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Pixel 5 vs. Pixel 6: Worth the upgrade? [Video] – 9to5Google

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November 2
Damien Wilde
– Nov. 2nd 2021 10:00 am PT


The Pixel 5 didn’t live up to some expectations, but even so, it seems ridiculous to be even suggesting that after 12 months, someone “should” upgrade from the Pixel 5 to the Pixel 6. We’re here to examine whether this is a thought you might or should have at this stage of 2021.

2021 is a big shift in Pixel with the introduction of Tensor and some massive improvements over the Pixel 5. While last year Google’s focus with the previous iteration was on building a device that resolves some of the glaring errors of past devices, then backing it with the best possible software experience, this year is entirely different.
Things are very different with the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. The focus this year is on a true, out-and-out end-to-end flagship Made by Google smartphone. While the Pixel 5 felt like a reset, the Pixel 6 series seems like a rebirth – and all for the same entry price as last year’s mid-ranger.
While the Pixel 5 is a great phone in its own right, you might be looking at the Pixel 6 with an envious glance. To make things a little easier, we’re going to guide you through the differences between the late-2020 flagship and the standard Google Pixel 6.
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From a sheer benchmark perspective, the Pixel 6 obliterates the Pixel 5. Even so, there are some internal and external similarities that you might be surprised by.
So to summarize, the Pixel 5 and non-Pro versions of the Pixel 6 share some DNA but with some notable improvements in a few areas. It’s hard to compare without noting the huge increase in size. If you like the smaller profile of the Pixel 5, then you might not like the new models.
With a 6.4-inch screen, the Pixel 6 is by no means a “small” phone. It’s actually one of the largest in the history of the Made by Google smartphones series. This is exacerbated as it’s the smallest in the late-2021 lineup. The Pixel 5 is only available in a solitary 6-inch screen size option and is substantially smaller than the Pixel 6. If you prefer a small phone, then you might be disappointed.
However, on paper, there are some notable benefits to the new model. You get Google’s brand new Tensor chip, which is a major step up over the Pixel 5’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G. On paper, it benchmarks in or around the same level as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 – itself an overclocked Snapdragon 865.
The RAM capacities remain the same at 8GB but the speed and performance favor the slick UFS 3.1 storage found in the Google Pixel 6. In terms of performance, there is a noticeable boost on the newer handset. You’ll see the biggest benefit here with app loading times and in things like file transfers and it is apparent when using the phone side-by-side.
Tensor has other benefits in areas such as image processing and even gaming performance levels. You may notice higher framerates but the 90Hz displays on the Pixel 5 and Pixel 6 are very similar, despite the obvious size and shape differences. The Pixel 6 has a slight edge, courtesy of a higher maximum brightness, but the uniform bezels of the 2020 device are more visually appealing. Luckily both screens are flat, which is beneficial for usability.
Design is a bit more subjective and the Pixel 5 and 6 don’t even look like they are from the same lineage. The Pixel 5 is modest and premium in its own way. It’s light, clean, and the bio-resin finish is very different to many other smartphones or the same era.
With the 2021 device, it’s a return to glass and metal but with hints of the classic Nexus 6P, Pixel 2, and Pixel 4. Matte side rails meet a glossy two-tone finish with a black camera bar. The Pixel 6 is a much heavier and bulkier smartphone than the Pixel 5 as a result. This means that one-handed usability is hindered but Android 12 can offer that through an added feature.
The late-2021 Google Pixel device also has vastly superior speakers and on-device haptics. Firstly, the audio is poor on the Pixel 5 because of the under-display speaker. This affects call quality and although not terrible, isn’t as good as the earpiece and downward-firing tweeter on the Pixel 6.
Haptics took a slight dip on the 2020 model but the Pixel 6 is a return to form with some of the best vibration-based feedback on an Android phone to date. Rounding off the devices, it’s important to note that both come with IP68 water and dust resistance ratings.
As with any Pixel, it’s wrong to say the software is “exactly” the same on the Pixel 5 as it is on the Pixel 6, as although similar that is not strictly true. The core OS is the same, yes, but the Pixel 6 has a few neat tricks up its sleeve that, at present, are not available to older Pixel hardware — although may come in future Pixel Feature Drops and OS upgrades.
Although running effectively the most recent version of Android, it’s also worth noting that because the Pixel 5 series shipped with Android 11 pre-installed and it has received one full OS upgrade, it is only eligible for upgrades up to and including Android 14. Conversely, the Pixel 6 will be updated until at least Android 15, at which point support for the Pixel 5 will have already ended.
