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Google’s Much-Hyped Pixel 6 Undercuts Its Peers at Just $599

Google’s Much-Hyped Pixel 6 Undercuts Its Peers at Just $599

I’ve been using the two for the past few days and can’t share much about them just yet—look for our review next week—but these Pixels feel just as high-end as most $1,000 phones. The Pro especially has shiny aluminum around the edges that give it a classy look, whereas the Pixel 6 sticks with a matte texture that’s more subdued. Both are wrapped in glass, with Gorilla Glass Victus protecting the Pro’s screen, and Gorilla Glass 6 protecting the standard Pixel 6. Victus is a year or so newer than 6, and supposedly more protective.

These are also two of the larger Pixels Google has produced. The Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch screen and the Pro is a 6.7 incher, but they don’t feel drastically different in size. That’s because the Pixel 6 has thicker borders around the screen, and the Pro’s screen curves out to the edges to maximize screen space. 

Maxed Out Specs

They have pretty much any feature you’d want in a top-end Android phone, including OLED panels, stereo speakers, full 5G connectivity, speedy Wi-Fi 6E, IP68 water resistance, and wireless charging (a new Pixel Stand wireless charger is on the way too). Both also have fingerprint sensors baked into the display, a first for Google but a feature that’s become the norm on most high-end Android phones.

Like its competitors, the Pixel 6 range does not include charging adapters in the box, just a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter. 

Google Pixel 6

Pixel 6 Pro

Photograph: Google

Here’s how they differ:

Pixel 6: There’s a 90-Hz screen refresh rate, just like on last year’s Pixel 5, and a 1,080 x 2,400-pixel resolution. The Tensor chip, which Google says delivers up to 80 percent faster performance over its Qualcomm-powered predecessor, is joined with 8 gigabytes of RAM. It has a 4,524-mAh battery cell, which Google says should last more than a day. Neither has a MicroSD card slot (nor a headphone jack), but on the Pixel 6, you can choose between 128 or 256 gigabyte storage options. 

Pixel 6 Pro: You get a higher 1,440 x 3,120-pixel resolution and a 120-Hz screen refresh rate, which Google says can dip as low as 10-Hz when there’s not much happening on the screen to save battery life. The bigger size means a bigger 4,905-mAh capacity, and you also get 12 gigabytes of RAM. And if you record a lot of video, there’s an additional 512 gigabyte storage option. The Pro has an exclusive ultra wideband (UWB) chip, which can help it pinpoint the location of other UWB devices, similar to how the new iPhone 13 can find the precise location of Apple AirTags. Google says it will roll out “several features” that utilize UWB in the coming months but we don’t yet know what those will be.

Camera Upgrade

Google Pixel 6

Pixel 6

Photograph: Google

Pixel phones are known for their stellar cameras, but their lead has waned. To combat this, Google is upgrading its imaging hardware. Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have the same main camera, a 50-megapixel large 1/1.31-inch sensor that can take in up to 150 percent more light than the Pixel 5. The camera uses a process called pixel binning, where pixels merge to absorb more light, so you end up with a 12.5-megapixel photo. 

Everything Apple Announced Today: iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch

Everything Apple Announced Today: iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch

Somehow it’s September already, which means it’s time for new iPhones. Today, as it’s done for the past year and a half, Apple streamed a virtual launch event from its spaceship headquarters in Cupertino, California. (These remote functions could go on for a while, since Apple has pushed back its plan to make employees return to the office until next year.)

In addition to four new iPhone models, Apple also showed off some other glittering gadgets—including a new Apple Watch and a revamped iPad Mini—and gave updates about its growing services business and the software that runs on its many devices.

Here’s everything Apple announced.

Hello, iPhone 13

two apple iphones
Photograph: Apple

There are four versions of iPhone 13 to choose from. They range from the inexpensive Mini’s 5.4-inch screen to the chonky and feature-packed 6.7-inch Pro Max. Designwise, the visual differences on the new models are minor. At least the notorious notch is a teensy bit smaller.

Inside, each phone runs on Apple’s new A15 Bionic chip. It allows for enhanced features like live text analysis, advanced map animations, and instant visual identification of plants and animals, all of which is processed on the device with no help from the cloud. Storage options have gotten a boost too. All the new iPhones start with 128 GB of storage, but for the first time, the Pro phones can be maxed out to 1 terabyte of space.

