the Pixel 6a is the follow-up model to last year’s Pixel 5a. It incorporates the best features of Pixel 6 series and offers them in a more compact form factor with a corresponding lower price. But has Google made all the right updates? Is the Pixel 6a the worthy successor to the Pixel 5a? Here’s how the two mid-range phones stack up.
|Call||Google Pixel 6a||Google Pixel 5a|
|chipset||Google Tensor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G|
|RAM||6 GB LPDDR5||6 GB LPDDR4x|
|Storage||128 GB UFS 3.1||128 GB UFS 2.1|
|Display||6.1″ FHD+ (1080 x 2400) OLED, 60Hz, Gorilla Glass 3, always-on display, high-brightness mode, in-display fingerprint scanner||6.34-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2400) OLED, 60Hz, Gorilla Glass 3, always-on display|
|Battery||4,410 mAh, wired charging up to 18 W||4,680 mAh, wired charging up to 18 W|
|Rear cameras||12MP f/1.7 primary, OIS, 1.4μm pixel width; 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide with 114° field of view and 1.25μm pixel width; Camera Features: Night Vision, Top Shot, Magic Eraser, True Tone, Face Blur Correction||12MP f/1.7 primary, OIS, 1.4μm pixel width; 16MP f/2.2 ultrawide with 117° field of view and 1.0μm pixel width; Camera Features: Night Vision, Top Shot|
|Front camera||8MP f/2.0||8MP f/2.0|
|Connectivity||5G (Sub-6GHz/mmWave exclusive to Verizon), Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, USB Type-C, NFC||Sub-6Ghz 5G, Up to Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, NFC, Headphone Jack|
|Dimensions||152.16 x 71.8 x 8.85, 178g; IP67 certified||156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8mm, 183g; IP67 certified|
|Software||Android 12, up to five years of security updates||Launched with Android 11, OS and security updates promised until October 2023|
|Colors||Charcoal, Chalk, Sage||mostly black|
Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 5a: Design
The Pixel 6a features the same design language as the Pixel 6 series, which means there’s a camera bar on the back housing the main and ultra-wide lenses as well as the LED flash. The metal bar and in-screen fingerprint scanner are also present here; however, the rear glass panel was replaced with a “3D thermoformed composite back” featuring a fingerprint resistant coating.
The phone is IP67 rated, so you can spill water on it without worrying about liquid damage. If you wanted Google to launch a Pixel 6 mini because of the Pixel 6’s massive size or Pixel 6 Pro6a is your answer.
The Pixel 5a’s design is reminiscent of the Pixel 5, with a square camera housing on the back. It features a metal unibody that is also IP67 dust and water resistant.
A significant design omission on the Pixel 6a is the missing headphone jack – it’s the first mid-range Pixel to skimp on this connectivity option. The market is filled with a few excellent wireless headphones, so most users are unlikely to miss the 3.5mm jack much. On the plus side, the Pixel 6a has an in-display fingerprint scanner, which thankfully is different from the one Google uses on the Pixel 6 and 6Pro. As for the Pixel 5a’s capacitive scanner, it’s located on the back.
The Pixel 6a comes in three colors – Charcoal, Chalk, Sage – a welcome change from the single colorway of the Pixel 5a.
Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 5a: Display
The Pixel 5a packs a 6.34-inch FHD+ OLED panel with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a punch-hole located on the left. This year’s midrange Pixel 6a packs a slightly smaller 6.1-inch screen with a center hole, though it comes with a high-brightness mode and full 24-bit color depth support . Both phones’ panels refresh at 60Hz and are protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and feature always-on display and HDR playback.
The lack of a 90/120Hz refresh rate on the Pixel 6a will disappoint many, especially since almost all mid-range phones now come with 120Hz panels. to be a conscious decision by Google, keeping in mind the price of the device and the battery life.
Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 5a: Camera
Google has always extracted incredible image quality from some relatively old camera sensors in its Pixel line. It moved to a newer and larger 50MP sensor on the Pixel 6 series, but that doesn’t make its way to the Pixel 6a. Instead, you get a 12.2MP f/1.7 primary shooter with OIS and a pixel width of 1.4μm – the same sensor also works on the Pixel 5a and even the Pixel 5.
The ultra-wide shooter is different on the two devices. While the Pixel 5a features a 16MP f/2.2 sensor with a 117° field of view and 1.0μm pixel width, the new mid-range Pixel sports a 12MP f/2.2 shooter with a pixel width of 1.25 μm and a slightly narrower field of view of 114°. to see. Both Pixels sport the same 8MP f/2.0 selfie snapper.
