Pixel 6 & Pixel 6 Pro hands-on: Google smartphones with Tensor SoC and new camera

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With the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Google heralds the departure from Qualcomm and instead relies on its own chip, which has been optimized especially for AI-supported tasks. The smartphones, in turn, have a completely new design, new cameras, larger batteries and Android 12. It starts at 649 and 899 euros.

Table of contents

  1. 1 Google smartphones with Tensor SoC and new camera
    1. Tensor is Google's own smartphone SoC
    2. The TPU translates languages ​​in real time
    3. < li>Transcript function expanded to include German

    4. The new design of Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
    5. The new camera with 50 megapixels
    6. The “magic eraser” for photos
    7. Motion mode ensures blurring
    8. Real Tone ensures realistic skin tones
  2. 2 displays, batteries, prices and Android updates
    1. OLED screens with 6.4 and 6.7 inches
    2. Larger batteries with up to 5,000 mAh
    3. Ultra broadband only for the Pixel 6 Pro
    4. Five new color combinations
    5. Bose headphones for pre-orderers
    6. Prices and storage capacities
    7. Android 12 with three and five year updates
    8. Technical data of Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

Tensor is Google's own smartphone SoC

There is movement in the smartphone market again. Apple and Samsung have been using their own chips for some time, Qualcomm wants to develop custom CPUs again and Google is now switching to its own Tensor SoC. Tensor is Google's first complete smartphone SoC, but not the first Google chip for smartphones at all. Google has already gained experience with the Pixel Visual Core (PVC) and the Titan chip for security. These findings come together in the Tensor SoC and are combined with a separate layout for CPU and GPU. Google did not want to reveal all the details about the chip in advance, for example details about the production, which is presumably based on Samsung's 5 nm node, as well as the 5G modem, which is also a model from Samsung.

Two ARM Cortex-X1 as prime cores

It is known that Google relies on an idiosyncratic CPU with two ARM Cortex-X1 with up to 2.8 GHz, two Cortex-A76 with up to 2.25 GHz and four Cortex-A55 with up to 1.8 GHz. In the area of ​​the GPU, Google also uses ARM and uses the Mali-G78 in a configuration with 20 execution units. The package is combined with fast LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1, which is 8 GB or 12 GB or 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB, depending on the selected Pixel 6. In view of the many standard ARM components, the layout of the chip is really “custom” rather than individual logic areas.

The TPU migrates from the cloud to the smartphone

An exception, however, is the mobile tensor processing unit (TPU) for AI-supported tasks. The ASIC is used to handle machine learning workloads for Google products such as translators, photos, search or the assistant. Previously to be found in Google's data centers as “Cloud TPU”, there is now a small portion of this service locally on the smartphone in order to accelerate the corresponding tasks. These tasks should be carried out faster, but also more efficiently and thus save the battery.

Google Tensor (image: Google)

The TPU translates languages ​​in real time

Specifically for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, these advanced AI capabilities of the TPU mean that, for example, messages in foreign languages ​​can be translated live in both directions. For example, you can use the Android Messages, WhatsApp, Signal, Line, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Messenger Lite, Google Chat, GroupMe and Snapchat applications to talk to people whose language you don't actually understand. The feature works in English, French, Japanese, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Hindi, Polish, and Russian. The live translation for subtitles in the languages ​​English, French, German, Italian and Japanese (beta) can be used within the media.

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Live translation in news apps
Live translation in news apps
< img src = "/wp-content/uploads/69cfbc6858e547671ac9f082b0526f51.jpg" /> Live translation in the camera app
Google Assistant interpreter mode

The live translation within the camera at Google Lens and in the interpreter mode of the Google Assistant also runs via the TPU. With Google Lens, menus and signs are translated in real time in the camera viewfinder. Google Lens supports 55 languages ​​offline and 104 languages ​​online. The Google Assistant's interpreter mode, on the other hand, can be started using the “Be my interpreter” command. English, Japanese and German are supported offline and 48 languages ​​online.

Transcript function expanded to include German

Google has redesigned the voice recorder app exclusively for the Pixel 6 (Pro), whose transcript function can now also be used in German, French and Japanese in addition to English . The app automatically creates a transcript for voice recordings, which can then be searched. The language of the transcript can be switched between the supported languages ​​during the recording.

The new design of Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

With the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, a completely new design from Google is celebrating its premiere. The company now has increased premium standards for its own smartphones again, after the last pixel generations were designed to be more functional. The new model series relies on colored glass for the back, which is traversed by a new “camera bar”. The back of the Pixel 6 is made of Gorilla Glass 6, and the Pixel 6 Pro is made of Gorilla Glass Victus. Both Pixel 6s are held together by an aluminum frame, which is matt on the Pixel 6 and glossy on the Pixel 6 Pro. The camera bar looks bigger in pictures than it feels in real life. Because this element stretches across the entire width of the smartphone, it naturally takes up more space. This construction is not only advantageous because it looks unique, but also because the smartphone can no longer tip sideways on the table.

