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  • Lawrence Ng

Google Launches Pixel 6, the Smartest Smartphone

Google has launched the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. It is much anticipated due to this being Google's first foray into chipmaking with its SoC: the Google Tensor. Made specifically for the devices, the Google Tensor boasts tons of artificial intelligence (AI) advancements.

Credit: Google

The TPU has eight CPU cores, 20 GPU cores and is able to process Google's most intricate AI and machine learning (ML) models by having additional dedicated cores to perform ML, security and image processing tasks as well as to better manage the phone's power consumption. Google claims that the CPU performance will be 80% faster and GPU performance will be 370% faster compared to its predecessor — the Pixel 5. This will translate into improved mobile camera capabilities, better speech recognition capability and a better user experience.

Credit: Google

In other words, the new Tensor chip helps to make the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro Google's "smartest, most secure, and personal phones ever", according to the technology company.

Apart from being the smartest smartphone, the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro could also be the greenest phones as they are designed with recycled aluminium and come with five years of security and software updates. This could extend the life cycle of the phone and possibly keep you from buying another one, lessening consumption.

Another part of Google's sustainability efforts is its recycling programme where consumers can send in their old devices so Google can help recycle them.

When it comes to the design, there's a slight difference between the frame of the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. The standard model has a matte tactile alloy frame, while the Pro model has a polished unibody metal frame.

Credit: Google

The Pixel 6 comes in three colours: Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral and Stormy Black. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 Pro is available in Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny and Stormy Back. It's a bit rare to see companies provide many different colour options for varying phone models and these fun colour options are definitely a breath of fresh air.

As stated by Google earlier this year, the Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch FHD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 6 Pro boasts a perimeter-curved 6.7-inch QHD+ screen with a 120Hz refresh rate.

Gorilla Glass Victus protects both the screen of the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. There's Gorilla Glass Victus on the Pro's back, while Gorilla Glass 6 protects the rear of the Pixel 6. Aside from that, both phones are dust and water-resistant. Under the display, there's a fingerprint sensor that can be used for unlocking the phone.

Credit: Google

As for the devices' cameras, the Pixel 6 features a dual rear camera system that includes a 50MP wide and a 12MP ultrawide camera as well as an LDAF sensor. At the front of the smartphone, you can see an 8MP camera. The Pixel 6 Pro boasts a triple rear camera system, with a 50MP wide, a 12MP ultrawide and a 48MP telephoto camera and an LDAF sensor. This model comes with an 11.1MP selfie camera as well.

Credit: Google

There are a number of camera improvements such as the wide-angle main sensor being able to capture 150% more light than the main camera on the Pixel 5. The Pixel 6 Pro boasts another upgrade with a telephoto lens capable of 4x optical zoom and "Super Res Zoom" of up to 20x. The 4x optical zoom is made possible by its new Folded-Optics design. The "periscope" lens design in mobile phones was first introduced by Vivo in 2020.

Both smartphones can record up to 4K video at 60FPS. What's new is the inclusion of HDRnet. With the help of the new dedicated Advanced Image Signal Processor (ISP) in the Tensor chip, Google says that it is now possible to apply an ML algorithm on each frame of your video at a 60 times per second rate.

Credit: Google

You can also expect new camera features like Magic Eraser, which lets you remove photobombers and other distractions from your photos. When you take a picture, the Magic Eraser will suggest to you what to remove or you can let it know what to remove. Just circle out the unwanted object and it will help you automatically remove it. Although this feature is not new in smartphone cameras, we are pretty sure Google will do it better than most, just like its Portrait Mode feature.

Credit: Google

If you take a blurry photo, then worry not as the Face Unblur feature will help you out. Basically, the Pixel 6 camera uses FaceSSD to find out if there are faces in the shot and takes two images simultaneously with the ultrawide and the main camera. Then, computational photography is used to help merge and remove blurry images with the sharper image.

To let users have quicker access to the Snapchat camera, Google has partnered with Snapchat to include the Quick Tap to Snap feature. Just two taps on the back of the phone will quickly launch the Snapchat camera.

Credit: Google

Camera AI has also been improved to take better pictures of people of colour. Real Tone has been introduced to both Pixel devices, allowing for adjustments to automatic white balance, automatic exposure and stray light settings. As a result, these changes can help the camera capture various skin tones more accurately. Google claims that the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro are the most inclusive smartphones in the market.

The standard Pixel 6 has a 4,614mAh battery that supports up to 21W Wireless Fast Charging, while the Pixel 6 Pro has a 5,003mAh battery that supports up to 23W Wireless Fast Charging. Paired with its Ultra-low Power Engine, both devices' batteries can last more than 24 hours of usage.

When it comes to storage, the Pixel 6 offers 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. On the other hand, the Pixel 6 Pro is equipped with 12GB of RAM and has storage starting from 128GB and can go up to 512GB.

Credit: Google

Both models have the Titan M2 security chip, which works with the Tensor security core to protect sensitive user data, pins and passwords. The Titan M2 was made even more resilient to attacks like electromagnetic analysis, voltage glitching and laser fault injection. According to Vice President of Product Management Sabrina Ellis, the Titan M2, the Tensor security core and Google's new open-source trusted execution environment provide the Pixel 6 the most layers of hardware security in any phone.

As for the phone’s operating system, it will come with a new Android 12 UI called Material You. The entire phone UI updates when you change your wallpaper. The system determines dominant and complementary colours and applies different shades to different parts of the UI.

The Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro will start going on sale in the United States on 28 October 2021 with a base price of US$599 and US$899, respectively. Unfortunately, these devices won't be available in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines for now but they will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S.


Written by Sophia Lopez


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