Google Pixel 6 Pro: Australian price, specs and release date
Google's first real flagship phone in years is big on features and promises, but moderate in terms of flagship pricing. Does that make it a must-have smartphone?
2020's crop of Google Pixel phones represented an unusual step for the search giant. The Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 were interesting devices to be sure, but they were distinctly mid-range in terms of their features and price points.
In 2021, Google is ambitiously stepping back into the true flagship space with the Google Pixel 6 Pro, which combines a sharp display, new Google cameras and the heavy promise of a Google designed processor to keep it as a flagship model not just this year, but for years to come as well. While the Pixel 6 Pro ships with the same 3-year operating system upgrade promise of prior Pixel generations, Google is also promising 5 years of security updates as well.
Read our full review of the Google Pixel 6 Pro right here.
Google Pixel 6: Australian pricing
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is a flagship phone, and a return to the flagship phone price space for Google. However, it's still very competitively priced when you put it up against the flagship models currently offered by the likes of Apple and Samsung.
The Pixel 6 Pro will cost $1,299/$1,449/$1,599 for 128/256/512GB models respectively in Australia. Here's how that compares with Apple's iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G and Galaxy Z Fold 3:
|Google Pixel 6 Pro||$1,299/$1,449/$1,599|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max||$1,849/$2,019/$2,369/$2,719|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G||$1,549/$1,649/$1,849|
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3||$2,499/$2,649|
|Pricing as per vendor websites on 20/10/2021|
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Availability
The Google Pixel 6 Pro will go on pre-order from 20 October 2021 through the Google Store, Telstra, JB Hi-Fi, Optus, Vodafone, Harvey Norman and Officeworks. It will then become available to own from 28 October 2021.
We're yet to see full details of carrier plans and any bonuses that individual carriers may offer, but we'll update as soon as we have that information.
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Design
Google always has fun with its device colour names, although we don't always see all hues released Down Under. Thankfully in 2021 we will see all 3 different colour variants of the Google Pixel 6 Pro sold in Australia. You'll be able to pick from Sorta Sunny, Cloudy White or Stormy Black. The latter is the only colour variant that's the same between the Pixel 6 Pro and the smaller Pixel 6. The colour itself forms as a dual tone effect, with a deeper hue above the rear camera module than below on the main rear phone body.
All of the phone's button controls are located on the right hand side, with the power button sitting above the volume rocker. The power button can also be used to invoke the Google Assistant, which is why there's no dedicated Google Assistant button.
That leaves biometric unlocking to an under-display fingerprint sensor on the primary display. Google experimented with advanced facial detection on the Pixel 4 with its Soli radar sensor, but that's not part of the Pixel 6 Pro's recipe.
The Pixel 6's screen is a 6.7 QHD+ OLED panel with support for variable refresh rates up to 120Hz. That's managed by the Pixel 6 Pro itself, dropping to as low as 10Hz when apps and screen displays call for it to enable better battery life, while also affording the phone silky smooth scrolling at 120Hz.
The most striking part of the Google Pixel 6 Pro's design is the camera bump at the back. We can't really call it a camera bump though, as it's a horizontal bar that spreads across the entire rear of the phone. It's basically a camera bar that means the Pixel 6 Pro can never sit flat on a desk. That can make it a little easier to prop up in your hand, but also could introduce complications when using wireless chargers.
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Cameras
Google was absolutely a latecomer to the multi-lens party for premium phones. Google's argument at the time was that its AI-led photo processing meant it didn't need to run to multiple lenses, because it could manage much of what other phones did with hardware via software.
Google clearly no longer entirely thinks that way, because the Google Pixel 6 Pro has a hefty array of lenses to pick from. At the front there's an 11.1MP selfie camera, while that rear camera shelf houses a 50MP primary wide sensor, 12MP ultrawide and 48MP 4x optical zoom telephoto lens.
It's not just a question of camera hardware grunt, although that does give you a lot of scope for flexible photography. Google's claim is that the low light capabilities of the Google Pixel 6 Pro put it in a class of its own, thanks to both its hardware and Google's already impressive AI-led computational photography efforts.
Alongside improved low light capabilities, the Pixel 6 Pro also has a smart editing tool onboard called the "Magic Eraser". This provides you with a simple phone-based way to scrub unwanted elements out of your shots, whether it's a random photobomber, poor framing leading to subjects with lamp posts growing out of their heads or just that annoying ex you no longer want to see.
