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Google apps optimised for big screen
Many apps not optimised for tablet mode
Heavy for a phone
No stylus supportOur Verdict
The Pixel Fold is an impressive device, especially for a first generation. There’s room for improvement in software, though this relies on app developers as much as Google. The biggest turn-offs are the price and hefty weight, though these are intrinsic if you want a phone that unfolds into a tablet. And if you do, the Pixel Fold is one of the better ones to buy.
Google’s folding phone has been a long time coming. Rumours that the company was developing one began several years back and in a surprise revelation during a recent Made by Google podcast episode, the world found out that the Pixel Fold wasn’t the first.
A previous design hadn’t made the grade and was cancelled because it wasn’t good enough. The Pixel Fold, then, must have passed muster and it’s taking the fight to various rivals but mainly Samsung. The South Korean company has a big lead on Google, having released its first Galaxy Fold in 2023 and is on track to launch its fifth-generation foldable phone soon.
The history lesson is relevant here because the Pixel Fold doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And while there’s a lot to like about the phone, there’s some frustration too – some of which might be fixed in software updates. Then there’s also the price, which isn’t a million miles away from $2,000/£2,000.Design & build
No gap when folded
Slim, relatively speaking
IPX8 water resistance
Quite obviously, the Pixel Fold is the type of folding phone which aims to be a tablet replacement rather than the ‘flip’ style which takes a normal phone and folds it in half.
And this makes the Pixel Fold a big, heavy phone. It’s 12.1mm thick (not including the camera bump) and 80mm wide. At 140mm tall, it’s shorter than many phones but at 284g, quite a lot heavier – 20g heavier than the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Opening it up to reveal the 7.6in internal screen will usually elicit a “wow” or a gasp because, even now in 2023, not that many people have seen a phone that folds in half.
The crease doesn’t ever go away, but a lot of the time the brightness of the screen hides it. It’s even more hidden if you’re running one app on each side of the screen.
The crease doesn’t ever go away, but a lot of the time the brightness of the screen hides it.
Where the Fold differs from its rivals – notably the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 – is that it has a 6:5 aspect ratio. That means it is more landscape than portrait which is more significant than you might imagine as it affects how apps behave.
When folded, there’s no gap between the screens. The gap is one of the things you notice first about the Galaxy Fold 4, but which Samsung is likely to address in the Fold 5 that launches in just a few weeks’ time.
It isn’t the first folding phone to close flat: Honor’s Magic Vs does too.
Jim Martin / Foundry
On the top edge is one speaker with a second on the bottom edge along with the nano-SIM tray and a USB-C port.
On the right-hand side, on the rear part of the phone (when folded), is the volume rocker and power button, which doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
The edges are rounded, polished alloy and the hinge is essentially a thicker version: its smoothness feels wonderful on your fingers. As soon as you touch it, your fingerprints will be all over it but finish is worth the regular cleaning required.
Jim Martin / Foundry
One area that doesn’t pick up fingerprints is the Gorilla Glass Victus on the back of the phone, as it has a matt finish. A huge camera section juts out about 3mm.
This, and the fact the Pixel Fold doesn’t open to exactly 180° means it doesn’t lie flat against a surface. That’s annoying if you want to type, swipe or do something that involves touching the screen as it rocks in all directions.
Jim Martin / Foundry
You can apply a bit of pressure to force the screen that final five degrees or so to be absolutely flat, but it doesn’t feel good to do that on such an expensive device.
In fact, prominent warnings in the box tell you that flexible screens are softer than on traditional phones and you should “avoid contact with sand, crumbs, fingernails or sharp objects”. You’re also instructed not to remove the factory-installed screen protector and not to apply a third-party one.
The overwhelming feeling, then, is that this is an especially delicate phone that needs a lot of care. There’s also the disappointment that, despite the price, Google doesn’t include a case in the box. It will sell you one, of course: the official case costs $59.99/£64.99.
With an IPX8 rating, the Pixel Fold can “take a splash”, according to Google. In fact, that’s an understatement: it can withstand immersion in water up to 1m deep for 30 minutes. Not that you’d want to test that, mind.
The overwhelming feeling, then, is that this is an especially delicate phone that needs a lot of care.
One benefit of the stiff hinge is being able to adjust the screen to a certain angle and it’ll stay there. That’s useful if you want to watch a video hands-free on the outer screen in ‘tent’ mode, but it also means you can do the same sort of thing with the internal screen in a kind of ‘laptop mode’.
Jim Martin / Foundry
That could be useful for video calls as there’s a camera on the inside bezel as well as one embedded into the outer screen. When Android 14 launches, there will also be an update to YouTube which displays the video in the top part of the screen and puts playback controls on the part laying flat.Screen & speakers
5.8in outer 17.4:9 screen
7.6in inner 6:5 screen
It isn’t supposed to be the main attraction, but the Pixel Fold’s outside screen is unusual for a folding phone because it’s very similar in proportions to a normal phone. Or, at least, a normal phone from a few years ago.
Jim Martin / Foundry
The 17.4:9 aspect ratio is much more usable than the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 23.1:9 outer screen. It’s a really bright OLED panel, peaking at 1550 nits and a real joy to use even in bright outdoor conditions. Resolution is great, colours are great and – no surprise – viewing angles are, too.
Some may dislike Google’s choice to go with a punch-hole selfie camera but it really doesn’t get in the way.
Jim Martin / Foundry
Prise open the Fold – something that needs two hands and a fingernail because there’s no gap at all – and it becomes a small tablet. The screen has the same 7.6in diagonal as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and although this makes both phones square-ish, the Pixel Fold has a 6:5 aspect ratio against the Z Fold 4’s 21.6:18.
Human brains can’t easily compare those numbers, but what it boils down to is that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 (and pretty much every other competitor) has a taller, narrower screen while the Pixel Fold is wider and shorter.
Is this a benefit? The answer is complicated, and one best answered when I talk about the Pixel Fold’s software later.
Both screens support a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz, but the internal screen isn’t quite as bright at 1000 nits, with peak brightness of 1200 nits.
The other thing to note is the bezel around the internal screen. It’s thicker at the top and bottom than the sides but it’s not something you notice in normal use. If anything, it’s too thin at the sides and means it’s hard to grip the phone without accidentally touching something on the screen.
Jim Martin / Foundry
However, a more important observation, especially for first-time foldable buyers, is that the screen isn’t perfectly flat. We’re all so used to the thick glass on traditional phones that a flexible screen – which is what it is – looks wavy and, well, cheap.
As mentioned already, the fold remains even when the hinge is fully open, just like the crease when you fold a piece of paper in half and then unfold it.
Overall, quality is great but you do notice a band either side of that crease showing slightly different brightness and colours as you move the phone around in your hands. It’s not a dealbreaker: it’s just what flexible screens are like at the moment.
The ultra-thin glass is covered by a plastic protector that doesn’t quite reach the outer bezel. There’s a gap of 1-2mm around the edge which collects dust and dirt like you wouldn’t believe. The same thing happens in the tiny gaps between the top and bottom of the screen and the hinge.
Jim Martin / Foundry
At least one (vocal) reviewer’s Pixel Fold screen has been damaged by crumbs getting caught in the screen protector gap and seemingly causing the screen to fail. I’ve had no such issues, but have also been careful to give the screen a wipe, even just with a finger, before closing it each time.
A final detail that’s easy to miss is the camera in the top-right section of the bezel. It’s there so no matter how you use the Fold, there’s always a way to have a video call or take a selfie.
Speakers, to change the subject, are surprisingly good. They don’t put out much volume until you ramp the slider up to the max, but they are capable of decent audio for watching videos, listening to podcasts and even the odd bit of music.Software & apps
Optimised Google apps
5 years of Pixel updates
To this end, it has optimised all its apps for the Fold’s oddly-shaped screen. Gmail, Calendar, Weather, Drive, Photos – they all look beautiful and show a lot more than you see on the outer screen.
