Comprehensive Pixel 6 (not the Pro) Review

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It’s been almost a month since I had my new Pixel 6 and I just am enjoying the entire ride. There’s definitely more pluses and upgrades from my old phone rather than any disadvantage. Anyways, let’s get right to it. There are lots to cover. This comprehensive review is aimed not to list down each and every features of Pixel 6 (not the pro) but rather to review as much aspects of it in relation to how I use it in my daily life. If you want tech specs, there are lots of articles out there online. This is more of a user review: real-life human being giving his thoughts on the real-world use and application of the awesome and beautiful Google Pixel 6.

Benchmarking

For the purpose of benchmarking, I am comparing the Google Pixel 6 to my old phone: the OnePlus 3 (yup, that old). I have no interest in comparing it to other current flagship phones I’ve never owned nor just basing things on the spec sheet and claiming one is better than the other because the hertz is .00009hz faster. You posers lol.

Table of Contents

Style

I find that the normal Pixel 6 phone has better colour options than the Pro. If this is a big factor for you, you might think the same. In either the 6 or the Pro, I find it tough to pick between the black and white options.

From all the pictures and videos, the black option tends to show so many smudge and thumb prints. I was initially planning to get the white version (yes at some point I was thinking of Pro), but strictly colour-wise, I don’t know how far cellphone painting tech has gone now. My fear is always white devices either getting easily dirty or they eventually turn yellowish.

For the Pixel 6 devices, these are not problems since it’s covered and made of glass.
(but then now the device becomes slippery to hold)

But what I really wanted to say in this category is that, whether you pick 6 or Pro, I think the style and exterior of it is irrelevant since you’ll be putting in a case for it anyways. So if there are any pros or cons about it, it’ll be hidden anyways. PSA: use a case. Don’t be a savage lol.

I don’t like the bulkiness of cases so I always go for the slim cases.

Cost

This one’s hard to beat: It’s the cheapest flagship phone out there. Google (ha) any leading, large competitor phone you like in the same category and you’ll see a big price gap.

For example at the time of writing:

Google Pixel 6 = starting at $799 CAD

Apple iPhone 13 = $1,099 CAD

That’s $300CAD difference. Hey man, money’s important out there. Have you looked out the window lately? That can also be a short-distance flight!

Here’s the awesome part: We always/usually associate price with “quality” (ugh πŸ™„). Yea that’s not the case here. Just the software features alone are more than enough to kick out any competition.

Think of: Magic Eraser, better photo/video quality, AI-enhanced voicetyping + commands to name a few.

But going back, the lower price is a big deal for me because in my life, I travel a lot (not lately) and I don’t like the idea any more of something super expensive in your pocket only to be accidentally sat on, hit, stolen, etc and then you’re stuck travelling with an expensive brick; not to mention it’s also expensive to replace/repair :/

At the same time, I’ve talked myself to explaining to myself that higher price β‰  better quality. That’s when your research and unbiased observation kicks in.

Also, I’ve been on a roll and I would say I’m financially literate and educated now. I know that all that I want and need are in Pixel 6 already so why spend more unnecessarily (either for Pro or any other device). Those extra cash can be better used for something else.

For example, for that $300-$400, I’d rather be risky and invest in VERY.

Size

For the size of the phone, there are definitely two things I notice: the size increase of the phone itself and the size with the case.

Phone size

A big disclaimer though, remember that I’m coming from OnePlus 3 then to a Pixel 6. I’m coming from a 5.5″ screen and then now jumping to 6.4″ (omg what more for Pro right?). So for me, the size up was really noticeable. It’s “noticeable” but I don’t mean that it’s necessarily bad. It’s not bad at all. I notice that I can’t wrap my entire hand on it, I can’t reach the very top of the screen with just one hand, etc.

For people who have spent in the similar size of the Pixel 6, this is not a problem. This is just me catching up with the times πŸ˜‚ .

Before, I definitely enjoyed looking at things on my friends’ big screen phones. I definitely liked the quality and size of it all. Now I just want the impossible: I want the phone to be 6.4″ when I’m using it, and then I want it to magically shrink to 5.5″ when I’m putting it in my pocket.

