Here’s what Google has in store for its sixth Pixel.
It’s become a tradition that every year brings us a new Pixel, and for 2021, we’re expecting Google to deliver the Pixel 6. It seems like yesterday that Google was unveiling the series for the first time, but somehow, we’re already looking ahead to the sixth generation of the phone.
We still have a long way to go before we can get our hands on the Pixel 6, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start speculating and making informed guesses as to what it’ll offer. From price, specs, availability, and more, here’s everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 6.
Google Pixel 5
The best Pixel you can buy right now
We expect the Pixel 6 to be a darn good phone, but if you need something right now, the Pixel 5 has a ton to offer. Whether you’re searching for amazing cameras, a quality display, snappy performance, or reliable battery life, you get all of that with the Pixel 5. And thanks to its mid-tier price, it’s a lot more affordable than some competing flagship handsets.
Google Pixel 6 Announcement & release date
Going all the way back to the original Pixel and up to the most recent Pixel 5, Google has stuck with a pretty consistent time frame for announcing its new smartphones. Looking at all past announcements, launch events have taken place as follows:
Pixel — October 4, 2016
Pixel 2 — October 4, 2017
Pixel 3 — October 9, 2018
Pixel 4 — October 15, 2019
Pixel 5 — September 30, 2020
It’s a sure bet that the Pixel 6 will be unveiled in late-2021, likely during or near October.
As for when you’ll be able to actually buy the Pixel 6, that remains a bit more uncertain. Pixel phones typically go on sale a couple of weeks or so after their unveiling, but Pixel 5 sales didn’t begin until October 29 — almost a full month after Google announced the thing. A large part of that delay likely had to do with Google trying to launch a phone in the midst of a pandemic, so fingers crossed the launch process is a bit smoother for the Pixel 6.
Google Pixel 6 Price
Looking ahead at the Pixel 6, one of the most interesting things to keep an eye on is its price. Between the Pixel and Pixel 4, Google was focused on competing toe-to-toe with high-end flagships. Naturally, this resulted in high price tags that we had to stomach.
The Pixel 4 and 4 XL started at $799 and $899, respectively, with 64GB storage configurations. If you wanted 128GB, you had to spend another $100 on top of those prices (bringing them up to $899 and $999). Those Samsung and Apple-level costs have always been one of the biggest downsides to the Pixel series, and with the Pixel 5, Google changed that a bit.
If you want a brand new Pixel 5 with 128GB of storage, you’ll spend $699. That value focus is one of the phone’s greatest strengths, but the Pixel 6 might go back to the higher-end pricing, including offering what’s currently known as the Pixel 6 Pro as the company’s upper echelon smartphone tier.
In fact, the Pixel 6 Pro could very well be the first true premium Pixel. That means that, while the price tag will almost assuredly be quite high, it’ll be the first time that a Google-branded smartphone doesn’t launch with major trade-offs as all prior Pixel phones have.
Google Pixel 6 Models
While the Pixel 5 simplified the Pixel line to a single size, the Pixel 6 looks to go back to the dual-size model that was offered with the Pixels 1 through 4. This time around, however, it looks like the larger Pixel 6 Pro will likely feature an additional periscope camera, smaller bezels, and a larger 6.67-inch screen that’s also curved at the edges. It’s also expected that the larger model will have a larger battery to offset the screen size difference and additional RAM over the smaller model.
The smaller model, likewise, looks to have a smaller flat display of unknown size right now, although the bezels seem to be a tiny bit larger than the Pixel 6 Pro. That smaller model also only has 2 cameras instead of the 3 found on the Pixel 6 Pro. Both models allegedly sport an in-screen fingerprint scanner, hole-punch front-facing camera, stereo speakers and are powered by Google’s first in-house chipset, the GS101 — also known as “Whitechapel.”
Google Pixel 6 Design
Google’s design language has varied greatly over the years, but the Pixel 6 appears to be the boldest design the company has ever produced. The original Pixel and the Pixel 3 XL shared some unfortunate similarities to iPhones at the time, while the Pixel 5 was a bit on the boring side. That leaves the Pixel 2 and Pixel 4 as the outliers, both of which appear to have played a huge part in the influence of the design of the Pixel 6.
