Console-quality gaming on a portable device has been something we’ve all dreamed about for decades. Now it finally feels like we’re basically there – and Google’s latest handset, The Google Pixel 6 Pro is a perfect example of a phone that really shines when you just want to drive a McLaren Senna around Mexico or explore the massive Halo Ring on the go.
For the last couple of weeks I have been trialling a new gaming set up – The Pixel 6 Pro mounted to an Xbox gaming controller and streaming via Microsoft’s cloud gaming service Xcloud. I have to say the experience has been genuinely impressive.
I focused mainly on two Xbox Cloud Gaming titles during my time with the Pixel 6 Pro – Forza Horizon 5, and Minecraft Dungeons – both of which I have also played on my high-end PC and Xbox console. The fact that you can play these games, from almost anywhere on the Pixel 6 Pro with little to no compromise is really something special.
The first thing we need to talk about is the screen.
When it comes to playing console-quality games , you want something big, clear and responsive. The Pixel 6 Pro with its 6.7-inch screen and 120Hz variable refresh rate is exactly perfect for this . The screen feels large enough to be immersive, while not too unwieldy to carry around – your gaming sweet spot.
High refresh rates like on the Pixel 6 Pro have been popular in gaming monitors for a while and have been an area that some have found lacking when it comes to gaming on your mobile. It can makes your games all feel smoother and can even give you a slight edge with your reaction speed.
To make the most of high refresh rates, you need some serious processing power under the hood, which the Pixel 6 Pro has in spades – with Google’s first ever mobile chipset called Tensor. The best compliment I give is that I didn’t even notice it – as in, games and apps all ran extremely smooth without any hiccups and just how I hoped they would.
Variable refresh rates are not only good for gaming but are also great for assisting with battery life, offering high speed when you need to tackle some bad guys with the Master Chief and low rates when you need to conserve power. It is definitely noticeable, and I was getting a comfortable full day worth of battery life without much problem.
Gaming on it constantly will of course, drain that faster, but you should still easily be able to play Halo on your daily commute with plenty left over.
The final piece of the gaming pie on a mobile device, especially playing Xbox Cloud Gaming, is having a great network connection.
Xbox Cloud Gaming streams your game to your phone kind of like Netflix does a movie, so a reliable and fast network connection with low latency makes a difference for a successful session on the go. The Pixel 6 Pro is compatible with 5G and so I spent a lot of time gaming on Telstra’s 5G Network.
What I noticed was, the speed at which you can load up Xbox Cloud Gaming, select the title you wish to play, and jump into the gameplay was super smooth. There was no long loading screens, no long waiting times for servers, mere seconds and you’re back into your game from where you left off on your console or PC. Overall I had a great experience.
Finally, my top tip: A bunch of these games are touch-friendly, and a large screen like on the Pixel 6 Pro’s helps, but you’ll get the most out of it with a clip on controller.
Grace is an Australian gamer and content creator. She started on YouTube in 2012, and has been streaming on Twitch since April 2015.
Her focus on Twitch is to create a safe, positive place where people from all backgrounds can come, hang out and share the passion for video games.
How to take incredible portrait photos with Google’s Pixel 6 Pro
By Tommy KuoDecember 16, 2021
They say that the best camera you have is the one you have on you, and with modern smartphones improving year on year, there are even more photography technologies available in our latest devices.
I took the new Google Pixel 6 Pro out for a spin, shooting some everyday photos of a friend to find out if Google’s latest Pixel lives up to the hype.
The new Pixel 6 Pro
Google have really taken their photography up a notch with their camera. With the some of the best computational photography technology in the game and new pro-level lenses, it means you get the best of both worlds in terms of photography software and hardware on a smartphone.
The back of the device hosts 3 lenses, firstly the 50 MP wide (f/1.85 aperture) for everyday shots, allowing big prints and letting in plenty of light. Secondly, a 48 MP telephoto (f/3.5 aperture) for shots of subjects further away (that’s a lot of megapixels!). And a 12 MP ultrawide (f/2.2 aperture) for those wider lens needs.
All of them are sharp, clean and bright. Everything you expect from a high quality lens. Also, the Pixel 6 Pro makes leaps of improvements from their previous Pixel 5, in fact the Pixel 6 Pro captures 150% more light thanks to its new larger main sensor. This helps with any low light/night photography, which is handy more often than you think.
The Pixel 6 Pro also allows you to capture 4x optical zoom, retaining all of that image information optically, versus digitally. While all those upgrades are awesome to have, you’ll get way more out of the Pixel 6 if you know how to make the most of it with a few photography basics.
4 tips for incredible portrait photos
Tip 1 – Take lots of photos! While you’re framing your shot with your device, it is ideal to take multiple shots of the same ‘framing’. This is because there are small details within the environment or about the subject you might not notice, including the way hair flies, the subject’s facial expression, moving objects in the background, and also slight changes in positioning. By capturing more shots rather than less, you will have more options in your Gallery to select as your perfect shot.