It’s not immediately apparent whether some of the exclusive Pixel 6 software features will be backported to older Pixels – including the Pixel 5. Some of the added camera features and functions are said to rely on the improved Tensor chip for processing and tuning. That said, it might be possible with a future Pixel Feature Drop.
Android 12 has a few bugs, which could be addressed with the upcoming Android 12L release. However, the Pixel 6 has a substantial edge over the Pixel 5 in performance even if the software is almost identical. Many of the new features on the Pixel 6 are found within the camera and associated editing apps rather than the “core” software.
Although the Pixel 6 has a battery that is nearly 20% larger than the Pixel 5, the battery life gains are a little more nuanced. The new Tensor chip is based upon a 5nm fabrication process, which is a marginal improvement over the 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G found at the heart of the Pixel 5 with some associated power consumption gains.
On paper, the battery life should be far better in the Pixel 6. Some reports online show wild variations in lifespan but in almost all cases, the Pixel 6 is an all-day phone in a similar manner to the Pixel 5. Where the newer model really excels is in the charge speeds on offer.
The Pixel 6 and the 6 Pro now include the fastest charging of any Made by Google phone to date. Wired speeds now top out at 30W, while the wireless charging speeds are similarly boosted to 21W but only with the dedicated Pixel Stand 2 – which as of November 1, is not yet available to purchase. Elsewhere, the Pixel 5 stacks up fairly well even despite the smaller battery. The charging speeds are lower but it is mitigated by the decreased internal cell size. Reverse wireless charging is still capped at 5W across the board.
The Pixel 6 series signifies the biggest leap in the camera setup and in conjunction with the return of the Pixel Neural Core, things take a substantial forward step over the previous generations. At the very heart of the new devices is the Samsung GN1 sensor. This 50-megapixel camera sensor means sharper photos but with added depth and improved natural bokeh effects.
While the sensors are improved and the camera layout looks different, the Pixel 5 and Pixel 6 both include a main wide and ultra-wide setup. If you want improved zoom capabilities, then you will have to look toward the Pixel 6 Pro. That said, with both devices 7x digital zoom is available but with a larger sensor, the Pixel 6 ousts the Pixel 5 quite substantially.
The ultra-wide-angle camera takes a slight bump down from 16 megapixels to 12 megapixels on the Pixel 6. However, the new lens and sensor combination has a slightly wider 114-degree field of view and although lower resolution produces fairly similar end results.
Because the Pixel Neural Core is included as part of the Tensor chip, processing times are far faster on the Pixel 6 than they are on the Pixel 5. There are some other benefits to this as the new features process almost instantly with real-time HDR effects when recording 4K video also available on the Pixel 6.
Video feels like it’s an area that is neglected slightly in favor of the photo features. However, it’s worth noting that the overall video capabilities and qualities are improved across the board on the Pixel 6.
About upgrading: 9to5Google often gives specific product recommendations. Sometimes, we may suggest not upgrading, due to various reasons including, but not limited to: increased device cost, negligible performance gains, or environmental impact. Whether to upgrade is always your call, but our aim is to help you make as informed a decision as possible.
If you are happy with the Pixel 5, then you should not upgrade to the Pixel 6. However, there are some substantial benefits in the camera, battery, and huge performance leaps. In some areas, the Pixel 5 is the better option for some people, especially if you like a smaller device or dislike the idea of an in-display fingerprint scanner. It’s important to note that upgrading every single year is not cost-effective, nor is it good for the planet. The Pixel 5 is still a great smartphone that has improved substantially since its release thanks to software enhancements and Pixel Feature Drops.
With that said, the Pixel 6 is a substantial step up over its 2020 counterpart in almost all areas and all without a price hike. For just $599 the package on offer will not disappoint. It provides everything a so-called flagship should provide with a chipset that does not feel like a compromise as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G did in the Pixel 5.
Those of you with an older Pixel may also want to upgrade as you will see the biggest improvements and performance gains. This fits more in line with the two-year upgrade cycle that we’d usually suggest people stick to for the most gains — although the longer you can hold out, the better!
Are you insistent on getting the Pixel 6? If so, the Pixel 6 is actually proving hard to get right now. Ahead of Black Friday, the Pixel 6 retails for $599 in the US and can be purchased directly from GoogleAmazonBest BuyVerizonB&HPhotoTarget, AT&T, plus many more.
Alternatively, if you would prefer the Google Pixel 5, unfortunately it is now discontinued, but the Pixel 5a with 5G offers almost all of the same benefits for $449 at Amazon, the Google Store, and many more.
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Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: damien@9to5mac.com
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Apple Sold Over 40 Million iPhone 13 Models During the Holiday Season, Says Wedbush Analyst – MacRumors

