5 things I love about the Google Pixel 6, and 5 things I don't

Pixel 6 Pro camera
Pixel 6 Pro camera (Image credit: Google)

We all saw this coming.

There have been rumors about and renders of the Google Pixel 6 for over half a year now, and it turns out that many of those leaks were spot-on, at least regarding the device's design. Heck, even Google's custom SOC — one of the worst kept secrets in tech — is finally coming to fruition.

Back in February, one of my colleagues wrote about what he wanted to see in an upcoming Pixel 6, and based on what we've learned thus far, it looks like he's going to be pretty happy. There's a lot to like about the upcoming Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, from a better screen to improved cameras to an arguably more interesting design.

It seems obvious to me that both versions of the Pixel 6 are going to rank high on just about any roundup of the best Android phones. So, until we receive more information on the devices, here's my initial scorecard or checklist of the top five things I love and the top five things I don't love about the Google Pixel 6 series.

Things I'm loving about the Pixel 6 series

Google Pixel 6 Pro Colors Side By Side

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Horizontal camera housing

I do love the bold design of the Pixel 6 lineup, but I think that just saying I'm excited about the way it looks, in general, is sort of a cop-out. So I'll take it a step further and mention what specifically I like about its looks. For starters, I'm just going to put it out there: I love the rear camera design.

Samsung Galaxy S10+

Source: Android CentralSamsung Galaxy S10+ (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

For symmetry reasons alone, I've always preferred centered or horizontal camera housings like those we saw on fairly recent devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 series or the LG V60 (RIP LG phones 💀). To me, the style is also more cohesive and intentional than the verticle bulges we've seen sprouting up on just about every other smartphone in recent memory.

Camera prowess

The way the cameras (yes, plural!) look is not the only special thing about the Pixel 6 series; their performance looks much improved. For the first time in years, the Pixel line is getting new camera sensors, including a massive 50MP wide-angle primary sensor for both phones and a 48MP telephoto lens in the 6 Pro. If Google can continue applying its software skills to this upgraded hardware, the images and video that come out of these phones should be incredible. I. CANNOT. WAIT.

Custom SOC

Of course, that camera hardware doesn't necessarily mean great pictures without an impressive processing setup, which we now know is coming with Google's new custom Tensor SOC. Tensor will help with image signal processing but should also make the new Pixels faster and more secure than ever. It should also allow Google to continue pushing platform and security updates beyond its current three-year promise.

Not matte at it

Pixel 6 Group Image Transparent

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

The "regular" Pixel 6 phones (i.e., the non-Pro versions) will feature side rails and trim with a matte finish, and as someone likely to purchase the cheaper model, I appreciate this touch. To my eyes, matte finishes have a more timeless look, and most importantly, they don't show scuffs, scratches, or smudges as easily.

All the pretty colors

More options = more choices, and more choices are better for the consumer. I completely respect, even dare I say admire, what Google is doing here with the six different color options for the Pixel 6 line (it's no coincidence that it chose that number of colors). It's probably true that most people will slap a case on their Pixel 6 or 6 Pro, but it's still fun to get the new hot color(s). Props to the Pixel design team for offering more choices.

Not feeling these "features"

Pixel 6 Portfolio

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

I'll pass on this palette

Now, as much as I praised the color options above, I want to be clear that I dislike the actual color choices Google has made here, and it appears that I'm not alone in this opinion either. The matte black Pixel 6 is the best choice for the entry-level phone, and the silver 6 Pro is slick, but I'm not really feeling the other colors. I guess I could live with the green 6, but the gold and orange look garish to me. But to each their own, right?

Not taking a shine to these Pros

Conceptually, I can understand why Google made the trim on the 6 Pro's glossy — after all, shiny things are typically considered more beautiful. And yet, I can't help feeling like Pro users are getting the shaft here when it comes to how these things look and feel. If you're brave enough to rock your phone without a case, the glossy side rails can be more slippery, and they most definitely show every little imperfection picked up from your hands and pockets. So why would you want to pay more for that?

Thicc bump

I'm all about that bass as the next guy, but even I have to admit that for as interesting as the rear camera housing looks, it sure does stick out. A LOT. Given its positioning near the top of the phone, that shouldn't present too much of a problem with the device rocking when laying your phone down, screen facing up. Yet aside from the phone's colors, this is the most polarizing aspect of the phone's design that I've read or heard about to date. Of course, most of those complaining will probably just slap a case on their Pixel 6, which will negate this bump, but it's worth mentioning.

Big bois

Google Pixel 5

Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Every time a new flagship comes out, folks like Ara Wagoner and myself lament the dwindling options for petite phone lovers. Even though the current crop of Google phones — the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 in particular — are at the top of our list for the best small Android phones, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro definitely won't appear on that list when they are released. The Pixel 6 will feature a 6.4-inch display, while the 6 Pro will be 6.71 inches. That's par for the course these days, but it's sad news for small phone aficionados.

Fold up

Most experts didn't really expect Google to announce its long-rumored Pixel Fold phone with the 6 series, but I can't help but be a little disappointed that the wait will inevitably go on. My colleague Alex Dobie said as recently as June that the Pixel Fold probably wouldn't launch with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Still, I was holding out hope that it would at least be announced at the same time, even if it was done as a discrete tease as Samsung did in its initial on-stage announcement of the original Galaxy Z Fold.

Something doesn't add up

Admit it; you expected this article to be titled "6 things I love and don't love about the Pixel 6," right?

Well, here's one more thing about the Pixel 6 line that could go into either the love or hate bucket for me: its pricing. According to recent reports, Google's hardware chief Rick Osterloh has confirmed that the new phones will be "premium priced." Neither he nor Google has clarified exactly what was meant by that comment, but it's probably safe to infer that both phones will hover around the now all-too-common $1,000 premium price point.

