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Google’s new Pixel 6 range divides opinion among phone experts

·2-min read
(Google)
(Google)

Google’s Pixel 6 smartphones have split industry experts over whether the new devices can challenge the mobile heavyweights of Apple and Samsung.

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have been given new camera systems, bigger batteries and Google’s own Tensor processor, powered by AI, to make them faster and smarter than previous handsets, the company says.

Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, said the updates in this year’s line-up were impressive enough to turn the heads of consumers.

“In a world where every smartphone looks the same, the Pixel 6 dares to try a different design and houses its camera setup in what looks like wraparound shades,” he said.

“The Pixel range’s camera always punched above its weight, but it’s had another upgrade here as the arms race gripping smartphone photography continues. Google even made the bold claim that this is the most advanced smartphone camera in the world.

“Both the standard and Pro versions of the Pixel 6 feature a 50MP main sensor – a big step up from the iPhone 13 Pro’s 12MP offering, and most likely improving the camera’s low-light performance.”

Mr Bhikha added that the pricing – £599 for the Pixel 6 and £849 for the 6 Pro – was competitive against its rival, notably the iPhone.

“Google continues to deliver great value for money with the budget-friendly standard option alongside the more premium Pixel 6 Pro which both cost less than Apple’s premium handsets,” he said.

“With mid-range manufacturers like Xiaomi and Honor growing ever more popular in Europe keeping prices accessible is a shrewd business move.

“Google’s deep pockets mean that it can offer high spec devices for reasonable prices, all of which means its phones should be well-suited to compete for pride of place in consumers’ pockets.”

But Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight said he thought Google would still struggle to convince users to switch to a Pixel.

“When it comes to Apple, I just can’t see Pixel even being a consideration for loyal iPhone owners,” he said.

“Even Samsung, with billions invested in brand building, combined with a stunning lineup of Android phones, struggles to get Apple owners to defect. Pixel is a competitor to Google’s own ecosystem rather than a game-changing competitor to the iPhone.

“The Google Pixel team undoubtedly has aspirations to take on Apple’s iPhone or Samsung’s flagship Galaxy devices, but the reality is that Apple and Samsung have had decades to build their brands, distribution and consumer loyalty.

“There is still a huge swathe of consumers who don’t know that Google makes phones or in some cases, that Android is a Google product. Google is going to have a spend a small fortune on marketing to move the needle if it wants to be a major smartphone player, just as Huawei did in the past.”

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