Trending March 2024 # The Google Pixel 6 Is Android Authority’S Pick For Best Phone Of 2023 # Suggested April 2024 # Top 12 Popular

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Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Smartphone seasons come and go and there are always a handful of standout devices. Regardless, only one can be crowned the best phone of the year, whether it’s the best Android phone or the best smartphone generally.

In this article, we share Android Authority’s Editor’s Choice winner for the best phone of 2023, alongside those devices that placed in the top five. We’ve now also crowned our Reader’s Choice best phone of 2023 winner and awarded our full list of the best products of 2023.

We review a lot of tech but phones have always been our bread and butter.

We review a lot of tech here at Android Authority but phones have always been our bread and butter. Hundreds of hours go into reviewing, testing, and comparing the best of the best from all segments of the mobile market. Our team of seasoned reviewers and writers know the tech we write about better than anyone. But as the year draws to a close our team crowns our pick for the best phone of the year, based on not just performance but also value for money and other intangibles like long-term support.

First, we create a shortlist based on the most important and well-rated phones we’ve tested throughout the year. Then we ensure our list has devices from all major brands and price points. We include devices sold in the US only as well as globally. Finally, we submit the list to a vote. Our most experienced reviewers assign points based on their picks and the phone with the most points overall wins. Simple.

Android Authority‘s Editor’s Choice phone of the year: Google Pixel 6

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

When the dust settled on voting this year it wasn’t even close. We had a very clear winner on our hands. The Pixel 6 offers a feature set almost as full as its more expensive stablemate but with a price tag that cannot be ignored. The Google Pixel 6 is Android Authority’s Editor’s Choice phone of the year for 2023.

The Pixel 6 has a price tag that cannot be ignored for what it delivers.

At just $599, we called the Pixel 6 one of the easiest-to-recommend phones of the year in our review. Google is finally taking making smartphones seriously and the Pixel 6 is a breath of fresh air. It packs much of the flagship experience of the Pixel 6 Pro but shaves off just the right parts to get the price down. We think the Pixel 6 is the best phone for most people in 2023.

Don’t miss: Pixel 6 series buyer’s guide

Google Pixel 6

The more affordable Pixel

The Google Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch FHD+ display and runs on the all-new Google Tensor SoC. It has an upgraded camera system, exclusive software features, and offers some of the best hardware Google has ever produced.

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Reinforcing just how great both Samsung’s and Google’s product lines were this year, we had a tie for third place: the Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy Z Fold 3. Google’s more expensive phone and Samsung’s fancier foldable both scored highly with our team. Both devices add a telephoto lens that the base model Pixel 6 and Samsung’s other 2023 foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip 3, miss out on.

You certainly can’t say we’re biased against Apple when two iPhones tied for fifth spot. (In case you think our math is off, we consider the Pixel 6 Pro and Z Fold 3 to have taken places three and four). While there wasn’t anything mind-blowing in this year’s iPhones, they iterated well on the already-excellent iPhone 12 series. iPhones have gotten really good in the last couple of years and are great options for a lot of people.

Recap: Check out our 2023 Editor’s Choice winner and 2023 Reader’s Choice winner.

You're reading The Google Pixel 6 Is Android Authority’S Pick For Best Phone Of 2023

Daily Authority: Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro Intrigue, And More

The Google Pixel 6 Pro looks like it’ll have dimensions of 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm, with a curved 6.67-inch OLED display, and selfie camera holepunch.

The rear camera module looks to have three lenses, including a periscope lens for optical zoom, and an in-display fingerprint sensor.

All those cameras mean a big ol’ 11.5mm thick camera bump.

What it means:

This is the biggest design change in the Pixel series line. It’s a big step away from its roots, which included some almost stubborn elements, like the fingerprint sensor on the back, the same camera sensor hardware, and so on.

The camera bump tells us a story: the bigger the bump, the more camera hardware packed in. It may be that Google is making improvements, but isn’t going all-out, and not as aggressive as we see from Samsung and Huawei. That would fit where Google sits in the smartphone game.

The design confirmations we see here have some split opinions. While the camera bump running horizontally across the back is somewhat unique, it could very well be mistaken for a second-rate OEM design*. Aside from the two-tone color scheme, it doesn’t offer the usual Googley playfulness. Then again, that wasn’t exactly present in the Pixel 3a and 4a, while the Pixel 5 wasn’t overly whimsical either.

