The Google Pixel 6 - or at least the rumored Pixel 6 Pro - could be the most exciting Pixel phone in years, judging by the leaks and news we've heard, which suggests this upcoming Android phone could have a radical new design.
That's not the only interesting thing about it though, as the Google Pixel 6 range is also rumored to pack an in-house chipset for the first time - one that we haven't seen in any other phone.
We might not have too much longer to wait for the Google Pixel 6 range either, as while the exact release date is unknown, it's likely to land in or around October, possibly alongside Android 12.
Already though leakers have gone to town on the Google Pixel 6, and we're hearing new information about the device all the time. You can scroll on down for all the important information we've heard so far, including some pretty out-there Pixel 6 renders.
We've also collected a wish-list about the Google Pixel 6, which we drew up before the leaks had started.
Expect to learn more about the Google Pixel 6 as the months go on, and we'll be keeping this article updated, so check back regularly.
Google's CEO Sundar Pichai has mentioned its upcoming hardware and said to expect "deep technology investments" to come to fruition with the Google Pixel 6.
Google Pixel 6: cut to the chase
- What is it? Google's next flagship phone
- When is it out? Expect it toward the end of 2021
- How much will it cost? Around $699 / £599 / AU$999
Google Pixel 6 release date and price
The only Pixel 6 release date rumor so far says to expect it in October, but that it could slip to November if there's a chipset shortage.
That makes sense, as we'd expect the phone to come out towards the end of 2021, based on Google's flagship trends. October is most likely the best bet, even without this rumor.
With regards to price, that's a bit harder to guess, because while the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 were more premium offerings, the Pixel 5 is a mid-ranged phone, and we don't know if Google will stick in that price range or return to the top end.
For reference, the Pixel 5 cost $699 / £599 / AU$999 so maybe we could see a similar price again. That said, given that there are rumors of the Pixel 6 Pro as well, we might see both a mid-range Pixel 6 and a high-end Pro model, with the latter probably costing a lot more than the Pixel 5.
Design and display
We've had our first look at the possible design of the Pixel 6, courtesy of unofficial renders based on leaked images.
You can see one of these below, and it's a big change if accurate. The renders show a camera block that runs across the width of the back, jutting out, and a three-tone color scheme.
The bezels are thin, the punch-hole selfie camera is central, and the source claims that in addition to the colors shown below, there will be a champagne gold model and a white one. They also say that there's an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and that the back is made of glass.
There's also apparently a Google Pixel 6 Pro - in fact that's what the render below shows, but other than the number of cameras (two rear ones on the Pixel 6 and three on the Pro) and possibly the color choices, the two look basically identical in this leak.
Since that first glimpse at the design, another leaker has shared a second look at the Pixel 6 Pro, in unofficial renders that look near identical to the one above - though the design is perhaps slightly more angular here, and the bottom bezel looks as though it might be slightly bigger. There's also more detail in the camera block.
You can see one of these more recent renders below, and the source also shared some details, claiming that the Google Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.67-inch curved AMOLED display, and dimensions of 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm (with an 11.5mm camera bump).
The source also claims that the Google Pixel 6 Pro has dual stereo speakers, but that's to be expected on a premium phone.
We've also heard from another source that Google will be using this design. They shared a leaked case which shows this camera bump too, providing yet more evidence that the company will go ahead with this look.
Another case leak has also emerged, showing the possible design of both the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. It more or less matches the leaks above, but the cases are shown here alongside a case for the 6.3-inch Pixel 4 XL, with the Pixel 6's being almost identical in size.
And yet another case has also been spotted, but this one is available to buy and Phandroid did just that. The site claims that the case (for the Pixel 6 Pro) is around the same size as the OnePlus 9 Pro, so big but not overly enormous.
The cut-outs on the camera module don't quite match the case above, but that's because fewer, larger holes have been used here so that multiple lenses or sensors can fit in one gap. Otherwise, the design is very similar.
