Review: Can Google’s Pixel 6 Pro Get Me To Say Goodbye To More Than A Decade Of Samsung Smartphones?

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From 2002 through 2011 I was an avid PalmOS phone fan, moderating a PalmOS phone forum, and moving from the Samsung i330, i500, and i550 to the Treo line after Samsung killed off their Palm phones. After PalmOS was killed off, I have been on the Samsung bandwagon since 2011, going from the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S4, Note 4 Edge, Note 8, and currently the Note 10+.

Over that time, Samsung killed off some features that I loved, like having a user replaceable battery and an IR remote control, but they still had some unique features like magnetic payment via Samsung Pay and micro-SD storage.

But Samsung killed off those final features earlier this year and they failed to release a new Note phone this year. It’s unclear if there will be another Note released in the future.

Instead of releasing a Note in August, they released 2 foldable phones. I was not a fan.

Since LG punted on Android phones, Samsung has had precious little competition in the premium Android space.

In recent years, Google has positioned their Pixel phones as a mid-market device with middling specs. But Google stepped it up with its own Tensor chip for this year’s Pixel 6 and positioned the phone as a Galaxy killer with top-tier specs, and an all new eye catching design.

The phone has been getting positive to rave reviews, though there have been reviews of how buggy the phone can be.

The Pixel 6 offers a 128GB version for $599 and 256GB for $699.

The Pixel 6 Pro offers a 128GB version for $899, 256GB for $999, and 512GB for $1,099. It adds additional RAM, an ultra-wideband 5G chip, a bigger battery, a slightly larger and higher def OLED screen with 120Hz, a rear telephoto camera, and a more powerful front camera to the base 6 model.

My Note10+ has 256GB internal memory and a 256GB SD card, so I splurged for the 512GB Pixel 6 Pro so that I wouldn’t have any memory crunch issues without an SD slot. That means spending an extra $200 for the memory that a $20 memory card would provide. Talk about progress…

My first impressions were not great, though some of them may be nitpicking and attributable to my personal preferences and being with Samsung for so long. I’m no tech reviewer, so I’ll just share my thoughts as I used the Pixel 6 Pro for the past 2 weeks.

Google Contacts imported everyone who I ever emailed into my Pixel 6 Pro. While Samsung has an option to exclude contacts without a phone number, Google in their infinite wisdom has no such option.

To workaround that, I had to turn off contact sync from my Google account, delete all the contacts, and then import the contact list from my Note10+.

Incredibly, the Pixel 6 does not have a face unlock option. Face Unlock with smart lock were my go to security options on my Note10+. I love that the phone instantly unlocks when I look at it, rather than having to use a fingerprint reader.

Instead of face unlock, the Pixel 6 has an in-screen fingerprint reader and at first, it was truly horrendous. Since then, Google pushed a mid-cycle software update that has made it far more tolerable with fewer rejections, but it’s still slow. Smart lock on the Pixel brings you to a lock screen that must be swiped away, adding to the annoyance factor. In frustration I disabled all security, but that locked me out of using apps like Google Pay and using fingerprints to login to apps as Pixel won’t allow you to use secure apps or use fingerprint login without security enabled on your phone.

Finally I just added a 30 minute period after the last use where the phone remains unlocked. That’s not very secure, but it bypasses the security annoyances of the phone, the lock screen, and allows me to use secure apps. However when I go past 30 minutes, it now wants me to enter my PIN instead of fingerprint due to it being “manually locked.” It’s just one of the many quirks of the Pixel.

I enjoy Samsung’s scrolling screenshot. The Pixel 6 offers it in some applications, but it’s quirky. It drops off headers in apps like WhatsApp, so you can’t see who it’s from. In Chrome it didn’t work at all, until I found a workaround. I had to update the app, put in “chrome://flags” into the address bar, scroll down to “scroll capture” and change it to “enabled” before I took take a longer screenshot in Chrome. Go figure. Oddly in a phone full of gestures, there’s no easy gesture like Samsung’s hand swipe to take a screenshot.

What was really annoying was that WhatsApp failed to restore the media from my Note10+, and even when I manually copied the media folder over from my old phone, it still wouldn’t backup my data as it hadn’t restored it over the air. After doing some research, it appears to be a relatively common Pixel 6 bug and it happens when the WiFi or mobile data starts to hang, causing WhatsApp to fail at restoring media. WhatsApp was also crashing when I tried attaching photos, making the app a real mess.

