During Google I/O 2022, alongside news about Android 13 and its many new features, the Google Pixel 6a received its official announcement along with availability details and pricing. At $449, it’s a direct replacement for the Pixel 5a in the lineup and offers a pretty comprehensive package. So, if you were considering getting a budget Google phone, this article goes over everything new and different with this generation to help you possibly make a better decision.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro brought a breath of fresh air to the design language that Google used for its phones, and Pixel 6a takes the recipe and applies it one for one, only introducing a reduction in the size of the screen and a choice change. of materials. That means the standout camera bar will be there to tell people you have one of the new Pixel phones.
The Pixel 5 series also shared similarities, sporting a circular camera housing and more rounded curves on the chassis than what we saw on the Pixel 6 series. device, creating a unibody, thus creating a shell with the screen acting as its cover. The unibody body is marketed by Google as premium metal, though it’s completely covered in a bio-resin, which you’ll touch and feel.
The Pixel 6a uses the most common sandwich design with an aluminum frame, glass display and “thermoformed” composite back. Fortunately, the new design still allows the Pixel 6a to maintain its IP67 rating.
If you look at the button and port locations, the USB C port is still on the bottom of the Pixel 6a, although the headphone jack is gone and the power button and volume rockers have changed positions. On the Pixel 5a, you can find the headphone jack at the top, while the power button is ridged and located below the volume rockers.
Both phones feature a flat 60Hz FHD+ OLED panel on the front, although there are a few changes with the latest Pixel A series device. The Pixel 6a has a 6.1-inch display with a centered cutout, while the Pixel 5a has a slightly larger 6.34-inch panel with its cutout pushed to the left.
The Pixel 6a has a higher contrast ratio, which means it looks punchier and has the benefit of a high-brightness mode and Google’s At a Glance feature.
But that’s where the differences end and the only similarity that these screens share appears, as both phones have their fronts protected by Gorilla Glass 3.
Speaking of processors, the Pixel 6a continues Google’s shift towards its unique hardware as it comes with the first-generation Google Tensor. While some may have described it as limp for flagship smartphones, at $449 the Tensor comes with more than enough performance.
The Pixel 5a featured the Snapdragon 765 5G, which, while no slouch, is behind the Snapdragon 860, a direct competitor to the Tensor. Either way, day-to-day use on the new Pixel will be similar or slightly better than what was offered with the 5a.
Along with these changes, the Pixel 6a features other improvements with the inclusion of the Titan M2 security coprocessor – the Titan M sits on the 5a – and faster LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 internal storage. The last two aspects remain the same in terms of capacity, as both phones have 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage on board.
Although the camera bodies of the two devices are very different, the configuration of the lenses they carry are quite similar.
The main wide camera is an identical 12.2MP sensor with an ƒ/1.7 aperture, dual-pixel phase detection, optical and electronic stabilization, and a 77-degree field of view. But the Pixel 6a’s ultra-wide camera sees a change as it’s now a 12MP unit – 16MP on the Pixel 5a – with more pixel width and lens correction. These changes mean more light capture and less distortion along the edges.
The front camera of both devices is likely the same as they have similar resolution (8MP), aperture (ƒ/2.0), pixel width (1.12μm) and fixed focus. There is a difference in field of view, but it’s probably insignificant, as the Pixel 6a’s camera has an 84-degree angle while the 5a has an 83-degree angle.
The only differences aside from the ultra-wide camera are in the post-processing and the number of software features that Google can offer thanks to the Tensor SoC.
Pixel 6a comes with Magic Eraser, RealTone, and Face Unblur, to name a few. These features are marketed as exclusives, but may work on older Pixels with custom APKs. However, we don’t know how long this capability will stick around and whether Google will officially enable them at a later date.
Since the Pixel 6a is smaller than the 5a, it’s fair to expect a reduction in battery capacity. And it does since the new generation comes with a 4410 mAh cell compared to the 4680 mAh cell of the previous one. Other than that, the phones share the ability to charge at 18W when using a USB C PPS compatible adapter or Google’s 18W or 30W options.
To note: Both devices do not support wireless charging.
Now, all-day use is possible on the Pixel 5a, and the Pixel 6a is bound to be similar. One advantage the new device will have over the last will be its greater efficiency and ability to make better use of the Extreme Battery Saver mode.
The Pixel 6a is a clear upgrade over the previous generation and the device to get if you’re planning on buying a budget Google phone. Its screen is reasonably sized, the packed processor is very capable, and the camera hardware is known to rival the best. We recommend waiting for the device to become available if your budget is under $500.
The Pixel 5a is a great device, but it’s only worth buying if waiting until late July isn’t an option.
Google Pixel 6a
Google Pixel 6a offers best-in-class features and specs, bundled with Google Tensor, high-performance camera hardware, and a refreshed design, valued at $449.
Google Pixel 5a
The Pixel 5a is Google’s budget option from 2021. It comes with the Snapdragon 765, a respectable camera setup, and a simplistic design for a great package.
|Category||Google Pixel 6a||Google Pixel 5a|
|Dimensions||152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9mm||156.2×73.2×8.8mm|
|Display||6.1-inch, 60Hz FHD+ OLED display
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
High brightness mode
>1,000,000:1 Contrast ratio
|6.34-inch FHD+ OLED display, 60Hz
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
>100,000:1 Contrast ratio
Security Titan M2
|Snapdragon 765 5G
Titan M module
|Memory||6 GB LPDDR5||6 GB LPDDR4x|
|Storage||128 GB UFS 3.1||128 GB UFS 2.1|
|Rear cameras||Wide: 12.2MP, ƒ/1.7, 1.4μm
Ultra wide: 12 MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.25 μm, 114 degree FoV
|Wide: 12.2MP, ƒ/1.7, 1.4μm
Ultra wide: 16 MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.0 μm, 118.7 degrees FoV
|Front camera||8 MP, 1.12 μm pixel width, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, 84 degree FoV||8 MP, 1.12 μm pixel width, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, 83 degree FoV|
|Video||Rear camera: 4K at 30/60 fps, 1080p HD at 30/60/120/240 fps
Front camera: 1080p at 30 fps
|Rear camera: 4K at 30/60 fps, 1080p HD at 30/60/120/240 fps
Front camera: 1080p at 30 fps
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2||5G, LTE, WiFi|
|Ports||USB-C 3.1 Gen 1||USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
|Wired charging||18W (adapter not included)||18W (adapter included)|
|Operating system||Android 12 (launched with Android 12)||Android 12 (launched with Android 11)|
|Colors||Charcoal, Chalk, Sage||mostly black|