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5 reasons to get the regular Pixel 6 instead of the Pixel 6 Pro

Google Pixel 6 Camera Bar Angle
Google Pixel 6 Camera Bar Angle (Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

For most people, the base model Pixel 6 will be more than enough smartphone.

In years past, Google would launch a regular Pixel phone and an "XL" version — effectively the same phone in two sizes. This year, with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the divide is more based upon price and what you actually want out of a handset. The Pixel 6 Pro is the all-singing, all-dancing Google flagship, and it's priced as such. But the regular Pixel 6 offers just about all the core features of its big brother, and the $599 starting price is an incredibly tempting proposition for one of the best Android phones around.

In fact, for most people, the less expensive Pixel could be the better buy this year. So if you're not ready to blow almost $900 on the Pro, here are a few reasons why the regular Pixel 6 could be the phone for you.

Google Pixel 6 Material You Pink Theme

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

1. No real difference in performance

All of Google's Pixel 6 phones are powered by the same high-end Tensor processor, produced by the company in partnership with Samsung. That means for general day-to-day performance, you'll have exactly the same horsepower at your disposal with a Pixel 6 as you would with the Pro. So whether you're gaming, casually scrolling through Twitter, or using unique AI features like live translation, the smaller and cheaper phone will perform just as well as its more expensive sibling.

Same Tensor chip, same top-notch performance.

And when it comes to displays, although the Pixel 6 Pro boasts a faster 120Hz refresh rate, we haven't noticed any difference in perceived speed or performance compared to the vanilla Pixel 6. Even using both phones side by side, the regular Pixel 6 still feels like a speedy phone. That's not too surprising given the diminishing returns you often see with the jump from 90 to 120Hz.

Google Pixel 6 Camera Bar

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

2. The same great camera setup — mostly

The main trade-off here is the lack of a dedicated telephoto camera compared to the Pixel 6 Pro. And there's an ever-so-slightly weaker front camera without a wide-angle selfie option which is also no great loss for most people. But chances are you can get by without both of these, and the large 50-megapixel main sensor of the Pixel 6 is perfectly capable of taking stunning zoomed shots at 2-3X thanks to its sheer resolution. Plus, for portrait shots, you'll be using the primary sensor anyway, punching in around 2X for background-blurred close-ups.

Otherwise, you're looking at an almost identical camera setup. The Pixel 6 packs the same 50-megapixel main and 12-megapixel ultrawide cameras as the Pro. So you'll take the same amazing photos with both handsets, while benefiting from the same AI-powered photographic features like motion blur and face unblur.

3. A smaller, less slippery form factor

The Pixel 6 isn't exactly small, but it is smaller than the 6 Pro, which is a pretty humongous handset. The difference between a 6.4-inch display and a 6.7-inch display, for some people, will mean the difference between using a phone with relative comfort and struggling with one-handed use throughout its lifespan. Having used both side by side, I can attest that the chunkier side walls and smaller size do indeed make the regular Pixel 6 easier to one hand.

Google Pixel 6 + 6 Pro

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

Part of that is down to the use of a flat display in this model. Like all smartphones with curved OLED screens, the Pixel 6 Pro gives you less space to hold onto along the sides, compounding the aforementioned reachability issues. So unless you're a fan of very large phones, the smaller Pixel may be the one for you this year.

4. It's way cheaper

The $300 price difference is half the cost of another Pixel 6.

The $300 price difference between the base model Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is a sizable chunk of change. On the other hand, it's half the price of the vanilla Pixel 6. Now, the Pixel 6 Pro isn't a bad deal, and in fact, represents way better value than a lot of big-name Android flagships. But considering the hardware similarities between the smaller Pixel 6 and the Pro, I couldn't blame you if you decided the $300 mark-up isn't worth it — especially when so much of the core experience of the big-boy Google phone can also be found on the standard Pixel 6.

Whether you're paying up-front or financing the phone through a carrier service plan, you'll get more bang for your buck with the regular Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6 Hold Back

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

5. More color!

If you're a fan of color in your smartphones, as usual, the smaller Pixel is where it's at. This year, both of the bolder hues are exclusive to the regular Pixel 6, with the Pro offering a pair of more ostentatious color options instead. Of course, black is always an option whichever Pixel you choose, but chances are you'll want one of the more vibrant Pixel 6 variants in "sorta seafoam" or "kinda coral."

If you need color in your life — and your phone — the vanilla Pixel 6 has more a more vibrant palette to choose from.