I think it’s just exactly in the “max size” threshold for me. It’s big enough that I can enjoy all the visual spectacle of my phone without being overwhelmed but it’s still small enough that it still fits in my pockets (pants, jackets, etc).

Although to be honest, when it comes to pocket fit, I’ve definitely made some life adjustments. This is not Pixel 6 specific but rather any phone around this size.
(and again, I’m comparing it to my smol OnePlus 3; a phone size that probably does not exist any more lol)

Now when I bend over for example to tie my shoes, sometimes I feel like I’m pushing down the phone further to my pocket. I just feel awkward about it because I feel like I’m either about to snap and crack my phone OR the phone’s strong enough that it’ll puncture a hole in my pants/pocket. Now I have to take out my phone sometimes when I do this.

There’s also a ‘security’ concern because again, I don’t like the idea of travelling somewhere while the outline of your phone is totally visible 99 meters away. It’s just calling out thieves attention.

The good thing about it is it still is small enough to fit in my jacket pockets, especially chest pockets but it’s a slightly larger phone now that it’s not jostling on my chest when walking/running/snowboarding.

Case Size

As mentioned, I have a slim case although that seems to still make things noticeable. Again, what I’m about to say is NOT claiming it’s too big, but rather…I guess I’m just bellyaching since I really enjoyed having a small phone before lol.

So with a caseless Pixel 6, it actually feels light (ps, it’s also one of the lightest in its class btw) and slim. When I put my Bellroy Pixel 6 case, it definitely adds a layer to it and the slim-ness of the Pixel 6 is lessened (because the case now elevates the back of your phone to almost the same height of the protruded camera bar).

It’s not a bad thing considering I think I have one of the slimmest (yet still you can feel a sense of protection) cases out there. Again I just feel like…it’s noticeable.

I notice the smallest things as said by a friend haha.

Battery Life

In this category I’m just really happy with it. I’ve done a full day of lots of photos and vids and also the phone lasting two days in one charge. But before those, let me just unload all the factors I’ve implemented to make this assessment understandable.

Personalizations I’ve done to my phone:

  • highest data connection: 4G (manually changed it from 5G) . Honestly, I don’t think people “need” 5G but that’s another topic
  • adaptive brightness: check
  • adaptive charging (with Google’s charging brick): check
  • screen locks after 30s
  • variable maximum battery life (e.g.: there are days where I use it after it has recharged to 100% and there are days where I’ve used it from just 80%. More to this later)

My charging times are now all over the place too. Before I would charge the phone just before I sleep or first thing in the morning before I do my morning routines but either way, I just want my phone starting full when I start my day.

Now, with the adaptive charging, your charging speed may vary. E.g.: if I charge my phone mid day, it just charges it asap, as fast as it can. But if I charge it around 9/10pm, adaptive charging kicks in and it’ll say: “ok, I’ll charge your phone up to 80% but after that I’ll severely slow down the charging so that it’s exactly 100% just in time for 7am tomorrow, when you say you wake up, right?”.

You can disable this feature but I do want it. I just wish it kicks in a little bit later because I do use my phone around 9pm to midnight right? So what I’ve experimented (and now my pattern) is that I’ll just charge it whatever time at night. If I charge it early in the evening, it gets to 100% before 9pm and then I just use it until it runs out the following day. That’s the ‘start of the shift’ of my phone. If I charge it after 9pm, adaptive charging kicks in but when it’s 80% I just treat it as ‘full charge’ and I unplug it late at night and that’s the start of the shift of my phone and I’ll just run it down until the following day.

So far, whichever I do, my phone definitely lasts the whole, following day. I’ve done days where it’s all email, hotspot, tour around (so lots of pics/vids), google maps, random googling and I’d still have ~20% the end of the day.

I’ve also done days where I just use my phone for comms (e.g.: email, social media: but just to message people, not consume content) and I’ve done 2 days.