Jim Martin / Foundry
That’s great, but not all apps work well on the Fold. Those that aren’t optimised display with black bars at the edges – Facebook is a notable one – and the only way to make them fill the screen is to rotate the Fold by 90° and use it in ‘portrait’ mode.
Jim Martin / Foundry
The trouble is, in many cases, apps are simply scaled up so everything is larger instead of showing more information.
In many cases apps are simply scaled up so everything is larger instead of showing more information
Even some of Google’s apps aren’t fully optimised. Maps sometimes reverted to the Facebook style of filling the centre of the screen but with black bars at the edges.
Jim Martin / Foundry
The aspect ratio isn’t great for video either: if you want to see all of a 16:9 video, it’s displayed at a size that’s barely larger than the outer screen. And it’s worse if you’re watching a movie that uses an even thinner, wider aspect ratio.
YouTube is optimised, of course, so you can zoom in and make the video fill the screen. But it’s like going back to the days before widescreen TVs.
Jim Martin / Foundry
Perhaps the main benefit isn’t running a single app, though, it’s having two open at the same time. This works well, especially because Google has added a taskbar that appears when you slowly swipe up from the bottom of the screen. If you’re already running an app, you can drag another one to the left or right and it will fill whichever half you’ve dragged it two.
Jim Martin / Foundry
You can then drag the divider bar left or right to make one app wider (and the other thinner) and you can rotate the phone to portrait if the apps work better in that orientation, such as when you want to watch a video and have a web page open at the same time.
Jim Martin / Foundry
Certain apps let you drag and drop between them, but I never found this to be particularly game changing. Yes, you can select a bunch of photos from Google Photos and drop them into an email or a WhatsApp chat, but it’s just as easy to attach photos from within those apps.
Copying and pasting text between apps feels more convenient when both are on screen, but even after a week, I didn’t discover the killer app pair that made the Fold an indispensable tool.
A problem that may well be addressed when Android 14 drops is the absence of a way to launch pairs of apps that you like to use together. Instead, you have to launch one full screen, bring up the taskbar and either use the Split icon or find the app and drag it to the one side.
Another issue is that apps don’t remain paired if you close the Fold. What happens when you re-open it is that one of the apps displays full screen, something that’s very irritating.
It can also get confusing because Google has chosen to make the Fold do different things when you close it depending upon what sort of app you were using in tablet mode. I asked Google about this and was told that it’s a feature developers call “wakelock”. Some apps tell the screen to stay on – even on non-folding phones – and ignore any idle timers. So if you’re watching a video, reading a book or playing a game and close the screen, it will appear on the outer screen instead of locking the phone and displaying the always-on info.
That’s fine once you understand it, but there’s no setting to change this behaviour if you don’t like it.
One other thing Google could change is to add the option to save different home screen layouts for the inner and outer screens. As it is, the Fold replicates your outer home screen on the left-hand side of the inner screen, and puts the apps from the second page on the right.
Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 4, there’s no way to run three apps at once, nor have a floating window. The Pixel Fold doesn’t have stylus support either, which might disappoint some people.
There are benefits of buying a Pixel phone, though. Google promises five years of updates, and there’s Google’s VPN that you can use for free. A feature coming soon is the ability to show translated speed on the outer screen – useful in situations where you don’t speak someone’s language. The inside screen will show what they’re saying in your language.Specs & performance
256GB UFS 3.1 storage
The Fold’s chipset, RAM and storage are the same as the Pixel 7 Pro’s. There’s plenty of grunt, even if benchmarks show it’s not the fastest out there and it makes the Pixel Fold feel smooth and responsive in daily use.
Apps launch quickly and, in combination with the high-refresh-rate screens, they run exceptionally well.
Jim Martin / Foundry
Games also run pretty well, but performance is somewhat moot because so few games have been optimised to use the Fold’s unusual resolution and aspect ratio. Optimised games are highlighted in the Play Store and include Minecraft, Asphalt 9, League of Legends, Genshin Impact, Clash of Clans, Candy Crush and Call of Duty Mobile.
Asphalt 9 ran smoothly and provided a decent experience. However, just because a game fills the whole screen doesn’t mean it’s any easier or better to play than on a standard ‘candy bar’ screen. Non-optimised games might adjust to the aspect ratio but show less than they do on a taller screen.
Besides this, the Pixel Fold gets noticeably warm even when running less-demanding tasks. Use the camera app for a while, perhaps to record video or a long-exposure night sky photo and it quickly heats up.
That never caused other issues, such as any perceptible throttling, but it’s not what you’d expect from such a premium device.
Talking of being a premium device, it has premium haptics. They’re subtle and feel very natural. You can adjust the strength for different things such as incoming calls, notifications, alarms and general touch feedback.
I found the Fold was great for phone calls, being able to clearly hear the caller using both the earpiece and speakers.
As you’d expect, it has capable Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth, ultra-wideband and NFC. There’s a single nano-SIM tray but you can use the eSIM for a second number. It supports 5G mmWave and Sub 6GHz.Cameras
48Mp f/1.7 wide
10.8Mp f/2.2 ultrawide
10.8Mp f/3.05 5x telephoto
9.5Mp f/2.2 front camera
8Mp f/2.0 front camera
You’d assume that Google would have copied and pasted the cameras from the Pixel 7 Pro, but no. All three sensors on the rear have different resolutions (all lower, surprisingly) and the front camera has an unusual 9.5Mp count.
Not that it matters: these are great cameras which deliver very pleasing photos – and videos – in the majority of situations. Photos from main rear camera are sharp, well exposed and have good dynamic range. Here’s a selection:
There’s a 2x mode in the camera app, but this is done in software so hit the ‘5’ for the telephoto lens. Both the ultrawide and telephoto lenses can produce good-looking photos, but the latter needs plenty of light to perform at its best.
Here’s some from the ultrawide:
And a selection from the 5x telephoto:
Low-light performance isn’t amazing: noise creeps into photos more than you’d want. Plus, the Fold’s macro capabilities are nothing special.
I’d say the same about the portrait mode on all cameras: it’s not the best around. Here are a variety of photos from the selfie camera:
Fortunately, Google’s software magic makes this a great phone for photography and most people won’t notice or care about the drawbacks. You can erase objects from photos, unblur them, pick the best shot from a burst series and all that other Pixel-y good stuff.
It’s a good phone for video, particularly because of the excellent stabilisation. You can shoot at up to 4K/60fps. Slo-mo is worth highlighting as well, being easily accessible within the main video mode and producing outstanding results.
The other bonus of a folding phone like this is that you can use the front screen as a viewfinder to take better-quality selfies using the rear cameras.
Jim Martin / FoundryBattery life & charging
30W fast charging
7.5W wireless charging
No adapter in box
The Pixel Fold uses a pair of batteries that add up to around 4800mAh so many regular phones have bigger cells. Google says that’s enough to last beyond 24 hours, which is true. But it’s not true every day.
I used the Fold for over a week before writing this review and while the clever Adaptive Battery may not have had enough time to properly kick in, my mileage varied a lot.
In my estimation I used the Fold for about the same amount of time each day – give or take – and did basically the same things, using a mix of the outer and inner screens to browse, play games, take photos, use social media: the usual.
Some of those days ended with comfortable levels – around 20-25% – but on others, it didn’t even make it to bedtime without needing a recharge. Conversely, another day, there was almost 40% left which lasted until after lunch the following day.
Weirdly, Google hasn’t caught up with the sort of fast charging other phone makers now offer and it’s hard to call the Fold a fast-charging phone. Google doesn’t include a charger in the box, but if you have one that can output 30W, the Fold will take it.
Using a 61W Ravpower charger I had to hand, the fold charged from empty to 14% in 15 minutes and was up to 28% at 30 minutes: nice and linear but also very slow.
Wireless charging is possible at the bog-standard 7.5W using any Qi-compatible charger. At least it’s there, unlike the Honor Magic VsPrice & availability
The 256GB version costs $1,799 from Google in the US, and £1,749 in the UK. There’s also a 512GB model which costs $1,919/£1,869. If you pre-order one, you’ll get a free Pixel Watch.