That’s about where we are with the generic glass slab situation though.

The Android 12 design ethos around Material You may or may not pervade to the phone. Google is suggesting Material You is all about customization, so in theory, a Pixel 6 will have a wider range of color options.

Still, it is a welcome change from Pixel 3, 4, and 5.

*A reminder, though: the happy circumstance is that almost always, phones look better in real life than in CAD-renders (except maybe those official and sometimes misleading marketing renders)

Pixel 6 renders also dropped:

Most of the same thoughts apply, though the Pixel 6 doesn’t seem like it will be anything as cut-down as the “A” editions (eg, the Pixel 4a) compared to the flagship.

The smaller non-Pro Google Pixel 6 features one less camera and goes for a 6.4-inch flat display with the same in-display fingerprint sensor.

It likely won’t include the periscope camera to give the Pro a clear edge.

Also: Google Pixel 6 may vibe with your ringtones thanks to Android 12 API (wait, who uses a ringtone?)

Roundup

💸 The best-selling Android phone was crushed by the iPhone 12, an all-too familiar foe, in Q1 2023 (Android Authority).

⚡ Google’s first-ever permanent retail store will open this summer in NYC (Android Authority).

⌚ OnePlus Watch with Cyberpunk 2077 styling is coming this month (Android Authority).

😎 Snap debuts Spectacles 4.0: true AR glasses that show the potential (and limitations) of AR. 30 min battery life, and not on sale… (Ars Technica).

📺 Roku and YouTube are battling for your precious TV data, because it is worth a fortune (Wired).

⚖️ Epic v. Apple: “Apple accuses Microsoft of using Epic in legal attack” (Bloomberg).

🔫 Overwatch 2 will pit five-person teams against each other, as the current 6v6 setup in Overwatch moves away from two tanks (Engadget).

🦠 Let’s all keep calm, but this is uniquely newsworthy at this point: “New coronavirus detected in patients at Malaysian hospital, source may be dogs” (NPR).

💉 Dating apps are encouraging users to get vaccinated with the promise of more matches (The Verge).

🤔 “What is something that sounds futuristic but is happening now?” (r/askreddit). Some cool stuff happening when you think about it: 3D printed organs, that little helicopter flying autonomously on Mars, levitating hotdogs (see below)

Friday Fun

NightHawkInLight

Gaze upon this levitating hot dog cooking gadget, writes Mashable, which managed to find YouTuber NightHawkInLight inventing, well, whatever this is.

This hotdog hoverings via a stream of compressed air, thanks to the Coandă effect, something that comes up all over the place at unexpected times, including in Formula 1. (The Monaco Grand Prix is this week, by the way!)

The crucial element here is that the hotdog is round.

Roundly yours,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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Is The Google Pixel 6 Pro Camera Actually Better Than The Pixel 5?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With the arrival of the Pixel 6 Pro, and to a lesser extent the regular Pixel 6, Google has (finally) revamped its smartphone camera package. But does the new flagship actually take better-looking pictures than 2023’s Google Pixel 5?

The highly anticipated change between the Pixel 5 and 6 is the introduction of a much larger main image sensor. The long-serving 12.2MP 1/2.55-inch Sony IMX363 featured on multiple generations of Pixel phones makes way for a much larger 1/1.31-inch main sensor that we suspect is the Samsung Iscocell GN1. The Pixel 6 Pro also includes a 4x telephoto camera, giving the phone much greater long-range prowess than its predecessor.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the Pixel 6’s camera upgrades

In addition, the custom Google Tensor SoC houses new machine learning smarts that are closely integrated with the Pixel 6’s imaging pipeline. While Google’s impressive HDR, Night Mode, and ASTROphotography algorithms already run on the Pixel 5’s more mid-range hardware, Google has bigged up the enhanced ML capabilities of its new chip. So it will be interesting to see what differences the new processor makes to image quality. Let’s find out what they are in this Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Pixel 5 camera shootout.

If you want to follow along with our analysis even more, be sure to check out this Google Drive folder filled with full-res snaps. 

If you’re hard-pressed to tell the difference between the pictures below, you’re not alone. A surprising number of shots we’ve taken are virtually indistinguishable from each other, at least at a quick glance.

