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Pixel 6 battery life claims vary wildly — what's the truth?

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are drawing universally rave reviews, but one feature that is proving somewhat contentious is battery life.

We encountered this issue during our testing of both phones, which did not hold up well to our Laptop Mag battery test, but performed excellently in real-world usage. So we decided to take a closer look at reviews from a dozen tech sites along with those from YouTubers to get a better sense of the truth of Pixel 6 battery life. 

Pixel 6 battery life is great

Engadget

Engadget's Cherylnn Low said in her review that the "Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro last incredibly long." In the site's video rundown test, the Pixel 6 had one of the longest times the site has ever recorded at 20 hours and 30 minutes, while the Pixel 6 Pro put up a very respectable 17:13. As for her more anecdotal real-world experience, Low indicated that the "Pixel 6 Pro typically stuck around longer than a day and I never stopped to think about charging it." 

The Verge

The Verge's Dan Seifert was uniform in his praise of the battery life on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, saying that "both are easily able to cruise through a full day of use" and that "most nights I went to bed with 35-40 percent battery remaining...." He also noted that this was with extensive camera use and the always-on display feature active, and that he feels some users should be able to "stretch this to two days without much effort." 

Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Gizmodo

In Sam Rutherford's review of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro for Gizmodo, he noted that both phones were impressive in their video rundown test and in real-world usage. For the latter, he said the "Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro routinely had 30% to 40% battery life in the tank at the end of the day...." In their video rundown test, the Pixel 6 had the second-longest result Gizmodo has ever seen at 18 hours and 56 minutes. Only the iPhone 13 Pro Max outlasted it at 19:30. The Pixel 6 Pro didn't fare quite as well in the video rundown, but at 16:45, it matched the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Mashable

Mashable's Joseph Volpe similarly lavished praise on the real-world battery life of both phones calling it, "all-day-and-then-some battery life...." Volpe wrote that after a mix of "texting, Twitter scrolling, Slacking, photo-taking, and Chrome browsing)" for the day that both phones would typically end at around 35%. 

Android Central

Android Central was slightly split on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro battery with the reviewer for the Pixel 6 Pro, Nicholas Sutrich, considerably more impressed. He wasn't able to kill the battery in a day even pushing the Pixel 6 Pro with over an hour of camera use. He, too, believes users with lighter workloads should be able to get two days of usage. Ara Wagner, in her review of the Pixel 6, was more tempered with praise but still reported that she was left with 25-30% battery life after an average day with roughly 5.5 hours of screen on time.

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

Pixel 6 battery life is fine

CNET

CNET's reviews of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro both landed on the battery for the phones being good, but not able to push beyond a single day of usage. In the Pixel 6 review, Patrick Holland said the battery was closer to lasting three-quarters of a day than a full dayon a particularly heavy day of photo and video shooting. Andrew Hoyle put the Pixel 6 Pro as above average, but behind standouts like the iPhone 13 Pro.

Android Police

Android Police reviewers of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro expressed hesitancy in inferring too much from just a week with the phone, but both deemed it to be "good." While changes to the battery life Settings menu in Android 12 have made it harder to track, Ryne Hager offered that he measured roughly 7 hours of screen-on time for the Pixel 6 Pro. Hager notes that low-light photography was a real killer for the Pixel 6 Pro, but concluded the phone's endurance was "pretty good." 

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

TheUnlockr

David Cogen, a.k.a. TheUnlockr on YouTube, ruled that the battery life was "pretty good" in his testing. He dropped the Pixel 6 Pro to 2% battery remaining at 10:30 p.m. after starting the day at 9 a.m., but that was on a testing day that involved over an hour of camera usage and, as he notes, "not a normal day." On a less aggressive day of testing, he was able to coast through with about 20% remaining after starting the day slightly below 100%. 

TechRadar

In TechRadar's reviews of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, both reviewers deemed the battery life to be adequate, but not outstanding. Each one got through a full day on a single charge, but not beyond. They considered it to be a weakness for the phone overall, but not to the degree that it should sway a purchasing decision.

9to5Google

Ben Schoon of 9to5Google settled on the Pixel 6 Pro battery life being solid for all-day performance but said it won't push much past that point. In testing, which was made more difficult by Android 12's new battery usage tracking, the phone only needed to top up on one day when it reached 20% by 8pm. Otherwise, he would typically end the day with just under 15% and also clarifies that this is during heavy use for his review.

Pixel 6

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Pixel 6 battery life is bad

MKBHD

Marques Brownlee, a.k.a MKBHD, has been the harshest critic of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro battery life. He reported seeing 3.5 to 4.5 hours of screen on time with the Pixel 6 Pro and less than that with the Pixel 6. This rated an "average at best" from Brownlee and he concluded this would be a phone that would be dead at the end of the day pretty often for him. He's more accepting of it on the Pixel 6, but concludes that "The battery situation for me has been overall kind of a bummer on the flagship." 

Mr. Mobile

Michael Fisher, a.k.a MrMobile, mirrored MKBHD's thoughts, saying that "the only consistent low point...is battery life." He clarifies that it is a full-day phone, but that it is running low a lot earlier in the day than he would like. He also reiterates the same complaint of some of the others that Android 12's new power consumption makes it much harder to diagnose the culprit for the battery drain.

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

Bottom line

This article isn't about questioning anyone's experience with the phone. I have no doubt that all of these reviewers are reporting precisely what they saw in their time with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Some of this comes down to subjective measures of what makes good, fine or bad battery life. It's also worth acknowledging that Google's Tensor chip is brand new so the adaptive battery tech may still be adapting to their usage.

In the end, it seems that the majority of reviewers are seeing ample battery life on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro to get through a full day on a single charge with most would consider a "normal day of usage." Again, that's a loaded concept. If normal for you is an hour of photos and video then your mileage is going to vary. 

It is fair to say that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro should not be avoided over battery life concerns, but it is an area that I will be keeping a careful eye on as I continue to work with the phones.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.