The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro may be Google’s “fastest-selling Pixels yet,” but they weren’t what I’d consider a slam dunk in the hardware department. I’m not talking about aesthetics here: I’m personally a fan of the camera bar look, although I hate curved screens. To each his own. When I look at the big picture, I think the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are among the best phones Google has made – the camera is fantastic (for photos) and the voice typing and dictation capabilities of the Tensor chip are really next level – but they’ are not without flaws. Google has successfully addressed many of the early software bugs, but some lingering hardware issues remain.
A year later, based on my own time with long-term use of both devices and observations from other owners, these are the main annoyances I hope Google will address with the soon-to-be-launched Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
The Tensor chip gets hot
The Pixel 6 phones get warm at times and it doesn’t take an intense workload to make them feel like hand warmers after about 20 minutes. Even normal tasks or casual apps like TikTok can raise the temperature. It doesn’t look great when Samsung and Apple devices almost always stay relatively cool, and the Pixel 6 can get warm for seemingly no reason.
Google has gradually addressed this issue over time; the release of Android 13 has come a long way in cooling down both phones. But the heat problem persists from time to time, and when it happens, the Pixel 6 phones will disable features such as the camera’s flash (or stop charging when plugged in) to ensure safety.
I hope that with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, Google has put more emphasis on efficiency and preserving performance without the thermal issues.
The screen of the Pixel 6 is a big step lower than that of the 6 Pro
A difference in resolution, refresh rate (90Hz vs. 120Hz), and LTPO technology isn’t the only thing separating the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro’s screens. On a more fundamental level, it’s clear that Google has opted for an inferior OLED panel over the cheaper device. Brightness, contrast and uniformity are all better on the 6 Pro across the board. It’s something you’d miss if you bought the Pixel 6 and never compared the two but put them side by side, and the difference is noticeable.
It would be nice if Google had a better screen for the Pixel 7, because this is really not a trade-off that other manufacturers make. Samsung’s midrange phones often have excellent displays, and aside from being only 60Hz, the iPhone 14’s OLED is actually just as nice as the 14 Pro’s. Opting for the (slightly) smaller, more affordable phone shouldn’t mean staring at a worse screen all day.
Google needs to correct signal strength
A common complaint about the Pixel 6 lineup is that they regularly show weaker cellular connectivity compared to other flagship smartphones — and beyond Pixels, for that matter. This seems to be a direct result of the Samsung modem that Google has built into the devices, which was already quite outdated when the phones were announced.
If you have a strong signal in your area, you may not have encountered any problems. But weak signal strength has been one of the main criticisms of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, so hopefully Google will move to a newer modem with the 7 duo.
Faster charging would be nice
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro just can’t charge their batteries as fast as competing flagship phones in 2022. It’s nothing I’d consider unbearable, but they don’t even meet Google’s own advertised “30 watts” wired charging. The company says: it’s meant to “balance battery life, longevity and fast charging,” but OnePlus, Samsung, Apple, and other phone makers have beaten Google in this area. And temperature plays a role here too, so if the Pixel 6 heats up, it won’t help the overall charge time.
About that fingerprint scanner…
Personally, I haven’t had many issues or misreadings with the under-display fingerprint sensors on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but I know a lot of people haven’t been so lucky. Google has made numerous attempts to improve and speed up the fingerprint unlocking process with software updates. Is everything getting faster with the Pixel 7? We’ll know soon. But anyway, it seems Google can add face unlock as a convenient backup option. I still miss the much faster, more accurate fingerprint scanner that was on the back of previous Pixel phones.
Google will share all the details about the Pixel 7, 7 Pro and Pixel Watch at tomorrow’s hardware event. We’ll be live blogging the announcements as they come in, but you should also keep an eye out for our full reviews of the new devices for some insight into the fixes and improvements Google has made year after year.