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Google Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 5: The big rumored differences between new and old phones

The Pixel 6 phones are coming. How will they measure up to the Pixel 5?


With the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro just about to arrive, getting a new Pixel 5 right now is bound to result in instant buyer’s remorse. Judging from all the rumors, the Pixel 6 platform will be a gigantic leap forward in terms of power, performance, features and design. That said, Google’s new flagship class phones will also likely have sky-high sticker prices to match.

The question is though, just how far ahead of its predecessor will the Pixel 6 be? That fact is important because it’ll determine whether you should drop your older Pixel immediately for Google’s latest and greatest. Heck, if the Pixel 6 is all it’s cracked up to be current then Pixel 5 owners will be tempted too.

So no matter where you are in the Pixel phone upgrade cycle, knowing how well the Pixel 6 devices will stack up is an imperative. Here’s how we expect Google’s uber handsets will compare with last year’s model.

Price: Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro won’t come cheap

When the Pixel 5 debuted last October it came with a $699 price tag. And at the time of this writing, it’ll set you back just as much. But with all the advanced components the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro should boast, all bets are off. Google typically offers its latest Pixel for the same price the previous Pixel cost. 

This time around though, Google reportedly is angling to snatch premium phone market share away from Apple and Samsung. The Galaxy S21 ranges in price from $799 to $1,379. Similarly, the iPhone 12 costs anywhere from $799 to $949 depending on how you configure it. So it’s a good call the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will also demand top dollar.

Google’s Pixel 6 phones will come in snazzy colors and have premium build quality.


Design: The Pixel 6 phones will stand out for looking good 

All of Google’s previous Pixel phones, including the Pixel 5, were deliberately designed not to distract from their screens. In the user’s eye, the hardware was meant to drop away, serving as a mere vehicle for Google’s Android software.

Not so with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Minted in multiple splashy colors and apparently sporting glossy metal highlights, both handsets are clearly built to get noticed. That’s a lot more visually exciting than the Pixel 5’s two modest hues of “just black” and “sorta sage.”

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Camera: The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will have bigger, better sensors and lenses

One of the biggest improvements to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will be their imaging systems. Physically they’re a lot bigger than the camera hardware you’ll find on the Pixel 5. In fact these new cameras are so large they reside in a raised bar on the back side of each phone. They run the entire width of each handset too.

And if word on the street is true, there’s a reason for the extra bulk. Rumor has it that the Pixel 6 camera platform is built around a massive main 50-megapixel sensor with a wide angle lens. Both phones should have 12-megapixel ultrawide lens and sensor combos, too. The Pixel 6 Pro though will set itself apart with an additional 48-megapixel telephoto camera.

Either handset’s camera system should run rings around the Pixel 5’s hardware. That device ships with 16-megapixel ultrawide and 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel main camera sensors.

The Google Tensor chip’s unveil is a prominent part of the first official look at the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.


Processing: The Pixel 6 phones will boast custom, not stock chips

In another seismic break from the past, the Pixel 6 phones will run in-house silicon. Specifically, at the heart of both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is Google’s new Tensor SoC (system on chip). Designed personally by Google engineers, much like Apple does with its A series mobile chips, the Tensor is tailor made for Android.

The result should be snazzed up computing and video processing performance. Hopefully this won’t come at the expense of battery life either. Google hasn’t yet released details about Tensor’s speeds and feeds. That said, compared to the off-the-shelf Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G on the Pixel 5, this custom chip will likely be a big improvement. 

Charging: The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro could have faster wired and wireless charging

The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will likely be the first Google phones not to come with chargers in their boxes. At least that’s what the tech giant said at the launch of the Pixel 5A. Other reports point to big improvements in charging. For example, according to 91mobiles the new flagship devices could support 33-watt fast wired charging.

And another report by Android Police suggests the new Pixel phones will interface with 23-watt wireless charging stations. In either case, that beats what the Pixel 5 can do. Its wireless charging tops out at 18 watts.

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