nine months of use, nine months of frustration

After nine months of daily use of the Pixel 6 Pro, it’s time to take stock of this lengthy test of a frustratingly angular smartphone.

Google Pixel 6 Pro // Source: Frandroid

The launch of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro was supposed to be an event for Google. For the first time, it seemed that Android was taking smartphones seriously. After outsourcing its Nexus line to other manufacturers and then offering Pixel smartphones that weren’t intended for mass sale, the Google Pixel 6 was supposed to be the first smartphones designed to really sell to the general public. A proof of its investment, Google had even communicated with a lot of billboards and 4 x 3 screens, had arranged to develop its own chip and had even increased the size of its primary photo sensor.

When the Google Pixel 6 Pro was released, we gave it a score of 9/10, a sign of a smartphone ” excellent”. But after nine months of daily use, it’s clear that the smartphone is relatively disappointing.

Before I get to my experience with the Google Pixel 6 Pro, a quick note about my personal experience – I promise it will be short. I used the Oppo Find X2 Pro for two years, a smartphone that won me over for its software customization, photo performance and fast charging. A few years ago, my everyday smartphone was a Nexus 6P. At the time, if I found its format cumbersome, I still appreciated the “pure” Android experience offered back then, and I wanted to find this simpler interface. When the Pixel 6s was released, I therefore set my sights on the Pixel 6 Pro to test it daily on a long-term basis – what we call “long term test” at Frandroid.

An attractive photo experience without being revolutionary

Why Pixel 6 Pro over the classic, more compact Pixel 6? Because I am a photography lover, especially long focal lengths. I then wanted to find an experience as close as possible to the x5 optical zoom offered on the Oppo Find X2 Pro that I had been using until then. And on that level I was served.

I’d never used a Pixel before – with the exception of the Pixel 3a XL review three years ago – and I was keen to experience the much-vaunted portrait mode in Google’s smartphone range, while I liked night mode and the effectiveness of HDR. And indeed, the Pixel 6 Pro is capable of taking very good pictures. So much so that even though I bought myself a hybrid camera at the end of last year, I often tended to draw the Pixel 6 Pro – remember that the best camera per definition is what you always have with you.

The great versatility – allowing me to go from a 16mm equivalent lens on the ultra-wide angle to a 24mm equivalent on the wide angle to a 104mm equivalent on the telephoto lens – allowed me to find a shoe for every scene. on my foot. With this module I found everything I expected from a good photo phone. The tools provided by Google have also been useful to me… to a lesser extent. there”magic eraser“, initially integrated only in Google Photos for the latest smartphones from the company, is extremely convenient for removing an ugly plot, a passerby in the background or a post that spoils the landscape. On the other hand, I have not found any real use for the two new software features integrated in “movement» of the photo application: panning with motion and long exposure. As a reminder, the first will make it possible to make a yarn – capturing a sharply moving subject with a blurred background – and the second will create beams of light, useful for example for capturing the lights of the headlights of a road bridge.

Google Pixel 6 Pro: nine months of use, nine months of frustration
Google Pixel 6 Pro: nine months of use, nine months of frustration

I now come to a first disappointment on this Google Pixel 6 Pro: I expected better pictures. Let’s be clear, the smartphone takes very nice pictures and offers real versatility. But I had heard and read so much that Google had a crazy lead over the competition, that I could only be disappointed from an Oppo Find X2 Pro. With the exception of the slightly more effective HDR mode on the Pixel 6 Pro than on my previous smartphone, I didn’t see any real qualitative jump. Even worse, in the last few months manufacturers have now offered much larger sensors – from Xiaomi and Sony – or particularly advanced software features – from Vivo or Oppo – that make me want more than the very conforming aspect of the Pixel 6 Pro.

The photo module for Google Pixel 6 Pro
The photo module for Google Pixel 6 Pro // Source: Frandroid

Maybe I was expecting too much from this Google Photos experience. Surely even. But it’s clear that the Mountain View company will now face stiff competition.

