The tiny Pixel cellphone I’ve been hoping for

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Google’s midrange A telephones have shortly develop into among the most anticipated launches annually. Like its predecessors, the Pixel 6a is a sub-$500 handset that gives glorious cameras, efficiency and battery life. This 12 months’s mannequin strikes the sequence over to Google’s personal Tensor chip, and brings over the two-tone shade scheme and digicam bar the corporate debuted on its flagships final 12 months. With so many similarities to its higher-end siblings, the $449 Pixel 6a feels much less just like the finances possibility and extra like a smaller model of Google’s greatest cellphone.


Just like latest A-series Pixels, the 6a is mainly a scaled-back clone of the corporate’s flagships. This time, although, Google didn’t skimp on the colour choices for its finances handset. Along with white and black, the Pixel 6a is available in sage as properly. It has a two-tone palette just like the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional, with a black horizontal digicam bar about an inch from the highest. The highest strip is a paler pastel inexperienced, whereas the remainder of the rear is a darker, extra muted shade that’s just like the Pixel 5.

I favor the mintier shade of the Pixel 6, however the 6a’s model is fairly sufficient. Not less than the digicam bar protrudes much less, and the Pixel 6a doesn’t wobble when positioned face up on a floor. It’s additionally rated IP67 for water and mud safety, although I fortunately have but to drop my overview unit or get it moist. I do want it had Gorilla Glass Victus defending its display screen like its flagship counterparts, however it not less than is roofed by Gorilla Glass 3. I additionally want this factor had a headphone jack just like the Pixel 5a, however sadly Google noticed match to take away it this 12 months.

The white Pixel 6a on top of the sage Pixel 6a.

The white Pixel 6a on prime of the sage Pixel 6a.

Although it’s not a lot smaller than the Pixel 6, the 6a is noticeably lighter and simpler to maneuver with one hand. To be particular, the 6a is about 30 grams (or 1 ounce) lighter, however it additionally has a smaller 6.1-inch display screen. In the meantime, the Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch show and is an entire 0.05 inches thicker.

When it comes to measurement the Pixel 6a appears like a contented medium, weighing in at 6.3 ounces (178 grams) with a 6.1-inch display screen. The most recent iPhone SE has a tiny 4.7-inch panel and correspondingly weighs a mere 5.09 ounces (144 grams) whereas the Samsung Galaxy A53, with its 6.5-inch show, is available in at 6.66 ounces (189 grams).

Show and audio

With a 2,400 x 1,080 decision and a 20:9 side ratio, the Pixel 6a’s OLED delivers a better pixel density than the Pixel 6. However it additionally refreshes at simply 60Hz, whereas the 6 and 6 Professional go as much as 90Hz and 120Hz respectively.

The Pixel 6a leaning against some books with its screen facing the camera. On the display is a photo of a bunch of yellow sunflowers.

The Pixel 6a leaning towards some books with its display screen going through the digicam. On the show is a photograph of a bunch of yellow sunflowers.

So, whereas images, wallpapers, icons and textual content all look as crisp and vivid on the Pixel 6a as on Google’s higher-end telephones, in terms of scrolling and video games the 6a can really feel sluggish. Excessive refresh charges aren’t unparalleled on midrange telephones, both. The Galaxy A53, for instance, can stand up to 120Hz, although to be honest the iPhone SE can be caught at 60Hz.

I did discover it barely simpler to learn issues on the iPhone SE below daylight, although the Pixel 6a wasn’t too tough to see. Indoors, the Pixel 6a was vibrant and sharp, and I loved watching Instagram Tales and ogling beautiful landscapes on it.

I additionally didn’t thoughts taking part in music on the Pixel 6a. Its stereo audio system did an honest job of delivering clear vocals and instrumentals on songs like Ariana Grande’s No Tears Left To Cry, although like most smartphones it lacks bass. I used the Pixel 6a and iPhone SE to file a rendition of U2’s I Nonetheless Haven’t Discovered What I’m Trying For, and Google’s handset was higher at prioritizing my voice over ambient noise, too.

The sage and white Pixel 6a in front of a green plant.

The sage and white Pixel 6a in entrance of a inexperienced plant.


Google has lengthy excelled at images, and the Pixel 6a is a continuation of that custom. Its pair of 12-megapixel rear cameras and 8-MP entrance sensor took shiny, colourful photos that rivaled these from dearer telephones.

Particulars like window panes and particular person blades of grass have been crisp, and Google continues to ship superior pictures in low gentle. Frankly, at this worth, there isn’t a higher digicam for nighttime images. Thanks largely to Night time Sight, the Pixel 6a usually captured brighter pictures in extraordinarily dim environments, retaining larger element even in shadows. The stationary bicycles in an train room at evening have been clearer in photographs from the Pixel 6a than these from the iPhone SE, and I might even learn the phrases on an indication in Google’s model. Apple’s resolution to chop the evening mode on its finances cellphone places it at an actual drawback right here.

In comparison with the iPhone SE, the Pixel 6a’s photos tended to have decrease distinction and less-saturated colours. Apple additionally produces higher dynamic vary, and it was exhausting to choose my favourite pictures between the 2.

Google has the higher hand in terms of versatility, although. Because it has a further ultrawide lens (in comparison with the iPhone’s solo rear digicam), the Pixel 6a made it attainable to zoom out to seize expansive landscapes. And although it doesn’t have a telephoto lens, Google’s viewfinder interface makes zooming into distant topics simpler. As an alternative of getting to pinch on the iPhone, you may change between preset distances like 0.6x, 1x and 2x simply by tapping the onscreen buttons.

