time I go back to a phone without it.

Dual-SIM (with one eSIM) is a must for travel

pixel 6 pro multiple sim support
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Before going to Canada, I had to find a solution to stay connected without leasing a kidney. My choice instantly went to prepaid data eSIMs. I’ve extolled the virtues of an eSIM for travel many times already, but it needs to be said: The convenience is incomparable. The entire process took me less than 15 minutes before I left France and I was online before even exiting my plane in Toronto.

The whole time that I was in Canada, I kept my main French SIM in the Pixel 6 Pro and could still get messages and calls, which was great for any SMS-only two-factor authentication services. But I used a GlobaleSIM eSIM as my primary data source, so I had 5GB of data for $17 — way cheaper than any roaming or even local prepaid plan would be. I could even tether some of it to my husband, who’s still using a single-SIM phone.

eSIMs are so convenient for travel, but I still prefer the Pixel 6 Pro's dual SIM setup (one physical SIM and one eSIM).

Now that I’ve experienced the benefits of eSIMs in a few countries, I’m never, ever going back to a phone with single SIM support or without eSIM compatibility. The ideal combination is what the Pixel 6 Pro has: one physical SIM slot plus eSIM support.

More troubles in Pixel connectivity land

pixel 6 pro vs pixel 5 connectivity
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
Pixel 6 Pro (left) vs Pixel 5 (right)

The Pixel 6 Pro has the worst connectivity of any phone I’ve tried. We’ve already established that and I had accepted it as a trade-off for all the other aforementioned benefits. But after spending nearly a month away from home, I am starting to reconsider my position. No one in my surroundings (my friends in Canada or my Android Authority colleagues in Berlin) had as many issues staying online as I did. No one toggled airplane mode on and off as much as I did, or cursed as often under their breath for being offline at the worst of times.

No one struggled with their phone's connectivity as much as I did.

There was an instance where we had to stand for 15 minutes near the entrance of IFA while I repeatedly filled out a form because my Pixel 6 Pro kept disconnecting before I could submit it. Trust me; you don’t want to be the person at a tech convention looking like a fool who doesn’t know how to fill and submit an online form.

And I’ll admit, there were people using Pixel 6 Pro phones around me who had none of these problems — or at least nothing as frequent. So is it an issue with my unit? Yes. But the comments on my original article from people who have had the same struggles, the thousands of votes, and the Reddit threads, all seem to indicate this is a problem affecting more than the odd unit here or there. It could be a hardware issue with a specific batch or a software bug that rears its ugly head on some devices but not all.

For now, I’ve made up my mind: I’ll completely reset my Pixel 6 Pro and start from absolute scratch — no restoring of anything. If the problem remains, this phone is getting sent back to Google. Maybe I’ll have better luck with a second unit, or maybe not, but I have to at least play the odds.

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