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Apple sold north of 40 million iPhone 13 models over the holiday period in a record number for the company, despite industry-wide chip shortages, according to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives.
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Last year, reports began emerging that demand for ‌iPhone 13‌ models was slowing ahead of the holidays as delivery estimates for ‌‌iPhone 13‌‌ models started to improve.
However in a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Ives said demand remained strong for the current iPhone cycle going into 2022, with demand outstripping supply be several million units in the December quarter, a positive sign for Apple as supply chain issues begin to resolve themselves in the first half of this year.

Based on our supply chain checks over the last few weeks, we believe demand is outstripping supply for Apple by roughly 12 million units in the December quarter which now will add to the tailwinds for Cupertino in the March and June quarters as the supply chain issues ease in 1H22.
According to Ives, China has been a major source of strength for Apple over the last 12 months and a key region for ‌iPhone‌ sales, particularly in relation to increased market share due to the “multi-year supercycle” afforded by the iPhone 12 and ‌iPhone 13‌.
According to Ives, roughly 230 million of 975 million ‌iPhone‌ users worldwide haven’t upgraded in the last three and a half years, and the analyst believes Apple’s continuing smartphone sales will provide highly influential tailwinds as excitement builds for Apple’s much-anticipated mixed reality headset, which is expected to be announced in the summer.
Ives says the “linchpin” to Apple’s valuation re-rating remains its services business, taking in the likes of Apple Music, iCloud, Apple TV+, and Apple Fitness+, which Wedbush believes is now worth $1.5 trillion. On that basis, Wedbush predicts that despite reports of supply constraints, Apple’s chip shortages are a “transitory issue” and “nothing more than a speed bump” on the way to Apple becoming the first $3 trillion market cap company in 2022.

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MacRumors attracts a broad audience of both consumers and professionals interested in the latest technologies and products. We also boast an active community focused on purchasing decisions and technical aspects of the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac platforms.

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Google Pixel 7 news and rumors: What Google’s next big phone could bring – BGR

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The Google Pixel 6 represented a shift in direction for Google. The phone is the first to offer a Google-designed chip, in the new Tensor chip, plus it offers some incredible camera features, and more. But while Google has been building phones for a long time, the Pixel 6 is still a first-gen product in Google’s big new smartphone push. The Pixel 7, on the other hand, could be a truly amazing phone.

The Pixel 6 is still a relatively new phone, and as such, it will probably be a while before we see the Pixel 7. That said, we have already started hearing rumors about the upcoming device, and we’re pretty excited to see exactly how it turns out.

Want to learn more? Here’s everything we know about the upcoming Google Pixel 7 so far. Alternatively, if you’re more interested in the current-generation phones, check out our full Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro reviews.

The Google Pixel 6 boasts a radical new design, with a camera bar across the back of it, and that classic Pixel two-tone design in a number of stunning colors. We don’t necessarily expect the Pixel 7 to completely do away with that look, but it will still likely look a little different from the Pixel 6.

There aren’t any current rumors about the overall design of the Pixel 7 series, so it’s hard to tell exactly what it’ll look like. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro offer a few design differences — like the fact that the Pixel 6 Pro has a curved display. That was a controversial design choice, and it’s possible Google will return to a flat display for the pro model of the Pixel 7.

One of the biggest changes to the Pixel series with the Pixel 6 came in the form of the new Tensor chip. The new chip focuses on artificial intelligence, and helps give the Pixel 6 a super smooth feel, despite not being quite as fast as the latest Apple or Qualcomm chips in benchmarks. The Pixel 7 may take Tensor performance to the next level though. The new chip is said to have the model number GS201, and there’s no word yet on exactly what kind of improvements it will offer over the original Tensor chip.

The camera has been arguably the most important feature of the Pixel series for a long time now, and that’s only likely to continue with the Pixel 7. The Pixel 6 added some great smart features like Magic Eraser and Face Unblur. We have no idea what kinds of cool features could arrive with the Pixel 7, so we’ll have to wait and see.

When it comes to camera hardware, we’re also not sure what to expect on the back — but there are some rumors about what we’ll get on the front. The rumors suggest that Google will do away with a hole-punch cutout, in favor of an under-display camera. This technology would use a new reflector system to rotate being in display mode and camera mode, according to a patent filed by Google.