There's also new Long Exposure and Action Pan modes for capturing subjects with just the right amount of subject and background blur for emphasis. As you'd expect, Long Exposure lets you take shots that can artistically blur the subject of your photo, for example, those classic waterfall shots where the water appears as a silky sheet. While Action Pan lets you keep your subject sharp in motion while blurring the background behind them.
You also get a Face Unblur feature that makes it a little simpler to get pictures of folks who move their heads too much. Kids, basically, because they're rarely still for nice photos. Google notes that Face Unblur won't work for pets – or at least, not yet.
Google is also adding its Real Tone post processing to the Pixel 6's camera. Real Tone is designed to combat the issue of AI facial recognition, and especially how it treats non-Caucasian skin tones. Google's claim here is that Real Tone will more accurately represent the nuances of the wonderful variety of human skin tones.
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Performance
For prior Pixel generations excluding the Pixel 5, Google generally opted for the best available Qualcomm processor at the time of production. The Pixel 5 differed by offering a genuinely mid-range processor, but for the Pixel 6 Pro, Google has done something quite different again.
It's designed its own silicon, with an ARM-based processor it calls Tensor. Google's claim is that Tensor can take advantage of Google's AI and computational know-how in ways that other processors can't easily match. So while in a straight line benchmark sense it might not be the fastest, for real world app use, it may leave the others standing, or at least that's Google's claim.
Google also claims that the Tensor processor is the industry's most secure, and that it will stay secure with 5 years of Google Android OS security updates. That means it will get security updates for at least 2 years past the point where it will see full operating system upgrades.
Tensor will also enable the Pixel 6 Pro to manage some on-device calculation and AI work that will be unique to the handset – or at least, based on prior Pixel releases, unique to it for at least 6 months. These include an updated and upgraded Google Translate engine that can work with a number of languages in real time on the handset itself. At launch, the Pixel 6 will support translation in English, German and Japanese offline, with support for 48 further languages in an online-only capacity.
Beyond the Tensor chip, the Google Pixel 6 ships with 12GB of onboard RAM and storage at 128GB, 256GB or 512GB onboard. There's no capability to expand the storage via microSD, which is very much in line with prior Pixel models, as well as Google's desire to sell you Google Drive cloud storage.
The Pixel 6 Pro also takes pride of place as Australia's first fully 5G capable handset. It's not that prior 5G handsets weren't "5G", but simply that they only worked within the sub-6Ghz bands first deployed by Australian telcos. Where the speed action is in 5G mmWave networks, now finally starting to roll out across Australia. To date, the only mmWave capable device sold in the country has been Telstra's 5G Wi-Fi Pro hotspot, but the Pixel 6 Pro will be the first phone in Australia to support both sub-6GHz and mmWave.
Google Pixel 6: Battery
The Pixel 6 Pro is a big phone, and that gives Google plenty of scope for a bigger battery than prior Pixel models. That's absolutely the case compared to last year's Pixel 5 which ran with a 4080mAh battery, or even the smaller Pixel 6 which has a 4640mAh power pack. The Pixel 6 Pro has a sealed 5,000mAh battery, and while it's far from alone on that score, there's only a handful of premium phones that go that far. That larger screen may sap power, but then being able to dynamically switch up to 120Hz for need or as low as 10Hz could be its real saviour.
Again, because it's a Google phone, it's not just a question of hardware doing the heavy lifting. Adaptive battery features will help the Pixel 6 Pro to learn your common apps, keeping them ticking along while sleeping other apps you might not need in order to maximise battery life. Likewise, an extreme battery saving feature will allow you to select a handful of vital apps to keep running when your phone battery gets critically low, allowing you to eke out useful working time while you search for a battery pack or wall charger.
Recharging is via USB-C at up to 30W, although like Samsung and Apple, Google has gone down the no-charger-in-the-box route, so you'll have to provide one yourself. It's also compatible with Qi chargers if you prefer wireless power.
Google Pixel 6 Pro: Specifications
|Model||Google Pixel 6 Pro||Google Pixel 6||Google Pixel 5|
|Screen size||6.7 inches||6.4 inches||6 inches|
|Processor||Google Tensor||Google Tensor||Snapdragon 765G|
Buy Pixel phones
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro weren't on sale at the time of writing, but you should be able to pre-order them on 20 October 2021. Alternatively, you can currently get your hands on the Pixel 4a, Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G at reduced prices. Here are a handful of deals that caught our eye on Amazon.
Compare Pixel 6 plans
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