Pixel 6 review: Google Hardware finally lives up to its potential

Pixel 6 review: Google Hardware finally lives up to its potential

Enlarge (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Google did it. The company finally made a phone that feels like a full-effort flagship device. It took six long, frustrating years, but with the Pixel 6 it finally feels as though Google isn’t holding back out of concern for its Android licensees or some other commitment issue. The Pixel 6 has a custom Google SoC, tons of AI software features that really work, and a new and exciting version of Android. These combine into the best Android smartphone out there—the One True Flagship of the Android ecosystem. With a great price, the Pixel 6 is an easy “buy” recommendation.

That’s if you can buy one. The one negative thing you can say about the Pixel 6 is that Google, while it has improved its phone-building skills, hasn’t improved its phone-selling skills. The Pixel 6 is only sold in 12 countries instead of the 100+ that Apple and Samsung sell in, and Google is already experiencing stock issues. Despite Google’s brand recognition and several mega billion-dollar businesses, Google Hardware remains a tiny side project. So buy a Pixel 6 if you can—just don’t do it from an eBay scalper.

Low prices and big camera bars

(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

We expected the Pixel 6 to sell at comparable prices with other vendors, but the biggest win for the line is that Google has priced these phones aggressively. The Pixel 6 Pro is $900, and with a 120 Hz 1440p display, 12 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, and a 5000 mAh battery, spec for spec it’s relatively comparable with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The S21 Ultra has an MSRP of $1200, though, so Google is coming in $300 cheaper.

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