Sometimes you just need time to lend you a bit of perspective. That’s 100% the case for me and the Pixel 6 Pro, a phone I personally dismissed in the early days as I decided which Pixel I’d pick up in late 2021. The story I told myself made a lot of sense at the time and I can still appreciate my decision, but it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t misguided. For a very minor reason last week, I put my SIM card back in the Pixel 6 Pro we keep here in the office and since that point, I’ve fallen in love with Google’s premium phone. Let me tell you why.
About a week ago, I had a thought: with the Pixel 6 in PUBG New State, there has been a persistent jitter to the controls when you drag your thumb across the screen. It isn’t there nearly as much on other phones, and so I wasn’t sure if it was a Tensor-related thing or an issue with the actual touch sensor on the Pixel 6. I figured one way to check was by trying the game on the Pixel 6 Pro since it clearly has a higher-end screen and – just maybe – a higher touch sampling rate.
It wasn’t a perfect experiment, but the jitter was far less noticeable and, again, I’d attribute that to the superior screen on the Pixel 6 Pro versus the Pixel 6. Perhaps there’s some Tensor-related issues, too, but none of that is really the point. What is the point here is that I needed to test something on the Pixel 6 Pro and after I used it for just a few minutes, my interest in it was re-kindled. While I didn’t fully resolve my initial issue with the Pixel 6, the experiment put the Pixel 6 Pro in my hands for an extended period and completely changed my mind on Google’s flagship phone.
Let’s talk Pixel 6 Pro upsides
First and foremost, I immediately noticed a difference in the feel of the device in my hand. While my Pixel 6 is nice to hold and feels more like the Pixel aesthetic of old that I’m more used to, there’s no doubt the Pixel 6 Pro is nicer in every way. It looks more premium, feels more premium, and with a better case on it, I’m not too bothered by the curved edges of the display anymore like I was early on.
In my earlier video about the two phones, I felt odd about the Pixel 6 Pro being such a Samsung/OnePlus-esque type of device. I’ve always loved the understated, simple beauty of the Pixel phones through the years and the Pixel 6 Pro was a big departure from that. I’m not sure what that says about me psychologically, but I just wasn’t ready for that sort of vibe back in October. I wanted all the niceties of a Pixel in a familiar, simple body, and the more-premium Pixel 6 Pro just didn’t deliver that. But my hang ups with a premium-feeling phones in general – including the Pixel 6 Pro – are definitely gone now, so instead of feeling a bit put off by the build quality, I’m actually loving it now.
And that quality of parts is at its peak when we talk about the screen. It’s just flat-out mesmerizing to look at. With the larger 6.7-inch measure that flows over the edges, there’s an immersion to this display that isn’t matched in too many phones out there. It’s bright, has wonderful colors, and the extra resolution and bump up to 120hz refresh rate are things my eyes are picking up on. While I still contend that 1080p is enough for phone screens, the extra pixels and crazy-smooth refresh rate just make things feel so high-end and, after 6 months of looking at the Pixel 6 screen, this display has me drooling a bit every time I turn on the phone.
While I was watching videos or playing games on that luxurious display, I was also reminded of the delicious speakers on this phone. They are absolutely some of the best phone speakers I’ve ever heard, and they make viewing content of any type an absolute joy when combined with the screen of the Pixel 6 Pro. I remember the speakers being good, but I forgot they were this good.
Another thing I forgot about and swiftly recalled was the quality of the haptic feedback on this phone. It is intense! But it’s also tight and controlled, making things like typing or catching notifications that much better. I miss alerts a lot on the Pixel 6, but I’ve had no issues since switching to the Pixel 6 Pro. And I absolutely love typing on a device with haptics this good. It’s just a pleasure.
Then there are the cameras. The addition of the telephoto lens came into play immediately over the weekend on a trip to Churchill Downs as we were getting photos of the kids. That’s a trick I can’t use on the Pixel 6 no matter how hard I try and the 4x telephoto lens is just as crisp and colorful as the main shooter, so I don’t have to worry with degraded photos when I need to get a bit closer.
Additionally, I forgot how much better the selfie cam is on this phone versus the Pixel 6. The colors are better, the image is sharper, the view is wider, and the overall experience of using it is just better. Again, this is one of those concessions I was OK with making back in October, but I’ve really enjoyed having a better front-facing camera this past week for sure.
Finally, I’ve noticed what feels like better perceived performance in the Pixel 6 Pro. The only difference in the two is 8GB of RAM in the Pixel 6 versus the 12GB of RAM in the Pixel 6 Pro. I’ve long advocated that 8GB of RAM is plenty and I still lean that direction, but there’s definitely a perceived performance boost in the Pixel 6 Pro. Perhaps its the combo of all the other premium pieces making me think things are better. Perhaps its just the word Pro in the name. Or maybe the extra 4GB of RAM does make a big difference.
All I know is PUBG New State runs better on this phone than it does the Pixel 6 and in the normal, daily flow of moving through all sorts of apps, I don’t ever notice any slowdown. And with Apex Legends Mobile running like an absolute beast on both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, I even feel like I have a proper gaming phone in my pocket now, too.
Is all of this to say I was wrong to choose the Pixel 6 in the first place? No. Does it mean that those of you that chose the standard Pixel 6 somehow made the wrong decision? Nope. It’s still a fantastic phone at a stellar price point that is by far one of the best deals in the entire smartphone market; it has the Pixel experience that makes Google’s phones so great to use and there’s nothing inherently bad about it. But there’s no denying that there are real and worthwhile upgrades available in the Pixel 6 Pro if you are willing to pay for them, and my early dismissal of those features – for me and users like me – was a mistake. This Pixel 6 Pro I’m using doesn’t belong to me technically, so I’m now in the process of selling my Pixel 6 and upgrading to the Pro. It’s that serious, and I’m not too big to admit I was that wrong.