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New Pixel 6 leak hints at an exciting camera upgrade

Updated Jun 18th, 2021 4:10AM EDT

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If all goes according to plan, Google should unveil the Pixel 6 in late September o early October, which is the usual launch window for Google’s Pixel flagships. But we won’t have to wait until then to know everything there is to know about the handset. Google’s phones are usually the worst-kept secrets in the industry, with the recent Pixel models having leaked well ahead of their launch. The Pixel 6 is no different, as we think we already know what Google has in store for fans this year.

A series of leaks from well-known sources have already painted the same Pixel 6 picture. Google will launch two Pixel 6 versions this fall, both sporting the same radical design. The phones will have the same all-screen hole-punch design on the front. It’s the back that the Pixel 6 will stand out from the crowd thanks to a massive camera module that will extend across the entire width. A recent case leak seemed to confirm the design leaks were real or that the unnamed case manufacturer created the accessory based on the leaked render. But we now have a second leaked Pixel 6 case leak that seems to deliver great news about the Pixel 6 cameras.

Spotted on Weibo, the images below show the purported cases for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro:

Pixel 6 Pro Case Leak
Pixel 4 case (left) next to purported Pixel 6 case (middle) and Pixel 6 Pro case (right). Image source: Weibo

The case design indicates that the large horizontal camera bump seen in all those renders is real and that Google will offer a unique approach to the camera bump. Ultimately, this is a minor detail. Camera bumps are here to stay, no matter where they’re placed. The compromise is worth it, as the camera experience matters more than the form factor.

Unlike the clear Pixel 6 case leak that we saw a few days ago, this one might do an even better job at protecting the camera bump, as it features openings for each camera element present on the back of the phone rather than a larger opening.

Pixel 6 Pro Case Leak
Leaked Pixel 6 Pro case showing camera module cutouts as seen from the inside. Image source: Weibo

If the cases are based on accurate Pixel 6 design information, they might confirm previous rumors that the Pixel 6 Pro would feature a third camera. Google has resisted adding a third camera to its Pixel phones for a few years, despite the obvious trend in the industry. On the other hand, plenty of mid-range phones with triple-lens cameras use that third lens as a marketing gimmick. Buyers expect to see three lenses on the back, and vendors deliver them.

For Google to make the jump to three cameras, it must mean the company has found a solid reason to explain the upgrade, beyond industry pressure. That third sensor might be a telephoto lens that can improve zoom, but that’s just speculation at this point. Google will probably enhance the Pixel photography experience with the help of its computational photography powers that turned the Pixel into one of the key cameras in the smartphone industry.

The sizes of leaked Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro cases compared to Pixel 4 case. Image source: Weibo

Aside from seemingly confirming the Pixel 6 Pro will have three lenses on the back, the cases also provide another unusual detail. The Pixel 6 has two identical circular cutouts for its two cameras, whereas the Pixel 6’s circular cutouts differ in size. Pixel 6 camera specs might further explain these cases, but they’ve yet to leak in full.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.