You can get the black model shown here (Obsidian), or a while (Porcelain) version that’s exclusive to Google and is available only with 256GB of storage. If you get the Fold from anywhere else, it’ll be a black one.
These are exactly the same prices that Samsung charges for the Z Fold 4 in the US. In the UK, prices are cheaper: it was £1,649 for a 256GB Z Fold 4.
And if you’re in the US, those are really your only choices. Outside of the US there’s a much broader range: see our roundup of the best foldable phones for more alternatives.Verdict
My opinion of the Pixel Fold has changed a lot over a week. I remain to be convinced that this type of folding phone is something the world needs. But even if it is, the Pixel Fold is so expensive it’s merely a curiosity for most people.
Software needs to improve, too. It’s the classic chicken-and-egg scenario where developers won’t optimise their apps for such a niche device until it becomes more popular, but punters will be wary about buying them until the apps work properly.
The other big drawback is the heft. It’s a marvel of engineering, but it’s still a chunky, heavy device that makes your hand ache after holding it for a while.
Ultimately, this is a first-generation device and if you can afford it and really want it, you’ll probably love it to bits. Everyone else should stick with a regular phone – perhaps a Pixel 7 Pro – and swap to an iPad, laptop or TV when you want a bigger screen.Specs
5.8in FHD+ 120Hz LTPO OLED
7.6in 2208 x 1840 120Hz LTPO OLED
Google Tensor G2 chipset
128/256GB non-expandable UFS 3.1 storage
30W wired charging
48Mp f/1.7 main camera
10.8Mp f/2.2 ultrawide camera.
10.8Mp f/3.05 5x telephoto camera
9.5Mp f/2.2 front camera
8Mp f/2 inner camera
Gorilla Glass Victus (front and rear)
140mm x 79.5mm x 12.1mm (5.5 x 3.1 x 0.5in)
284g / 10oz
You're reading Google Pixel Fold Review: A Looker With Limitations
Top drawer performance
Solid battery life
Guaranteed software updatesCons
Rear plastic scratches easily
Charges slow and hot
Only 60Hz displayOur Verdict
A superlative mid-range phone and one of the best value Android phones you can buy, the Pixel 6a crams in the best bits from the more expensive Pixel 6 and 6 Pro at a very attractive price, but you might be tempted by the newer Pixel 7a.Best Prices Today: Google Pixel 6a
Updated on 17 May 2023: Google has lowered the price of the Pixel 6a to $349/£349/€409.
Phones aren’t as small as they used to be but the Google Pixel 6a is about as compact an Android phone as you can get these days. This is one of the best things about it, along with its excellent performance, camera, and its affordable price.
The Pixel 6a is Google’s cheaper version of its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones. The 6a keeps some of those devices’ more expensive features but ditches others to drive the price right down to a very palatable $349/£349/€409 – a permanent price drop so it’s now cheaper than when it launched in 2023.
A few corners have been cut and there are other mid-range phones out there that offer higher specs, but having used the Pixel 6a daily as my main phone, I think it’s one of the best phones you can buy for the money – and the Pixel most people should buy instead of the Pixel 6 or 6 Pro.
As of May 2023, there is also now the newer Pixel 7a to consider. It has some neat upgrades, but it’s more expensive than the Pixel 6a, which is now sold for less than it launched at.Design & Build
Two-tone colour options
Plastic back easily scratches
Solid premium feel
If it’s the smallest phone available that you want, the 6a isn’t it. At 152.2mm (to be precise) it’s taller than the 138.4mm iPhone SE 2023 and the 131.5mm iPhone 13 mini.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
The 6a is still a large phone, it’s just not as large as most other slab smartphones out there, especially the gigantic Pixel 6 Pro. Its angular and boxy design still feels good to hold thanks to rounded aluminium edges, but I still can’t reach the top of the screen with a thumb when using one-handed (I do have quite small hands, but still).
The screen is flat rather than curve edged, and my black review unit is largely unremarkable save for that camera ‘bar’ design on the back just like the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. It protrudes much less than its bigger brothers, which is a relief.
The difference on the 6a is the two camera sensors are housed in a small pill-shaped blob on the left of the black bar that’s camouflaged by also being black, with a circular flash on the right. On the other Pixel 6 models, the lenses are spread out across the length of the bar.
You can pick from three colour options that have two-tone designs with the small strip above the camera a different colour to the larger section below. I reviewed the charcoal colour which is dark grey on the bottom and lighter grey on the top.
A big downside to the 6a is the durability of the rear panel, which is made of a composite plastic rather than durable glass. My charcoal unit picked up an enormous number of scratches after less than a week. Two weeks in and the thing looked more battered than phones I’ve had for over a year, and I am especially careful with my phones. I imagine the green (Google calls it sage) colour will also show scratches, but maybe the white (chalk) would hide them better. The white would also better hide fingerprints and smears, which the charcoal does not.
I wasn’t sent a case initially, so I used the phone without one in London and on holiday abroad. Google says there’s Gorilla Glass 3 on the display and this got no scratches, but the back looks a bit of a mess. It’s also very hard to photograph this to show you:
Henry Burrell / Foundry
The phone scratching easily is a minor niggle with what is otherwise a very well-built phone that feels more premium than it costs and packs in IP67 dust and water resistance.
I then used Google’s official case for a while, and while I like the feel of the surprisingly sturdy plastic design, it remains to be seen if it eventually discolours like the cases for the 6 and 6 pro reportedly have.Screen & Speakers
Only 60Hz refresh rate
Excellent colour and brightness
The screen is a 6.1in AMOLED, putting this phone in the ‘small’ phone camp – not actually small like phones used to be, but more compact than most modern Android slabs.
That screen unfortunately only has a 60Hz refresh rate. Other phones at this price have higher refresh rates that make content scroll smoother, such as the £399 Nothing Phone (1) with 120Hz and the £369 OnePlus Nord 2T with 90Hz. Google could surely have stretched to this but probably wants to upsell buyers after such a feature to its 90Hz-toting Pixel 6.
Thankfully the display of the 6a is excellent with very good brightness, with things only hard to see in the harshest direct sunlight. I missed a higher refresh rate at first, but I soon forgot that it was a 60Hz screen. It’s a very good panel with excellent colour reproduction and sharpness that’s miles better than the 720p display on the $429/£419/€529 iPhone SE 2023.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
There’s a black bezel all the way around the flat panel with a touch more to the chin than the top of the phone, and a selfie cut-out camera in the centre at the top of the screen.
The stereo speakers can play audio at a decent clarity and volume and are good enough for podcasts in the kitchen or making video calls.Specs & Performance
Same Tensor chip as Pixel 6
Where the Pixel 6a shine is in performance. That’s because Google decided to cram its Tensor processor into it, the same chip used in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
Paired with 6GB RAM, the 6a absolutely flies through everything and is a mid-range phone with genuine flagship performance. It’s the first time Google has opted to put the chip from its main phones into its A series model the same generation, and it’s worth the trade-off in other places, such as in the 60Hz screen.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
There’s only one model available with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. This is plenty enough for my usage but there’s no microSD slot for expandable storage should you ever fill it up. As with every other Pixel, this is also only a single SIM phone, which is a downside – so many Android phones have dual SIM slots and so should Pixels. That said, there is an option to add a second line as an eSIM, which is halfway there if you do want or need two numbers.
We usually run benchmark tests on all phones we review at Tech Advisor using apps such as Geekbench 5, but the Pixel 6a unit I received would not download them. In the Play Store, they showed as not compatible.
Google told me it had blocked benchmarking apps on the review units ahead of launch “to avoid benchmark and device spec leaks”. A spokesperson said I was free to sideload the apps instead, which I did for Geekbench 5 and GFXBench, which measure CPU and general performance respectively. The below chart shows how the Pixel 6a stacks up against phones of a similar price.