Right from the get-go, it’s impossible to miss the dual-tone design that used to be so prominent with Pixels. Google bizarrely dropped this design with the previous two generations but looks to bring it back in a big way with the Pixel 6. The raised camera bar on the back is reminiscent of the Nexus 6P’s Cylon-esque design — something I personally love — and the bold colors and multi-tonal aesthetic makes this phone immediately distinguishable in the sea of black rectangles across the land.
The Pixel’s trademark colored power button seems to be missing from these renders, but it’s possible it could make an appearance on the final product. If anything’s been consistent across the years of design changes on Pixel phones, it’s that colored power button.
The phone’s front looks eerily similar to a Galaxy-branded flagship, with its tiny bezels, punch-hole camera, and an in-screen fingerprint scanner. While the smaller Pixel 6 appears to have a flat screen with slightly larger bezels — at least, based on the leaked renders we’ve seen — both models are bringing back the stereo front-facing speakers. Those speakers will, undoubtedly, bring back the Pixel’s pedigree of best-in-class speakers for a smartphone.
Google Pixel 6 Specs
The Pixel 6 doesn’t just look to be the boldest outward design; it also looks to be Google’s boldest design under the hood, as well. Last year, Google went with a more affordable chip from Qualcomm, citing battery life as the biggest concern on previous Pixels (it was). Now that expectations for battery life have been raised, Google’s move to its first in-house chipset looks to keep that excellent battery life while significantly increasing performance.
Google’s first chipset, known as GS101 or Whitechapel, is rumored to be a custom blend of ARM processing cores designed to offer near-flagship level performance in single-core processing, advanced AI processing, and better battery life than those flagship-level Qualcomm SoCs offer. At this point, Google’s first chipset looks to be an intelligently designed chipset that blends the best of both worlds into a single product that Google can use to custom tune performance and support for years to come.
This is a huge step up from what we saw on the Pixel 5, without a doubt. Given that it’s a more powerful chipset, we fully expect Google to upgrade the OLED panel on the front to 120Hz to match those “true premium specs” that are rumored. There are currently no specifics on battery size or the amount of RAM or storage in the phone, but we expect Google to at least provide 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, at the least.
Going on leaked renders and descriptions from multiple sources, the Pixel 6 will feature the biggest camera upgrade ever on a Pixel device. While Google has utilized the same camera sensor for almost all previous Pixel generations, the Pixel 6 could finally see a brand new generation sensor being used for its main cameras. On top of that, the Pixel 6 Pro looks to feature a periscope camera, also known as a super zoom camera.
In addition to the regular and ultra-wide angle lenses, that super zoom 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.
Google Pixel 6 FAQ
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 when 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?
Current leaked renders and information all point to Google offering two Pixel 6 models this year. The Pixel 6 will be the smaller phone, while the Pixel 6 Pro looks to be a fairly significant size and spec upgrade. If that’s true, then it will be the first time Google has strayed from using the “XL” moniker when referring to the larger of the two phone models.
The Pixel 5 is still a fantastic phone
We can’t wait to see what comes of the Pixel 6, but for anyone shopping for a new phone right now, there’s no sense in waiting months and months for it to come out. Instead, just go out and buy the Pixel 5.
The Pixel 5 is a seriously incredible handset, no matter how you slice it. Its 90Hz AMOLED screen looks great, it’s more than fast enough for just about any task you throw at it, and the cameras continue to be nothing short of incredible. And, unlike the Pixel 4, the battery is actually usable.
If you want a premium Android phone without going completely broke, it’s hard to do much better than the Pixel 5.
Google Pixel 5
The best Pixel you can buy right now
We expect the Pixel 6 to be a darn good phone, but if you need something right now, the Pixel 5 has a ton to offer. Whether you’re searching for amazing cameras, a quality display, snappy performance, or reliable battery life, you get all of that with the Pixel 5. And thanks to its $699 price, it’s a lot more affordable than some competing handsets.