I had to uninstall WhatsApp, power cycle the phone (which isn’t done with the phone’s power button unless you change it from Google Assistant to do that), and reinstall my old backup. It failed at restoring the media again, so I had to do that whole process yet again. I lost 4 days of chats doing that and in order to get the media reinstalled, I had to keep toggling between WiFi and mobile data to get WhatsApp to keep restoring the media backup without freezing.

Bizarrely, that’s not easy. That’s because Google removed the WiFi and Mobile data toggles from the drop down settings. Instead you need to hold down the internet tile, and only then can you turn WiFi on and off. While the phone does have 5G coverage compared to 4G on my Note10+, I generally found weaker WiFi and mobile data coverage on the Pixel.

The phone itself also seems to run hotter than the Note10+.

The screen off button on the Pixel 6 Pro is higher than where my thumb normally reaches as it’s placed above the volume rocker. On my Note10+ the power button is below the volume rocker, but I rarely used it as I turned the screen on and off by double tapping it or by using the Samsung one hand operation+ gestures to swipe from the side and turn the screen off. But Google doesn’t offer double tap to turn off the screen and swiping to the side in Android 12 functions as the back key.

Speaking of Android 12 gestures, having to swipe up and hold in the middle to access recent applications is ridiculously convoluted and slow. But if you opt out of Android 12 gestures you lose the ability to use one-handed mode on the Pixel. Not that you’re missing much, as one-handed mode is half-baked compared to the Note10+ as you can’t view the whole screen without it being cut off and inaccessible.

I used Boldbeast to record my phone calls on my Note10+. That has come in handy on a few occasions when companies have promised me something and then reneged. It’s how I only pay $100/year for this card. Boldbeast wouldn’t even open on the Pixel but CubeACR worked, albeit with an annual fee versus a one-time purchase.

Bluetooth on the Pixel 6 Pro was much buggier than on my Note10+. The phone struggled to connect to multiple bluetooth headphones and didn’t play as nice with my Tesla as my Note10+ does. With my Note10+ I never have to use my Tesla backup key, but I needed it multiple times with the Pixel and struggled to keep connected it to the car for phone calls.

Android 12’s “Material You” theme matched the colors of your menus to your phone’s wallpaper. I never thought I’d care of my phone’s menus matched the Maui sunset of a family photo shoot and after having it, I still don’t get what the fuss is. You can also make your apps appear in near greyscale with “Material You.” Yay?

The Pixel 6 Pro may be the slowest charging phone I’ve ever seen. It takes a full 2 hours to charge from 10% to 100% full using my Samsung 45W ultra-fast charger and longer than that with a traditional charger. That would take 50 minutes or less on my Note10+. Now, the Pixel battery life is better than on my Note10+, but with my heavy usage, it’s not long enough to last a full day. And the slow charging speed is an annoyance. Google says that slow charging means that the battery is also slower to lose a charge and will last longer in the long run. That’s all fine, but a 2 hour charge time is just too long in my opinion. Gosh, do I miss swappable batteries!

One bug that I haven’t been able to solve is that the screen is constantly waking up on its own. That’s especially true if I’m holding it, but also happens in my pocket or even on my desk or right after I turned the screen off. The Google Assistant is also very aggressive and searches for things and does things it thinks I asked for, when I did not.

Another persistent bug that I encountered was the screen flickering in low-light situations. It seemed to be trying to determine what the brightness should be, but sometimes would keep switching enough to give me a headache. You can turn off adaptive brightness, but then you would have to swipe down from the settings menu twice to toggle the brightness when you change environments.

Needing to swipe down twice in Android 12 to reach the icon to open the full settings menu or to get to most settings options was one of the many pet peeves I had with the new OS. Why would you want to add more swipes to navigate?

Even less excusable are the Pixel’s impossible to remove “At a glance” and Google search bars on the launcher home screen. My Note 10+ offers 7 rows of apps of the home screen. The Pixel 6 Pro is even taller than my tall Note 10+, but it offers a stingy 5 rows of apps due to the “At a glance” and Google search bar. I tried turning off “At a glance,” which offers useful suggestions like when to leave to the airport if you want to be there 3 hours before flight time, to no avail. The Pixel still won’t let you put anything across the entire top row. And the Google search bar can’t be moved from the bottom row. It’s a beyond frustrating design choice.

The Pixel 6 Pro is less wide, but it’s noticeably thicker, heavier, and taller than my Note10+. In general, I found that my typing (manually and with swype) was much less accurate then on the Note10+, perhaps due to the narrower screen. I expected that to get better, but even after 2 weeks I was making more errors on the Pixel than on my Note.