These two main cameras offer very realistic colors, excellent exposure, and solid white balance. Given the similarities, you really wouldn’t think the Pixel 5’s camera hardware has basically been left unchanged since 2023’s Pixel 2. It just goes to show that Google’s software processing is the overriding factor in the look of Google’s image, more so than any underlying hardware.

There are a few regular differences between the two, however, when it comes to general presentation. Besides the slightly wider field of view from the Pixel 6 Pro, there are also very subtle but consistent differences in color saturation, exposure, and white balance. The Pixel 6 Pro is often a fraction brighter when it comes to exposure, which you can see in the cityscape and pumpkin pictures above.

Don’t forget: All the photography terms you should know about

With a new 50MP main image sensor, you might believe that the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are capable of capturing much sharper images than the Pixel 5. However, the new handsets pixel bin their images down to 12.5MP and there isn’t an option to shoot at a higher resolution in Google’s default camera app.

Even so, perhaps the larger sensor helps the Pixel 6 capture more light and resolve more detail than the Pixel 5? Let’s take a look at some 100% crops.

That doesn’t appear to be the case in the brightly lit environments above. Although the Pixel 6 Pro appears a tad sharper in terms of post-processing, there’s no additional resolvable detail in the 100% crops above. The Pixel 5 certainly holds up, although small sensors often perform well with plenty of bright outdoor light.

Turning to indoor conditions, the Pixel 5 is a little softer when looking at the fine details on the bar. There’s a small level of noise in the shadows also. The Pixel 6 Pro is definitely the sharper image here, but you really have to pixel peep to notice.

This overcast outdoor picture is more mixed. Again the Pixel 6 Pro looks sharper and has less noise in general, particularly when focusing on the subject tree in the center. However, the newer phone suffers from extra smudging in some of the trees, which you don’t see on the Pixel 5 — see the bushes and trees on the left of the crop. The Pixel 6 Pro is certainly not always better when it comes to capturing detail.

Night mode and HDR improvements

Moving to some more extreme HDR shots, we’re looking for three key things: highlight clipping, shadow detail, and color saturation. Once again, there’s nothing to tell between the phones at a casual glance. Both offer extreme dynamic range free from clipping. Even peering more closely, both are virtually indistinguishable from each other in the shadows, with decent levels of detail resolved, given the circumstances.

The one distinction between the two in HDR environments is that the Google Pixel 6 Pro offers fractionally more vivid colors and a slightly more realistic, less warm white balance. But the difference is marginal at best — the two phones offer the same excellent HDR capabilities despite the different image sensor and processing hardware. Clearly, Google’s best algorithms run just fine on older mid-range hardware.

The extra light has implications for shooting with Night Sight too. The Pixel 6 Pro captures a much more realistic white balance and colors in the shot above. Although Night Sight greatly improves the detail capture on the Pixel 5, you’ll still notice smudging and noise around the edge of the frame, such as on the shelves. The 100% outdoor example below highlights this noise issue perfectly — the Pixel 6 Pro is mostly clean while the Pixel 5 is a bit of a mess on closer inspection.

Google has revamped its ultra-wide snapper for the Pixel 6 series, opting for a lower resolution sensor but with larger pixels and a slightly wider field of view. Just like with the main camera, you’ll find almost identical colors, detail, and white balance from both handsets. However, the move to larger sensor pixels in Google’s latest phone pays dividends for exposure and dynamic range, with the Pixel 6 often handing in brighter pics in trickier lighting conditions.

Unfortunately, the Google Pixel 5’s ultra-wide lens suffered from chromatic aberration (purple halos and fringing) and this issue remains present with the Pixel 6. If anything, the additional exposure and saturation make this effect more noticeable on the newer handset. It’s an unfortunate blemish on an otherwise solid camera setup.

The Pixel 6 Pro has superior long-range hardware but the ultra-wide remains a point of weakness.

When it comes to long-range zoom, we’re obviously expecting the Google Pixel 6 Pro to hand in the best pictures, owing to its 4x optical zoom lens. The phone is capable of zooming out to 20x thanks to Google’s Super Res Zoom upscaling, while the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5 cap at 7x using the same tech and lack dedicated telephoto shooters. But just how big is the difference, and does the Pixel 5 hold up at closer zoom levels?

