The Pixel 6 Pro is off my wanted list for ridiculously buggy experience

Leonard Sengere Avatar

In the last quarter of 2021 Google released its latest flagship smartphone, the Pixel 6 Pro. To say it was a hit with reviewers would be an understatement. The Pixel was showered with praise from all corners of the world. It appeared as if Google had made the perfect smartphone and was ready to compete with Apple and Samsung.

The phone had everything going for it in that honeymoon phase following release. The headline feature was the new Tensor processor powering the thing. The processor was designed by Google themselves and seeing as they also develop the software it runs on, comparisons were made with Apple.

The possibilities

See, Apple designs and develops their own chips and software for the iPhone and have been untouchable when it comes to efficiency in the mobile space. While the likes of Samsung have to contend with Qualcomm for their chips and Google for their Android, Apple does not have that problem.

Hence why the iPhone can have software support for double or triple the number of years some Android manufacturers can manage. Not to mention how they are able to embarrass the competition when it comes to battery life or ram management, despite working with inferior specs.

It does feel like witchcraft to see an iPhone 13 with 6GB of RAM, dominate an Android phone with double that memory in keeping apps ready in the background. It is ludicrous to know that the iPhone 13 Pro Max has the best battery life of all mainstream flagship smartphones, despite packing the smallest battery by a margin in that space.

That’s what Apple has been able to do from controlling both software and hardware for their phone. The Pixel was supposed to be that, for Android. Hence why it was prematurely, but understandably termed the iPhone of Android.

Not quite the iPhone

There is trouble in paradise. The Pixel has been out in the wild for a few months now and the medium-term reviews are not looking that great.

There are various reddit threads for users of these Google flagships and people have been sharing the problems they are facing. The main problems are:

  •  Slow/inconsistent fingerprint scanner – with some users claiming that the scanner can be unlocked using other people’s unregistered fingerprints. Yikes. Worse still, you better never let your Pixel 6’s battery deplete completely. The fingerprint scanner will stop working completely until you factory reset the phone.
  • Random UI lagginess / slowdowns for no apparent reason
  • Signal issues – with some users reporting not even being able to make calls at times
  • Screen flickers
  • Terrible grainy video from front camera – vloggers beware

There are many other issues with this phone and you can check out the reddit threads or this curated list here to see just how flawed the phone is. All phones have bugs and crazy quirks but the Pixel seems to have just one too many.

Fanboy backlash

Google’s misfortune comes in that most device reviewers love their version of Android and so usually gravitate towards their Pixels. This helps them get glowing reviews but if the experience sucks, the criticism can be just as harsh. Several reviewers have reported having dropped the Pixel, including MKBHD, who is probably their biggest fan. Which means his take on it carries some weight. It makes for bad publicity for Google when he switched back to the 1 year old Galaxy S21.

When the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE was released earlier this month, most people agreed it was a good upper midrange phone which was overpriced at $699 especially as the Pixel 6 started at $599. Now some have changed their minds because of the buggy Pixel experience and

Botched software update 

Some of the issues with the phone were present from day one. Being mostly software bugs, an update could fix them. The November update fixed some but many bugs escaped the squashing effort. 

A software update was released in December that turned out to not be an update. It introduced new problems like the low signal problem. Google ended up halting the update when users complained.

For Google, the software company, this is unacceptable. You shouldn’t have to dread a Pixel update like you do a Windows update. Yet even Windows has not botched an update this bad. 

Now it appears the January update might actually be good. Some users are reporting that most problems were fixed with this one although some are understandably reluctant to get it. 

The Pixel 6 becomes a no-go for me

The allure of the Pixel for me is the software and the promise of software updates. If this is how it’s going to be hit or miss, then the Pixel has nothing going for it in my opinion. They can’t compete with Samsung on hardware and if they can’t even win on software, what then. 

I was seriously considering the 6 Pro but that has changed. I’ve been burnt before nence why I steer clear of manufacturers that have track records of botched updates. Those bastards at LG killed my V50’s mobile data with the Android 10 update and I’m still bitter. I never want to go through that again, so Samsung it is for now. Or maybe even give the fruit another go.

Most Zimbabweans don’t even update their devices and it appears in a twisted way, they may be on to something. New features or security patches be damned.

28 comments

What’s your take?

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  1. Scorched earth

    Software issues. Once they fix it, then it would be a beast. That phone is the smartest smartphone..i for one will always be a fanboy. I remember the Oneplus 10 pro also had software issues but after the update it became the beast it was intended to be.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      While I agree that in general, software problems can disappear, Google does not have a good track record. You might recall previous Pixels slowing down after a while. More so than other brands, which has always been weird to me. Maybe Android 12 was just too ambitious of an update to get right out of the gate.

  2. ye fosho

    I would like to commend Techzim for these consistent articles cause there was a time panga pane drought paWebsite ino. Good Work guys keep it up!

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Thank you. We’ll try to keep it up.

  3. Sam1

    Good staff

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Glad you like it.

  4. Robert

    I myself am still considering whether to go with the pixel pro or samxung s21+ which is equally the same with pixel pro. however, I am encouraged by the words of Scorched earth’s assertion that after the one of the important updates, the phone will go back to being a beast! I’m now hopeful! thanks Leonard

    1. Leonard Sengere

      The S21+ remains a solid phone one year later. I’m leaning Galaxy at this point but those who have the Pixel are saying the January update fixes a lot of the problems. But battery life and occassionally abnormal battery drain are not yet fixed. Will be paying attention. So, maybe by March they will have ironed out the major stuff.