The phone is ultra-slick, so having a case for it is practically a requirement. I’m not even sure why Google offers a gesture option for tapping the back of the phone, you would have to be a daredevil to use it uncased. I tried out the Spigen Ultra Hybrid and the Spigen Thin Fit and preferred the latter as it was thinner and lighter.

Yikes. That rant was even longer than I expected. It’s not all bad. There are some Pixel features that are truly awesome.

The camera is the best I’ve seen on a smartphone. The magic eraser works well most of the time and will remove unwanted people and items from pictures. It’s pretty slick.

I love that the always on screen shows you the title of the music that’s playing around you.

The phone tree and hold functions are game changers. When you call a company with a phone tree, it will transcribe the options so that you don’t need to pay attention to what the 10 options are, you can just read them on the screen. And when you’re placed on hold you can put your phone down and it will tell the rep when they answer to please hold for you, while it notifies you that there’s a live person to talk to. I can’t understate how useful that feature is.

Call screening for unknown numbers worked perfectly.

The voice recorder with transcriptions is also a great feature. And I enjoyed being able to put the phone face down to enable “Do Not Disturb” mode.

I didn’t miss the Note’s S-pen that much, so I was OK moving on without it, though it does come in handy for taking selfies and some copy and pasting that Android struggles with.

In general, the Pixel is very snappy and performs well, plus has many nifty features. If you’re not coming from a Samsung phone, some of the things that bothered me may not bother you. But it’s just too half baked for me.

I went back to my Note10+ last night and will see how the S22 line stacks up when it’s released next year. My WhatsApp media restored flawlessly without intervention overnight.

It took over 3 years for the Note8 to make me part with my beloved Note4 Edge, so maybe I’ll just keep nursing my Note10+ until it reaches end of life. It’s sad to see things regressing, but I’m not going to spend money to gain some nifty features while introducing a plethora of annoyances.

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94 Comments On "Review: Can Google’s Pixel 6 Pro Get Me To Say Goodbye To More Than A Decade Of Samsung Smartphones?"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

Yo ssi

Time for the S22 Ultra, aka the new Note!

Some problems you mentioned are Android 12 related and can be a problem with any Samsung or Android phone.

Nate

Big regress. Thanks for this post so I can put this issue to rest.

Side note. My Note 10+ has been having significant battery issues in the last few weeks. Used to have significant charge at the end of the day, now it’s always dead.

Dovid

Get an iPhone?

Y G B

If I switched away from iPhone – it would only be to Pixel. Pure android. Period!

yelped

The problem is that Google is turning it into an Apple-like OS.

Jerry

How so?

UberPixel

100%. Thats why i switched to OnePlus, and now to Pixel.

James

It was recently reported that googles rumored Pixel Fold was just cancelled but I have a feeling that the other rumored “rollable” phone might still be in the works and it will be a game changer. Think expanding/contracting screen instead of having to fold/unfold.

Dani

I hope Google pays you for that extensive review!

darrel

I’ve got the S21 Ultra and it would be the GOAT if they had kept MST (real Samsung pay) and kept sd card support.

But still its the best phone I’ve had.

David

What is REAL Samsung pay ?

David

My note 10 + constantly turns the screen on when it’s in my pocket as well.

ATLguy

Thank you for this review. I have been a Note user since the 3 came out and had been eyeing the Pixel 6 but am going to hold off based on your cautionary tale.

chaim

Dan, Whats really the difference between Boldbeast and CubeACR on the Note 10+?

chaim

Personal question Dan,
Do you use a filter on your android , and which one would you personally suggest?

Rs

I like my Moto g power. The 2020 version is supposedly better than the 2021 version

Baruch

I’m a Moto G Power fan as well

Abe

Time to make the switch to OnePlus

Avi L

Hey Dan love this cause I have the note 10+ to so I will wait on your review my man. Tha ks for the right up I agree with everything you said here. I hope they can introduce some of these Nifty features in the s22 or let’s hope they come out with a new note

Chris

Dan,

I have and am still using my Note 10+ as I had the same concerns about leaving Samsung for a Pixel.

How are you doing with battery life on the Note 10+? Mine is struggling after nearly 2.5 years and I see now that Samsung offers approved repairs at UBreakiFix I am tempted to replace the battery but am nervous about damage that could happen.

mattisyahu

Solutions to two of your annoyances:
– You can swipe between apps moving your finger sideways on the vertical bar at the bottom of the screen, when using gesture navigation, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2QS4Pd66Zps
– If you have a smartwatch or step counter, you can keep your phone unlocked, https://android.gadgethacks.com/how-to/keep-your-phone-unlocked-when-its-paired-with-your-smartwatch-0384303/

Feel free to email me privately if you have any other questions that I can perhaps answer.