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex is global Executive Editor for Android Central, and is usually found in the UK. He has been blogging since before it was called that, and currently most of his time is spent leading video for AC, which involves pointing a camera at phones and speaking words at a microphone. He would just love to hear your thoughts at alex@androidcentral.com, or on the social things at @alexdobie.

16 Comments
  • Base one of the reasons for purchasing on COLOR? If people are seriously worried about the color of their phone then skin it ever other month and get whatever color you desire. Most people should be able to look at the two, know the differences and make a decision based on their wants, needs and money. Pretty simple decision for most; I would hope.
  • One of the main reasons I chose the pixel 6 over the pro was color options. Everyone has different tastes and different perspectives and I think color options are a definite reason to want the regular 6 over the pro.
  • Yes colors is actually a reason to buy a phone, I guess that's breaking news to you
  • I got the pro, but if they had the regular 6 in the same orange they had the 4 in, I would have gone that route. The gains in the pro are just too few to give up an aesthetic I enjoy :)
  • Who gives a crap what reasons people buy a phone 🤡
  • They are really pushing the pixel 6... You should wait 2 months and then decide unless you really need a phone right now.
  • As much as I want to jump now. I'll wait a few weeks and see if there are any deals come Black Friday. If there are I might get one. As of now my Pixel 3xl is just a year old and has 12 already on it. I'm good for now not needing to change yet.
  • If it helps, google store credit (through syncrony) has 30 day price protection. So if you buy from the google store on their store credit (2 years, no interest) and they DO drop the price on black friday, you just have to call syncrony and they'll credit you the difference. I bought my 4XL the first week of november in 2019 and got the difference when they dropped the price $200. My account for the 6 was charged on 10/28, so I just squeeked in with the guarantee for this as well :)
  • Getting a flat screen instead of a curved one is a big plus for me. I have usually bought identical phones for both me and my husband, but am thinking of getting the pro for me and the regular one for him. Either are overkill for his needs, but they should function more similarly than any other two phones I might consider. I could just get the less expensive phone for both of us, but that is so not me.
  • I'm hoping the Pixel 6 is a success because I want Google to be rewarded for the price points they chose for these devices. I think both are a great deal but for my budget I just felt the Pixel 6 was the best bang for the buck even though I love the idea of the telephoto, 120hz/better display, and larger battery. I just wasn't sure if it was worth another 50% of the cost of the 6.
  • I usually spare no expense on my phones, but something about a Pixel device with a door buster MSRP just feels so comfy.
  • Size, color, flat screen and price point are my main reasons for choosing the P6 over the P6 Pro. Can't handle anything too much larger than my Pixel 5.
  • These phones had so much potential and then Google releases these phones with the same HUGE issues as prior ones. Horrible battery life and dim display. Then a horrible fingerprint scanner for the win.
  • You're jumping to conclusions with the battery life. The adaptive battery on Pixels takes a few weeks to settle in. My 4XL, for instance, couldn't make it to 5pm when I first got it. After about a month, I was going to bed with 30% or greater battery remaining. There's absolutely nothing dismal about that. I've only had the 6 pro for a couple of days so I can't judge yet. I charged it overnight the first night, it was at 55% when I went to bed last night. Fully charged it a couple of hours ago when it hit 30% (going out tonight, couldn't let it get lower). Currently sitting at 90% streaming music to my BT headphones for about 2 hours. Also, don't know what you mean by dim display. The fingerprint scanner being in-screen is unfortunate, I'll give you that. The face unlock in my 4XL is certainly faster. However, in a surprise twist, the 6 is faster to unlock than the galaxy s20 I have (work phone). It takes about a quarter to half a second to unlock. Noticeable and taking some getting used to, but not a deal breaker (for me, at least)
  • Not to mention they always botch the release too. Big G can’t get out of its own way sometimes
  • I got the pro, my wife got the regular (her choice, lol). After using both, i can honestly say that most people should just get the regular. If you have the extra money, the pro is great. is it worth $300 more than the regular? Honestly, I don't think so. If you're on the fence, you're probably considering spending extra money that you don't need to. The screen differences, in practice, are negligible. What you're REALLY paying for is the telephoto lens, 4 more gb of ram (no performance difference between the 2 right now, though), and the mmWave 5g. If you don't see yourself getting value out of those, go with the 6 (I get value out of both the cam and 5g). You can't go wrong with either. Just be aware of what you're shelling out extra for with the Pro. I'm SUPER happy with the pro and happy I went that route. Just giving honest opinions :)