A lovely upgrade from the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro is the in-screen fingerprint sensor, which I found to be far more responsive. It works every time without fail, and I didn’t have to retrain it with my thumbprint at all.Battery Life & Charging
Limited to 18W
No wireless charging
The Pixel 6a has excellent battery life but charges quite slowly at a maximum of 18W. I say maximum because there’s no charger in the box, only a USB-C to C cable, so you’ll have to buy a charging brick with a USB-C output, or use another charger (there’s no wireless charging). The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro also ship without chargers but have a maximum speed of 30W. From empty, the 6a charges to 22% in 15 minutes, 42% in 30 minutes, and to 100% in one hour and 50 minutes.
The OnePlus Nord 2T is cheaper than the Pixel 6a but comes with an 80W charger in the box that charges to 100% in 30 minutes, which makes Google look stingy on both included accessories and speed.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
I juiced the 6a with various chargers and found it consistently charges quite hot. I don’t know if this is because some of the chargers could output more than 18W, but when a phone ships without a charger and with no instruction in the box or in the phone’s software about what kind of cable or brick to use, this is the experience most people will get when they grab the nearest (or cheapest) charger.
A phone shouldn’t be this hot when charging. Over time such heat could lead to battery degradation, but this is impossible to tell right now. At the moment, the 6a has solid, all-day battery life. Even roaming abroad on 4G all day while taking tons of photos never saw me dip below 20%.Cameras & Video
12.2Mp main camera
Superb stills processing
While Google gave the Pixel 6a the Tensor chip from its premium phones, the same cannot be said of the camera. In fact, it’s the first time an A-series Pixel is not getting the same main sensor as the corresponding regular Pixels, and that is a shame – the 50Mp sensor on the Pixel 6 is outstanding.
Instead, the 6a has a 12.2Mp f/1.7 Sony IMX363 sensor with optical image stabilisation. This is the same sensor Google used from the Pixel 3 to Pixel 5 era.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
I personally would have rather had the newer 50Mp lens and a lower-powered processor, but Google has changed its approach. The good news is the main camera on the 6a is still phenomenally good – it just isn’t quite as good as the Pixel 6 or 6 Pro in the detail it can capture, but Google’s post-processing in software is so good, that differences are barely noticeable.
In even more good news, the ultrawide 12Mp f/2.2 Sony IMX386 lens is the same one used in the pricier 6 models.
As expected, still photos are top drawer and easily compete with phones three or four times the price. I compared several similar shots I took on holiday with those taken on my wife’s iPhone 13, and I consistently preferred the daylight shots of the Pixel. They sport the contrasty processing Pixels are known for where the iPhone has leant more recently into natural shades, sometimes to a fault.
In low light, the iPhone was much better than the Pixel, better at handling difficult sunset scenes and rendering detail better. The Pixel’s Night Sight for pitch black photos is still good, but it’s a few generations behind the iPhone now, particularly on the 6a with the older main sensor.
But the iPhone 13 costs a lot more than the Pixel 6a. I would happily use the 6a as my only camera on a day-to-day basis – it’s that good. Add to that the very capable ultrawide that doesn’t fish-eye scenes like cheaper phones do, and it’s a very capable setup for a mid-range smartphone (miles better than the iPhone SE 2023).
There’s no zoom lens, so you have to rely on digital zoom from the main sensor but that’s standard for mid-range phones. Google’s Super Res Zoom feature can zoom in up to 7x, but results are quite blotchy and grainy on inspection as all digital zoom tends to be, but the 2x zoom is solid and passable for social media shots.
The 8Mp f/2.0 selfie camera has a decent 84 degree field of view and takes solid selfies, though the portrait mode struggles to pick up strands of hair and doesn’t seem to be as consistent with results as it is from the main rear camera.
Aside from basic still photo shooting (which, let’s face it, is 99% of all mobile photography for 99% of people) the 6a also has every single camera software feature from the Pixel 6 except for the long exposure motion mode.
Magic Eraser can cleverly erase people or things from photos even if it does require a little patience as sometimes it gets it wrong. It’s best to have a plain background or the smarts get confused and blur the wrong colours together, but it’s still impressive on the whole.
A new feature is Camouflage, which rather than deleting things from images instead changes their colour to better blend into a scene. Big orange beach ball distracting from smiling faces on the beach? Turn it the colour of sand. It’s a slightly weird feature but it does work well.
Built in too are very good features like Face Deblur, which does exactly what it says very well. The camera works by taking several shots either side of when you actually tap the shutter button. If your subject moves their head a little resulting in blur, the phone can tell this and automatically uses all the image data to correct it.
This is also part of the feature Top Shot, which records a short video to go along with your image if the phone reckons it’s worth it, autoplaying of which can be toggled off in the Photos app when looking through photos.
Real Tone is also a very good feature that better reproduces skin tones accurately thanks to Google’s work to tune its processing algorithms. Other phones overprocess some skin tones inaccurately, so the Pixel is a good choice in this regard.
Throw in 4K video recording at 60fps and it’s a well-featured camera app. There’s even a speech enhancement mode that isolates vocal audio and cuts out background noise, though only works on the selfie camera, so it’s a handy feature if you are recording a video message for someone at the side of a motorway. Or something.
Clean Android 12 (at launch)
Three years of Android updates
Five years of security updates
Google offers five years of security updates for the phone, so its final update will land in July 2027 in theory. There’s only three years of Android platform updates though, so the 6a will only get those until July 2025 – likely Android 15, as the 6a is launched with Android 12, not Android 13.
You will get new versions of Android before third-party manufacturers though.
Android 12 is a joy to use. It looks great and performs just as well as on a Pixel 6 Pro – no mean feat. The included new ‘Nature swept’ wallpapers are right up my street (see one in action below), and the colour picker that takes four colours from whatever wallpaper you have and lets you select it as the icon and accent colour for the whole OS is superb.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
It’s rolling out to more Google apps like Gmail too, so there’s a real unity to the whole aesthetic. I prefer running the phone in dark mode.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
The always on display is my favourite of any phone, with simplicity the best thing about it. It shows time, date, and weather, with full notification banners if you so choose too. There’s also the excellent Now Playing feature that cleverly listens to whatever music is playing and displays the track and artist, all from an offline database stored on the phone. You can tap the song and start streaming it from several streaming services, not just Google’s own YouTube Music.
Google’s voice-to-text smarts and the Live Transcribe feature in its Recorder app are present and excellent in an area Google trumps Apple, which is playing catch up with its dictation feature in iOS 16.
Dominik Tomaszewski / FoundryPrice & Availability
The Pixel 6a costs $349/£349/€409 and is available to buy from Google in the US, UK, and Europe.
It’s also on sale unlocked in the US now at Best Buy and Amazon.
In the UK you can pick it up from Amazon, Carphone Warehouse, chúng tôi EE, Vodafone, and John Lewis.
Check out our full where to buy the Pixel 6a article for the US and UK.
I recommend it over the $429/£419/€529 iPhone SE 2023, which trumps the 6a with wireless charging and software OS update support but that’s about it. Everything about the Pixel is better – screen, camera, design.
Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G is £399/$449/€449 but has terrible performance, while the £399/€469 Nothing Phone (1) has outstanding design but display issues and an inferior camera to the Pixel. It’s a crowded price bracket, but the Pixel comes out on top.
You might be tempted by the newer Pixel 7a, which is more expensive than the 6a but adds a new camera sensor, 90Hz display, and wireless charging.
Check out all your options in our best mid-range phones chart.Verdict
Despite the higher price than previous A-series Pixels, you’re only paying slightly more for the Pixel 6a, a superb mid-range phone with a flagship-level processor, truly outstanding main camera, 5G, the latest version of Android, five years of security support, and a more pocket-friendly design.
Downsides are the slow charging speeds on a phone that charges hot, the easily scratched rear plastic material, and the 60Hz display lagging behind similarly priced phones. Yet, this is a Pixel, which means it has a superlative Android experience and camera with a software polish and premium hardware feel you won’t find on other brands in this price range.