Tip 2 – Shoot motion. Whether it’s a hand adjusting hair, walking on the street, or hair flying in the wind, photos that freeze a frame in motion just seem to feel more natural. I like to give directions to my subject to perform small, repeatable actions or gestures that I can capture to make a shot feel authentic and natural.
Tip 3 – Framing your shot. When I was shooting with the Pixel 6 Pro, I used the guidelines feature in the settings to help frame my shot. Below this is a demo of how I use it. It’s pretty simple. I like to use the guides to help frame my half-body shot starting with the vertical axis, approximately two-thirds of the portrait subject (person) and one-third environment. Then looking horizontally depending on how they are angled, generally, keep the subjects face close to the centre grid space. Below you can see I had my subject’s body on an angle. Since she’s on an angle, I found it optically balanced to keep her face in the top left side of the centre grid.
Tip 4 – Make use of shadows. I love to shoot in places where there’s a mix of sun and shadow in the same spot. Shadows can play a big role in contouring the face, softening the lighting and also providing interesting shapes to work with in your photo. Below is an example of how shadows can be used on the wall to make interesting patterns and shapes with the leaves, and also spotted lighting on her hair and face for more artistic effect! Gotta love shadows.
Making the most of the Pixel 6 Pro
To my surprise, I also really enjoyed using Portrait Mode Blur when editing my photos. The technology has come a long way to make depth of field look very convincing, especially when used subtly and sparingly. This is a great way to bring out your subject in your photo.
Skin tones is another thing that I see a lot of smartphones struggle with. However on the Pixel 6 Pro, skin tone is captured very authentically. Google have really prioritised accurate representation of all skin tones for this device, and that is something that I love to see.
One of the real things that I love about the Pixel 6 Pro though is how advanced their editing technology is for photography. Take the Magic Eraser tool for example, with it I’m able to use AI technology to remove any unwanted objects or photo bombers from my photo.
I loved using the Google Pixel 6 Pro! Not only is it a great smartphone for everyday use, I also found the camera capabilities and technology to be perfect for how I like to capture life day to day.
Tommy is a freelance photographer and content creator based in Melbourne, Australia. His collection of work showcases people, style, culture, and more. He's also the founder of the Good Shot Mate, a global photography community focusing on education and travel.
Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro: price, release date and more
By Luke HopewellOctober 20, 2021
Google is truly spoiling us this year. We get not one, but two new Pixel devices: the Google Pixel 6 and for the first time ever, the Google Pixel 6 Pro. Here’s everything you need to know.
Google Pixel 6
The Pixel 6 takes on the design language of existing Pixel models and builds on it to create something modern and beautiful.
Running Android 12, it features a 6.4-inch Smooth Display wrapped in Gorilla Glass VictusTM for better scratch resistance, and it’s IP68-rated for water and dust resistance1, and it works well in direct sunlight thanks to High Brightness mode.
It’s all powered by Google’s first-ever processor, called Tensor. Designed by Google to be the beating heart of the Google Pixel 6 phones, it’s built to enable new experiences. It helps apps launch faster, battery last longer and features like Live Translate run even smoother.
It even features Google’s new Titan M2TM chip to keep all your stuff safe.
Tensor works to power an intelligent Adaptive Battery that allows your phone to last beyond 24 hours, even on 5G.2 By learning your favourite apps, it won’t waste power trying to run stuff you don’t use. And to push it even further when you need it, there’s the Extreme Battery Saver that can help push the battery to 48 hours of life.3
Google is renowned for incredible cameras and smart imaging software to capture some of the best pics on a smartphone. The new camera system for both Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro feature some amazing gear.
The Pixel 6 camera is about capturing your life as it happens, without you needing to tweak a million settings to get the right shot.
For example, Motion Mode is designed to capture awesome action shots as they happen, like skateboarding tricks your kids just learned or a waterfall you just stumbled across.
Blur isn’t an issue, either, as the Pixel 6 can unblur a face to make a shot sharper so you never miss a moment.4 And with Real Tone, you’re going to take accurate portraits that authentically and beautifully represent all people and the nuances of all skin tones.
You can even use the Magic Eraser to get rid of unwanted subjects in the background of a pic to make you the true star of every photo.
For video buffs, the Pixel uses the power of its new processor to shoot Live HDR Video, even in low light. And it’ll all sound amazing too with Speech Enhancement on the mics to reduce background noise and capture the subject loud and clear.
Google Pixel 6 Pro
This is the big one. It’s Dylan going electric. It takes everything the incredibly capable Pixel range is known for and gives it extra juice.
The Pro does everything the Pixel 6 does, plus a little more where it counts.
The screen, for example, is upped to a big 6.7-inch edge-to-edge Smooth Display, with up to 120Hz refresh rate for super smooth scrolling. It boosts its own brightness in high-ambient light settings so you can watch all your favourite content, even in direct sunlight.
