The big picture: Google has officially introduced its new Pixel 6 series of smartphones, led by the flagship Pixel 6 Pro. From $899, it's a good bit cheaper than comparable flagships from companies like Apple and Samsung, and could put Google in a very favorable position heading into the 2021 holiday season and beyond.

Google's top-tier handset packs a 6.7-inch QHD+ LTPO OLED display operating at a resolution of 1,440 x 3,120 (512 PPI, 19.5:9 aspect ratio) with a variable refresh rate that automatically adjusts from 10Hz to 120Hz based on the content currently being shown on screen to preserve battery life. The display is coated in Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, the company's most advanced cover glass to date.

Lending its services for the first time is Google's own Tensor processor alongside its Titan M2 security coprocessor and 12GB of LPDDR5 memory. Local storage options include 128GB, 256GB or 512GB, and are priced accordingly.

Google described Tensor as the biggest mobile hardware innovation in the history of the company. In its presentation, Google said mobile chips simply haven't been able to keep pace with Google research and rather than waiting for them to catch up, they decided to build one themselves.

The project started years ago and the result is Google Tensor, a chip that was designed specifically to run its machine learning models. The CPU side consists of two high-performance cores, two mid-range cores and four high-efficiency cores alongside a 20-core GPU. According to Google, users can expect an 80 percent boost in CPU performance and a 370 percent gain in GPU performance on the Pixel 6 compared to the Pixel 5.

The Pixel 6 Pro ships with a triple rear camera array consisting of a 50-megapixel Octa PD Quad Bayer wide-angle shooter with f/1.85 aperture and an 82-degree field of view. There's also a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera (114-degree field of view) with f/2.2 aperture and a 48-megapixel telephoto camera with a 23.5-degree field of view, f/3.5 aperture and 4x optical zoom with laser detect auto focus. Optical image stabilization is present on the wide and telephoto cameras only.

Up front, you'll find an 11.1-megapixel ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture that's capable of recording 4K video at up to 30 frames per second. Google has traditionally had a lot of success with the camera systems on its Pixel smartphones, and this doesn't look to be any exception.

Google's latest flagship carries an IP68 rating against dust and liquid and features the latest in wireless connectivity including 5G, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5. Battery life is rated at up to 24 hours, and with fast charging, you can get up to a 50 percent charge in about 30 minutes. The phone is also Qi-certified for wireless charging and features Battery Share, allowing you to share your phone's juice with other devices.

Other noteworthy features include an in-screen optical fingerprint sensor, dual stereo speakers and three microphones. Naturally, the handset ships with Android 12 out of the box, with Google promising to deliver at least five years of security updates post launch.

The Pixel 6 Pro starts at $899 for the 128GB model and is available to pre-order from today in your choice of black, white or yellow. ahead of an October 28 launch. Pricing scales up to $999 for 256GB of storage and tops out at $1,099 for 512GB of local space.

Image credit David Urbanke