nine months of use, nine months of frustration

After nine months of daily use with the Pixel 6 Pro, it’s time to review this long-running test of a disappointing smartphone.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro // Source: Fandroid

The launch of Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro should be an event for Google. For the first time, it looks like Android is 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 is the first smartphone designed to actually be sold to the public. Proof of its investment, Google is still communicating with more billboards and 4 x 3 displays, taking care to make its own chip and even increasing the size of the main photo sensor.

When the Google Pixel 6 Pro was released, we gave it a score of 9/10, a sign of a smartphone ” very good”. But after nine months of using it every day, it’s clear that the smartphone is a little disappointing.

Before getting into my experience with the Google Pixel 6 Pro, a small point about my personal experience – I promise it will be short. I’ve been using the Oppo Find X2 Pro for two years, a smartphone that won me over because of 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 difficult, I nevertheless appreciated the “pure” Android experience that was offered before and I wanted to find this simpler interface. When the Pixel 6s was released, I set my sights on the Pixel 6 Pro to test it on a daily basis over the long term – what we call “long trial” on Fandroid.

An engaging photography experience, without being revolutionary

Why the Pixel 6 Pro over the classic, more compact Pixel 6? Because I love photography, especially long and focal length. I immediately wanted to find an experience close to what the x5 optical zoom offered by the Oppo Find X2 Pro that I used until now. And on that level, I was served.

I’ve never used a Pixel before – aside from reviewing the Pixel 3a XL three years ago – and I’m looking forward to experiencing the vaunted portrait mode in Google’s smartphone line, while like night mode and the effectiveness of HDR. And indeed, the Pixel 6 Pro is capable of taking excellent shots. So, even though I bought myself a hybrid camera at the end of last year, I always focused on drawing the Pixel 6 Pro – remember that, by definition, the best camera is the one you have.

The great versatility – which allows me to go from a 16 mm equivalent ultra wide-angle lens to a 24 mm equivalent wide-angle to a 104 mm equivalent telephoto lens – allows me to find, for each scene, shoes on my feet. I found, with this module, everything I expected from a good photophone. The tools offered by Google are also useful to me… to a lesser extent. there”magic eraser“, initially integrated only in Google Photos for the latest smartphones from the company, is very practical to remove a bad design, a transient in the background or a post that spoils the scene. On the other hand, I found no real use for the two new software features integrated into the “mobility»in photo application: panning with motion and long exposure. As a reminder, the first will make it possible to create a thread – capture a sharp moving subject with a blurred background – and the second will create rays of light, a practical example of capturing lights in the headlights from 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 have come to a first disappointment with this Google Pixel 6 Pro: I expected better photos. Let’s be clear, the smartphone takes great shots and offers real versatility. But I’ve heard and read so much that Google has a crazy lead over the competition that, coming from an Oppo Find X2 Pro, I’m just going to be disappointed. Apart from the Pixel 6 Pro’s slightly more effective HDR mode than my previous smartphone, I didn’t notice any real jump in quality. Worse, in the last few months, manufacturers now offer more sensors – from Xiaomi and Sony – or especially advanced software functions – from Vivo or Oppo – that make me want more in the more conformist aspect of the Pixel 6 Pro.

The photo module of the Google Pixel 6 Pro
The photo module of the Google Pixel 6 Pro // Source: Fandroid

Maybe I expected too much from this Google photo experience. Sure, though. But it’s clear that the Mountain View company will have to face stiff competition.

A load away from 2022 standards

Unfortunately, my previous use of the Oppo smartphone also exposed other shortcomings of the Google phone. This is the case of autonomy… or faster charging. It’s true, I got the good taste of the 65W charging power of the Oppo smartphone, but you have to admit that the Pixel 6 Pro pales in comparison with more than 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 have is not compatible with the Power Delivery PPS standard. It is therefore impossible to use the 30 W maximum power offered by the Pixel 6 Pro.

In most cases, this shortcoming is not really one, because the 5000 mAh battery allows you to wait until the night to recharge your smartphone. But on busy days, even this large capacity can play tricks on you and we failed without recharging the smartphone in about twenty minutes.

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

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

Unintuitive software experience

Whether it’s the finicky fingerprint reader, the light sensor that works, or the unlocking in my pants pocket, I spent the first few months of use sighing while using the Pixel 6 Pro. Fortunately, things ended. 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 pick up the light in front of the screen first and not the light on in front of the screen.back — and the fake unlock is fixed just by turning off Smart Lock.

The curved screen doesn't handle well at the base of my thumb which is taped up all the time
The curved screen doesn’t handle well at the base of my thumb which is always recorded // Source: Fandroid

But despite everything, it took more than six months to correct all these concerns. Not to mention the ones Google hasn’t considered yet. The curved screen, for example, is very reminiscent of the experience of the first models that used this design, six or seven years ago. The smartphone picked up a lot of presses made with the base of my thumb in contact with the border – especially when I was typing with one hand. However, in 2022, I think that all the manufacturers have put together an office system to analyze and correct these phantom supports. It is not so. There is no function in the software settings for the software to block these side supports. I now understand why many people complain about smartphones with curved edges. If handled poorly, it can quickly become frustrating, especially on a large-format smartphone.

Another failure in 2022, Google still does not offer facial recognition on its Pixel 6 Pro. However, most competing manufacturers now offer a choice between a fingerprint reader and facial recognition to unlock their devices. Even Apple chose to ditch the fingerprint reader, which is slower than facial recognition. With a sensor as slow as the Pixel 6 Pro, I spent a few months hoping that Google would finally opt for face recognition – even if it’s not very secure – in vain.

Google Pixel 6 Pro is satisfied with the fingerprint reader
Google Pixel 6 Pro is content with a fingerprint reader // Source: Fandroid

As shown by my colleague Titouan in his article listing the many bugs of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, in the end I have the impression of having spent many months with a smartphone in the beta phase. An enamelled experience with many concerns that the quality of the picture, autonomy and the user interface are difficult to catch. 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 easily exceed the bar of 1000 euros. Let’s also not forget that this is the best way to take advantage of Android updates as soon as possible and that the quality of the photo remains very high.

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

Manu, who uses the Pixel 6, will soon give you his feedback that promises to be more positive. He didn’t have much trouble. Keep focusingFrandroid.

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