Google Pixel 6 Professional smartphone evaluation: Android’s homegrown hero

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Google needs you to know that it has developed some extraordinarily highly effective synthetic intelligence applied sciences. Through the announcement occasion for its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional smartphones (that are at present up for pre-order), the corporate plainly claimed that off-the-shelf smartphone parts weren’t highly effective sufficient to deal with the algorithmic AI feats it hoped to realize. So, the corporate constructed its personal customized system on a chip known as Tensor with know-how from semiconductor design firm ARM. 

As with Apple and its chiips, Google’s new chip technique isn’t about brute power energy, however reasonably maximizing effectivity throughout inner programs to make significantly better use of the {hardware}. By tightly linking the CPU, GPU, the picture sign processor, the machine studying engine, and the remainder of the programs, Google believes it could create a system that runs quick and extra effectively whereas enabling AI options that had been beforehand out of attain. A minimum of within the case of the Pixel 6 Professional, Google has discovered a house for its lofty AI aspirations.

Google Pixel 6 Professional specs

With a customized chip onboard, it’s laborious to immediately evaluate the Pixel 6 Professional’s specs to its competitors because the precise numbers don’t essentially immediately translate into efficiency. The Tensor chip has a complete of 8 CPU cores, two of that are constructed for efficiency, two of that are thought of mid-range cores, and 4 that fall into the “high-efficiency” class. The GPU has a complete of 20 cores. You’ll discover that very same chip within the base-level Pixel 6, however the Pixel 6 Professional will get a bump as much as 12 GB RAM as a part of its premium value. 

Usually talking, this proved loads of computing firepower to deal with all the typical duties I attempted with the Pixel 6 Professional with out stutters. Direct velocity comparisons to Apple’s A-series processors and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 5G have been considerably inconclusive of their outcomes however, from a real-world perspective, Google’s in-house chip appears lots burly to deal with no matter Android activity you ask of it. I edited video, tweaked some uncooked information in Lightroom Cellular, and performed slightly bit an excessive amount of “Magic: The Gathering Enviornment” all with out having to fret about stutters or problems with any sort, actually.

The Pixel 6 Professional display

The digicam bar appears to be like higher than particular person lenses, however cracking that tumbler masking might have an effect on your entire cameras as a substitute of only one. Stan Horaczek

The 6.7-inch OLED display presents a 1,440 x 3,120 decision, which supplies it a 19.5:9 side ratio. That makes it larger than the 6.4-inch Pixel 6 display, however measurement isn’t its solely benefit. The inventory Pixel 6 show tops out at a refresh charge of 90 Hz, whereas the Pixel 6 Professional can as much as 120 Hz for easy movement. It will probably additionally drop that refresh charge significantly when the onscreen picture is generally static in an effort to save lots of battery. It makes the display really feel responsive and look nice.

I like the general look that the Pixel 6 Professional’s display presents. It’s simply brilliant sufficient to make use of outside in direct solar and the colours keep punchy and vibrant, even with the brightness cranked to its most setting. I sometimes saved the brightness set round 50 % for typical use. With regards to shade, the show skews slightly cooler than the iPhone 13 Professional Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 to which I in contrast it. 

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Below the display

Nestled on the high of the Pixel 6 Professional’s show, you’ll discover a small gap via which the improved front-facing digicam peeks. Truthfully, I’ve by no means liked the pinhole technique for selfie cameras since I discover it extra intrusive than a notch on the fringe of the display. That’s a private desire, although, and it functionally disappears after you utilize it for a day or two and get used to the position. 

On the alternative finish of the show, you’ll discover a fingerprint reader that doesn’t require a gap. It does, nonetheless, mild up reasonably brilliant once you put your thumb on it. It’s sufficient to make your thumb glow pink whereas it’s studying your print. If you happen to don’t cowl the entire sensor space, it leaks pretty brilliant mild across the edges of your finger, even when the general display brightness is turned approach down. 

The Google Pixel 6 Professional cameras

Google Pixel 6 Pro
The digicam choices have grown because the final model to incorporate new modes. Stan Horaczek

The Pixel 6 Professional’s cameras actually give Google an opportunity to point out off the AI benefits its new chip presents. I’ve all the time been principally impressed with the Pixel cameras in previous generations, even when the Pixel 4 did have an issue with mild banding when capturing in most synthetic mild. Google has achieved spectacular outcomes with comparatively underwhelming digicam {hardware} because of its computational images chops.