Levi Singer

I’m so glad I read this. I, too, have been an avid Samsung user for about a decade, and I loved what they have done with the android OS. The time has come for me to get a new phone, and I strongly considered the pixel 6 pro, until I read this article. I was also recently given the opportunity to use the iPhone 13 pro. It did take some getting used to but boy when they say that iPhones just work. They truly do. Zero app crashes, super simple data transfer, no weird quirks. Just a solid reliable phone. And The battery life on the new iPhone is jaw-dropping. Damn. I was hoping not to have to sell my soul to the apple devil, but sadly there has been less and less of a reason to stay with android, and I think I have to give in.

Thanks for the write-up!

Dovid

Couldn’t agree more

Y

Got a free Pixel 6 (non Pro) from Sprint on my Kickstart $15 backup line after trading in an iPhone 6S, the screen supposedly leaves what to be desired, but overall supposed to be a decent phone, I haven’t activated it yet on that line though, and really haven’t used it much, waiting for them to iron out the bugs with a new processor, new version of Android, and new phone, and I’m assuming things will improve on both versions of the phone, but I’ve learned not to expect a new release to be perfect, and to give them time to iron things out.

Been happy with my Note 20 Ultra on my main line, worthwhile phone to look in to if you want an SD card and a quality high end phone from Samsung, and we’ll see what the S22/Note replacement line brings.

And in general, you’d be best off copying your WhatsApp folder between phones directly and restoring from there (assuming you have both phones with you and working correctly), the location changed in newer versions of Android with scoped storage and it has to be in the correct location and where the app expects it to be, but it’s much faster than restoring from online, and you won’t lose anything, though it sometimes takes a few tries to get everything restored correctly, but you can always clear the app data and start again, though they do limit how many times you can activate a number with WhatsApp and will give you trouble if you try too many times too quickly.

Reuben

Just got 5a and I refused to upgrade to Android 12. Based on what I read it wasn’t an upgrade.

Also why don’t the apps have a number of how many messages are unread?

YoniPDX

Thank you for Beta testing Pixel 6 for us

I was thinking of getting a Pixel 6 pro to replace my wife’s S9+ ( in the interim I got her an A32 for free from a Costco deal)

Even though it’s a Samsung with a slightly better camera and more storage space with most of the same features ( no wireless charging).

It wasn’t with growing pains – change is the enemy if growing older lolz.

Sam

Why not try the one plus specs are insane!!

https://www.oneplus.com/9-pro?from=head

James

This article came up on my Google feed , awesome

Efraim

Did you disable background battery optimization for the Tesla app?

Nat

I’m having the same issue with the fold I can’t seem to bring over my WhatsApp back up.

Dan,

If you can tell me how you did it I would be very thankful!

Droid Max

I know … I know … I always get excited for every Google Pixel release, the completely get disappointed. I stop waiting and purchasing any Google Pixel since Pixel 4.
– Pixel XL: have an audio hardware issue. Thanks to Google I got back $500 from settlement.
– Pixel 2 XL: display burn out issue.
– Pixel 3 XL: OMG – the notch is huge that I cannot stand every time look at the screen.
– Pixel 4 XL: There’s no fingerprint. The face unlock is lack of supported apps. All of my bank’s apps did not support Google face unlock.

Now Pixel 6 Pro had slow fingerprint issue and lack of quick face unlock. And how convenience it is to have both fingerprint for apps and quick face unlock for unlock phone – I get used with my Samsung tablet (Galaxy Tab S7+) and OnePlus 8 5G quick face unlock that keep push me back of purchasing Pixel 6 Pro.

Seems like Google is always behind and has some hardware design faults.

Sam

Hi Dan,
I also own a note 10+ and wouldn’t change over to Pixel because of all of the issues the Pixel has. As a Verizon dealer I think that Samsung has the best line up of phones. And they sell the best at my store.
The only issue I have with Samsung, by them killing the memory card slot. Alot of my customers are not upgrading now because they can’t get any phones with higher memory on them. Only the 128gb are available now with any Samsung phone. I do have one s20+ in stock with 512GB that has a memory card slot. If you would wish to change back to Samsung and looking for a higher memory option, I would sell it to you.

Jordan

OnePlus!!!

Djinn

tl;Dr but based on the first few.. grievances you have, it has more to do with the initial setup and transferring your data from your old phone. I didn’t read further because it all sounded like a grandma being handed a new phone

chaim

get an iphone. no reason to be a pionneer in uncharted teritorries

Yitzchok

So which android phone do you recommend to buy now?

