I have been using a Pixel 6 on a daily basis for nine months and I would find it hard to part with it. Here is my detailed opinion after a long-term test.
Last October, Google launched its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, phones that marked a real turning point in the brand’s philosophy after years of more or less successful wanderings and trial and error. It was a real critical and commercial success – all things considered, but in any case a success on the scale of Google. But time has marred this vision with the appearance of many bugs identified by users.
However, after 9 months of use and almost no bugs encountered, I still love my Pixel 6 so much.
I’ve always loved Google’s smartphones
For context, I’ve always liked the Google experience. I’m one of those people who swore by the Nexus in the heyday of LG (Nexus 4 and Nexus 5), despite battery issues and poor photo quality. I then really appreciated the Pixels and I was, despite myself, an excellent salesperson for the brand when it came to recommending a Pixel 3a or 4a to my relatives, who were always delighted with this advice.
I really fell in love with the Pixel 4 XL. It was heavy, full of flaws, but you have to have had it to understand how much it offered a fluid and different experience. Soli, his buried radar sensor from the next generation, certainly had a lot to do with it, rest in peace little angel. It is therefore not very surprising that I appreciate the Pixel 6, despite some reluctance at the time.
A particular design
For my taste, three points are important on a smartphone. First, autonomy. Because a telephone, no matter how good, if it goes out at 4 p.m., it will remain a useless brick. Then the general experience, the fluidity, the interface, the quality of the screen, the grip and finally the quality of the photos.
I will come back to the autonomy and the photo quality, but let’s dwell on the overall experience, starting with its design which made me prefer this Pixel 6 to the Pixel 6 Pro. I can’t stand curved screens and seeing Geoffroy’s feedback on the subject, the Pro is a nightmare at this level. Also, I have trouble with phones that weigh more than 200 grams. The Pixel 6 already weighs 207 grams, I didn’t want to go any higher, too bad if that made me lose the telephoto lens.
Apart from this detail, the design of the Pixel 6 did not shock me, unlike others who vilified its horizontal photo module. Its real problem is not so much aesthetic as practical: not only its angles represent dust nests, but its edges end up whitening by force of shocks and frictions. In nine months, the whole frame has also tended to speckle. I confess to being refractory to shells and having dropped it a few times out of clumsiness, but other phones are much more resistant at this level.
In short, you will have understood it, it is not for its design that I like the Pixel 6.
All that’s missing is fast charging
So, let’s go back to the crucial points, starting with autonomy. At this level, the Pixel 6 is very impressive, even nine months later. Apart from a few days where I experienced a strange battery drain that was probably due to poor app cache management, the Pixel 6’s battery has never failed me. My use is rather important and yet I have never been afraid of the blow of the breakdown in the event of an evening dragging on. For example, it’s 6:40 p.m. as of this writing, I unplugged my phone when I woke up this morning and I have 80% battery left. So of course, I only really used it for about 2.5 hours a day, but it’s still impressive and it allows me to stay calm in all circumstances.
In fact, I rarely missed the fast charge. I wouldn’t spit on a load of 60 W or more (against 30 W announced by Google), but that would only fill a very occasional lack. I finally relearned how to charge my phone at night, with today’s smartphones managing this in a way that doesn’t drain the battery.
A pleasant interface
Now, about the experience itself and the Pixel interface. I must admit that some points of Android 12 still frustrate me, starting with the quick setting “Internetwhich still combines mobile data and Wi-Fi, adding a click to really access it. The disappearance of the Power Menu from Android 11 as well.
But apart from that, Pixel Experience (Google’s interface) brings me everything I want with great fluidity. Nevertheless, I consider myself lucky to have absolutely never experienced the many bugs encountered by others with their Pixel, it is apparently a real Russian roulette…
Small details like the Preview widget ( At a glance ), instant subtitles, music recognition that happens on the lock screen without having to ask… These are all small elements that make the Pixel experience something unique. It’s not for lack of having used phones from Oppo, Samsung, OnePlus and even Apple over the past year; Google’s have that little extra trick that works for me.
Call me for your photos of parties, weddings, Bar-mitzvah…
But now let’s talk about what I think really makes the difference with the Pixel 6: the photo. In his long-term test of the Pixel 6 Pro, Geoffroy indicates that he is disappointed with the photo and notably cites smartphones which now have larger sensors. Technically, certainly, it is an advantage. But in fact, even with a one-inch sensor, with the small lenses that equip current phones, the algorithms still represent a huge part of the quality of the photo.
So yes, on a landscape, even at night, the competition has largely caught up with Google, and the gap is no longer as impressive as it was. However, there is one area where the artificial intelligence of Pixels remains unbeatable: moving targets in low light. If you are used to playing the photographers of your evenings, you know how difficult it is to obtain a successful shot after a certain hour. Likewise, if you have a pet or toddler that’s hard to pose for, the Pixel is still going strong.
It’s very simple, I have lost count of the number of times in a year that someone has been jealous of the photos my phone is capable of taking. An end to the show, an animated family photo, adabrapid, a furtive expression of joy, a stolen hug, people who are way too happy or even a lightning that tears the sky… to succeed in such a photo, you will not need to think for hours. Point, click, your photo is successful. Even the iPhone, yet among the best at freezing a scene, does not come close to the Pixel at this level.
Note that many of the photos above were taken in difficult light conditions requiring a long exposure, and with generally fast-moving subjects.
So yes ! The Pixel 6 does not have an optical zoom, it is not the smartphone with the best sharpness, but without a doubt, it is the one that will allow you to photograph your best memories. And when you relate all that to its ultra-competitive price, it’s hard not to warmly recommend this Pixel… fingers crossed that you avoid bugs.
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