Pixel phones have long been released around the October time frame, and that’s unlikely to change for the Pixel 7. That said, given how far away from the release we are, it could still change.

When it comes to pricing, we expect the overall price to remain similar to the Pixel 6. As with the Pixel 6, Google will likely release two phones — a Pixel 7 and a Pixel 7 Pro. That means that the Pixel 7 could come at $599, and the Pixel 7 Pro at $899.

Christian de Looper has been passionate about consumer technology since childhood, but didn’t know writing about it could be a career until he started looking for online work during college. He was born in Canberra, Australia, and has lived in France, Minnesota, and now sunny Santa Cruz, California, where he test drives cars and puts every gadget he can get his hands on to the test.

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Here’s what C-Band 5G is, and what Android phones can use it – 9to5Google

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January 19
Andrew Romero
– Jan. 19th 2022 12:43 pm PT


Verizon and AT&T are starting to rollout out C-Band 5G coverage for their users in the US, bringing a whole new set of frequencies into the 5G game. So what is C-Band 5G and what Android phones are eligible for it?

In general, there are a couple of different variations of 5G. First, there’s the low-band variation, which is also referred to as sub6. Sub6 gets a much larger area of coverage but sacrifices speed in doing so. Even though low-band 5G is the slowest player in the 5G game, it’s still faster than 4G LTE. The other familiar version of 5G is mmWave. This standard sacrifices coverage for speed, reaching incredible speeds for 5G customers. Unfortunately, the caveat to this is sudden coverage loss and lack of connectivity indoors.
Verizon’s C-Band is finally rearing its head as the middle child between the two. Operating between 3.7GHz and 3.98GHz, C-Band is able to provide a much larger blanket of coverage while delivering faster speeds than low-band coverage. Not to mention, you can obtain a strong C-Band 5G signal even indoors with Verizon and AT&T.
The addition of this standard by these carriers is a welcome one, seeing as low-band 5G doesn’t seem to impress, and mmWave isn’t available for most of the US. Bridging the gap between the two, C-Band will be able to reach much more of the US while providing very fast speeds – generally anywhere from 500Mbps to 800Mbps, according to users on the Verizon subreddit.
As mentioned, the main two carriers taking on C-Band will be Verizon and AT&T. This, however, doesn’t mean that C-Band will be limited to these two giants. Smaller carriers like Visible, which relies on Verizon’s 5G network, will also be able to provide C-Band coverage to its users, according to MVNOReasearch (a Visible employee) on Reddit.
One major thing to note here is that C-Band 5G speeds will likely be capped at 200Mbps for Visible customers. This however doesn’t make the adoption of C-Band useless. Since C-Band will be able to cover a large amount of area, Visible customers will be able to take advantage of genuinely fast speeds in a larger, more reliable area.
As with any new frequency standard, it may take some time for devices to adopt C-Band. That being said, there are a few Android phones already out that will be able to take advantage of Verizon and AT&T’s C-Band 5G:
While the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro aren’t “currently certified” for Verizon’s C-Band 5G, the plan remains to bring the 5G spectrum to those Google-made devices. Verizon doesn’t currently have a timeline available.
Requirements to run C-Band are a little unclear as of right now, but we do know that the Samsung devices listed above run a Snapdragon X60 5G modem. On the other hand, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro run a Samsung 5123b modem. In Verizon’s testing of its C-Band 5G network, a Snapdragon X65 chip was used. We hope to learn more about technical requirements as C-Band 5G on Android phones becomes widely available.
While the list isn’t massive by any means, it’s a good place to start. Going forward, Verizon has also said that phones it releases as of the addition of C-Band will have the capability to connect to this new standard. Verizon also expects to offer “over 20 compatible phones by the end of 2022.”
Both major carriers – Verizon and AT&T – are set to fire up C-Band on January 19, 2022. You may have to check with your carrier in order to ensure that C-Band 5G will be available to you under your current plan. For instance, Verizon is making C-Band available to users who are signed up for its Ultra Wideband plan, which includes the previous fastest speeds and coverage available. For AT&T, C-Band will be offered in the form of “5G Plus” and will be available in the majority of its unlimited plans.
Prior to the release and initiation of C-Band, the FAA had expressed concerns over the new standard. Though 5G is already safely in use in 40 other countries, according to Verizon, the FAA still feels it isn’t safe enough just yet to initiate around airports. Verizon and AT&T both feel the FAA was completely unprepared to handle this new 5G addition, given the time from development to deployment.
This has delayed C-Band’s release up until this point and may make it even longer before you find yourself using C-Band at local and major airports.
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