If you want a newer (but more expensive) phone you might consider the Pixel 7a.Specs
6.1in 60Hz gOLED display
Google Tensor chip
12Mp IMX363 main lens with OIS
12Mp IMX386 ultrawide lens
8Mp IMX355 selfie camera
18W wired charging
Gorilla Glass 3 display
71.8 x 152.16 x 8.85mm
About this Google Pixel 6 review: I tested the Google Pixel 6 for eight days. It was running Android 12 on the November 5, 2023 security patch. The Google Pixel 6 review unit was provided to Android Authority by Google.
Update, November 2023: We’ve updated this review with new alternatives and updated software information.
Google Pixel 6 (128GB): $599 / £599 / €649
Google Pixel 6 (256GB): $699
Gorilla Glass Victus (front), Gorilla Glass 6 (rear), metal alloy
158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm
In-display fingerprint sensor
Stormy Black, Kinda Coral, Sorta Seafoam
A big part of Google’s reimagination of the Pixel line has to do with its design. The Pixel 6 no longer looks or feels like an afterthought of a smartphone. Every aspect of the phone was designed intentionally, for better or worse.
The Google Pixel 6 is made primarily of glass — Victus on the front, Gorilla Glass 6 on the back. It has matted aluminum edges that remind me of the Pixel 4 series. The combination of glass (some of Corning’s best at the time, no less) and metal makes for an all-around premium-feeling phone, though, one I would not want to use without a case. Ever.
If you like it then you better put a case on it.
At 207g, the Pixel 6 is a heavy phone. With a display that measures 6.4 inches, you’ll need two hands to do anything with it. The glass isn’t textured, so it’s incredibly slippery. Combine those three elements, and you have yourself a one-way ticket to Dropville unless you wrap it in some combination of TPU and silicone. In other words, you’ll need a case.
The Pixel 6 looks like no other Pixel phone. There’s a big black camera bar that stretches across the entire top of the phone’s back. It’s a bit reminiscent of the Nexus 6P. This new camera bar starkly protrudes out, giving you a nice index finger rest if you’re trying to use the phone with one hand. There’s also seemingly no wobble when using the phone on a desk.
Now is a good time to talk about colorways. The Pixel 6 gets all the fun colors. Sorta Seafoam (our Google Pixel 6 review unit) features a blue-white back and a pastel yellow-green accent on the top, which actually does remind me of seafoam. The Kinda Coral colorway is my personal favorite, with a bright orange accent on the top. Stormy Black is the most subdued of the three, with a sleek black and gray color combo. In contrast, the Pixel 6 Pro’s colors are more lame professional.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
You’ll notice there’s no rear-facing fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 6 series like there was on the Pixel 5. Google ditched it in lieu of a front-facing, in-display fingerprint sensor. I do not condone this decision. The fingerprint sensor is slower to unlock than traditional capacitive sensors. Often on the Pixel 6, I would need to reposition my finger or wait an extra second for the phone to register my fingerprint. It’s just a slower way to unlock the phone than we’ve had in the past. And no, there’s no fancy face unlock feature as we saw in the Pixel 4 series.
Display: Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
20:9 aspect ratio, 90Hz refresh rate
Displays are a key area where the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro differ. The Google Pixel 6 has a flat 6.4-inch OLED display with a Full HD+ resolution. It’s not as pixel-dense as the Pixel 6 Pro’s, but most people would be hard-pressed to notice a difference. Plus, Google’s decision to opt for a 1080p display allows the phone to save precious battery life. More on that later.
The Pixel 6’s display is flat, and there are noticeable bezels around all edges of the screen. I wouldn’t call them “big” bezels by any means, but they’re there. However, I much prefer a little bezel and a flat display to the unwieldiness of a waterfall display, as found on the Pixel 6 Pro. Some people will prefer as little bezel as possible, however.
Titan M2 security
Arm Mali-G78 GPU
8GB LPDDR5 RAM
128/256GB of non-expandable storage
Benchmarks are not the Google Tensor’s strong suit.
If you’d like to see a comparison between two similarly priced and positioned phones, we pit the Pixel 6 against the OnePlus 9, with its Snapdragon 888 processor and 8GB of RAM. You can see the results below.
So, speed tests aren’t the Pixel 6’s strong suit. It’s been a solid everyday performer in my testing, though, and we do have to remember that this is a $599 phone — it trounces any budget phone below $500 that isn’t made by Apple. However, there is one caveat. We were only been able to test the Pixel 6 for a short period during our initial review. Since then, it’s become clear that the first-generation Tensor chip is a reliable performer for everyday use, but runs very hot when put under heavy load, resulting in poor sustained performance. This will mostly only impact power users or avid gamers, but even things like GPS navigation or charging can cause the phone to heat up and throttle performance.
Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that speed tests, benchmarks, and heavy stress were hardly Google’s first priorities when it comes to processing. Instead, it focused on four main aspects when creating the first Tensor chip: machine learning, image processing, ambient task computing, and security.
21W wired charging
21W wireless charging (w/ Pixel Stand)
12W Qi wireless charging
50MP main, LDAF, OIS, EIS, 1/1.31-inch sensor (ƒ/1.85, 1.2μm, 82-degree FoV)
12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2, 1.25μm, 114-degree FoV)
8MP front sensor (ƒ/2.0, 1.12 μm, 84-degree FoV)
Rear video: 4K at up to 60fps, 1080p at up to 60fps
Front video: 1080p at 30fps
Color accuracy between the ultrawide and standard lenses is pretty good to Google’s credit. The ultrawide lens leans on the red side, but not overly so to where it’d ruin the photo. See the bridge photos above to see what I mean.
If you were hoping the Pixel 6 has a strong zoom game, you should temper your expectations. The Pixel 6 supports software zoom to 7x. Without a dedicated telephoto lens, the device needs to rely on Google’s Super Res Zoom software and post-processing to hobble these images together. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to take an acceptable 7x zoom shot with the Pixel 6, though Google’s software does a solid enough job with anything up to ~5x zoom. Alternatively, the Pixel 6 Pro excels in this area.
As mentioned, the Pixel 6 delivers more saturated colors, especially in daylight. The images of the stone men (below) show how much more punchy the colors in the Pixel 6 cameras are compared to the Pixel 5.
Thanks to the Pixel 6’s larger image sensors, it can supposedly let in 150% more light than the Pixel 5. This makes a huge difference in nighttime shots using Night Sight. See for yourself:
Google’s Night Sight mode continues to impress in the Pixel 6. The photos below show images taken at night with not much light to work with. Yet, the phone was still able to capture plenty of it.
Conditions have to be right for the Magic Eraser tool to be truly magic.
Magic Eraser can be magic at times, but only in the right conditions. Look at the photo below of the bridge and water. The emergency life raft was a relatively simple case, as it had a mostly solid background of water and grass to paint over. There are a couple of blemishes, but overall, not bad.
It works less reliably in busy environments. In the photo below, I wanted to paint out the two people on the left. However, it appears they took up too much space for the Magic Eraser tool to handle, so it left a few odd digitized elements in their place. The photo looks fine, but not as good as I’d have hoped.
Google also added two new modes centered around motion to the Pixel 6 camera app: Long Exposure and Action Pan. Long exposure mode leaves the camera shutter open for an extended period of time, allowing the sensor to bring in more light while still capturing the still elements of the photo. This can result in some pretty cool-looking photos without the need for a tripod.
However, I’d like more control over the Pixel 6’s long-exposure mode. There are no settings to tweak, so it’s either you take a long-exposure photo or not. You can’t adjust how long the shutter will stay open, so you can’t tailor the mode to the situation you’re trying to capture.
This is no wide-angle camera, though. The sensor has an 84-degree field of view, which is wide, but it could be wider. You might need to resort to taking a landscape-mode selfie if you’re trying to fit friends in the shot.
