Why Google Pixel might be a good choice for you

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Are you looking for a smartphone with Google Photos, Chrome, Gmail and Google Drive integration? If so, a Pixel might be a good choice for you. Google offers many iterations of its Pixel phones, including the Pixel 4A and Pixel 5, and now the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro that come with the company's in-house Tensor chip.

Pixel phones are known for taking great photos. But it isn't just about having an excellent camera and luxurious hardware: Software and the services that a phone ties into are also important. Let's get into a few of these.

Unlimited storage for Google Photos​

One big reason to get a Pixel is unlimited storage in Google Photos. Unlike other non-Pixel handsets, Pixel phones have no data cap for backing up photos to the cloud. Photos you take on a Pixel will be saved in their original quality, not automatically compressed to save space. The extent of this benefit varies based on the Pixel you pick up: If you can find the first Pixel phone released in 2016, you should be able to upload photos at the original quality for the life of the device.

Fresh Android OS updates​

Besides unfettered storage for photos, Google has pledged to make updating its Pixel phones a priority. Whenever a new Android OS version or security patch rolls out, it'll arrive on Pixels first. That includes new features separate from full OS updates. And for the truly adventurous, Pixels have first dibs on beta Android versions as well.

Google Fi is always an option​

While not a massive force in the wireless carrier market, Google does offer its own cellular service for mobile devices. Called Google Fi (not to be confused with Google Fiber), this MVNO-style system offers pay-as-you-go data plans. It also uses technology that enables seamless switching between Wi-Fi and cellular networks during voice calls.

All Pixel phones come in versions specifically designed to operate on Google Fi. These phones are also unlocked so you can port them over to another carrier if you'd like. For instance, the Pixel 5A is available in both Unlocked and Google Fi (also unlocked) versions.

Things get more complicated, though, when choosing a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro. Google sells three varieties of each: Verizon, Google Fi (unlocked) and Unlocked (no specific carrier). The models without a specified carrier will work on all major US carrier networks. That said, they aren't all fully compatible with each carrier's 5G network.

Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 6 Pro​


There's a $300 price difference between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were both unveiled this fall, and the Pro model has since made CNET's list of best smartphones for 2021. If you're considering a new Pixel phone, you may be wondering what's the difference between the latest models. (If you already have a Pixel 6, you should really change these default settings.) The pair comes with a collection of welcome upgrades including Google's own Tensor chip, but there are a few differences between each Pixel 6 model and the Pixel 5 series.

With the Pixel 6 lineup, Google seems to have course-corrected from the Pixel 5, which marked a departure from the pricey Pixel phones of years past. Out goes last year's mid-range processor, in comes the company's years-in-the-making Tensor chip. Out went the generic, tried-and-tested hardware design. In comes a statement device with a signature camera bar running across the width of the chassis, which is available in splashy new colors including sorta seafoam (green) and sorta sunny (orange).

 
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