As we’ve seen with almost all recent Google hardware, plenty of tidbits, snippets, and information is coming to light way ahead of any proposed launch for the next flagship Pixel devices. Although it’s fairly early, we’ve been sifting through the growing pile of Google Pixel 6 rumors, and here’s everything we currently know.
With all product release cycles, it’s tough to be 100% certain just what is coming but even at this early stage, we’re lucky to even have a faint idea of what the Pixel 6 series might provide.
Video – Pixel 6 series: everything we currently know
While previous years were easier to decipher and understand, let’s file the Made by Google 2020 lineup under “confusing and convoluted.” Things are returning to “organized and clear” for 2021 with regard to the flagship Pixel 6 series. There will be two smartphones: the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 “Pro” – which could be “Pixel 6 XL” but the “Pro” naming convention has been touted at this stage.
Alongside the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the 5a 5G will complete the lineup for late 2021. This is infinitely more streamlined than last year. At least we know that the flagship Pixel 6 will come in two distinct flavors, with a mid-range Pixel 5a 5G also available to pick up. It’s still odd, but not as odd as having a mid-range flagship Pixel 5 that is technically just as powerful as the Pixel 4a 5G.
As is often the case, everything points toward two distinct device size for the Pixel 6 series, and courtesy of leaks, we at least know dimensions. We’re still not sure if the larger Pixel 6 will be called the “Pixel 6 Pro,” but it’s the larger of the duo. The Pixel 6 will be similar in size to that of the Pixel 3 XL, while the Pro will be the largest Pixel to date:
- Pixel 6 – 158.6mm x 74.8mm x 8.9mm
- Pixel 6 Pro — 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm
Those dimensions might not be easily decipherable to many of you out there, but in simple terms, this equates to a 6.4-inch display on the standard Pixel 6, while the Pixel 6 Pro will pack in a 6.67-inch display. In 2020, we saw lots of complaints about the lack of a “large” flagship Pixel. In 2021, it looks like large is the name of the game with regard to the Pixel 6 and the mammoth Pro model.
After a few years of experimentation, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro look as though they will pay homage to the classic two-tone Pixel series aesthetic and even a nod to the Nexus 6P’s old visor rear camera bump. The result is something quite dramatically different but with a very faint hint of the original flavoring thrown in.
We’re not sure of the color options, but early renders have showcased a red, black, and white scheme that will certainly be eye-catching if it turns out to be a true representation of what will be arriving later this fall. Glass and metal appear to be returning, laying waste to the bio-resin finish atop an aluminum chassis found on the Pixel 5.
It also looks like the upper left squircle camera bump is being ditched in favor of a Galaxy S10-like visor for the first time since the Nexus 6P, as we mentioned. This raised portion of the rear panel will host all of the camera lenses plus an LED flash with soft curves into the side seams of the chassis.
At the front, the Pixel 6 looks set to sport a flat 6.4-inch AMOLED display, while the 6.67-inch display on the Pixel 6 Pro will include curved edges. That’s not all, as the punch-hole notch is also set to move from the upper-left to a centrally placed home at the upper reaches of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro displays. You might also notice that there is no rear placed fingerprint scanner, which also hints that we might see an in-display fingerprint scanner on the Pixel series for the first time with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
Everything we currently know about the Pixel 6 series effectively began with the chipset. It stands to reason as the usage of a custom “Whitechapel” chipset made for Google by Samsung is one of the biggest talking points of the upcoming Pixel series. Undoubtedly this is a great move, but before we all get too excited, it looks as though the “GS101” chip inside the Pixel 6 won’t be quite as powerful as some of you out there may hope.
The earliest rumors suggested that the chip we have come to know as GS101 would feature a three-cluster design with two Cortex-A78 cores, two Cortex-A76 cores, and four Cortex-A55 cores. Despite Whitechapel’s strong relationship to Exynos, there aren’t any Exynos chips that match this design.
Early estimates suggest that the Whitechapel chip will offer performance levels similar to that of the Pixel 5’s Snapdragon 765G, but other reports have suggested that PVT units are achieving performance levels “closer to that of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870.” If this is true, it would put the GS101 chip way above the Pixel 5 and the decidedly mid-range Snapdragon 765G processor. That said, it would still lag behind the Snapdragon 888 found in the likes of the Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 series.