Read more: Camera zoom explained — how optical, digital, and hybrid zoom work

At 3x in our first shot, there’s better exposure and a fraction more detail on the Pixel 6 Pro’s shot, likely owing to the phone’s larger main sensor that’s used here. Even so, it’s quite close and there’s a fair bit of noise in both pictures that betrays the fact they rely on the same upscaling tech here. There’s no competition at 5x in our first sample set — the Pixel 6 Pro’s optical zoom kicks in to provide better colors and vastly greater levels of detail. At 5x, the Pixel 5’s Super Res Zoom is clearly stretched to disguise the sensor’s noise, and the problem looks even worse at 7x, although given the quite flat textures in this scene, the Pixel 5 remains somewhat passable.

The Pixel 5 struggles even more for fine details at longer distances, but results below 5x are passable compared with the Pixel 6 Pro.

This second set of samples overlooking a valley features much more complex tree and grass textures. As a result, the Pixel 5 struggles even more for fine details at longer distances, although it does a good job at balancing the scene’s high dynamic range.

Looking first at our 3x picture, the results are again surprisingly close. Both handsets apply a high level of sharpening to fix up their digital zoom, and while the Pixel 5 is the noise picture, this actually results in a softer image. The Pixel 6 Pro looks a little more smudged until the optical zoom kicks in, which provides vastly more detail, although color-wise, the Pixel 5 holds up very well even in these less ideal lighting conditions. 7x is definitely pushing the Pixel 5 past its limits, however, while the Pixel 6 Pro holds up well out at 10x, albeit with some signs of heavier processing as the camera combats the low lighting.

Selfies and portraits

We’ll round out our comparison with a look at the phone’s portrait mode using both the rear and selfie camera.

Once again, a quick glance at the photos shows very little difference between the two, with colors, exposure, and white balance a virtual match between these handsets.

We can notice some subtle differences in the picture above when cropping in, however. Face textures are a fraction sharper with the Pixel 6 Pro, while the Pixel 5 is a little softer owing to some extra noise. The Pixel 6 Pro’s skin tone is also a little less artificially warm and slightly more accurate for the scene. Google’s improvements are subtle but they are there.

Related: The best selfie camera phones you can buy

Turning to the selfie camera, there’s a similar theme. The general appearance is virtually the same but the Pixel 6 Pro appears marginally sharper and avoids an overly warm facial tone. This difference is even more pronounced in low light, where the Pixel 5’s selfie camera looks a fair bit softer and noisier than the updated sensor in the Pixel 6 Pro.

One final piece of the puzzle is bokeh blur accuracy. Both are generally pretty good but can be tripped up by the odd stray hair and complex background. But we do see a bigger difference in our outdoor selfie, with the Pixel 5 appearing to use straight lines, producing a more “cut out” appearance. The Pixel 6 Pro isn’t dissimilar but seems more capable of picking out the fine edges of the hair, resulting in marginally more accurate object detection. But you have to look closely to notice.

Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Pixel 5 camera shootout: The verdict

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

After a thorough workout, Google’s high-end Pixel 6 Pro comes out ahead as a more flexible shooter than last year’s Pixel 5, particularly when it comes to long-range and low-light photography. However, daylight, ultra-wide, and even portrait pictures are often very hard to tell apart. Despite some quite meaningful hardware differences on paper, the Pixel 5 still provides competitive details, HDR, and portrait pictures.

Does the Google Pixel 6 Pro offer a big enough camera upgrade over the Pixel 5?

4052 votes

This leaves the regular Pixel 6 in a bit of an awkward position. Without the Pro’s 4x optical zoom and the same selfie specs as the Pixel 5, we’re left with a marginally improved ultra-wide field of view and the new main camera as the only upgrades on the table. While the bigger sensor certainly helps take better Night Sight shots, neither is exactly a game-changer over last year’s model.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro certainly offers better low light and long-range flexibility, but that’s it for the obvious differences.

This is, obviously, a testament to how well Google’s photo-enhancing algorithms run on aging hardware, but it’s also a shame for those who had been expecting a bigger jump with the move to new, more competitive camera hardware. Overall, the Pixel 6 Pro certainly offers a worthwhile upgrade for those who love to snap zoom shots and take their camera out at night. But we can’t quite say the same about the regular Pixel 6.