It’s also coated in new Gorilla Glass VictusTM, making it up to 2x more scratch resistant than previous Pixel devices (when compared to Pixel 5 and 4a 5G).
You also get a new, upgraded camera system, with three rear-cameras, pro-level lenses and a telephoto lens that features 4x optical zoom. There’s even a Super Res Zoom mode on the Pro that allows you to punch in up to 20x. This new Pro Camera captures 150% more light than a Pixel 5, making it great for everything from beach snaps in Summer to stunning astrophotography after dark.5
Combine that with the Live HDR video, Real Tone, speech enhancing microphones, Magic Eraser, Face Unblur and more, and you can see why the new Pixel Pro camera is such a big deal.
And to make sure you always look your best, the front-facing camera can shoot 4K video and take ultra-wide selfies.
The Pixel 6 Pro also takes connectivity to the next level as it is the first handset in Australia to be compatible with mmWave 5G.
mmWave – pronounced as “millimetre wave” – is a short-range, high-frequency network technology that really shows off what 5G can do. It’s the next ‘wave’ of 5G, so to speak.
If you think of a network like a pipe, you can only force so much down that pipe before things become congested. We’re always looking to create newer, wider pipes so more data can be carried across our network for more people at once. That’s where mmWave comes in.
mmWave is a huge pipe. It has a lot more bandwidth on offer. Nearly 10 x regular 5G and can allow tens of thousands of people to connect, stream or upload photographs simultaneously. It’s another step towards delivering on 5G’s potential with super-fast speeds and more capacity.
As mmWave signal only travels a few hundred metres from a cell it is best suited for areas of intensive customer demand such as transport hubs, shopping districts and even sports stadiums or tourism hotspots, which is where we have begun the rollout.
Telstra currently has 65 mmWave sites live across 5 cities and we plan to nearly triple that number before the end of the year.
mmWave support means you can do even more cool stuff with your Pixel 6 Pro in even more places thanks to our massive 5G network that covers 75% of Australians. Duo HD screen sharing – for example – allows you to watch your favourite show or game over a video call so you can be together, even when you’re apart.
And to keep all that safe on your travels, it’s IP68 water and dust resistant1.
Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro: pricing and availability
We’re excited to carry these great new Google flagship smartphones on Australia’s largest 5G network. It means you can do more stuff in more places than ever, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on them.
You’ll be able to pre-order the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro from 8am AEDT on 20 October. There will be five colours on offer (and you’ll only find Kinda Coral and Sorta Sunny at the Google Store and select retailers). Pixel 6 is available in Stormy Black; Sorta Seafoam; and Kinda Coral. Pixel 6 Pro is available in Stormy Black; Cloudy White; and Sorta Sunny.
Thanks to Telstra Plus, you can pickup either the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro for a special introductory price. Until 27 October, the Pixel 6 will be available for just $799, while the Pixel 6 Pro will be available for just $1099 on an eligible plan. To find out more or to join Telstra Plus, head to Telstra.com.
Things you need to know
1. Designed to comply with dust and water protection rating IP68 under IEC standard 60529 when each device leaves the factory but the device is not water or dust proof. The accessories are not water or dust resistant. Water resistance and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and will diminish or be lost over time due to normal wear and tear, device repair, disassembly or damage. Dropping your device may result in loss of water/dust resistance. Liquid damage voids the warranty. See g.co/pixel/water for details.
2. Estimated battery life based on testing using a mix of talk, data, standby and use of other features. Average battery life during testing was approximately 34 hours. Battery life depends upon many factors and usage of certain features will decrease battery life. Battery testing was conducted by a third party in California in mid 2021 on pre-production hardware and software, using default settings. Battery testing was conducted using two major US mobile networks using sub-6 GHz non-standalone 5G (ENDC) connectivity. Actual battery life may be lower.
3. Maximum battery life based on testing using a mix of talk, data, standby and use of limited other features that are default in Extreme Battery Saver mode (which disables various features including 5G connectivity). Battery testing conducted using two major US carrier networks. Battery testing conducted by a third party in California in mid 2021 on pre-production hardware and software using default settings, except that Extreme Battery Saver mode was enabled. Battery life depends upon many factors, and usage of certain features will decrease battery life. Actual battery life may be lower.
4. Deblurring may not work on all photos or videos with faces.
Luke Hopewell is an editor, tech expert and Senior Specialist Writer at Telstra Exchange. Luke joined Telstra in 2019 where he has had the privilege to help bring stories to life in a unique and human way. He was previously the head of editorial at Twitter Australia and the editor of cult tech site Gizmodo. For over a decade, Luke’s passion for technology has always driven him to seek out the latest gadgets and game-changers, and help others to understand how it all works. In another life he was a cyber security specialist where he sought to educate people about how to stay safe online. When he's not writing, he's getting outdoors and patting all the nice dogs he meets.