Google Updates Pixel 6 Fingerprint Reader, Confirms 23W Sluggish Charging

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Enlarge / The Pixel 6 Pro.

Ron Amadeo

After the Pixel 6 has been in the market for a few weeks, Google has started addressing some of the most common complaints about the device.

First off, there’s a new update to the fingerprint reader that some people have had problems with. The November security update for Pixel 6 and 6 Pro has build number “SD1A.210817.036” which this latest fingerprint update increments by one to end with build “SD1A.210817.03”7th“Google didn’t officially say what the build would do, but Verizon posted a changelog for Build 037 that said,” The latest software update will improve the performance of your device’s fingerprint sensor. “

The update is 14.5MB if you come from the November security patch. Not everyone had problems with the fingerprint sensor, but the thread about it in the / r / GooglePixel subreddit seems to have mostly positive impressions after the installation. It feels like the update is rolling out pretty slowly. Even if you’re on the older build, pressing the “Check for Update” button won’t pull down automatically as normal. The OTA is available for manual download from Google’s Pixel site. So you can apply it manually (see the instructions at the top of this page) or wait longer.

The second topic: loading! In a new community post, Google confirmed previous tests by Android Authority’s Robert Triggs that the Pixel 6 doesn’t actually charge 30W and instead is around 22W. According to the law, Google has technically never given a charge speed for the Pixel 6 on the website that says it can charge the phone up to 50 percent in about 30 minutes – using Google’s 30W USB-C charger. That said, the charger recommended by Google can charge 30W, not necessarily the phone that doesn’t technically have a wattage listed. It’s not exactly lying, but it’s also unnecessarily misleading.

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Here’s the gist of Google’s post:

We have optimized the lithium-ion battery from Pixel for high charging rates when the battery level is low. Pixel 6 can go up to 50% in about 30 minutes (with Google’s 30W USB-C charger) and quickly go up to 80% in about an hour, depending on device usage and temperature. The peak power that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro draw from the wired charger is 21 W and 23 W. When the battery is almost full, the charging power is gradually reduced to improve the life of the battery.

Pixel can also pause the charging process over 80% under certain conditions. When you turn on Adaptive Charging, Pixel can optimize charge rates for incremental charging overnight. Taken together, these approaches will help you quickly charge your Pixel when the battery is low, but they will also help to minimize the deterioration to help extend the life of your battery.

The phone doesn’t come with a charger so I used the OnePlus 45W USB PD PPS Power Brick. A big problem with Android right now is that the OS is not reporting any charging performance to the user, so I can’t be sure whether or not I am charging at full speed (it seems they are working on that). However, this charger seems to meet all the specs, and for me it takes about two hours to charge the Pixel 6 Pro.

The bottom line is that the Pixel 6’s charging is slow and uncompetitive. It’s a completely different charging experience than the 29 minutes it takes a OnePlus 9 Pro to charge. OnePlus phones charge so quickly that they are changing consumer habits. With the phone’s battery charging 1 percent every 18 seconds, overnight charging feels like overkill. It seems a lot more appropriate to charge it during your lunch break or for a few minutes before going anywhere – or just when you’re running low. The Pixel 6 is too slow to survive with this type of behavior, so it was old school again for me on overnight charging.

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