More camera shootouts: Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max

The Best Chargers To Correctly Fast Charge The Google Pixel 6

Google officially ditched the charger from the Pixel 6, joining Apple and Samsung in forcing consumers to buy their own accessories to reach top speeds. It’s certainly irritating, but perhaps the move is better for the environment in the long run. Whether you’re reusing an old plug, buying proprietary, or shopping for a third-party option, you’ll have to do some research to make sure you pick out the best Google Pixel 6 chargers.

Fortunately, we’ve tested plenty of chargers and have you well covered! Here’s everything you need to make shopping for Pixel chargers easy. Also, if you have a Pixel 7 or 7 Pro, we have an updated list with even more chargers.

When picking out the best Google Pixel chargers, consider two key things: what standard the phone requires to fast charge and the amount of power needed.

Google’s Pixel 6 supports the USB Power Delivery PPS standard provided over USB-C. This is a less common part of the extended Power Delivery standard that requires specific chargers to work at full speed. USB PD PPS is also used by the Samsung Galaxy S23 series and is supported by a growing range of first and third-party plugs. However, older Pixel plugs won’t fast charge the Pixel 6 or newer models. You’ll need a new adapter.

Google’s Pixel 6 moves to the USB Power Delivery PPS standard.

Our testing reveals that the Pixel 6 supports up to 22W of power, up from 18W with previous models. Hardly a significant upgrade, but you’ll want a more powerful charger to fast-charge Google’s latest handset as quickly as possible. If you’re into wireless charging, the Pixel 6 supports the Qi standard at up to 21W, while the Pixel 6 Pro raises the speed to 23W.

Again, Google’s new Pixel 7 series follows the same rules, so any of these chargers will also work for the latest models. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the most suitable chargers for your new Pixel 6 smartphone.

The best Google Pixel 6 fast chargers

Anker 711 Charger (Nano II 30W)

Anker 711 Charger (Nano II 30W)

Small and portable • Pretty affordable • 30W charging

MSRP: $39.99

A powerful little USB Type-C charger for power on the go

The Anker 71 Charger Nano II 30W is a single-port USB Type-C charging brick. The compact size makes it ideal for portability.

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Samsung 45W Super Fast Travel Adapter

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

You can always try Samsung’s travel adapter if you don’t want to spring for Google’s official charger. With 45W of power and USB Power Delivery PPS onboard, this brick will charge both Galaxy and Pixel flagship smartphones at full speed without issue. Samsung’s charger isn’t a super cheap option, but it’s regularly on sale for less than $40, which is a decent deal. With 45W of power, this will have you well covered for tablets and smaller laptops too.

If you prefer saving some cash and don’t need to charge more power-hungry devices, you’ll do fine with the Samsung 25W Super Fast Wall Charger. It costs significantly less and also supports USB PD PPS. And since the Pixel 6 can’t do more than 22W, it’s enough to juice up as quickly as possible.

Elecjet X21 GaN Pro

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

When it comes to charging flexibility, the Elecjet X21 GaN Pro is a hard plug to beat for the best Google Pixel chargers with multiple ports.

With up to 65W of power, USB PD 3.0, PD PPS, Quick Charge, and a host of other standards supported over USB-C and USB-A, you’re well covered regardless of what you decide to charge up. With its clever modular swappable regional adapters, this charger is also an excellent travel companion. It won’t break the bank, either.

Elecjet X21 GaN Pro Fast Charger

Elecjet X21 GaN Pro Fast Charger

Supports USB PD PPS on two ports • Compact GaN design • Interchangeable regional plugs

MSRP: $39.99

With all the fast charging standards, 65W of power, and swappable adapter plugs.

With a huge range of fast charging standards onboard, 65W of power, and swappable travel adapters, the Elecjet X21 GaN Pro Fast Charger ticks all the boxes for the ideal compact GaN power adapter. The only caveat is the somewhat finicky nature of multi-device charging.

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Anker 735 Nano II 65W charger

Anker is a big name in the smartphone charging game. Its 735 Nano II 65W charger is more than you’ll need to charge the Google Pixel 6. It’s definitely among the best Google Pixel 6 chargers.

With three USB-C ports boasting PPS capabilities and room to supply up to 65W, it’s a solid multi-charging option for all your needs. And if you want something faster, for charging other devices, you can also get something like the Anker 737, which looks very similar and can charge at up to 120W.