Many of my colleagues and other tech pundits praise Google for this decision, commenting that it shows the company's renewed commitment to the "high end." I don't necessarily disagree with this perspective, and I'm happy to see Google doing and saying all the right things to compete with its new flagships.

As someone who has gotten quite comfortable with the best cheap Android phones like the Pixel 4a, that's a tough pill to swallow. Going from spending $349 last year on my 4a to $1,000-ish this year on a 6 is a huge jump. Even if I decide to go with the forthcoming 5a, I'll still be spending upwards of $100 more. However, that's easier to deal with, especially considering some reported improvements over the 4a.

To be completely fair, there is still a lot that we don't know about these phones yet, including the pricing, performance, and availability. Still, on the whole, I like what I see here, and it's what my colleague Alex Dobie calls the first true premium Pixels. But what about you? Which features of these phones do you like or dislike? Let us know in the comments!

Jeramy Johnson
Editor-in-chief

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.

17 Comments
  • I've been looking forward and reading everything about the Pixel 6. One huge problem for me is going to be the price. Prices hovering near $800 to $1000 are out of my league. Why? Two reasons... 1. I have to upgrade 3 phones in my household, myself, my wife and my daughter. That's 3 grand I would have to put out. I just don't want to pay 3 grand for phones. 2. I'll just settle for a more inexpensive 5 G phone from Samsung, iPhone or One Plus. There are many phones in in the $300 to $600 range from them. If Google priced the Pixel 6 at around $500-$600 , then order me 3 phones. It even looks like Google is doing away with the 4A 5G models. I have been with Samsung for many years, if Google wants me to become a Google loyal buyer, then it will have to consider the people who have to buy multiple phones and price their phones accordingly.
  • Why do you have to replace all your phones at once, are they on some lease scheme.? Ours only get replaced when they're passed their use by date normally 4 to 5 years and then only one at a time.
  • 1. Why do you have to replace all the phones at once? 2. Why do you have to all have the same device? Could get a 4a 5G, Pixel 5 or the upcoming 5a 5g and save some $$ if not everyone needs the latest and greatest.
  • Seriously! If his wife or daughter is anything like my wife they don't care about the latest tech. They want a phone that works and takes good pictures. That is ANY pixel A series phone for hundreds less. The only people shelling out for Pixel 6 should be rich folk and hard core tech fans. That's it. Not 95% of normies :) That goes the same for the $1k+ Samsung/Huawei phones.
  • Just get the 5a...it will be out in a few weeks. $450.00 per phone. They will DO EVERYTHING THE 6's can do!
  • "Your problem" is not everyone's problem. Stop fishing for replies that support your self serving comment. Like others have commented, no need to upgrade all phones at once. Especially if you have good working devices.
  • Considering that both of these phones are going to be ridiculously large, it looks like I'll be keeping my Pixel 5 until it dies.
  • Agreed about the trim...I loved the black trim around the pixel 4 series, that was honestly one of my favorite design features of it. The shiny metal trims to me are tacky and show scratches/smudges so easily. The biggest turnoff for me is when you can see the metal edges around the phone when looking at the front of the screen (Galaxy S21 for example, you can see the silver "ring" around the edges of the screen when you look at it straight on). To me that destroys the illusion of a "full screen phone" by making it look like this metal band is holding it all together. From the images google has released so far, it doesn't "look" like you can see the metal edge when looking at the phone straight on, but hard to know until people get it in their hands. I'm also a little bummed that the smaller one seems to have chunkier bezels and a bit of a chin...really odd since the pixel 5 was so beautifully symmetrical all around?
  • Colors mean zero to me. If I get one it'll be in a case so finish and color are meaningless.
  • I would definitely miss the frosted glass back, Soli, and the matte side trim on my Pixel 4XL if I was to get the Pixel 6 Pro.. I'll wait and see what pricing looks like before I decide. I'm in no hurry as my Pixel 4XL is still receiving security updates, and it works as intended.
  • I'm still super happy with my Pixel 4 XL and I paid less than $300 for it (LNIB refurb).
  • I truly dislike the fact that Google will only sell this product on a couple of countries
  • I love this part: "but it's probably safe to infer that both phones will hover around the now all-too-common $1,000 premium price point. Many of my colleagues and other tech pundits praise Google for this decision, commenting that it shows the company's renewed commitment to the "high end."
    So what you and your colleagues are saying is that it's high time that Google start charging even HIGHER prices for their notoriously crappy hardware decisions? ROTFLMAO!!!!!!
    Un-freaking-believable!!! SO then if they decide to charge $2500.00 per phone that will make them an EVEN HIGHER quality product???? You need to be FIRED! To give kudos to any OEM that this is a good thing to rip-off the average customer is disgraceful and you need to be censured for sure!
  • And then 6 months later they will come back and say "I don't know why are devices aren't selling."
  • Really miffed they made the phone so much bigger. My pixel 3 is about perfect in size, don't need a bigger screen than this and def not a bigger phone. Guess I'll be picking up a Pixel 5 to hold me out... Forever?
  • The "basic" 6 is pointless, it has been deliberately gimped to make the "Pro" the only one worth buying. I don't accept that it can't have a periscope zoom when it's as big as a Huawei P40 Pro+.
    The poor quality display is inexcusable too if it's going to be "expensive".
    Those camera humps are just too vulnerable, any case thick enough to protect them is going to be fugly. The SoC and camera performance are an unknown quantity, as a first generation product it just might be best to pass over this one...
  • One thing about these self serving articles, the self serving comments are quick to follow.