Apart from just needing communications on those days, remember that I’m big on mental health now and it’s important to me to:

Photos / Videos

When it comes to photos and videos, I think you’ve seen it already in more credible sources that its photography and video are excellent. Just Youtube “pixel 6 reviews” and they’ll be saying the same thing again and again.

I like it. Its strong suit of course is when there’s light.

One thing I’ll tell you that people are saying (even if they’re Pixel lovers) is that apparently, iPhones are still marginally better in video taking and in terms of night photography, iPhones are more “natural looking”. By that, they mean that if the place is dark, then the photo is dark in iPhones (you can’t see squat). In comparison, Pixel 6 uses all of its cameras and sensors so they can brighten up the image in your phone (so you can see more things). So I’ll leave that to you to decide. I’ve never felt the need to confirm/deny this statement. All I’ll tell you is that I am sooo very happy with my photo/video taking tool now. If its bright when it’s supposed to be night, I’m not trying to fake the night but rather…since when did people appreciate a dark photo where you can barely see shit. People just swipe left on that.

Here’s a night time example:

Video:

And here’s a normal/kinda dim light winter afternoon. And then you can just check out my insta for all Pixel 6 shots.

FAQ

“Isn’t it bad when you can’t one-hand reach the top now?”

At first (literally on day 1) it was an adjustment. I was new to ‘gesture navigation’, that is:

  • if you want to go to the home page, just swipe up anywhere anytime
  • if you want to back, swipe right from the left side anywhere anytime

With my old phone I was used to using the actual back buttons on the top left of the screen. So I had to adjust to the gesture navigation and honestly it makes more sense, it’s easier, and it’s better. With this, it solves 90% of the “reaching the top problem”. For all else, there’s Android 12’s one-handed mode.

Apart from that, I do some personalizations to of course make it easier for me. For example in my home screen/app list, I organize the most used apps to the lower left quadrant of my screen (since I’m leftie. The top half are usually widgets. I don’t fill the screen with apps, just that quadrant. At this point, it’s easier and more comfortable for me to just swipe to page 2 and have the app icons again just on the lower left quadrants for each page.

“Is it worth it to switch from iPhone?”

Honestly, just pick what you’re convenient with. Part of me says you’re a bandwagon-er if you’re asking these sorts of questions. Just pick which ecosystem is perfect for you. Have tons of Apple products at home, then iOS it. Connected to lots of Google products and services? Android it.

“Would you go for the Pixel 6 Pro”

Hell. Fucking. No. Again, if you’re eyeing the Pro because it’s “better” and more “pro” when you don’t have a personal need for its added features, I’m judging you hard. *cough* poser.

I haven’t owned a Pro but I did went to Best Buy at least 10x to try both every visit before I even purchased mine online.

My simple justification is that, I’m a month in and I’ve never felt the need to say: “oh man, I need the pro instead”.

Let’s lay it down: bigger screen, bigger battery (though in tests it doesn’t necessarily translate to more life in comparison to 6 πŸ˜‰ ), higher refresh rate (like honestly, this is so neglible. If you’re gonna fast-flick your app list on me OMFG you are such a loser πŸ˜‚). It’s almost imperceptible between 90 and 120hz.

There’s the curved edges which never grew on me. I think it’s just wasted space. There’s also the telephoto which is def a ‘nice to have’ even for me but it’s not enough for me to spend +$400CAD just for that. I don’t like the other features so you’ll really just be paying $400 for the telephoto. Nah.

I’ve never felt the need of “oh I wish I had telephoto 4x optical zoom right now” lol. ACTUALLY, I did lol. When I was taking a vid of that duck above and they were swimming away. But then I just heard myself say that and I just literally judged and shamed myself: “omfg how lame are you, wanting telephoto to take vids of ducks” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I laughed and easily decided, “no, fuck that shit”

“But it’s better photography and I’m a photographer”

Bruh trust me, you’re being judged. If you claim you’re a ‘photographer’, you should be looking at actually cameras, not phone devices πŸ˜‚

Contact me for any questions and I’ll expand this FAQ as I go!

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