UberPixel

Ive been with OnePlus since the 3t and moved to the Pixel Pro 6 a few weeks ago. When OnePlus was a cheaper phone it was a nobrainer. Pixel 6 Pro is lightyears ahead of OnePlus imo. I used to be a Samsung guy but I couldnt deal with all the bloatware and uesless garbage on their phones. Could be things have changed since back then.

Regardless, some of the points you mentioned are valid but its a phenomenal device. I dont know why everyone is complaining about the fingerprint reader tbh. It may be different from some phones in the sense that you have to hold your finger there for a sec for it to go. Rarely have an issue with the reader. Face unlock never excited me, donno why.

In regards to charging, OnePlus had super fast charging so this is definitely a downgrade forme. However, it gives me more than a days worth of battery. Couple that with having to plug in for android auto and it charging when i drive, i get enough power throughout my day. Also, I recently bought the Samsung wireless charging pad (got the watch) which is ridiculously slow, but I let it sit overnight so dont really care.

OnePlus had way more gestures by the way. Googles gestures are very limited.

I did not have any issues with transferring all my Whatsapp data. Was really smooth. Dont think that was a Pixel issue but could be wrong.

Agreed on the heat, pull down twice for settings, and toggling wifi/mobile data.

Overall I’d give it a 8.5/10.

P.S. One feature I will miss from OnePlus–and I dont believe any other manufacturer does this, is a physical slider button to toggle between vibrate, do not disturb, and ringer on. It may seem inconsequential, but it was always great to not have to turn on my phone to change those settings. You could literally do it within your pocket.

Avi

Thanks for your Beta Test article, for now I will stay with my Note 20 ultra. I just got today a system update that finaly activated the esim feature on my phone.

elikay

@Dan
You migt want to try a different more customizable (and more similar to Samsung) launcher. That will take away the annoyance of Google in your face the whole time.

Abe

Flip phones are the best!!!

Shmuel Lange

That means spending an extra $200 for the memory that a $20 memory card would provide.

I think you meant $100 ($1,099 – $999=$100) no?

Dave G

How about fact that Pixel doesnt ask you to verify simple requests or actions like powering off, turning the volume up to maximum or brightness to full?? My last phone before my S20 was a Pixel and I couldn’t deal with all the Samsung quirks. Don’t get me started on Bixby.

My Pixel 6Pro is like a breath of fresh air and any annoyances will be fixed and further updates. Samsung refused to address many problems I had so I’m glad I made the move back to Google

Nat

Dan can you advise how you got wassap to your Samsung fold when you tried it out? I’m trying but having no luck

YoniPDX

@Dan

I have the Note10+ have been using the in screen reader and it has been fine 97% of the time even with wet fingers.

Can you login to banking/Card apps with Face Unlock with smart lock?

I’m a little retcient to switch and have to re-verify with all the banks – I had to do that after adding another fingerprint – I still have start up pattern unlock

Thanks!

Eric

So what you are saying is you don’t like the pixel 6 pro because it isn’t a Samsung. Buttons in a different spot, have to press two buttons for a screenshot, etc. (I have a Galaxy and 6 pro) Did that really surprise you? Many of your complaints seem to be with Android 12. What OS does your Note run? Obviously Bixby is far superior to Google Assistant…. Not. So why complain about G.A. I bought the 6 pro with an open mind. I like my Samsung but after giving the pixel a chance it is my primary phone. You did try to find a silver lining in the Stormy Black cloud that is the Pixel albeit begrudgingly. The phone was doomed in this review before you opened the box. Different strokes as they say. At least you let us know of your unassailable bias in the beginning.

JohnB

I actually like the pure Android user experience. I find One UI tedious. Bixby is garbage. Always was and always will be. Pixel’s camera abilities blow away all Samsung and iPhone devices. Which is very important to me, because I always need to capture good images. I have a Pixel 3XL and its images are still better than my S20FE. S20FE has the missing Micro SD slot and a slightly bigger battery. I am shifting the S20FE to Google Fi, as it works completely in the Fi network.

Facebook collects all kinds of user data from Whatsapp, so I do not use it, unless I have to. My next device will be another Pixel, as I cannot stand the bloatware in Samsungs.

Dr. Sam

Is there an easy way to transfer WhatsApp data seamlessly from pixel to iPhone? I’m contemplating getting the iPhone 13 after this lousy review on the pixel 6 pro. I currently have a pixel 4 XL

Dentist 2024

Hi Dan. Just got the google pixel 6 pro. Can you please advise how to successfully transfer the WhatsApp media over? I am having similar difficulties in that it won’t transfer successfully.

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