I additionally most well-liked Google’s Portrait mode, which let me get nearer to topics and utilized a shallower depth of discipline. Each the iPhone and the Pixel took selfies of comparable high quality, and the variations between them got here all the way down to very slight variations in shade temperature. Given Google and Apple use 8-MP and 7MP sensors respectively, the similarity in sharpness isn’t shocking.

Regardless of having the sharpest cameras, the Galaxy A53 delivered images that have been shut in high quality to the Pixel 6a and iPhone SE. Its 32-MP entrance digicam and first 64-MP sensor on the again didn’t end in crisper pictures. In comparison with the Pixel and iPhone, although, the Galaxy A53’s digicam was noticeably slower and struggled to seize a number of photographs in speedy succession.

Although Google did equip the Pixel 6a with among the instruments discovered on its flagships, like Magic Eraser to edit away photobombers, for instance, options like Motion Pan and Lengthy Publicity are absent. That’s fantastic by me, since Magic Eraser is essentially the most helpful of the lot, and works as properly on the 6a as on the Professional. You additionally get the flexibility to shoot in RAW, which you’ll’t do on the iPhone SE.

The Pixel 6a showing its lock screen with a fingerprint icon below the clock widget.

The Pixel 6a displaying its lock display screen with a fingerprint icon beneath the clock widget.

Efficiency, fingerprint sensor and in use

As the primary A-series cellphone utilizing Google’s personal Tensor chip, the Pixel 6a’s efficiency must be fairly just like its flagship siblings. On the whole, this was true — the 6a barely stuttered when leaping between video games, enhancing images, searching Instagram and capturing movies. Identical to my Pixel 6 Professional, although, the 6a tended to run heat when taking part in informal video games equivalent to HK Mahjong or the New York Occasions Crossword for greater than quarter-hour. It by no means acquired alarmingly sizzling, however I did need to put it down after some time.

Often, the Pixel 6a would take just a few seconds to show data in an app, however that largely occurred within the first hours after I arrange the cellphone, so I’ll chalk that as much as early loading points. I’m extra involved concerning the long-term stability of the Pixel 6a’s software program, particularly given all the issues plaguing the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional since they launched. I haven’t encountered something main throughout my testing, however many of the bugs on the opposite two solely began displaying up weeks after our overview interval.

For now, I can solely say the software program behaves as anticipated, and that Google helps as much as 5 years of Pixel updates. Switching wallpapers and making use of new system-wide shade schemes generated by Android occurred with out important delay, and all the things I get pleasure from about Pixel UI is right here. I like with the ability to simply inform my cellphone “Cease” to silence it when an alarm goes off. (Although, on my Pixel 6 Professional this often takes round three more and more pissed off makes an attempt till I’m screaming on the cellphone.) I additionally admire Assistant options like Name Screening and Maintain For Me, which make the excruciating expertise of being on the cellphone rather a lot much less painful.

Top down view of the sage and white Pixel 6a next to each other, on top of book on a wooden surface.

High down view of the sage and white Pixel 6a subsequent to one another, on prime of guide on a picket floor.

Possibly I’ve grown used to the Pixel 6 Professional’s sluggish, in-display fingerprint sensor, however the Pixel 6a’s scanner didn’t really feel as difficult. It’s nonetheless slower than Samsung’s, however it’s serviceable.

Battery life

The A-series has lengthy stood out for glorious battery life, and as soon as once more, the 6a is a winner. It clocked a whopping 19 hours and 10 minutes on our video rundown take a look at, which is shorter than the Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, and Galaxy A53, however nonetheless hours longer than the iPhone SE.

Whereas the iPhone SE affords wi-fi charging, sadly the Pixel 6a doesn’t. It additionally solely helps quick charging with wired 18W chargers. The excellent news is although, the 6a can be suitable with the M3/T4 listening to assist normal, in addition to sub-6 and mmWave 5G.

A woman holding up the sage Pixel 6a to her ear.

A lady holding up the sage Pixel 6a to her ear.


I feel it’s time we stopped seeing the Pixel A sequence as a “finances” line. With its refined design, highly effective processor and satisfying cameras, there are extra similarities than variations between the 6a and its flagship siblings. It’s simply the most effective telephones for the cash. Sure, it could be good to get a quicker, brighter display screen and wi-fi charging, however these aren’t a given on a midranger. When you can’t reside with out a increased refresh charge and might spend not more than $500, the Galaxy A53 is an alternate, although be warned that its efficiency is questionable. Within the US, there isn’t a higher Android cellphone below $500 than the Pixel 6a.

Key specs


Pixel 6a


6.1-inch 2,400 x 1,080 (20:9) OLED, 429ppi, 60Hz


6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35 inches / 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm; 6.3 oz / 178 grams

Processor and Storage

Google Tensor; 6GB LPDDR5 RAM, 128GB (UFS 3.1) storage

Rear cameras

12.2MP primary dual-pixel digicam, f/1.7 aperture with 77-degree FOV, 12MP ultrawide digicam, f/2.2 aperture with 114-degree FOV.

Entrance digicam

8MP, f/2.0, 84-degree FOV


4,400mAh battery, 18W wired charging (0.8c)

Sensors and connectivity

Fingerprint Unlock with under-display fingerprint sensor, NFC, WiFi 6 and 6E, Bluetooth 5.2

Water resistance


Score for listening to aids

M3, T4


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