Despite the largely similar camera hardware, the Pixel 6a should deliver better image quality thanks to the Tensor chip’s more powerful ISP. It also packs more camera features like Real Tone, Face Unblur, and manual white balance, thanks to the extra power offered by Google’s custom mobile chip.
Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 5a: performance
The Pixel 5a features a formidable mid-range chip from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 765G. It’s an octa-core chip running at 2.4GHz and paired with an Adreno 620 GPU. That’s more than enough for common day-to-day tasks; however, last year’s baby Pixel tended to struggle a bit with resource-intensive gameplay.
The Pixel 6a is powered by Google’s first in-house tech Tensor chip which is developed specifically for smartphones. It is paired with a 20-core ARM Mali-G78 MP20 GPU. The same chipset that also works inside the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The big G claims CPU performance is 80% faster than the Snapdragon 765G, while the GPU offers up to 370% more power.
What sets Tensor apart from other chips on the market are the custom elements that Google has incorporated. This includes the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) for AI and ML tasks, which is behind many of the Features exclusive to Pixel 6 like Magic Eraser, Face Unblur and Live Translation. Enhanced FAI is another highlight of the Tensor chip and enables features like your real and HDRNet. Since the Pixel 6a is powered by the same chip, it also offers the same features.
Both phones come with 6GB of RAM, but the Pixel 6a uses a newer and faster LPDDR5 RAM module. Plus, it packs a faster UFS 3.1 NAND storage chip for better I/O performance and file transfer speeds.
Even in terms of security, the Pixel 6a is an upgrade over its predecessor. While the Pixel 5a incorporates the first generation Titan M security module, the 6a features the Titan M2 co-processor and a security core to securely store and protect all your sensitive data.
Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 5a: Battery life
The Pixel 6a’s more compact form factor means there’s not enough space to pack a massive 5,000mAh+ battery. It’s powered by a 4410mAh cell that Google says can “last for more than 24 hours”. This can be extended up to 72 hours with the Extreme Battery Saver mode. By comparison, the Pixel 5a’s 4680mAh battery can deliver “all day” juice, and it can last up to 48 hours in power saving mode.
Despite the Pixel 6a having a smaller cell, there shouldn’t be much difference in the battery life of the two phones. Indeed, Google’s mid-range 2022 device packs a smaller 6.1-inch 60Hz OLED display, which should negate the additional power draw of the Tensor chip and reduce the load on the 4,410mAh cell.
Both phones support fast charging, although they’re not exactly fast and cap out at 18W. Google claims you can charge them from 0-50% in 30 minutes with a Pixel 6 Compatible PD 3.0 PPS USB Charger. None of the devices support wireless charging.
Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 5a: Connectivity
The mid-range 2021 and 2022 Pixel phones support 5G, but there’s a slight twist here. The Pixel 5a can only connect to 5G below 6GHz. While the unlocked version of the Pixel 6a is also limited to sub-6GHz connectivity, Verizon will offer a UW version with mmWave support.
The Pixel 6a supports the newer and faster Wi-Fi 6 standard, while the 5a is limited to Wi-Fi ac networks. The former also sports Bluetooth 5.2 compared to the Pixel 5a’s Bluetooth 5.0. Google’s mid-range phone last year has an ace up its sleeve: it has a 3.5mm headphone jack that the 6a lacks.
Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 5a: Updates
The Pixel 5 launched in 2021 with Android 11 and is guaranteed to get Android version updates and security updates for three years, i.e. until October 2023 at least. Thanks to the Tensor chip, Google promises to offer longer software support for the Pixel 6a. The phone is expected to receive security updates for five years after launch, although how many OS updates it will receive is unclear.
Still, the longer software support cycle alone makes the Pixel 6 an attractive budget proposition compared to other offerings on the market.
Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 5a: Price and availability
Despite the multitude of improvements and the Tensor chip, the Pixel 6a carries the same price as last year’s 5a: $449. You will, however, have to shell out an additional $50 for the Verizon-exclusive mmWave version of the phone.
Google is also making amends with the availability of the Pixel 6a after launching its mid-range device last year in just two countries: the US and Japan. You’ll be able to get your hands on the phone in 14 countries from July 28, 2022, including Australia, Canada, France, US, UK, India, Singapore, Spain, and more. .
The Pixel 6a is a solid improvement over the 5a, although it’s not an upgrade you necessarily have to make. The extra power of the Tensor chip and longer software support cycle are welcome additions, but the older camera sensors are a sore point. Nevertheless, the Pixel 6a is easily among the best android phones on the market and you can’t go wrong.
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