Elsewhere, we've heard that color options might not quite match those seen in renders so far, with another leaker saying to expect a peach, sand and pink three-tone option, along with a silver and black one, and a green model.
The same source has also said that the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 120Hz QHD screen, while the Pixel 6 will have a smaller (possibly 6.4-inch) FHD flat screen with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Elsewhere, we've heard that the apparently final screen specs (as of July 2021) will be a 6.4-inch AMOLED display for the Pixel 6 and a 6.71-inch plastic OLED one for the Pixel 6 Pro.
Camera and battery
Based on renders, it seems the Pixel 6 will likely have a dual-lens rear camera, with the Pixel 6 Pro having a triple-lens one. Additionally, one source claims that the Pro model will have both a 'primary wide-angle camera' and a 'periscope telephoto camera'. They don't name the third sensor, but it's likely to be an ultra-wide.
We've heard the periscope could support either 4.4x or 5x optical zoom, matching the Huawei Mate 40 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra if the latter spec is correct.
Indeed, elsewhere we've heard to expect a 50MP main camera with a larger sensor than on the Pixel 5, plus an 8MP periscope snapper with 5x optical zoom, and an ultra-wide camera.
Interestingly, leaked case images (above) suggest that the Pixel 6 Pro might also have a different secondary lens to the Pixel 6, as the cut-out is smaller on the case for the Pro model. It's not clear how they would differ though.
These cases and other leaks also suggest that it's the periscope camera that the standard Pixel 6 will lack, as such a snapper is usually square, and there's no sign of a square one on any Pixel 6 images.
That's backed up by a more recent leak, which points to the Pixel 6 having a 50MP main and 12MP ultra-wide camera, while the Pixel 6 Pro apparently has both of those along with a 48MP telephoto one. This source also claims that the Pixel 6 has an 8MP selfie camera while the Pixel 6 Pro has a 12MP one.
Code in the Google camera app meanwhile suggests that the front-facing camera on the Pixel 6 might support 4K video recording, which is higher resolution than most selfie cameras can get.
We've also seen a Google patent, detailing a possible future phone that doesn't have a visible selfie camera.
While the patent doesn't explain how this is achieved, it looks likely that the camera would be underneath the screen, as we've now seen on the ZTE Axon 20 5G. A more recent patent also talks about an under-display selfie camera, but we'd think if anything the Pixel 7, not the Pixel 6, will get this technology, since leaked Pixel 6 renders show a visible selfie camera.
As for the battery, a source claims the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 5,000mAh one, with the Pixel 6 having a smaller one. Elsewhere we've heard the same claim, but this leak details the Pixel 6's battery too, saying that it's 4,614mAh.
We've also heard that - unsurprisingly - the phones will support wireless charging.
They might support faster wireless charging than the 12W offered by the Pixel 5 though, as evidence of a new wireless charger has been found in Android 12 code, and there's mention of fans - a feature which helps keep the phone and charger cool when pumping out lots of power.
Specs and features
Not a feature as such, but there's growing evidence that there could be two Pixel 6 models, as since news and images of the Pixel 6 Pro appeared, a mention of two different codenames and model numbers associated with the Pixel 6 range has been spotted in Android 12 beta code. There's the Oriole, with the model number GR1YH, and the Raven, with the model number GF5KQ.
In earlier Android 12 code there were also two hints of possible Google Pixel 6 features. One of these is the existence of a one-handed mode, which further suggests a Pixel 6 XL or Pro could be on the way, as a non-XL phone wouldn't necessitate such a feature.
The other is the possibility of an in-screen fingerprint scanner, something Google hasn't used before in its smartphones. A second Android 12 developer beta has turned up more evidence of an in-screen fingerprint scanner, so this is now looking more likely, especially as some of the renders above also show one.
In terms of specs, the Pixel 6 may use an in-house chipset going by the codename of Whitechapel. This is rumored to be in the works for the phone and co-developed by Samsung.
