The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro started landing in the hands of buyers, assuming you got one before Google started to run out of stock, and I’ve spent the better part of two weeks using the Pro as my main phone. Despite the Pixel 6 Pro’s lackluster battery life, I quite like it. I said so in my review.
In fact, the Pixel 6 Pro has confirmed something to me, something we’ve all been saying for years: flagship phones are way too expensive. Even OnePlus joined the $ 1,000-plus club this year with the expensive but excellent OnePlus 9 Pro. As good as that phone is, its $ 1,069 price tag was a heavy blow to fans of the company.
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The Pixel 6 Pro starts at $ 899, well below rival flagships like the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra (and yes, even the OnePlus 9 Pro). It offers a truly top-notch experience with a nice screen, amazing cameras, and lots of AI intelligence thanks to Google’s own Tensor system-on-chip. The Pixel 6 Pro is a beautiful phone too, even if you’re still ambivalent about the new camera bar design.
It’s not perfect, mind you, but it was good enough to steer me away from the equally excellent iPhone 13 Pro Max. Google convinced me with the cameras, the surprisingly good performance of the Tensor and, if I had bought the device myself, the price. $ 899 in a sea of phones that cost $ 1,000 or more is sadly refreshing.
While there are great flagship phones that cost less than $ 1,000, such as the Galaxy S21, iPhone 13, and OnePlus 9, the Pixel 6 Pro has shown me that a high-end phone doesn’t need to start above $ 1,000. Sure, the price may go up if you opt for more storage, I’m not arguing that. I’m also not arguing against foldables like the $ 999 Galaxy Z Flip 3, as they are a novel form factor with plenty of room for growth. R&D is not cheap and the consumer often pays the bill.
The Pixel 6 Pro offers a premium Android experience with sleek software, powerful cameras, and useful photography features like Magic Eraser, and a host of assistant and artificial intelligence features that make it a bargain at $ 899. The Telephoto with Folded optics and 4x zoom outperform the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Tensor outperformed Snapdragon 888 devices like the Galaxy S21 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro in many of our benchmarks. All that to say, you get a lot for your $ 899.
Although the flaws are notable, like the need to disable 5G to get the most out of the Pixel 6 Pro’s battery, or the few display flaws that some have reported, I think Google showed us something. A traditional flagship experience doesn’t have to shrink your wallet by $ 1,000. Are there things other phones do better? Definitely. The 1000-nit screen on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, for example, is noticeably brighter than the screen on the Pixel 6 Pro. Apple’s device also has much better battery life. Samsung has the maximum zoom game gained from the insane 100x capacity of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and it also lasts longer on a charge than the Pixel.
But both phones cost $ 1,099 and $ 1,199 to start, respectively. The Pixel 6 Pro costs $ 200- $ 300 less and offers competitive features (when it doesn’t completely outperform those other phones in some respects). That is a huge win for Google.
Things get complicated, I’d bet my money on the Pixel 6 Pro. I think Google has a lot of room for improvement for the Pixel 7 Pro in 2022, but after last year’s lackluster Pixel 5, I wasn’t expecting much this time. It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised, especially in this industry.
The Pixel 6 Pro has proven that we’ve all been right all along – phones have gotten too expensive. Unless one offers something truly unique or premium, like the multiple displays on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, $ 1,000 is too much.
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