UGREEN 200W Nexode Desktop Charger

Do you really want to go all out? This option is not as portable, but it is an awesome alternative if you want to charge many devices simultaneously. It has six ports in total. Just be ready to pay a pretty penny for it, as its MSRP is set at $199.99. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better multi-port charger, though.

It has PPS support and can charge at up to 200W, with the fastest ports supporting 100W speeds. That is more than enough to charge Pixel 6 devices, as well as tablets, laptops, and other more power-hungry devices.

Wireless chargers for the Google Pixel 6

FAQs

Pixel 6 devices can charge at up to 22W, as long as the charger supports USB Power Delivery PPS.

The Pixel 6 can juice up wirelessly at up to 21W, given you have a compatible Qi wireless charger. The Pixel 6 Pro can handle 23W.

Power Delivery PPS is a newer standard that supports configurable voltages. It stands for Programmable Power Supply.

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 series handsets have the same wired charging speed standards, so you will see no difference between them in this department. If you’re using wireless charging, the only difference is between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7. The Pixel 6 is actually faster at 21W, while the Pixel 7 can charge wirelessly at 20W.

Tested: The Pixel 6 Charges Much Slower Than Google Implied

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro had finally boarded the fast charging express. Google’s adoption of the USB Power Delivery PPS charging protocol and recommendation that you use its latest 30W USB-C adapter to obtain peak speeds certainly suggests as much. But one should never jump to assumptions and it turns out Google’s latest phones are still right down the pecking order for charging times.

Anyone who has used the phone will no doubt grimace at the “two hours to full” message received upon plugging in. Despite Google’s boasts of a 50% charge in 30 minutes, a full-cycle takes an inexplicable amount of time. Looking more closely at the literature, Google doesn’t actually state the peak wired charging speed for the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro. Here’s what the official Google Pixel 6 support page says:

Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with Google 30W USB-C. Charger with USB-PD 3.0 (PPS) sold separately.

Fast wired charging rates are based upon use of the Google 30W USB-C Charger plugged into a wall outlet. Compatible with USB PD 3.0 PPS adapters. Actual results may be slower. Adapters sold separately.

Confused? Fortunately, Android Authority has been in the lab to take a closer look at what’s causing these long charge times. The verdict? The assumed 30W charging isn’t 30W at all.

The latest Pixel 7 devices exhibit the same charging behavior as described in this article. We’ve published our findings in a dedicated Pixel 7 charging test.

Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra fast charging test

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

To get a taste of whether the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro’s behavior is unusual, we also tested the previous generation Google Pixel 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra using the same official 30W Google charger.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra also uses the USB Power Delivery PPS protocol to negotiate up to 25W of power and houses a 5,000mAh battery, making it an excellent reference for the Pixel 6 Pro. The Pixel 5 also gives us some useful data, as it shows how Google charged its previous phones using the USB Power Delivery 2.0 specification.

Immediately we see the Galaxy S21 Ultra pulling more power than the Pixel 6 Pro from Google’s own adapter. It draws 25W from the same plug and even hits peaks of 28W before reducing its charging power at the 50% mark. Even after this mark, the power draw falls to a still speedy 20W before tailing off down towards 6W for the last 15% of the phone’s charge. The phone also uses the USB PD PPS standard for the entire charge cycle. The net result is a much faster 62 minutes to full charge, 49 minutes faster than the Pixel 6 Pro for the same battery capacity.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra pulls more power than the Pixel 6 Pro from Google’s own adapter, charging ~49 minutes faster than the Pixel 6 Pro, despite the same battery capacity.

There is a minor trade-off here though. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s battery temperature hovers around 35°C for the fast-charge portion and above 30°C for the remaining charge cycle. Still, this is reasonably cool compared to the 60W+ fast-charging standards we see on the market.

Comparing the Google Pixel 6 Pro to the Pixel 5 shows that the company is using a virtually identical charging algorithm for both phones, just with fractionally more power used by the newer model. The handsets follow an almost identical step-down approach to lowering power as the phone’s battery fills up. While stepping off the gas is necessary as a battery fills up, Google’s approach is clearly far more conservative than Samsung’s Super Fast Charging or USB PD PPS.

