If you’re an avid Android fan or an avid mobile photographer, the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are likely to top your tech wishlist – and for good reason.
These two phones offer radical upgrades from last year’s Pixel 5 and could once again solidify the brand’s place among the best camera phones available.
But with specs and marketing filled with more buzzwords and tricky numbers than most technical white papers, you can rightly struggle to figure out which phone is best for your specific needs.
To help, we’ve created this handy guide detailing the biggest technical differences between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
This is a preliminary comparison based on technical data provided by Google. We’ll update this page with our real-world experience and lab data when we get the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro to test.
Visually, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro look the same, both sporting a striking design and a visor-like rear camera body. Build quality is also similar, both phones are IPX8 dust and water resistant. This means they will happily take a shower, but you won’t want to throw them in the tub or kitchen sink.
However, their differences show up internally. Starting with screen technology, the Pixel 6 Pro has a variable refresh rate LTPO panel, which is a big step forward for the Pixel lineup. This allows screens to offer a variable refresh rate that optimizes the number of images displayed per second depending on what the phone is doing. In fact, it can increase the refresh rate when there is an advantage – for example, when you are playing – and then lower it to conserve battery when not.
However, the Pixel 6 Pro’s screen is larger at 6.7 inches. It has a sharper 1440 x 3120 resolution and a higher maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. By comparison, the Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch screen; it has a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and a maximum refresh rate of 90 Hz.
However, the stats never tell the whole story. You also need to check key areas such as color accuracy and contrast ratio. However, on paper, the Pro is much better than other flagship phones like the Galaxy S21 Plus / Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro. However, based on our experience with similar panels, most buyers will be more than happy with the Pixel 6’s resolution, with the only major drawback being the lower maximum refresh rate. Trust me, you will notice the difference when going from 120Hz panel to 90Hz.
Performance and battery life should also be better on the Pixel 6 Pro, even though both new devices are powered by the new Google Tensor chipset. Tensor is Google’s first private label mobile chipset, replacing the Qualcomm chip used in older Pixel phones. It offers a number of benefits, including improved artificial intelligence capabilities that enable the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro to offer features such as real-time translation services. The difference is that the Pixel 6 Pro’s chip is supported by 12GB of RAM compared to 8GB in the Pixel 6, which could improve it in things like multitasking.
To cope with the larger screen, the Pro model also includes a larger battery and faster charging than the base Pixel 6. In particular, the Pro 5000mAh battery can hit 50% charge in just 30 minutes, while the 4614mAh cell of the base Pixel 6 can increase the power by only 30% at the same time.
You can see a detailed breakdown of the specs of the two phones in the table below.
Date of first review
128 GB, 256 GB
2.9 x 0.4 x 6.2 inches
1080 x 2400
Stormy Black, Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral
Pixel 6 Pro
128 GB, 256 GB
50 MP + 12 MP + 48 MP
3 x 0.4 x 6.5 INCH
1440 x 3120
Stormy Black, Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny
Google has significantly improved the cameras of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro; However, there are a few key differences.
For starters, the Pro is the only one of the two with a 48MP telephoto zoom lens. This allows it to offer 4x optical zoom. While this falls short of the 100x zoom capabilities of rival phones like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, it’s a nice touch that, in our experience, will be useful day in and day out.
The rear camera settings of the two phones are identical, both sporting a new 50MP Octa PD Quad Bayer primary sensor, which is backed up by a secondary ultra-wide-angle sensor. Google claims the new primary sensor is an exponential upgrade to the Pixel 5, offering radically better low-light performance. We can’t confirm this until we send the phones in for testing, but considering how good previous Pixel cameras have been, we take the claims pretty seriously.
Tensor Artificial Intelligence Mastery also adds several post-production capabilities. These include the new Magic Eraser and Face Unblur features. They are designed so that you can remove unnecessary photobombers from your shots and fix blurry faces using the power of the AI chip.
The Pro also has a better front camera with an 11.1MP sensor that can shoot selfies at a wider angle than the 8MP Pixel 6 and can record 4K video.
Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will launch on October 28th in various territories including the US and UK.
The Pixel 6 Pro starts at $ 599. This makes it significantly cheaper than the Pixel 6 Pro, which starts at $ 899.
The Pixel 6 Pro looks like a major upgrade to the Pixel 6, despite both having the same core Tensor chip and very similar designs. Improvements in the Pro’s screen refresh rate, faster charging, and a third telephoto sensor on the back are all key additions to improve its core offering. The only question is whether the phones live up to what they promise on paper – what we’ll find out when we get two pixels to test.