Google’s Pixel 6a has many of the Pixel 6’s top features while saving you $150, but there are some tradeoffs in build quality and the main camera.
The Pixel 6a is a cheaper version of Google’s Pixel 6, offering many of the same advancements, including the pure Android experience that Google phones are known for. Naturally, some features have to be dropped or specifications lowered to allow the lower price. While that’s true also for the Pixel 6a, all that matters is that the phone fills the user’s needs. If that can be done at a lower price, that leaves more money to spend on apps and accessories.
Google launched its Pixel brand into the limelight with the introduction of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Both of these smartphones are made even smarter with Google’s Tensor chip, which is custom-designed by the AI leader to enhance on-device processing of natural language, image quality enhancement, and some nearly magical tricks. With incredible new camera hardware and premium build quality, the Pixel series finally gained some attention outselling previous models by a wide margin.
Google launched the Pixel 6a at its 2022 I/O event, bringing a new member to the Pixel 6 series and sharing much of the same appearance with a striking black camera bar that spans the width of the device. Priced at $449, it’s $150 cheaper than the Pixel 6 which is priced at $599. Both include the Tensor processor, a large always-on display, 5G connectivity, and more than 24 hours of battery life. It’s immediately obvious that the phones are closely matched. There are differences, however, in the camera array, build quality, and elsewhere, that still make the Pixel 6 a better phone.
Pixel 6a Price Compromises
When dropping the cost of a new product to a minimum, there have to be compromises and the Pixel 6a does fall behind the flagship Pixel 6 when it comes to durability. While the Pixel 6 has a metal and glass construction that enjoys a water and dust resistance rating of IP68, the Pixel 6a has a plastic composite back with an alloy frame for strength and an IP67 rating. It’s still water-resistant, surviving immersion at up to 1-meter for 30 minutes. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, which is quite an old standard compared to the Gorilla Glass Victus, the seventh-generation version. Other notable compromises include a smaller display, a lower refresh rate, and no wireless charging.
The Pixel 6a features a 12.2-megapixel main rear camera, most likely the same technology used in the Pixel 5a, while the Pixel 6 has an advanced 50-megapixel camera. The Pixel 6a does appear to have the same wide-angle camera as the Pixel 6. Google’s camera app is good enough that these variations might not make a big difference for casual photographers but enthusiasts will notice the slightly lower quality of images. That means that Google’s Pixel 6a is a great choice for a low-cost smartphone, but the Pixel 6 is still a much better choice if it’s within the budget.
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