  5. Baba ayu

    I believe Google is working on an update Techzim may you do an article on bitcoin mining

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Will try to do that soon.

  6. Haytham Kenway

    bugs are common practice now even with newly released iPhones but a simple software update should fix most of those issues on the Pixel 6 . . personally i would go with the Pixel 6 over the S21 just for the longer software support, I’m guaranteed to get at least the next 6 years of Android version upgrades with the Pixel whilst with the S21 i doubt it will even get past Android 13 since Samsung give their devices only 2 years of software version upgrades

    1. Leonard Sengere

      So it’s 3 years of software updates and four of security patches for Samsung. S21 will get Android 14. Five years for Pixel on both. While 5 sounds good and I want to hold on to my phones a little longer, I’d probably have moved on from the Pixel after year 3 so for me, but definitely love the 5 year support.

  7. The Empress

    The Pixel series has always been like this. The pixel would be amazing in one way but be a let down in the other departments. It’s never been an all rounder like the Samsung S series of phones.
    Google with the Pixel wants… “to Bamba nd chill with the big boys” But they always fall short.
    So when people were heaping praise on how clean and light their version of android was they would also be complaints about how the hardware was not up to par nd how the phone was not widely available.
    When the pixel took the best photos on the planet. People would also complain about the poor quality of the videos and how dated nd boring the phone design was.
    The pixel 6 seemed to have it all new cameras, new modern design but now we have a situation where the software has got problems. Same story different year.
    Stick to Samsung if you want a consistent across the board level of performance and design.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      100% agree. Guess I’m the fool for thinking the 6th time was the charm. I so wanted to believe, having never owned a Pixel, I wanted to experience the Googliness. I have used phones with custom ROMs which more or less have the Google software experience and it doesn’t reflect well on Google that I had a better Pixel experience with a rooted Samsung than actual Pixel owners over the years.

  8. Anonymous

    Shame, was really looking forward to buying a pixel 6 pro since I’m not a Samsung fanboy, Huawei on the other hand was killed off thanks to US-Chinese politics. The only question left is which brand should I go for now??

    1. Leonard Sengere

      It does appear the ‘multiple options’ advantage we say Android has is not as strong as it was. No LG or Huawei means it’s Samsung or these other Chinese brands Xiaomi, OnePlus. If you’re adventurous, Sony or Chinese sub-brands Realme, Poco. Motorola has improved but with all these non-Samsung phones, you gotta be willing to import yourself.

  9. Anonymous

    It’s a bit too early to compare Samsung and Pixel. Yes, Yes l know that Pixel was actually in the top 3 of the best Smartphones of 2021, sometimes ranked 1 (Mrwhosetheboss) but let me remind you that Samsung is well ahead of Pixel. Pixel is still in the range of One+ though it might be slightly ahead. Samsung is Beast smartphone. When buying Android, l would recommend Samsung 100%.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      100% agree. We have not had a solid Pixel ever. One that can have quirks and bugs but not any dealbreakers. Until such a Pixel exists, we can’t compare them to Samsung.

  10. De Boss

    “Those bastards at LG killed my V50’s mobile data with the Android 10 update” that phrase killed me. Am very curious what happened?

    1. Leonard Sengere

      LG deserved to go under. I think I’ll share like a long term review of the V50 and include that whole update story. They botched the software update like I’ve never seen. Only problem was that only a few phones were affected. Few enough that they didn’t bother fixing it but many enough that we made some noise.

  11. Anonymous PQR

    Could you also do a review/ comparison of entry level to midrangers i.e the likes of Galaxy A series vs other brands

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Definitely. Will do this soon.

  12. TONI

    Que banda estáis echos … opinando desde vuestros xiaomis……no tenéis ni puta idea de nada ….lloronas

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Incluso si estuviera usando un Xiaomi, todavía tendría derecho a mi opinión. No seas tan fanboy. Google estropeó el software de lo que debería haber sido un buen teléfono.

  13. L’Entité

    Honestly, I have the Pixel 6, it’s a real beast, I have no problem with the battery, I end my day with 45% battery, at worst I’m at 30%.
    It’s just the screen brightness that I can criticize, for me Google should put more brightness on this screen.
    I don’t understand why those who have the Pro model say they have all the problems.
    I have no problem with the Pixel, it’s really amazing and nice in everyday life.
    The January update improved the sensor on the screen for me who had put a screen protector on. It’s fine now

    Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I believe you have had a good experience with the phone. Not everyone with a Pixel has faced the challenges we discussed. It does appear too that the Pro has more problems than the standard 6. Only problem is that thousands of people have faced challenges. So when you just don’t know if your Pixel will be good or not, it becomes hard to risk getting one, especially when you have to import it to faraway countries like Zimbabwe. You don’t want that problem.

  14. Blessing Mtetwa

    If you look the pixel 6 comes with its own chip and the software its google and when you compare it with iphone with it making everything on its own you will find out right now Apple is trying to firce peiple to upgrade their iphone os to 15 but people are resisting because of many buys.

    I would buy the pixel 6 if i have the money because i thing google android is the best os out there and but being buggy its just the order of the day for any os.

  15. 😵

    If you want a happy long life with an Android then don’t update the phone . When you do you will likely brick the device or introduce new bugs