Google Pixel 6
This is how the new smartphone does in the first test
Google has presented its new generation of smartphones. This is how the Pixel 6 does in the first test.
When the big manufacturers bring new smartphones onto the market, users can usually look forward to fresh innovations. This is no different with Google’s sixth generation of smartphones. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro set new standards when it comes to smartphone photography, which is particularly noticeable when it comes to image processing. This is not least due to a specially developed processor that focuses on AI processes. What else there is to know about the current Google smartphone.
A processor of its own
When presenting the Pixel 6 series, Google attached great importance to having developed its own chip. This is called “Tensor” and is optimized for the areas of artificial intelligence and machine-based learning (ML). Four areas of application benefit from this in particular: photo, video, speech recognition and translation. According to Google’s own information, the Pixel 6 devices are 80 percent more powerful than the previous generation thanks to “Tensor”. A second chip called “Titan M2” is supposed to provide extra security and store passwords, for example. By and large, this is a minor revolution as the Pixel 6 is the first Android smartphone in years that is not powered by a Qualcomm processor.
Google has been going its own way with the camera since its first generation of pixels. Instead of constantly outbidding each other in terms of megapixels, the group built one and the same camera panel across all smartphones for a long time. So far, Google has been able to compensate for the fact that the hardware is getting on in years with strong image processing algorithms. In 2021 this will be over, the Pixel 6 will get a new camera bar. And it is noticeable: the bar running across the back of the device is the ultimate visual feature of the device. Google succeeds in a design throw, a second look is not necessary to recognize a Pixel 6 as a Pixel 6.
And what does the camera do? The answer, in short, is quite a lot. On the one hand, Google is installing completely new hardware, the main camera has a resolution of 50 megapixels, and the ultra-wide-angle lens has 12 megapixels. In the Pro version, there is also a 48-megapixel telephoto object with four times the optical zoom. The front cameras also differ: the standard version has an 8-megapixel camera that can record full HD videos at 30 frames per second. The Pro model has an 11.1 megapixel camera that captures 4K videos at 30 or Full HD videos at 60 frames per second. In both cases, the sensor should be able to detect 150 percent more light than the previous models, which is particularly noticeable when taking night photos.
The image processing
In addition, there is the photo algorithm, which has already been convincing in the past pixel generations, which optimizes freshly taken pictures in the background. However, the AI in the Pixel 6 can do a lot more. For example, there is an eraser tool in the new Google smartphone: the AI behind it can recognize disruptive picture elements such as passers-by or power lines before it exchanges them for what would be seen without the removed elements. Sounds utopian? Thanks to machine learning, it is no longer. The special thing about it: According to Google, the AI will continue to learn and thus deliver better and better results over time. On top of that, Google prides itself on having released the “most inclusive smartphone of all time” with the Pixel 6, because it is better able than before to correctly detect and recognize different skin types.
In the same way, the AI can recognize and change the sky as such, sharpen blurred faces with the “Face Unblur” function or, conversely, add the appropriate blurring to moving images in “Motion” mode. This creates effects that can otherwise only be achieved with long exposure or with tripods. Depending on the effect, several AI models operated by the tensor chip are involved in all of the functions mentioned, which deliver great results in the first test.
Listen up, algorithm!
Another core feature of the Pixel 6 also has to do with artificial intelligence. Many users have now got used to being able to give spoken commands to their smartphone. Google goes one step further and enables its Pixel 6 to translate, for example, in real time. If you want to write a short message in another language, you no longer have to jump back and forth between a translation tool and the messenger app and copy text. Instead, you simply dictate the content of the message to your device in German (or another language). The Pixel 6 translates what has been said into the desired target language and writes it down – in the appropriate alphabet, depending on the language. This also worked flawlessly in the first test. If you also train your device on your own voice, you will get even better results over time.
In the Pixel 6, a lot of modern smartphone technology comes together, which is garnished by Google with AI features. The device hardly offers any cause for criticism; the only difference is the design. For this, the devices are IP68 certified, i.e. completely dust and waterproof. It is also praiseworthy that the group deviates from the common principle of only guaranteeing updates for two years. Instead, Google promises three years of Android updates and five years of security updates.
In addition, both the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro are available at a lower price than many observers expected: The standard version is equipped with 128 GB of storage and is available from 649 euros, the Pro model is 899 euros ( 128 GB) or 999 euros (256 GB). Bargain hunters can also use it until October 27th Pre-order directly from Google, then Google donated noice-canceling headphones from Bose worth around 250 euros. The devices will be available in stores on October 28th.