The Pixel 6 Professional presents some upgraded sensors and lenses to assist present higher uncooked picture materials. The 50-megapixel predominant sensor has grown because the final technology, permitting it to tug in additional mild. Just like the inventory Pixel 6, the Professional additionally presents a 12-megapixel ultra-wide digicam that isn’t fairly as large as what you get on an iPhone 13. 

The Professional differentiates itself from the inventory mannequin with the 48-megapixel telephoto digicam. The sensor sits contained in the system, perpendicular to the primary show. The lens rests in a vertical orientation and sees out via a small glass panel within the digicam bar like a periscope. The telephoto digicam has a a lot slower aperture than its wide-angle counterparts (it solely opens to f/3.5, in comparison with f/1.85 on the primary digicam and f/2.2 on the ultra-wide). On paper, none of that is notably spectacular. Most flagship smartphones provide quicker lenses and sometimes bigger sensors however that has been the case with the Pixel telephones for generations.

Google Pixel 6 Professional digicam efficiency

Google Pixel 6 Pro camera sample
This can be a good instance of the Pixel 6 Professional’s general look. It maintains a ton of element, however the lifted shadows nonetheless shout “take a look at all of this HDR!” Stan Horaczek

Enter Google’s imaging AI. Proper off the bat, the nonetheless picture high quality feels very acquainted. The HDR tech makes scenes look vibrant, however doesn’t crank up the distinction or the saturation as a lot because the iPhone and it’s rather a lot lower than the Samsung cameras. 

I nonetheless typically just like the look of the pictures that come straight out of the Pixel 6 Professional digicam system. Regardless of the aggressive HDR efforts to extend the dynamic vary, the distinction nonetheless feels comparatively pure. That mentioned, it nonetheless has that smartphone look by which the blacks seem barely lifted and the sharpening could make objects look downright crispy across the edges. 

Change the digicam over to uncooked seize and also you get an impressively correct general copy of a scene, however it could really feel flat for people who find themselves used to all the post-processing that the cellphone sometimes applies once you shoot a typical picture. 

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Google Pixel 6 Pro camera sample
Once more, deeper shadows would work effectively right here, however the colours aren’t too far off from actuality. Stan Horaczek

Like most different smartphone digicam programs, the Pixel 6 Professional accentuates high-frequency particulars, which suggests areas of the picture with numerous little particulars will seem very sharp. This works nice to make landscapes and indoor scenes look sharp and detailed, however isn’t all the time flattering on faces with numerous texture or beards like mine. 

Google Pixel 6 Pro camera sample
Shot with the 2X zoom, you’ll be able to see how effectively the digicam manages to pick and sharpen high-quality particulars. Stan Horaczek

Proper out of the digicam, although, the Pixel pictures are nonetheless my favourite when evaluating the key gamers. At this level, although, the variations are comparatively small, and private style performs an enormous half by which one you like.

Capturing movement in pictures with the Pixel 6 Professional

Each time you are taking an image, the digicam is doing appreciable work to attempt to acknowledge what’s taking place within the scene and regulate its efficiency accordingly. For instance, if the digicam detects a face, it should mechanically put together to shoot with each the primary digicam and the super-wide digicam. Capturing photographs with each cameras concurrently permits options like Face Unblur, which can sharpen a topic’s face in a photograph that might in any other case be completely blurry attributable to movement. 

Capturing movement is definitely an overarching theme for the Pixel 6 cameras. There’s a “movement” tab within the obtainable digicam settings and it homes a few of the most promising examples of Google’s computation images expertise. 

Google Pixel 6 Pro camera sample
The lengthy publicity mode presents each a transformed and normal picture. That is the picture with out the lengthy publicity impact utilized. Stan Horaczek
Google Pixel 6 Pro camera sample
This is similar scene with the lengthy publicity impact in place. You possibly can see it labored on the trip in addition to the folks. Stan Horaczek

The brand new Lengthy Publicity beta replicates a well-recognized photographic impact that’s sometimes achieved by leaving the digicam’s shutter open for a (comparatively) lengthy time period and letting movement within the scene to create easy trails of blur. True lengthy exposures don’t sometimes work effectively on smartphone sensors as a result of the readout is simply too sluggish and the top-down seize creates distortion. 