Face Unblur is another new camera feature that’s perfect for parents. If you snap a photo of your moving child and their face is just a little too blurry, Face Unblur will kick in automatically. When you go looking through your photos, you’ll see a little Face Unblur badge at the top of the photo, letting you know at least one face in the photo has been enhanced.
The Pixel 6 photography suite competes with the very best camera phones out there, including some that cost several hundred dollars more. You can check out the full-resolution camera samples in this Google Drive folder.
Android 12, updated to Android 13
Three years of OS updates, five years of security patches
Android 12 is a refreshing, sometimes addicting overhaul to the operating system.
There are many more features in Android 12 that I won’t attempt to fit into this review. For more information on the OS, see our Android 12 features hub. Google has also rolled out the Android 13 update to its Pixel 6, as well as all of the other recent Pixel devices. It refines most of the new Android 12 features and brings a little more flair to certain elements, like music controls on the lock screen.
Google rolls out semi-regular software updates to Pixel phones, which it calls Feature Drops, that bring new software features, wallpapers, and more. This is nothing new — almost every other manufacturer rolls out new features to their devices every few months. Google just calls it by a nice name.
There are, of course, a handful of Pixel 6-exclusive software features that aren’t available on any other devices. These include Wait Times and Direct My Call, which use Google’s ingenious Duplex model.
Wait Times allows you to see how busy businesses are at any particular time throughout the week, even before you place the call. In my experience, the feature has worked reliably and accurately.
Direct My Call basically gives your Pixel 6 the reins to the phone conversation. Google Assistant will transcribe what the operator says and displays each menu item on-screen. You can simply tap a menu item to make a selection, so you don’t even need to listen to all the options. It’s great. This is made even better by Hold For Me, an older feature that allows the Assistant to wait on hold in your place.
I alluded to this in the performance section, but Live Translate is now much more powerful on the Pixel 6. In popular messaging apps, including Android Messages, Live Translate will automatically translate received messages for you right inside the app. You can then respond in your native language, and your message will translate back into the sender’s language. This also works in media apps. Live Caption can translate languages in real-time and display text on your screen in apps such as YouTube. I haven’t had much success getting it to work in music apps, but apparently, it’s supposed to work there, too.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
On the Pixel 6, you can also ask the Google Assistant to perform certain actions without first verbalizing a hotword. For instance, you can tell an alarm to “stop” (without saying “Hey Google, stop!”) or say “answer” or “decline” when a phone call comes in.
The Google Pixel 6 is priced competitively. Pricing starts at $599 and goes up to $699 for the 256GB model.
The Pixel 6’s $599 price undercuts the Samsung Galaxy S22 and iPhone 14’s $799 starting price. It’s also $200 cheaper than Apple’s new iPhone 14 Plus, and don’t even try comparing it to the iPhone 14 Pro’s $999 starting price. In other words, Google has priced the Pixel 6 well under the competition.
Another perspective: Google Pixel 6 review second opinion
Between the long battery life, versatile cameras, and solid performance, the Google Pixel 6 is one of the most well-rounded smartphones out there.
Whenever I recommend a Pixel phone to friends, family members, or Android Authority readers, there’s always a good reason for it — be it the easy-to-use camera system, cheap price tag, or day-one software updates and security patches. I genuinely believe that Pixel phones are just easier to use than other smartphones from other manufacturers. That’s still very much the case for the Pixel 6, and the omissions and oversights that do need addressing are mostly papered over by how much it undercuts the completion on value.
Battery life is great. The screen, performance, audio experience, and cameras are all solid. The overall package Google delivered with the Pixel 6 is astoundingly good and is absolutely worth buying in 2023. Throw in that cheap price tag, and you have yourself one of the easiest-to-recommend smartphones ever made.
Yes, we think Pixel 6 is worth buying because it offers a great design, excellent cameras, and an incredibly affordable price tag.
No, the Pixel 6 does not have a microSD card slot, which means you have to think carefully about which storage variant to get — you can choose between 128GB and 256GB.
Yes, the Pixel 6 is IP68 rated, meaning it will survive in up to 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes.
Yes, the Pixel 6 supports 21W wireless charging when using the second-generation Pixel Stand. The maximum power drops to 12W when using any other charger, though.
The Pixel 6 Pro has a larger screen than the Pixel 6 with a higher resolution, an extra camera on the back, and a larger battery. It also has more RAM and is available with 512GB of storage — see a detailed specification comparison here.
You can choose between three Pixel 6 colors: Stormy Black, Kinda Coral, and Sorta Seafoam.
Unfortunately, you don’t get a charger included with your Pixel 6 purchase.
Yes and no. Only the Verizon and AT&T versions of the Pixel 6 support mmWave technology (as well as sub-6GHz), while all other variants support just sub-6GHz.
In early October, Google launched the newest generation of its flagship phones: the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. The 7 includes a lot of improvements, but it’s not necessarily a giant leap forward. Check out our comparison of the Pixel 7 series with older Pixels to learn more.
The biggest issue I had with the first-generation Pixel Buds was blocking out external sounds, and sadly the new Google Pixel “true wireless” earbuds are only marginally better in this area. The lack of any active noise isolation in the low end is enough for me to not rely on them when I’m flying, since the engine noise will seep through.
Had Google added Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), instead of relying on just passive noise isolation from the ear tips, I’d imagine sound quality would be significantly better in all areas. Mainly speaking, in the realm of bass, or lack thereof: it’s all pretty flat, especially if you’re expecting the same level of thump produced from the Nuraloop. That’s not to say that everything is terrible.
The middle and high-end sound fine to me, and overall sound quality is good. Listening to my daughter’s piano recital, for example, each piano note came through crystal clear. Once again, this comes down to how Google tweaked the sound profile – and because there’s little bass, everything else sounds clearer. If you like your earbuds to sound neutral, I suspect you’ll like the Pixel Buds’ EQ.
Alternatively, there are third-party companies selling memory foam ear tips with better passive noise isolation, so they’re worth checking out. Google’s not the only one having this issue, mind. I’ve received countless reports of AirPods Pro owners complaining about the same fit problem; especially when the Apple’s ANC requires a tight seal to activate.
I can’t help but yearn for Nura’s new Nuraloop or my gold standard JH Audio 16 v2 Pro with Fostex over the ear Bluetooth module. I use these two products as benchmarks because, at two different price points – $199 and $3,000+ for the Nuraloop and JHAudio 16 v2 Pro, respectively – they each demonstrate how you can check off all the boxes: outstanding sound quality, comfort, battery life, and ease of use.
Two neat features Google did add are auto volume and an air vent on each earbud. On the spec-sheet, they look great, but in real-world use, I wouldn’t miss them if they weren’t included. The auto-volume control was either too delayed to be of use, or I could barely notice the difference.
The other feature that I was upbeat about was the integration of Google Translation. Sadly, you still need to open up the app on your phone for things to work. At the end of the day, I’d still rather just use my Pixel 4 XL, instead of jumping through all the hoops required to get the Pixel Buds playing properly with Translate.
That goes for using the Google Assistant, which is also integrated into the Pixel Buds. Again, it works, and I do like the idea of having it there on the rare occasion when I need it. All the same, I’d much rather have longer battery life and ANC.
The earbuds surface is touch-sensitive, allowing you to change volume control by swiping forward (or up) to increase or back (or down) to decrease volume. Then tap to pause and tape again to resume. I like that whatever I’m playing automatically pauses when I remove one or both earbuds from my ears. It resumes after re-inserting one back in.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro shows how good Android software can be, and does so at a lower price than its competitors.
Standing out amongst today’s army of Android smartphones is hard. But in a world of high-powered devices focusing on long lists of impressive hardware stats and figures, Google is going a slightly different direction.
More like the mammoth Apple, Google’s new Pixel 7 Pro leans into the world of software, implementing clever new tricks to improve your photos, call experiences, battery life and a number of other phone-related tasks you didn’t know could be better.
