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Google Pixel 6 first live photos appear — and it looks even better in person

Google Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Google)

Now that Apple’s iPhone 13 has been launched, I’m looking at the next phone to get excited about, and that’s very much the Google Pixel 6 Pro. Google has already revealed the phone’s design, how it’ll be powered by a custom Tensor chip, and what it looks like in the hand, but we still need some official specs. 

The search giant is set to reveal that information this fall, likely in October, but I’m already getting that feeling of hype. And my colleagues over at TechRadar haven’t made things any easier by snapping some photos of the Google Pixel 6 Pro on display in New York City.  

Sadly, I’m based in London so unlike TechRadar’s Matt Swider, I couldn’t mosey on down to the NYC Google store and peer at the Pixel 6 Pro. But Swider’s snaps have given me a rather good impression of how the Pixel 6 Pro will look in the flesh, or more correctly, metal and glass.  

I was left feeling a bit deflated at the design of the iPhone 13 Pro, which looks like an iPhone 12 Pro with a smaller notch and bigger cameras, and thus will wait until the iPhone 14. So Google's fresh approach to design with the Pixel 6 Pro has really caught my eye. 

The Google Pixel 5 is a lovely compact Android phone. In fact, the Pixel 5 was my favorite phone of 2020. But it had a very utilitarian aesthetic that got a little dull after a while. The Pixel 6 Pro is certainly not boring. 

As we can see in the live Pixel 6 photos, the big black back bar that holds the rear camera array looks dramatic yet somehow neat and functional at the same time. It also seems to hide the trio of cameras —- thought to be comprising a 50MP main lens, 48MP telephoto and 12MP ultra-wide camera — giving off 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith vibes. 

Google Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Future/TechRadar)

The colored top section, available in grey, cream or orange, is a lovely nod to the two-tone design Pixel phones have used from the original Pixel handset, yet modernized for 2021. And I think it looks great. I especially like the orange model that conveys a retro 1960s neo-future aesthetic; you can get a taste of that in the newly released PS5 game Deathloop.

The rounded edges of the Pixel 6 Pro and what looks like a powdery finish to the back give me the impression it’ll be a comfortable phone to hold, much like the Pixel 5. That would be refreshing compared to some of the glossy backs we’ve seen on some Android phones; I'm looking at you Oppo Find X3 Pro with your fingering-sucking finish.

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and is only skin-deep. Sadly, these photos don't give us any insight into the specs and features of the Pixel 6 Pro.

Google Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Future/TechRadar)

But we already know that the Pixel 6 Pro's main appeal will be the Tensor chip, which is expected to power an AI pipeline between the silicon and the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro’s smart features. As such, we're expecting a smarter, more responsive Google Assistant and impressive computational upgrades. For example, the Pixel 6 will be able to capture sharper images of moving subjects and more accurately depict sunsets on video. 

Supposed leaks of the Tensor chip’s performance are fairly positive but will likely be behind iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic chip going by early benchmarks. I’m rather hoping that the Tensor chip delivers a heady mix of fast processor and graphics performance and a whole suite of smart capabilities other phones can’t deliver.

Hopefully, I won’t have long to wait before I can get my hands on the Pixel 6 Pro and see if it can compete with Android heavyweights like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.