You can read our report on the iPhone 13 for a full look at its new capabilities. The iPhone 13 Mini starts at $699, the regular iPhone is $799, the Pro is $999, and the Pro Max starts at $1,099. Preorders open up on Friday, and all phones will be available on September 24.

Apple only briefly touched on the privacy features of the new iPhones during today’s event, perhaps because it was eager to avoid wading into the recent photo-scanning controversy it’s found itself in.

Camera Tricks

Photograph: Apple

Perhaps the most eye-popping update of the whole event was Apple’s new video feature for iPhones called Cinematic Mode. It’s a sort of video portrait mode that automatically changes focus and blurs backgrounds for an adjustable bokeh effect. On Pro-model phones, you can adjust the depth of field and focus even after filming. There’s also the option to film in Apple’s high-quality ProRes format.

The iPhone Pro models received updates to their three lenses: telephoto, wide, and ultrawide. There are also some new advanced options for on-device color correcting and photo enhancements that automatically adjust the images based on the colors and skin tones of the subjects.

New iPad and iPad Mini

hand holding iPad mini
Photograph: Apple

The tiniest of iPads got a sizable update. Apple has brought the aesthetics of the iPad Mini more in line with its other recently redesigned tablets. It’s thinner, with more softly rounded corners. The screen is now slightly bigger, at 8.3 inches across. To accommodate this wider format, the Touch ID sensor has been moved to the outer rim. The home button is gone, and there is a USB-C port at the bottom now. It really looks like a giant iPhone!

Everything Samsung Announced at Its Unpacked Event

Everything Samsung Announced at Its Unpacked Event

The prices for both Samsung foldables have come down considerably, with the Fold3 going for $1,799 and the Flip3 starting at $1,000. If you preorder the Fold3, you’ll get $200 in Samsung Credit for Samsung.com, and it’s $150 if you snag the Flip3. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 and Watch4 Classic

Samsung watches

The Samsung Galaxy Watch4 (left, in blue) starts at $250. The Watch4 Classic (right, in white) starts at $350.

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

Samsung is going in a new direction with its smartwatches. Rather than relying on its bespoke Tizen operating system and asking developers to create versions of their apps that only run on Samsung devices, it’s embracing Google’s Wear OS operating system. The company codeveloped the software alongside Fitbit, the Google-owned wearable maker. That means Samsung watch fans gain access to more useful apps, such as Google Maps. And, given the popularity of Samsung’s smartwatches, the move could potentially encourage more developers to build apps for Wear OS, something Google has always struggled with.

The new Galaxy Watch4 and Watch4 Classic have user interfaces that look and feel very much like previous Samsung smartwatches, but there are many changes under the hood and some subtle tweaks that make them easier to use. For example, tapping the button on the side of the watch lets you access recently-opened apps. Both watches are powered by a 5-nanometer Samsung processor, and they have higher-resolution screens, 16 gigs of storage, up to 40 hours of battery life, and wireless fast charging.

More importantly, Samsung’s BioActive smartwatch sensor has been redesigned to sit closer to the skin, thereby improving the health tracking abilities of the watches. The sensor can still measure electrocardiograms, blood pressure, and VO2 Max readings, but it’s faster at automatically recognizing workouts. It also offers more accurate calorie counts, and it now includes bioelectric impedance analysis, which lets you see granular body composition data such as skeletal muscle, body fat, and fat mass.

Samsung says sleep tracking on its watches has improved too. The watches work with Samsung’s Galaxy phones for snore detection (using the phone’s mics to pick up the sound of you sawing logs) while collecting blood oxygen data via the watch’s sensor once per minute for more detailed sleep analysis.

The base Galaxy Watch4 replaces Samsung’s previous Active line. The new watch doesn’t have a mechanical bezel, but rather a digital one. (You can slide your finger around the edge of the screen to scroll through the interface.) I think it’s better looking than the Classic, and it has a tantalizing price: It starts at $250 for the Bluetooth version but adding LTE connectivity costs $50 more. It comes in 40- or 44-mm sizes.