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Fast Charge: You should be excited about the Pixel 6

If you told me a week ago that we were just days away from the reveal of the next Google flagship I would probably have laughed.

Phones rarely get surprise reveals these days. There’s usually hype, minor teases and drawn out release periods. But then along came the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Google hasn’t revealed everything about its new phone. We don’t know how fast it’ll be, how much it’ll cost or what the camera is capable of – but we do enough.

It has been hard to truly get excited about Pixel phones for while. I think that all changes with the Pixel 6 and here’s why.

The potential of a new camera (finally)

The Pixel 6’s camera is the biggest detail Google’s decided to keep quiet about.

We learnt they’ll be an extra zoom camera on the Pro model and that the cameras will let in a lot more light, however talk of megapixels, sensor sizes and aperture was missing completely during the surprise unveil.

This is hardly a surprise. By revealing quite a lot already, Google still needs that ‘wow‘ moment on the reveal night itself and this most likely will be about the camera.

Google Pixel 6 Portfolio Shot
Pixel 6

The Pixel series has long been a camera champion, yet in recent years it has fallen behind the best camera phones by not pushing sensor tech and focussing too much on software.

Yes, Google’s camera processing remains strong but it still needs to be combined with equally strong hardware to compete with the iPhone 12 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

If you’re wondering when the next monumental step in mobile photography might arrive then I wouldn’t surprised if it came with the Pixel 6.

The Tensor chip (which you can read more about below) should give a processing boost while the rumoured 50-megapixel main sensor will give the phone a lot more picture data to play with.

Google taking it seriously with a new chip

The highlight of Google’s surprise Pixel 6 reveal was the confirmation that it will be powered not by a Qualcomm chipset, but by a SoC of Google’s own design.

The Tensor chipset – which was previously known as Whitechapel – will have a focus on machine learning elements and should give Google far tighter control over the device.

Little information was divulged about performance, however rumours suggest Tensor is built by Samsung and has many similarities to the brand’s Exynos chips.

Google Tensor image
Google’s Tensor SoC

A new chip is always exciting and there are many aspects of the phone it could affect.

I wouldn’t bank on this being a performance beast like Apple’s A14 Bionic, but the benefits it could have to camera processing, AI response and more are all very exciting.

What I think should make people excited most about Tensor isn’t how fast games will play or what ridiculously high Geekbench score it will achieve, but how it could impact support.

Currently you’ll get about three big yearly Android system update on a Pixel, with some flagship Samsung phones upping that by an extra 12 months. If the rumours are to be believed then the Pixel 6 could end up getting Android updates for five years – far more inline to what you’ll find on an iPhone. That’s a big deal and could make the Pixel 6 a seriously tempting long-term option.

Android 11 is a big, beautiful update

Google’s Pixel phones have looked, well, sort of odd.

The Pixel 5 was a little dull, the Pixel 3 XL had that bizarre notch and the earlier versions lacked any spark.

It’s all very different with the Pixel 6.

Android 12

As soon as Google unveiled its wild Android redesign at Google I/O, it always felt like we’d get a phone that matched it for style.

I’ve been using the Android 12 beta for a couple of months and it certainly fits with the new Pixel aesthetic.

There are muted pastel colours, more eye-catching design elements and a lot more. It feels unique and a pleasure to use. This is shaping up to be the best looking Pixel phone to date.

We’ll likely hear a lot more about the new duo of Pixel devices in the coming months, with a full release coming either in September ot October. If you’ve been left disappointed by Google’s flagships before then I think there will be a lot to like this time around.

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