We’ve not been exactly clear on the embargo date for Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro reviews because, frankly, we weren’t sure if the agreed embargo date was part of the actual embargo or not. If I agree not to share info about a product before a certain date, it’s a blurry line on whether or not the date itself is part of that info. We don’t deal with a ton of embargoes here at Chrome Unboxed due to the nature of the hardware we cover, so we thought it best to keep our mouths shut about it. The rest of the internet hasn’t been so concerned about this, and it has been public knowledge for a week at this point.
For the most part, it seems reviewers, bloggers and news outlets have played fair with the embargo. I’ve not seen a full-blown review out there before now and I’ve not seen a bunch of camera samples. With the way Google’s hardware leaks, that is a small accomplishment. However, with the embargo lifting today, the reviews are most definitely coming. Again, we’re not an Android-focused website or YouTube channel, so our experience is likely different than others, but it needs to be noted that we only received our review units of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro the morning of Google’s announcement. That means we’ve only possessed both phones for 6 days at this point.
Now, remember that reviews take time to write, edit, and publish. Videos take even longer. If other reviewers got their phones around the same time as we did, you need to consider this for just a moment. To meet the embargo time, a review video was likely shot at the end of last week so edits could be made and the video could be properly produced. Again, if review units went out around the same time for everyone, that means there are some of those reviews being made after only a few days actually using two phones.
This is not the recipe for an accurate, thoughtful, well-considered review. First impressions? Sure. Reaction videos? Absolutely. Full-blown, make-a-purchase-decision reviews? Not in that time frame. There are simply too many things to consider with these phones to make that sort of decision in a few days time. Hell, I’m still struggling to decide which phone I want to purchase right now. Do I stay on the affordable side with the Pixel 6 or splurge on the giant Pixel 6 Pro? I’m honestly still on the fence and haven’t even pulled the trigger on a purchase because I’m so conflicted with just that part of the equation.
And that’s why I warn you to take all these reviews that will arrive today with a grain of salt. There are likely YouTube channels that will have had a longer look at these phones than we have, and if that’s the case I can confidently say that you can trust those opinions for the Pixel 6 just as you would with any new device.
This one just hits different
But consider for just a moment the difference in this review process versus the more-standard iPhone or Galaxy S upgrade. Those who review phones like the iPhone or Galaxy S devices know what they’re getting into with each iteration. Small tweaks in the hardware, small tweaks to the cameras, small tweaks to the software. Samsung and Apple aren’t making sweeping changes to their phones each year because they’ve both carved out a solid niche of users and they just don’t need to do that anymore. Additionally, as a large tech company, if you’ve found a working formula, you don’t want to alienate your user base by huge updates to fix things that aren’t broken.
The Pixel story hasn’t exactly been that way for Google. The more-affordable iterations (like Pixel 3a and 4a) have done well, the photo chops have always impressed, and the hardware has always had a few hiccups that needed to be fixed in the next version. Pixels, as a whole, needed a refresh and a new start. Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are absolutely that new beginning, and from my few days using them, I can confirm that these are the best Pixels I’ve used. Ever. But they are different from Pixels of the past, and that means I need time to really get into those differences to form a level opinion of these phones.
And I don’t think I’m alone, here. We are holding off on our review because – to be honest – we’re just not ready to make one yet. These phones aren’t a small iteration to the Pixel formula. They are a rethink of the entire setup in good ways. But this means that even simple things like phone reception, camera quality, and general performance aren’t just a given. We have an unproven processor in Tensor, an unfamiliar modem, and a completely new Samsung sensors in the camera array. So far so good, but I think these new hardware pieces deserve a bit of time to fully come to grips with in a new Pixel phone.
So, our review is coming, but not here yet. Soon? Sure, but only after I can confidently say these phones are the ones we’ve truly been hoping for. I want them to be so badly, but I also don’t want that to cloud my judgement. $599 – $899 is a lot of money to spend, and we want our guiding opinion to be one based on facts, not hopes. I’m not saying all the reviews you see today will be partially-formed, but many of them will be. There’s simply too much new stuff going on here to break it all down in a week. If you know this going in, you can be a bit more prepared to meet the praises and criticisms that will be leveled at these phones today. And I promise, ours will follow soon.