Lengthy-exposure apps get round this by taking quite a few exposures in fast succession, then combining them collectively into one picture to create the phantasm of movement. Google makes use of an identical methodology within the Pixel 6 Professional, however it’s utilizing AI to interpolate the info between the frames and create a a lot smoother and extra convincing movement impact. 

Google Pixel 6 Pro camera sample
One other instance earlier than the lengthy publicity blur was utilized. Stan Horaczek
Google Pixel 6 Pro camera sample
And right here is similar shot with the blur utilized. Fairly spectacular. Stan Horaczek

The long-exposure outcomes are spectacular, even when they’re imperfect. I shot some lengthy exposures through the day, which is hard to do with a standard digicam as a result of lengthy shutter speeds sometimes let in an excessive amount of mild. With the AI methodology, that’s not an issue. You don’t get a lot management over how a lot movement blur seems within the picture, so outcomes range. And generally the interpolation doesn’t get it excellent and blur trails look slightly wacky. Nonetheless, it reveals plenty of promise and I’d use this function semi-regularly as it’s. 

Taking pictures video with the Pixel 6 Professional

The Pixel’s video chops have all the time lagged behind its nonetheless images expertise. Google chalks this as much as obtainable {hardware}’s incapability to use the identical sort of AI magic to shifting photographs that it could with stills. The Tensor chip seems to have made large strides on this enviornment, too.

Now, the Pixel can apply its HDR tech to video, even once you’re capturing high-res 4K footage at as much as 60 fps. Because of this, the video appears to be like much more like what you’d count on from the Pixel’s still-image high quality. The pictures are sharp—particularly in high-frequency particulars—and the dynamic vary is reasonably spectacular. 

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If you happen to’re on the lookout for absolutely the high video-image high quality, I nonetheless give that title to the iPhone Professional collection, however I feel the overwhelming majority of customers can be greater than glad with the Pixel 6 Professional’s AI-enhanced video output. 

Holdover Pixel customers might also discover that the AI processing has made the digicam rather more warmth environment friendly on the subject of recording high-res video. I shot for greater than quarter-hour at most settings with no trace of warmth points, which wouldn’t have been the case with the earlier Pixels. 

Pixel 6 translation expertise

Voice represents one other space by which the Tensor chip offers some distinct AI benefits. The Pixel 6 processes language in additional pure ways in which use much less energy because of the system’s construction. 

I attempted the real-time translation options with a good friend talking Japanese (in addition they converse English, so might affirm the accuracy of what was mentioned) and the velocity and effectivity with which the system can translate is actually spectacular. We tried the identical factor over a video name and the tech labored impressively effectively there, too. 

This sort of factor requires tons of computational work and the Tensor chip handles it with out hesitating and even considerably draining the battery. Due to the brand new chip, the system can deal with plenty of this performance immediately on the system with out the necessity to contain the cloud, which is sweet for each effectivity and safety. 

The general Pixel 6 Professional expertise 

Beginning at $899, the Pixel 6 Professional feels prefer it’s punching a bit above its weight. With regards to digicam high quality and options, it will serve the overwhelming majority of customers simply in addition to top-end iPhone or Samsung Galaxy gadgets. That’s, in fact, until you’re on the lookout for very particular options just like the iPhone’s superior video seize or the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely’s mega-zoom. 

In my time with it thus far, the Pixel 6 Professional has completed every little thing I’ve needed it to do. The battery simply lasts a full day, even after I’m utilizing it rather a lot within the title of testing. The fast-charging function can be extraordinarily useful and unique to the Pixel 6 Professional. 

It’s additionally simply an attractive-looking system. The Professional presents three shade combos with blocks of shade separated by the black digicam bar. I personally desire the look of the bar reasonably than the person lenses, however some folks will definitely disagree.

Who should purchase the Pixel 6 Professional

The Pixel 6 Professional spec sheet was encouraging after the announcement. Previous fashions have sometimes compromised in some type or one other, however Google clearly has plenty of religion within the 6 Professional as an actual flagship system. It’s not heavy on superlatives, however the all-around package deal could be very satisfying. I’ll replace this evaluation down the highway as soon as I’ve had extra time to discover all of the nuances that invariably pop up when utilizing a tool for hours a day however, for now, the Pixel 6 Professional appears to be like prefer it was price all that effort Google put into it.