Upgrading my Google Pixel 5 to a Pixel 6 Pro and then “downgrading” to a Pixel 6

If there’s anything I’m consistent at, it’s not being satisfied with my phone! I recently upgraded from my Pixel 5 to the Pixel 6 Pro, but after using it for a few days, I realized it was just too big for me and ordered the Pixel 6. The 6 is only 0.3 inches smaller than the 6 Pro, but it’s just enough to make a significant difference for me.

I loved my Pixel 5, but naturally wanted to check out the newest phone and features! After using the 6/6 Pro for a few weeks, I’m not in love with it, but I certainly like it enough to keep it for now (plus I already scratched it…).

There aren’t a ton of differences between the Pixel 6 Pro and the Pixel 6, and after owning both of them, they’re virtually indistinguishable. I’ve broken out the differences and pros/cons below!

Size
Let’s start off with the thing that caused me to buy an entirely different phone! When the 6 line was released, I figured I might as well go with the biggest and best. As a social media manager, I’m on my phone a lot switching between apps and documents. I figured a bigger screen would be a huge (literally) upgrade for me, but it just made the 6 Pro hard to use. It’s so tall that it didn’t balance nicely in my hand, which wasn’t helped by how slippery it is. There was no way I could use it one handed, even though I always turn on the 3 button navigation (which is so much more convenient). The 6 seems to be a good sweet spot between being big enough for me to use as a work phone without being so big that it’s uncomfortable to use.

Camera
The camera is obviously fantastic, as with previous Pixels, and the new Motion feature is fun to use, if not a little gimmicky. Magic Eraser is pretty fantastic when used in the right conditions. It does best with a repeating background and when it’s editing only a small amount of the picture. It’s similar to the healing feature in Snapseed, and honestly I’m not sure it’s better than that.

Fingerprint Reader
The biggest downside of the Pixel 6 line is the fingerprint reader. I really liked having the fingerprint reader on the back because it was quick, convenient, and you always knew exactly where it was without looking. The new fingerprint reader under the glass isn’t nearly as quick or consistent. Sometimes I line my thumb up perfectly and it unlocks quickly, but other times I’m just a little off and it either takes a while to recognize or doesn’t at all. I’m hoping that this can be “fixed” or at least improved with a software update, especially since this seems like a pretty common concern from Pixel 6 owners.

Feel
While I pre-ordered a case for the Pixel 6, as of writing it still hasn’t arrived (currently on week 3 of waiting), so I’ve been using the phone caseless. The back is incredibly slippery on both the 6 and the Pro, which makes it hard to hold in hand and quick to slip out of pockets. My 6 actually dropped on concrete when it fell out of my pocket on day 2 of ownership, and received a few dents and scratches on the bottom bezel. This makes me think that it might not need a full on case, and a skin might be the perfect compromise to give the phone grip while also protecting from light scratches.

Another thing about the feel of the 6 is the weight. The 6 series is hefty!! I actually had to adjust how I hold it because the normal “resting on your pinky” grip makes my pinky tired after only a short time! This is another reason why a skin would likely be better than a case, since a case would only add more weight.

One very random thing I noticed between the 6 and the 6 Pro is the difference in vibration feel. I always have my phone on vibrate, and have vibrations turned on for the keyboard and all system buttons. The 6 Pro has a much more satisfying and (weirdly enough) expensive feeling vibrations. The 6’s vibrations are much lighter and don’t feel as crisp.

Battery
While the battery size is bigger than the 5 in the 6/Pro, the actual battery life I’ve been seeing is far worse. When I originally got my 5, I could get 2 days out of the battery if I wasn’t constantly scrolling through Instagram, but the 6 series can only get a day, and sometimes even barely. As I mentioned before, as a social media manager, I’m scrolling through feeds on a fairly regular basis. On the Pixel 6, that means that I hit 20% around 7-8pm most days. This seems weird to me, obviously because of the bigger battery, but also because Google has been promoting that the 6 sends battery power to only where it needs it most. Maybe this is another thing that could be fixed with a future software update?

If you’re thinking about upgrading to the Pixel 6/Pro, I would tell those that have the Pixel 5 to pass, while for others it might be a worthwhile upgrade.

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