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< figure> Quartet of two Pixel 6 and two Pixel 6 Pro
Pixel 6 Pro in” Stormy Black “
Pixel 6 Pro in” Stormy Black “and Pixel 6 in” Kinda Coral “
Pixel 6 in” Kinda Coral “
Pixel 6 Pro (Stormy Black), Pixel 6 (Kinda Coral), Pixel 6 (Sorta Seafoam), Pixel 6 Pro (Cloudy White)
Pixel 5 next to Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
Pixel 5 next to Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
Pixel 6 in “Kinda Coral” next to Pixel 6 Pro in “Stormy Black”

The new camera with 50 megapixels

Inside the camera module there are two cameras on the Pixel 6 and three cameras on the Pixel 6 Pro. Both smartphones have a new main camera with a 50 megapixel sensor in common, which based on the key data is likely to be the GN1 from Samsung. The 1/1.31 & quot; The large sensor has 1.2 μm pixels, which Google always uses in the 4-to-1 binning process, so that the image is output with 12.5 megapixels. In contrast to the smartphones from Samsung itself or Xiaomi, there is no way to deactivate binning. Google therefore sometimes speaks of 2.4 μm pixels. The main camera is equipped with an optical image stabilizer (OIS) and an aperture of f/1.85 with a detection angle of 82 degrees.

Ultra wide angle camera for both pixels 6

The second camera that both smartphones have in common is the one for ultra-wide-angle shots with a detection angle of 114 degrees. In this camera, Google installed a smaller sensor with 12 megapixels and a pixel size of 1.25 μm. An automatic lens correction is carried out for photos, so that the usual distortions due to the ultra-wide-angle lens do not occur in the edge area.

Telephoto only for pixel 6 Pro

The third camera is exclusive to the Pixel 6 Pro. This is a telephoto with 4x optical magnification compared to the main camera. The 48 megapixel sensor is 1/2 & quot; and the pixel size is 0.8 μm. With this camera, too, Google always carries out pixel binning, so that 1.6 μm pixels were mentioned in advance with the manufacturer. The image output of this camera is accordingly carried out with 12 megapixels. The third camera works with f/3.5, has a detection angle of 23.5 degrees and is also supported by an OIS. Including Google's AI-supported super-resolution zoom, the telephoto can take pictures with up to 20x magnification. The smaller Pixel 6 offers up to 7x super-resolution zoom via the main camera.

Video recordings in up to 4K60 with stabilization

Again, both smartphones have all the other features around the rear cameras in common. These include a laser autofocus sensor as well as a spectral and flicker sensor, the option for RAW recordings in DNG file format, video recordings in up to 4K with 60 FPS with HDR and including video stabilization and the numerous camera modes such as the well-known night vision mode, dual exposure ( Brightness and shadow can be regulated separately) or the portrait mode.

The “magic eraser” for photos

With the Pixel 6 (Pro), Google is introducing a number of other modes that are handled via the TPU. The first to be mentioned is the “Magic Eraser”, which can be used to “magically” remove objects from the image within the Google Photos app – for example people, objects or things such as electricity pylons, cars and shadows. If you switch to editing in the Photos app and then to “Adjust”, the “Magic Eraser” is only available on the Pixel 6 (Pro) and automatically suggests objects that should potentially be removed. These can be removed from the image with a fingertip, alternatively lenses can be marked by hand and then removed. Google explains that the mode works best when removing distracting elements in the background and in scenes such as beaches or parks.

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser

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Pixels 6 and pixels 6 Pro – Magic Eraser
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser

< figure> Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser

< figure> Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – Magic Eraser

Motion mode provides blurring

The motion mode with the functions action photo with panning effect and long exposure is also new for both smartphones. The panning action photo focuses on the moving subject and adds a blur to the background. With long exposure, the game rotates and the moving subjects are blurred. The action photo works particularly well with cars, trains, bicycles and other means of transport, the long exposure especially at busy intersections and places with a lot of movement.

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – motion mode

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Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – motion mode
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – movement mode
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – movement mode
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – movement mode
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – movement mode
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – movement mode
< img src = "/wp-content/uploads/3429c00c905ad9f36ddd245748a11dd8.jpg" /> Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – motion mode
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – motion mode
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – movement mode
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – movement mode

< figure> Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – movement mode

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – movement mode
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – motion mode

Real Tone ensures realistic skin tones

With the Pixel 6 (Pro) with “Real Tone”, a general adjustment of the camera is also introduced, which users in Western Europe in particular should not always have on the screen. Google is addressing the problem that cameras tend to be better suited to people with white skin and produce poorer or falsified results with darker skin tones. Real Tone was developed with a variety of industry experts and photographers, according to Google, to fine-tune the camera's automatic white balance, exposure control, and flare-light algorithms so that the shots are realistic for every person and skin tone. This function cannot be deactivated because Google has integrated Real Tone into the central camera algorithms to ensure that the camera shows the nuances of different skin tones for all people worldwide.

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – sample photos

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Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (Real Tone)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (Real Tone)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (Real Tone)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (Real Tone)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (Real Tone)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (Real Tone)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (Real Tone)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (Real Tone)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (Real Tone)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (portrait mode)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (portrait mode)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (portrait mode)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (portrait mode)
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (ultra wide angle)

< figure> Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (ultra wide angle)

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (ultra wide angle)
Pixel 6 Pro (front camera)

The next page of the article covers displays, batteries, connectivity, colors, prices, and Android and security updates for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

On the next First page: Displays, batteries, prices and Android updates