Following in the footsteps of the excellent Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Google has now unveiled the Pixel 6a. Since they were released this past October, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have stood out as Google’s strongest entries in the Pixel family to date. They have original designs, outstanding cameras, snappy performance, and a host of unmatched software features, thanks to Google’s custom Tensor chipset. Google also hit a home run with its pricing model — selling the Pixel 6 Pro for $899 and asking just $599 for the regular Pixel 6.
But flagship handsets have never been Google’s strong suit. Where the company’s Pixel lineup really shines is with budget smartphones. The Pixel 3a upended the budget smartphone market in 2019 and redefined camera expectations in a $400 handset. The Pixel 4a and Pixel 5a kept that momentum going in 2020 and 2021, respectively, standing out as some of the best affordable phones of their time.
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Following a barrage of leaks and rumors, Google has now taken the wraps off of its latest affordable smartphone — the Pixel 6a. Just like the Pixel 3a before it, Google announced the Pixel 6a during its opening keynote for Google I/O 2022. Right off the bat, the Pixel 6a looks virtually identical to its pricier Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro siblings. It has a large display with a centered hole-punch camera cutout, a matte frame, and the distinctive camera bar on the back. Aside from some slightly larger display bezels and different placement for the camera sensors, the Pixel 6a is almost indistinguishable from the Pixel 6.
The Pixel 6a Is A Smaller, Cheaper Pixel 6
And it’s not just the design where the Pixel 6a shares the Pixel 6 DNA. The Pixel 6a is powered by the exact same Google Tensor chip found in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. That should result in snappy day-to-day performance, Pixel 6 features like True Tone and Magic Eraser, and robust on-device security thanks to the Titan M2 coprocessor. Furthermore, that Tensor chip is accompanied by 6GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage.
Of course, Google had to make some compromises to reach the Pixel 6a’s price tag. One of the biggest downgrades is seen with the display. Along with a smaller 6.1-inch size, the Pixel 6a also has a slower 60Hz refresh rate — not 90 or 120Hz like you get on the more expensive models. The cameras are downgraded, too. The Pixel 6a ditches the new 50MP sensor of the Pixel 6/6 Pro and instead has the same 12.2MP primary camera found on the Pixel 5, Pixel 4a, etc. That’s also joined by a 12MP ultra-wide camera and an 8MP selfie camera.
The rest of the feature set is quite strong. The Pixel 6a ships with a 4306 mAh battery and ‘fast-charging’ support. It also has 4K video recording at 60 fps, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, an under-display fingerprint sensor, and a minimum of five years of security updates. The price? Just $449 — the same price as last year’s Pixel 5a. It’s available in three colors, pre-orders start July 21, and regular sales begin July 28.