But does this bet pay off? We spent a week with the new Google Pixel 7 Pro to find out.Stylish design at a surprising price
Costing £849, the Google Pixel 7 Pro is more affordable than its flagship competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max. However, it is also a big jump up in cost compared to the cheaper £599 Google Pixel 7.
The phone is made using 100 per cent recycled aluminium, so it feels great in your hand, but does have some serious weight to it. Not only that, but the camera bump pulls the weight abnormally to the top of the device.
But while the design is a minimalist aesthetic that we can get onboard with, a case is a good idea; luckily Google includes one in the box. The same can be said for most modern smartphones, but that massive camera bump makes the phone feel precarious and exposed when placed on a surface.
This combined with the fact that the smartphone is wider than your average device and the Google Pixel 7 Pro does feel somewhat unwieldy in your hand. In other words, this is not going to be a device for those with small hands, with the smaller Google Pixel 7 being a better fit.
This is very much design over usability. Yes, it looks and feels great, but I was living in constant fear of dropping the phone, smashing that beautiful design.Camera excellence
Google is known for its camera abilities, in fact, it has been the company’s big selling point since the very first Pixel smartphone. Luckily, the camera is once again the device’s leading feature.
This is another area where Google’s focus on software over hardware pays off. The phone features a 50MP main camera, 48MP 5x zoom and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. These are similar features to most flagship smartphones.
The best compliment I can give the Google camera is that it is a Jack of all trades. Samsung can zoom for miles, Apple can take stunning up close photos and draw in colour accuracy, Google can do it all, offering a camera for all situations.
Where Google really thrives is with its added features. The brand has made a big deal of its ‘real tone’ feature where the device can analyse skin tones to achieve more accuracy. There is even a feature that will keep track of faces that appear a lot in your photos, making sure those people are more in focus in groups.
The Pixel’s photo-editing software is also interesting. There is an ability to remove blur from photos, whether it’s a new photo or one you took years ago on another device that was never worth using.
However, the feature I got the most use out of is the magic eraser. This allows you to cut things out of an image. You can completely cut out your friend trying to photobomb you, strangers ruining your perfect shot or a random item that doesn’t fit the photo. In most cases this works great, with the occasional moment of making a complete mess.The spec sheet
For the Google Pixel 7 Pro, Google implanted a new chipset, the Tensor G2. While this means a more powerful smartphone, capable of dealing with more intensive tasks, it also means better machine learning capabilities.
It improves the phone’s ability to take photos, how it can handle speech recognition, its understanding of you as a user and generally makes the phone more capable of doing what the Google Pixel does best – impressive software.
The other factor the new chip informs is battery life. Google has struggled with battery life in the past, but with the 5000mAh battery, it is rivalling Apple and Samsung’s largest devices. I frequently got through a full day of medium to heavy usage with some charge left.
The display is also a nice experience on this device. It features a 6.7-inch OLED display which is consistently bright and colourful. The screen can refresh at up to 120Hz which simply means your scrolls, jumps and swipes around the phone will stay looking smooth without any jittery lag.Verdict
Google has been struggling to find its feet with smartphones for a while, never quite managing to get it all right. The Google Pixel 7 Pro feels like the first time the brand has nailed the whole package, producing a well-rounded flagship phone.
Of course, it is not perfect. The charging is slow, and it lacks some of the high-end specs Samsung, Apple and OnePlus have achieved, but these factors really don’t matter.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is snappy and responsive, has a capable battery, the camera is one of the best you’ll get in a smartphone, and it is full to the brim with clever software. It feels like the best of both Apple and Samsung… albeit, with a few small sacrifices.Alternatives iPhone 14 Pro
The iPhone 14 Pro is going to be the closest competitor Apple has to Google’s Pixel 7 Pro. It is immensely powerful, has a great battery life and display and most importantly, is the perfect rival for the Google Pixel 7 Pro in terms of camera ability.
The noticeable downside is the higher price, taking you over the £1,000 mark.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the definition of over-powered. Samsung has crammed everything into this design, including a stylus pen fitted inside the phone, a 100x zoom camera and a burly battery and processor to power it through the day.
All of this does come at a cost similar to that of the iPhone above, but you won’t get much more power in a phone than this.
Google Pixel 7
Like everything about the Google Pixel 7 Pro, except for the price? The smaller Pixel 7 will be the obvious choice. It brings the price shooting down to just £599 but keeps all of the most important specs.
The phone does get smaller, as does the battery. Plus, you do lose out on a camera lens and a few key functions, but for the huge drop in price that is a worthy sacrifice.
Want to convert your data into a format that allows you to gain informative, easy-to-read, and easy-to-share insights on your business?
Google Looker Studio, formerly Google Data Studio, is a data visualization platform that allows you to connect, visualize, and share your data story.
Turn your analytics data into easy-to-understand reports for free with Looker Studio.
In this Google Looker Studio tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a dashboard that visualizes traffic data.
We’ll cover the basics, which include connecting to your data and creating charts from Looker Studio’s arsenal.
We’ll also look at tips that will help you get started to become a pro-Looker Studio user.
Here is an overview of what we’ll cover in this Google Looker Studio tutorial:
Let’s get started!How to Start Building a Dashboard
For this Google Looker Studio tutorial, we’ll be working towards recreating the following dashboard:
This dashboard is a simplified version of the following dashboard which we’ll discuss in more detail later on.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a website because everything we’ll cover will apply to any kind of data you have.
To start, log in to your Gmail account and head to chúng tôi In Looker Studio, there are multiple ways to start building a dashboard.
The first method is to start with a template from the Template Gallery.
We’ll be creating a dashboard from scratch in this Google Looker Studio tutorial, so we’ll select Create → Report.
Alternatively, you could also select Blank Report with the + sign thumbnail from the list of templates in the Template Gallery.
From here, we’ll send our data to Looker Studio with the help of Connectors. You can pull data from 1000+ data sets with the use of over 730 connectors available (as of the time of this article).
💡 Top Tip: See the list of all available connections by going to the Looker Studio Connector Gallery.
In our window, we can easily see the list of connectors starting with the Google Connectors at the top, followed by the Partner Connectors.
Here you can connect to various other tools in Google’s platform, like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Sheets, BigQuery, and more.
🚨 Note: If your dashboards are using UA, you might want to consider migrating Looker Studio dashboards data from UA to GA4.
For this Google Looker Studio tutorial, our data is in Google Sheets, so we’ll use the Google Sheets connector.
🚨 Note: If you would like to follow along with our Google Looker Studio tutorial, you can go ahead and copy our dataset to verify if you’re doing the steps correctly.
Great! We have successfully added our data to Looker Studio.
From here, we’ll see a default table which is Looker Studio’s way of showing you that it has pulled data from your data source successfully.
Now, let’s explore the interface a bit.Adding Charts to a Dashboard
When building a dashboard, we’ll utilize various visualization types that Looker Studio collectively calls charts.
Here, we have all the common types like Tables, Scorecards, Time series, Bar charts, Pie charts, Geo charts, and more.
Next, let’s change how our dashboard looks by opening the Theme and Layout pane.
Going to the Themes tab, we are presented with a list of themes that offer different default colors for your background, text, and charts.
For example, if we select the Constellation theme, you’ll see the background change to a dark gray.
For this Google Looker Studio tutorial, we’ll use the Edge theme.
Next, we’ll increase the size of our dashboard so that we have more space to play with our data.
Now, let’s look at how to build and modify a chart.
Start with creating a Table.
Next, pay attention to the two columns on the right side of the screen.
Let’s start with discussing the properties panel. Since we currently selected a table, you’ll see that we have the Chart as the title.
Our properties panel is usually divided further into the Setup and Style tabs. The setup tab is where to build the chart – what data is displayed, while the style tab is where we format the chart.
Next, we also have the Data panel.
The Data panel is where you can access data from your data source. It is organized into dimensions, metrics, and other types of data.
Dimensions are attributes of your data. Think of categories, colors, or anything that is in text form. You can easily distinguish different data types by looking at the icon next to them.
