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Google Pixel 6a vs Pixel 5a early comparison: mid-range upgrades

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Now that the Google Pixel 6a has been made official during the Google I/O 2022 event, it’s time for us to do our first early comparison of the new 5G mid-ranger from Google and its predecessor – the Google Pixel 5a.

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 5a: Price and Release Date

The Google Pixel 6a was officially unveiled on May 11, 2022. Pre-orders will start on July 21, and the release date is July 28 after that. Price: $449 for the base 128GB model. The Pixel 5a was released on August 26, 2021, with the exact same starting price of $449 for, again, a base model with 128 GB of storage.

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 5a: Design and Colors

The design of the new Google Pixel 6a has changed quite a bit from its predecessor, and now resembles the flagship Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, mainly by using their wide, horizontal camera module. The older Pixel 5a has a square one instead.

Google Pixel 6a colors:

That aside, both mid-rangers look modern and premium, with minimal bezels and a punch-hole selfie camera on the front, although the new Pixel 6a has slightly smaller bezels and the selfie camera has been moved to the top center. It’s also noteworthy that the Pixel 5a has a matte back, while the Pixel 6a’s back is glossier.

Google Pixel 5a colors:

(Yes, just one.)

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 5a: Display

In terms of display differences, the new Pixel 6a doesn’t really have anything noteworthy over its predecessor, except that the 6a is slightly smaller. We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves:Pixel 6a screen specs:

  • 6.1-inch, OLED
  • 60 Hz refresh rate
  • 1080p resolution
  • 431 PPI (pixels per inch)
  • Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 3)

Last year’s Pixel 5a has a 6.3-inch OLED display with the following specs:

Pixel 5a screen specs:

  • 6.3-inch, OLED
  • 60 Hz refresh rate
  • 1080p resolution
  • 415 PPI (pixels per inch)
  • Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 3)

Unfortunately, the Pixel 6a won’t hit a 120Hz refresh rate, but it will stick with the more traditional 60Hz, just like its predecessor. No major differences in display quality. Both screens are covered with Gorilla Glass, which is always welcome.

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 5a: Hardware and Performance

The new Google Pixel 6a is powered by the search engine giant’s own Google Tensor GS101 processor and 6GB of RAM. We have yet to try it out, stay tuned for our performance benchmarks.

The Pixel 5a is instead powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, again paired with 6GB of RAM. We weren’t particularly impressed with its performance in our review of the 5a, but it’s still a good phone for casual use and for playing the occasional undemanding game. We can expect better performance from the 6a with its Tensor chip.

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 5a: Cameras

The Pixel 6a comes with dual cameras: a 12.2MP main and 12MP ultra-wide camera. Those are both Sony sensors, the IMX363 and IMX386 respectively. New camera features that come along include an improved Magic Eraser, which can remove distracting objects from photos, better Night Sight and Real Tone.

The 2021 Pixel 5a has two main cameras: one 12.2 MP and one 16 MP (ultra-wide). They can record video up to 3840×2160 (4K UHD) and 60 frames per second.

The Pixel 5a’s front camera is an 8 MP shooter capable of 1920×1080 (Full HD) video recording.

While we’ve yet to buy the Pixel 6a for a test drive, below we’ve got sample photos we took with the Pixel 5a for your reference.

Pixel 5a camera samples

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 5a: Battery

The Pixel 6a’s battery size is official: 4410mAh and can be quickly charged up to 30W.

The Pixel 5a’s battery capacity is slightly larger at 4680mAh, but the phone’s supported wired fast charging speeds are lower, down to 18W.

No wireless charging for both phones.

During our usual battery life tests for our Pixel 5a review, we found it to be a device that will last. Check out our battery benchmarks below and expect Pixel 6a battery benchmarks as soon as our review comes out!

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