Do you need to buy Google’s 30W PPS charger?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The benefit of USB PD PPS over the regular USB PD standard is that it allows for more fine-grain control of current and voltage delivery when combined with improved device-to-charger communication. In other words, Google should be able to charge the phone faster and more efficiently with the move to PPS, optimizing the power delivered based on battery condition, temperature, and more.

While Google has leveraged the standard for marginally higher power, there’s no sign of PPS being used to better optimize the Pixel 6 Pro’s charging speed any more dynamically than previous Pixels. I can’t understand why Google would move over to an entirely new charging standard, thereby breaking accessory compatibility, just to supply 4W more power to the Pixel 6.

Google’s new 30W charger saves you just 10 minutes over the old 18W model. Hardly worth the money.

As a final test, I charged the Google Pixel 6 Pro using Google’s old 18W USB Power Delivery plug the company shipped with previous generation Pixels. Just to see if there’s any tangible benefit. The results are somewhat galling.

Google’s latest flagships offer only marginal improvements to charging speeds.

The bottom line — Google hasn’t leapfrogged Apple and Samsung as it seemingly tried to imply. In fact, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro charge slower than their two biggest competitors. Considering those two already lag behind the slew of brands offering much speedier, market-leading fast charging technologies, Google finds itself in a less-than-stellar position in the pantheon of fast charging phones. With the latest Pixel devices providing exclusive features and hardware upgrades over previous Pixels, it’s a shame its charging hasn’t caught up.

A few weeks after we originally published our findings, Google clarified the charging capabilities of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The community blog post confirmed our findings that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro draw 21W and 23W at their peaks respectively, before reducing power as the battery capacity fills. That’s within a 1W margin of error from our testing, which is likely down to variables such as the cable used, ambient temperature, their use of pre-production software, and whether the measurement was taken at the phone or the plug.

Further reading: How long does it really take to fully charge your phone?

Top 10 Google Pixel 3 Camera Features: Is Pixel Still The Best?

Google has officially unveiled the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones at its hardware event in New York City. The devices come with a plethora of new features and improvements over their predecessors in a number of different areas, but the one aspect that received a lot of emphasis from Google at the presentation was the camera.

Pixel 3 Camera Samples

Google Pixel 3 Camera Features Night Sight Top Shot

The images chosen by Top Shot recommend photos with smiles rather than plain faces, and open eyes over closed ones, and the feature can even detect when subjects are looking at the camera. Once finalized by the user, the shots are saved with increased resolution and HDR.

Improved HDR+ and Portrait Mode

This is the signature Google Pixel camera feature. Pixel 3’s camera comes with HDR+ on by default. The camera will capture up to 8 frames and merge them together to produce high-quality photos irrespective of lighting conditions, with zero shutter lag.

Photobooth Group Selfie

Playground

Playground is an AR feature that can make an user’s photos and videos come to life by adding their favorite Marvel superheroes, animated stickers and fun captions into the photo. It’s basically a revamped version of AR Stickers that was originally introduced last year. As part of the process, ‘Playmoji’ characters interact not only with each other, but also with real, living subjects. In fact, they can also react to the user’s facial expressions.

RAW Suppport and New Panorama Mode

​Google has finally added native support for RAW images in the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Users will now be able to save their images as RAW files by turning on an optional toggle (under the ‘Advanced’ section of the camera settings) that will allow users to switch between JPEG only and RAW+JPEG. There’s also a revamped Panorama mode that uses better stitching and gets rid of the all the dots that needed to be aligned manually, making the process a lot easier. The panorama shots are now also optimized for VR, says Google.

Motion Auto Focus

Super Res Zoom

Super Res Zoom is basically digital zoom without any of its ill-effects – or at least that’s what Google claims. According to the company, the feature will make sure that the detail in your zoomed-in photo will retail its sharpness and clarity. It will use software to add additional resolution to zoomed shots retroactively. Will it be anything like optical zoom? Wait to check out full review as we put the Pixel 3 through its paces.

Google Lens

Lastly, Google Lens is now also more tightly integrated with Google Camera than ever, and is packed with new functionality. With the new and improved Lens in the Pixel 3, users can now get help in real-time with business cards, contact info, URLs, and QR codes. “Just point your camera — no gestures or mode switching required — and see helpful chips appear in the viewfinder”, says the company in its press release. The processing is done on the device using Pixel Visual Core, so no Internet connection is needed.

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