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Google Pixel 6: What we want to see

Google Pixel 5 standing up back on table 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The Google Pixel 5 marked a return to form for Google’s flagships. It sought to put the polarizing Pixel 4 series behind it and deliver a well-rounded and affordable flagship phone. Google’s last flagship may have introduced several welcome additions and tweaks, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Here’s what we want to see from the Google Pixel 6.

See also: Everything you need to know about Google hardware

1. A better main camera sensor

Google Pixel 5 Camera 1

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Google has been using the same 12.2MP IMX363 camera sensor for its main camera since the Pixel 3 series. This is the basic foundation for its image processing smarts. However, the Pixel 5 shows us that Google has essentially wrung all it can out of this sensor as its rivals streak ahead with more modern hardware and catch up in the software field.

Related: It’s time Google updated Pixel camera hardware to match its stellar software

It’s high time Google switched to a newer sensor, and we hope that comes with the Pixel 6. Former Pixel camera chief Marc Levoy may have been bullish that there were only marginal gains to be had, with higher resolution cameras, but a newer sensor like the 50MP Samsung Isocell GN2 brings bigger pixels and a larger sensor size than Google’s predecessor. Improvements like this could lead to even better low-light performance with less noise. These two benefits would be welcome if the firm wants to improve Night Sight and its astrophotography mode.

Google will also have to switch to a 33MP+ sensor if it wants to offer 8K recording on the Pixel 6. Although the firm’s track record with 4K/60fps suggests it might be late to the party with this feature. Still, a newer sensor would also bring improved autofocus and features like 4K/120fps.

2. A flagship processor

Google Pixel 5 display 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The Pixel 5 delivered an upper mid-range Snapdragon 765G chipset in lieu of the then top-end Snapdragon 865 series processors. This was an acceptable compromise as it delivered generally good performance without a price hike. That said, advanced 3D games, emulators, and some camera-related tasks can be a challenge for this SoC. For this reason, we would like to see Google adopt flagship silicon for the Pixel 6.

Read more: Did 2020’s Snapdragon 765G affordable flagship experiment work?

A mid-range chipset like the Snapdragon 765G also struggles with benchmarks when those high refresh rates kick-in. That doesn’t mean much for the Pixel 5 today, but we’d expect heavyweight games and apps that push more frames to be a challenge down the line.

We’d like to then see the Pixel 6 opt for a flagship Snapdragon chipset. It doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest SoC either. Qualcomm has already launched the Snapdragon 870 processor, which is an incremental upgrade over last year’s powerhouse Snapdragon 865 Plus. This would be a sensible choice if Google wanted plenty of power without a jump in price.

3. Triple rear cameras

Google Pixel 5 camera macro 6

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The Pixel 4 series delivered a secondary rear camera for the first time in the Pixel line. The 2x telephoto camera delivered good results at longer ranges. Google then decided to swap out the telephoto shooter for an ultra-wide camera on the Pixel 5.

More reading: The best camera phones you can get

Why should it be a case of one or the other, though? Almost every other manufacturer offers at least one flagship phone with a main, ultra-wide, and telephoto/periscope camera arrangement. It’s high time for Google to follow suit and bring the best of both worlds to one device.

4. Faster charging

Google Pixel 5 charging port and speakers

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Google delivered a 4,080mAh battery in the Pixel 5. This made for a huge improvement over the vanilla Pixel 4 (2,800mAh) and a decent bump over the Pixel 4 XL (3,700mAh). Despite a much larger battery, Google kept the same old 18W speeds for the Pixel 5, meaning it took much longer to get the phone to full charge.

Google’s offer of the same charging speed as the very first Pixel illustrates just how far behind the firm is in this regard. If battery degradation is of concern, there’s nothing to stop it from offering faster charging as an option in the settings menu. Even 25W or 30W charging speeds would be a major improvement over 18W.

5. Keep the fingerprint scanner

Google Pixel 5 using phone from the back 2

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

One of the most welcome surprises for the Pixel 5 was that it ditched face unlock sensors in favor of a rear fingerprint scanner. This change allows users to easily unlock their phones while wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: How fingerprint scanners work — Optical, capacitive, and ultrasonic explained

We hope Google sticks to the rear fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 6. Not only is it way more convenient than face unlock mask wearers, but the rear reader offers a faster, more tactile experience than in-display fingerprint sensors.

6. A Google Pixel 6 XL/Ultra

Google Pixel 4 vs Google Pixel 4 XL displays on angle

We saw some tenuous rumors of a Pixel Ultra a few years ago, but that clearly didn’t go anywhere. It’s more apparent that the time is right for Google to jump on the ultra-premium bandwagon and offer a Google Pixel 6 XL or a Pixel 6 Ultra smartphone. Huawei, Samsung, Oppo, and Apple all currently have $1,000+ phones on the market — why not Google?

It’s one thing to offer a $1,000+ smartphone, but you need to make it worthwhile in terms of features too. A Pixel 6 XL/Ultra should offer top-tier upgrades like a bigger battery and QHD+ screen, for one. We’d also like to see other additions like extra cameras, more RAM/storage, faster charging, and a more powerful SoC if the vanilla model opts for older flagship silicon again.

We can think of a couple of honorable mentions too, such as Active Edge functionality and maintaining the same price tag. What would you like to see from the Pixel 6? Let us know in the poll below and by leaving a comment!

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