Rumors around this chip are gaining momentum, and we've now heard that it could be a 5nm chipset with a focus on AI and machine learning. However, it sounds like it won't match the best Android chipsets for performance, with a source claiming it will basically slot between the top-end Snapdragon 888 and the older Snapdragon 865 in terms of power.
Another source has echoed these claims, saying that it rivals the Snapdragon 870 for power - a chipset that's high-end but not top-end. They added that its GPU performs well under stress.
On top of all that, in July 2021 Sundar Pichai - CEO of Google - said the company would be including "deep technology investments on its upcoming hardware. It's thought that he was referring to this Whitechapel project, and it may be our best sign yet that this is happening.
We've also heard that the Pixel 6 might have 8GB of RAM and a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage, with the Pixel 6 Pro upping the RAM to 12GB and offering 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. Additionally, this source claims that the two phones will get at least five years of software updates, which is far more than other Android devices.
Finally, we've heard the Pixel 6 could have UWB, or ultra-wideband technology. This is a short-range communications function that lets devices talk to each other if they're nearby - it can be useful for location tracking, so maybe the Pixel 6 will have some new feature regarding this?
Will there be a Google Pixel 6 Pro or Pixel 6 XL?
Each generation of Google Pixel phones used to have two devices - a standard and an XL model which had the same specs but a bigger screen and battery. Since the Pixel 4a we haven't seen an XL model (not including the Pixel 4a 5G, which doesn't really fit the pattern), but some people think the big-body phone is coming back.
In particular, leakers have been reporting on a Pixel 6 Pro that sounds to be coming. We've seen design renders and case leaks showing a phone with loads of rear cameras, which also seems to be slightly bigger than the 'standard' Pixel 6.
Well, when we first wrote this article we thought it'd be the 'Pro', but it seems like that's wrong, as Google itself has referred to the Google Pixel 6 XL in official documentation.
We'll have to wait for the phone to be unveiled before we're certain it's coming, but the more time goes on, the more a Google Pixel 6 Pro seems likely.
Google Pixel 6: what we want to see
While we wait for further Google Pixel 6 leaks, we've pulled together some improvements we're hoping to see from the company for its next smartphone.
1. A more inspired design
The Google Pixel 5 wasn't the most interesting-looking smartphone in the world - in fact, some would go as far as calling it 'boring' as a standard 'chocolate-bar'-looking handset.
Pixel phones have never been real lookers, but we'd like to see a Pixel 6 that was a little more memorable. Months before the Pixel 5 launch we saw an intriguing render that was as divisive as it was distinct, but it got people talking, which is more than you can say for the Pixel 5.
2. A telephoto camera
Google Pixel phones have made a name for themselves by being great camera phones, but recent devices from the company don't actually have telephoto lenses, meaning all zooming is digital. That's essentially just cropping.
This means zoom pictures tend to have lower resolutions and therefore look grainy, and it stops you zooming in as far using the camera app itself.
We'd like to see Google bring telephoto cameras back to the Pixel line so we can take better zoom shots with the phones.
3. Compact form factors
The earliest few generations of Google Pixel smartphone were pretty small, so they were easy to use one-handed, fit in pockets well, and felt comfortable in the hand for people with smaller palms.
That hasn't been the case for the brand's 2020 smartphones as much, but we'd love to see a return to smaller devices. The compact phone (or 'small phone') market is severely lacking, and Google could really corner it if it wanted.
4. More processing power
One of the main differences between older Pixel flagships, and the Pixel 5, was the choice to use a mid-range chipset instead of a top-end one. That's a fair decision in theory - not everyone needs top processing power, and most people can make do with middling power.
However, the Pixel 5 didn't have 'middling power' as it was pretty weak. In our benchmark tests it performed poorly, and it didn't always handle gaming well.
We'd like to see Google improve the performance of its phones, whether that's by using better chipsets, or by using mid-range processors with better optimizations.
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