Looking at the browsers our visitors were using to get to our website, you’ll see that it has an icon that says ABC. This is how you know your data is a dimension.
On the other hand, metrics are the data that you can use for your calculations. These are usually the data that have numbers.
If we look at the revenue, you’ll see that metrics have a 123 icon.
Other data types include geolocation with a globe icon, dates with a calendar icon, and links with a chain icon.
In our dataset, examples of each are the Country, Date, and Landing page, respectively.
Next, let’s learn how we can modify the data in this table.
If we wanted to see the number of total users by city, we need to replace the session source/medium dimension and record count metric.
A helpful tip in finding the data you want to add to your chart, especially if you’re working with a large dataset, is by using the search bar at the top of the data panel.
To demonstrate, let’s search for the total users.
This opens a mini data panel where we can search for or select the data we want to display directly.
Great! Let’s delete this chart for now and move on to recreating the dashboard we showed earlier.Adding Scorecards to a Dashboard
Looking at the reference dashboard for this Google Looker Studio tutorial, we have a banner on top with a group of scorecards.
Scorecards are like snapshots of your key performance indicators or KPIs. You usually use them when you want to highlight a specific metric.
To start, let’s create the banner.
Next, we’ll get to adding the Scorecards to our dashboard.
First, let’s replace the metric displayed with the Total users. You can use any of the methods we showed earlier.
Now, we need to change the format of our scorecard to fix this contrast issue.
Changes to what we want to be displayed are done in the setup tab, while changes to how they are displayed are done in the style tab.
Go to the Background and Border section in the Style tab and change the background color to Transparent.
Great! Our background is gone. However, we can’t see the numbers because both the banner and text color are dark.
To fix this, go to the Labels section and change the font color to white.
Great! Now, rather than rebuilding all these scorecards one by one, try this little trick.
Doing this allows you to retain the formatting we changed in the style tab, and you only need to change the metric displayed in the setup tab.
Alternatively, you can also utilize the copy-paste functionality using your keyboard.
Since we have 4 scorecards on our banner, let’s select the two scorecards we have so far by holding down the CTRL key, then copy and paste them using the keyboard shortcuts.
Let’s move on to the next section of our Google Looker Studio tutorial.How to View the Number of Website Visitors
The first section of our dashboard mainly has a scorecard showing the number of website visitors and a line graph showing the trends in the number of users per month.
The big number displayed is just another scorecard, but with a few more tweaks than what we made earlier.
Start another scorecard with the Total users metric.
Lastly, if you started with a new scorecard, set the background color to Transparent.
Next, let’s add our line chart. While we have a section for line charts in the list of available charts, we’ll be using a Time series chart since we’ll be looking at trends per month.
Stretch the chart a bit to cover a decent portion of our dashboard, then make the lines a bit heavier. Set the line weight to about 5, and change the series color to black.
Next, we also want to remove the grid lines and the background.
Go to the Grid section and change the grid color to Transparent.
For the background, try and test if you can remove it on your own. Don’t worry if you need to go back to the previous section of our Google Looker Studio tutorial! (Hint: Look at the section names.)
To complete this section, let’s put a section header by adding Text.
Add the text “How many users visited our website?” in all caps, then increase the font size to 20px, and bold the text.
You can reorder, resize, reformat, or reposition the charts that we have so far, but at this point, we can see that we have successfully recreated the first section of our reference dashboard.
Now, let’s move on to the second section.
Here, we have a bar chart showing the top 5 cities that bring the most visitors to our website, along with a geo chart highlighting the number of users per country.
Bar and geo chart in the second section of the reference dashboard
Let’s start by inserting the Bar Chart.
Insert this bar chart at the bottom of our scorecard. Set the dimension to City and the metric to Total users.
Next, remove the background and gridlines, which we are confident that you can do at this point in our Google Looker Studio tutorial.
Next, we’ll reduce the number of bars shown in our chart because we are only interested in showing the top 5 cities.
To do this, go to the Bar chart section and change the number of bars to 5. Next, change the color in the Color bar section to black.
Great! Now, we could start building our geo chart from scratch, but we’ll show you another trick you can use.
Select the geo chart and watch Looker Studio’s magic in how it easily transforms your data.
Now, let’s change the color settings of our geo chart.
Set the maximum color value to black, and the minimum color value to pink to have some contrast.
Let’s recreate the last part of our dashboard.How to See the Most Popular Content on a Website
The last portion of our dashboard has a table that shows us the most popular content on our website.
To create this in our dashboard, let’s start with a table.
Next, put the Page path and screen class in the dimensions section, then the Total users, Views, Engaged sessions, and Revenue in the metrics section.Adding Data Control
Finally, we only have two things left to do to fully recreate our Google Looker Studio tutorial reference dashboard.
If you had been paying close attention to the elements of our reference dashboard, then you’ve noticed that it has a date range control at the top of the banner.
A date range control is a type of data control that helps you to only display the data you want based on the date range you specify.
Essentially, a data control filters your data and a date range control filters them by date.
Notice the various changes this date range control made to our dashboard.
First, the scorecard showing the number of users displays a smaller value due to the narrower date range.
Next, the four scorecards on our banner have an additional line showing if there were improvements or dips in our KPIs.
Lastly, the line chart date range changed and another series is shown comparing the number of total users from the previous 93 days.
Insert the date range control at the top-right portion and let’s style it a bit.
Set the background color to transparent, change the border color to white, then set the border radius to 15.
Finally, change the font color to white to fix the contrast issue.
Now, the final thing to add is an image of our logo at the top-left corner of the dashboard.
After you select the logo and insert it into your dashboard, you’ll see that there is a contrast issue again. To change this, let’s set the background to transparent again.
Note that this only works if your image or logo already has a transparent background.
💡 Top Tip: While Google provides a myriad of charts we can use in our dashboards, you should check out the Google Looker Studio Community Visualizations to customize your reports further and show your data more clearly.
There you have it! We have completely recreated our reference dashboard, and have learned how to build a basic dashboard in Looker Studio.
There is one last thing we’d like to share with you before finishing this Google Looker Studio tutorial.Dashboards with Actionable Insights
There are a lot of other things we could do with Looker Studio. Apart from building dashboards that display information, we also want to build dashboards that provide actionable insights.
This means creating dashboards that can guide your users and let them not only understand the state of the data, you’re analyzing but also give them an idea of where it is heading.
Remember the more comprehensive dashboard we showed earlier in this Google Looker Studio tutorial?
This is an example of a dashboard with actionable insights, as we not only can see the number of visitors coming to our site but also if we’re hitting our targets.
This tiny bit of information makes all the difference and can elevate your dashboard from a regular one to a dashboard that provides actionable insights.
💡 Top Tip: Check out our guide on the Google Looker Studio Calculated Fields to help you build dashboards with actionable insights.FAQ How can I start building a dashboard in Google Looker Studio?
To start building a dashboard, log in to your Gmail account and go to chúng tôi From there, you can create a dashboard from scratch or use a template from the Template Gallery.What data sources can I connect to in Looker Studio?
Looker Studio offers over 730 connectors, including Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Sheets, BigQuery, and more. You can connect to various data sources and combine data from different places into a single location.How do I view the number of website visitors in Looker Studio?
To view the number of website visitors, you can use scorecards to display key performance indicators (KPIs). You can customize the scorecards by selecting the desired metric, changing the formatting, and duplicating them for multiple metrics.Summary
To summarize, in this Google Looker Studio tutorial, we looked at how to connect our data to Looker Studio and recreated a dashboard to learn how to build one ourselves.
We learned how to add various chart types to the dashboard like tables, scorecards, time series charts, bar charts, and geo charts, as well as other elements like shapes, texts, and images.
We also learned how to format what they show and how the data is shown.
If you would like to go further, why not make your dashboards interactive? Maybe you would also like to check out our top 3 Looker Studio dashboard enhancements to take your dashboards up a notch.
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