The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are finally here. The two new phones offer a unique design, Google’s self-developed chip, and one of the best cameras in the business.
But it can be a little tricky to tell the differences between the Google Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. Both devices have a similar design and similar specs. They’re not even that different in terms of size. So, which one is right for you? We put together this guide to help you determine which phone is better for your needs.
The overall design of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is similar, and as a result, you don’t necessarily need to decide which one to buy based on the way it looks. The Pixel 6 both have a kind of two-tone color-scheme, with the colors separated by a large horizontal camera module that extends across the entire back of the phone.
While the designs of the devices are similar, they’re not the same. The standard Pixel 6 has a little less space above the camera module, and it’s shorter in general. Not only that, but the standard Pixel 6 has a flat display, instead of the slightly curved one found on the Pro. And, the Pixel 6 has a matte frame, instead of the glossy one found on the Pro.
Generally, both phones offer a pretty unique look, and some might not love it. I don’t actually hate it — it takes some getting used to, but lots of phones have large camera modules these days. I got used to the look and feel within a day of using the phones.
Both devices offer an IP68 water-resistance rating, meaning that they both should survive the accidental dunk.
As you would expect, the standard device is smaller than the Pixel 6 Pro. It has a 6.4-inch display, while the Pixel 6 Pro steps things up to a 6.7-inch display. We’ll get into that display quality in the next section.
Speaking of the display, it’s another point of difference between the two phones. The standard Pixel 6, as mentioned, has a 6.4-inch display, with a 1,080p resolution. The Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, steps up its 6.7-inch display to a 1,440p resolution. That means that text should be a little crisper, while images may be slightly more detailed.
It doesn’t make a huge difference in day-to-day life though. We’ve seen the same approach from companies like Samsung, which includes the slightly lower resolution on the standard Galaxy S21. If you really look close, text is a little crisper on the Pixel 6 Pro — but in normal use, you’ll barely notice it.
What may make a bigger difference is the refresh rate, which is different between the two phones. The standard Pixel 6 has a refresh rate that can vary between 60Hz and 90Hz, while the Pro steps that up to up to a 120Hz refresh rate. The Pixel 6 Pro can scale all the way down to 10Hz, which should help preserve the battery, too.
Both devices have a solid display, however the display on the Pixel 6 Pro is definitely better.
Specs and performance
For the first time, a Pixel phone has Google’s own processor in the Tensor chip. According to Google, the Tensor chip is built with AI in mind, and it’s the brains behind many of the new features found on the device.
Coupled with that Tensor chip, the standard device offers 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage, while the Pixel 6 Pro steps that up to 12GB of RAM and either 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage. Both phones should be generally powerful enough for most day-to-day use, so don’t buy the Pro just because it has a little more RAM.
In daily use, the Tensor chip performs quite well. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Apple’s latest and greatest chips, but it can easily handle everything you’ll throw at it in 2021. If you want the extra storage, of course, it’s worth considering the Pixel 6 Pro.
Battery life and charging
Both the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro offer excellent battery life, and they’ll easily get you through a full day of even relatively heavy use. That includes things like mobile gaming. The standard Pixel 6 has a 4,600mAh battery, while the Pixel 6 Pro has a 5,000mAh battery.
Both phones support Qi wireless charging, along with fast charging at up to 30W. That means that you’ll get a relatively versatile charging experience — though faster fast charging might have been helpful. And, both devices also have reverse wireless charging, which allows you to top off your accessories’ batteries. It can really come in handy.
The camera is one of the biggest points of difference between these two phones. On the standard device, you’ll get a dual camera system, while the Pixel 6 Pro steps that up to a triple camera.
On both devices, you’ll get a 50-megapixel Quad Bayer main camera, which has an f/1.85 aperture and supports Super Res Zoom at up to 7x. They also both have a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera with a 114-degree field-of-view, and an f/2.2 aperture.
The Pro adds a third camera sensor, which is a 48-megapixel telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom and up to 20x Super Res Zoom. That’s pretty impressive.
Perhaps more interesting than the camera specs are the camera features. Both devices offer some super interesting features, like the Magic Eraser tool, which can remove objects from the background of an image — including people. It works fine in some situations but fails where you need any detail.
Generally, both devices can capture excellent images. You’ll get that classic Pixxel contrast, and enough versatility for most situations, especially on the Pixel 6 Pro.
There’s very little difference in software between these two phones. Both come with Android 12, support features like Material You, and more.
Both phones will get three years of operating system updates, and five years of security updates. I would have liked to see the phone get more operating system updates, but hopefully, Google will continue to work on improving the longevity of its phones.
Price and availability
Both phones are now available for purchase. The Pixel 6 starts at $599, while the Pro starts at $899. Those are very competitive prices for what’s on offer here.
You can find out more about where to buy the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro here.
There’s no denying that the Pixel 6 Pro is a better phone. It has a higher refresh rate display, an extra camera, and slightly better performance. But it’s also $300 more expensive, and the standard device still has a solid display and a great camera.
Should I buy the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro?
If you want the best, go for the Pro. The extra camera may seriously come in handy, while the higher refresh rate will make for a smoother experience. If you don’t mind sacrificing the extra camera, save your money and go for the standard Pixel 6, which still performs excellently and offers some super-smart camera features.