On the graphics side of things, the GS101 chip will use a GPU based on Arm’s “Valhall” architecture. So far, only a handful of GPUs have been announced with the Valhall design, including the high-end Mali-G77 and Mali-G78, as well as the new mid-range Mali-G68.
This would make for a significant shift from the norm in the US, as many phones built with Snapdragon chips, including Google’s Pixel series, use Qualcomm’s internally developed Adreno GPUs. Often this is a major performance benefit, as the Adreno series typically has performed better than its Mali alternatives.
While this has historically been the case, the gap has been closed somewhat in recent years. Benchmarks comparing the Exynos and Snapdragon versions of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, the Snapdragon 888’s Adreno 660, and the Exynos 2100’s Mali-G78 show that the GPUs offer almost identical real-world performance. That does mean that there is little cause for concern with the Pixel 6 series.
So, we know the chipset, but what about the other specifications? Unfortunately, this is where we get into the murky realm of speculation. That said, we have gleaned some information about a couple of potential Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro features, which hints at wider hardware improvements.
Wireless charging has been a mainstay of the Pixel series since the release of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. This also saw the launch of the first Pixel Stand. Courtesy of Android 12 Beta 2, we found that Google is working on a new Pixel Stand that will include a fan. That alone isn’t really that noteworthy, but this does potentially imply that this new Qi charger will provide cooling, which is required when charging at faster speeds.
A classic example of this is the 50W Wireless Warp Charger used by the OnePlus 9 Pro. It requires a fan to ensure that the back of your device stays cool when topping up at such speeds. It’s not exactly proof that the Pixel 6 series will support faster wireless charging speeds than 10W, but it does hint that higher wattage speeds may be possible with the new charging dock.
Given everything we already know about previous Pixel internals and the incremental updates with each release, it would be fairly safe to assume that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will have at least 6GB of RAM. The Pixel 5 did ship with 8GB of RAM, which could be another good barometer of what the Pixel 6 series will bring to the table.
The Pixel 5 was the first Made by Google smartphone to break the 4,000mAh battery barrier, and so we are hopeful that both devices will at least match or exceed this capacity. Battery longevity has often been a sore point, but the efforts with the previous Pixel and the A-Series has proven that Google is capable of making devices that last all day.
The Sony IMX363 that the Pixel has relied on since 2018 is now a little long in the tooth. We’d love to tell you that a newer sensor is set to be slapped inside the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but at this stage we simply do not know. However, the leaked renders hint that we might see some upgrades to the optics of the upcoming duo.
The early renders hint at two slightly different camera setups on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, respectively. This would mimic how Apple approaches camera setups on their iPhone series, and so it’s not new in the smartphone space. That said, the Pixel 6 may come sporting a dual camera setup at the rear, whereas the Pixel 6 Pro may gain an extra lens for a triple camera setup.
Breaking it down, it would be fair to suggest that both devices will include a main wide and ultra-wide — as seen on the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. The renders of the Pixel 6 Pro show what looks very much like a rectangular-shaped periscope-style zoom lens. This would be a huge introduction, but it’s still worth noting that none of these details are yet confirmed.
We do know that the selfie camera will be capable of recording 4K UHD video at 60fps for the first time, which also hints at some tweaks to the front-facing camera. For reference, 8.3-megapixels is required for video to be rated 4K UHD.
Given previous timeframes, Google’s best Android phone of the year releases in the fall as part of a larger “Made by Google” event. While most Pixel phone events have happened in early October, last year’s “Launch Night In” featuring the Pixel 5 actually took place on September 30.
Following this formal announcement, it took a further two weeks after the official reveal for Pixel 5 devices to begin reaching customers in selected regions before a wider release in late October for other regions. For now, there’s no way to truly nail down the reveal date or release date for the Pixel 6, but leaning on tradition, sometime in October would be a safe bet.
At this early stage, we simply have no idea of what to expect with regard to Pixel 6 pricing. We’ve seen prices fluctuate in previous years, with the Pixel 5 being fairly cheap at $699/£599 compared to the $799 Pixel 4 and $899 Pixel 4 XL.
However, considering that this is a return to the previous little and large device release, we would imagine that the Pixel 6 prices will be roughly in that same ballpark, if not a little higher. That said, we simply don’t know for certain at this early stage.
What do you hope to see from the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro?
It feels like a long time away, but the late-2021 Made by Google launch event will come around quickly. What would you like to see from the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro? Let us know down in the comments section below.
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