A load far from the standards from 2022

Unfortunately, my previous use of Oppo’s smartphone also revealed other shortcomings of Google’s phone. This is the case with autonomy … or rather fast charging. Admittedly, I’ve got a fancy taste with the 65W charging power of Oppo’s smartphone, but you have to admit that the Pixel 6 Pro pales in comparison with over two hours of charging for a 100 full battery. %. Especially since the manufacturer does not provide a charger in the box and the one I had was not compatible with the Power Delivery PPS standard. It is therefore impossible to use the maximum power of 30 W that the Pixel 6 Pro offers.

In most cases, this shortcoming is not really one, since the 5000 mAh battery allows you to wait until the evening to recharge your smartphone. But on busy days, even this large capacity can play tricks on you, and we are so frustrated not being able to recharge the smartphone in about twenty minutes.

Pixel 6 Pro charging is slow
Pixel 6 Pro charging is slow // Source: Frandroid

Where the Pixel 6 Pro ultimately disappointed me the most was in the software experience. I am not talking about the user interface, which is quite successful, but about the many bugs that plagued the launch of the smartphone.

Unintuitive software experience

Whether it’s the nifty fingerprint reader, the light sensor that works, or the pocket unlock, I spent the first few months of use sighing while using the Pixel 6 Pro. Fortunately, things ended up working out. The fingerprint sensor is now much more responsive – without reaching the speed of an Oppo or Vivo smartphone – the light sensor is much more responsive – it now seems to take the brightness in front of the screen first and no longer the brightness in front of the screen screen back — and the fake unlock was fixed by simply disabling Smart Lock.

The curved screen is poorly controlled with the bottom of my thumb tapped too often
The curved screen is poorly controlled and the base of my thumb is too often occupied // Source: Frandroid

But despite everything, it took more than six months for all these concerns to be addressed. Not to mention those that Google still hasn’t considered. The curved screen, for example, is fiercely reminiscent of the experience of the first models that used this design six to seven years ago. The smartphone captures a lot of pressure from the bottom of my thumb in contact with the edge – especially when typing with one hand. However, by 2022 I thought all manufacturers had integrated an office system to analyze and correct these phantom supports. It is not like that. There is no function in the software settings to software block these page supports. I now understand why so many people complain about smartphones with curved edges. When poorly managed, it quickly becomes extremely frustrating, especially with a large-format smartphone.

Another frustration in 2022, Google still doesn’t offer facial recognition on its Pixel 6 Pro. But most competing manufacturers now offer the choice between the fingerprint reader and facial recognition to unlock their devices. Even Apple has chosen to put aside the fingerprint reader, which is slower than facial recognition. With a sensor as slow as the one on the Pixel 6 Pro, I spent months hoping that Google would finally opt for facial recognition – even if it was less secure – to no avail.

Google Pixel 6 Pro is pleased with the fingerprint reader
Google Pixel 6 Pro is pleased with the fingerprint reader // Source: Frandroid

As my colleague Titouan indicated in his article listing the many flaws of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, I finally had the impression of having spent several months with a smartphone in the beta phase. An enameled experience of many concerns, such as photo quality, autonomy and the user interface have had difficulty catching up. Of course, we have to remember the price of the Pixel 6 Pro, launched at 900 euros – and now offered at 800 euros – when its main ultra premium competitors now easily exceed the 1000 euro limit. Also, let’s not forget that this is the best way to benefit from Android updates as soon as possible and that the image quality remains very high.

But after nine months with the Pixel 6 Pro in my pocket, I’ve come to believe that Google is still far from the level of more experienced smartphone manufacturers, such as Oppo, Xiaomi, Samsung or Vivo.

Pixel 6 user Manu will soon give you his feedback, which promises to be more positive. He didn’t have too many problems. keep upFrandroid.

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