We’re only about a week out at this point from the launch of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and as we’d fully expect at this point, things are really leaking out. We’ve talked about how Google is handling things a bit different this year by being fairly transparent with their new phones, but even with them upending the standard leak cycle by spilling their own beans this year, there are many details Google hasn’t officially shared yet. Obviously, those were being held for the October 19th presentation, but there are just some things that you can’t keep under wraps forever.
A fresh, new retail leak has laid bare some of those final details for both phones, and M. Brandon Lee from This Is Tech Today shared a few images that show retail training documents that highlight a few specs on both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro that we’ve not seen prior. The main takeaway for me? Camera differences.
Up to this point, I’ve been under the impression that the Pixel 6 would have a 50MP wide angle camera and 12MP ultra-wide. The Pixel 6 Pro would add to this combo with a 4X 48MP telephoto option and I’d heard nothing about the specifics of the front-facing cameras. That addition is nice and likely will be useful, but it turns out the camera setups on these phones are more different than just the addition of one additional lens and sensor.
Only one camera in common
Instead, it turns out that the only camera these phones share in common is the main 50MP wide-angle. The ultra-wide on the Pixel 6 is the 12MP that’s been rumored, but it looks like the Pixel 6 Pro will actually have a sensor that cuts the MP down a bit – 11.1MP – while adding the ability to capture video at 4K resolutions. Additionally, the front-facing cameras on the two phones won’t match up, either, with the Pixel 6 getting an 8MP selfie cam and the Pixel 6 Pro getting a bump up to 11MP.
So, when you look at them side-by-side, the camera arrays are actually quite different. Does that mean the Pixel 6 Pro will dominate the Pixel 6 in image quality? Not likely. Remember, Google leans heavily into computational photography and has built industry-leading cameras in Pixel phones for years with sub-standard lenses and sensors up to this point. While it is likely the Pixel 6 Pro might get a trick here or there that won’t be possible with the standard Pixel 6, I don’t think the general photo taking experience will be that different between the two in the end.
While these differences in the cameras aren’t the only notable ways the two phones differ, they are the most important to consider. Sure, the Pixel 6 is a bit smaller (6.4-inches vs. 6.7-inches), has thicker bezels, a flat screen, and you go from a 120Hz refresh on the Pixel 6 Pro down to 90Hz on the Pixel 6. These are all differences, but some of these are things that users might actually value. A more-manageable size and lack of curve on the glass could be benefits for users looking to the Pixel 6 and, apart from comparing them side-by-side, most wouldn’t notice the difference in the refresh rates between the two, either. Different camera setups, however, could be the more-defining upgrade for those considering the Pixel 6 Pro.
Will the Pixel 6 Pro take better photos than the Pixel 6? Probably, but it may only be noticable to those of us who are more particular about photos and videos that originate from our phones. I don’t assume Google will want to create a divide between the user bases, but they also need to give people reasons to step up to the Pro, and that could mean exclusive camera features that take advantage of the better cameras on offer on the Pro. Either way, we’ll know a lot more in just over a week from now on October 19th when Google makes it all official.