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Google Pixel 6a vs Pixel 6: What’s Different?

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Amazing, affordable, great – whatever the “a” is Pixel 6a stands for, chances are Google’s latest phone will grab the attention of anyone with an affinity for the company’s products. It’s plenty powerful, reasonably priced, and while we’re yet to review it, the recipe for success is there, at least on paper.

But there’s one crucial detail: the Pixel 6a’s release date has been set for July 28, which is more than 2 months away from now. The Meanwhile, Pixel 6 could be yours in a few days. And with a price difference of only $150, you may wonder if the wait is worth it. Let’s go through the differences between the Pixel 6 and 6a and try to find out.

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 6 in a nutshell:

  • Pixel 6a has a smaller screen (6.1 vs 6.4 inches)
  • Pixel 6a has a 60Hz display; Pixel 6 is smoother at 90Hz
  • Pixel 6a has 6GB of RAM vs 8GB for Pixel 6
  • Pixel 6a has a 12.2MP main camera versus 50MP on the Pixel 6
  • No wireless charging on the Pixel 6a
  • Pixel 6a arrives on July 28; Pixel 6 is available starting today
  • Pixel 6a costs $449, $150 less

Design and display

No surprise, the Pixel 6a follows the same design language that Google introduced with the Pixel 6 series. The two phones look almost identical, with their signature rear camera strip extending from left to right. However, size is one factor that sets them apart. The Pixel 6a is the smaller phone, with a 6.1-inch screen versus the Pixel 6’s 6.4-inch. It also looks like the Pixel 6a has a “3D thermoformed composite” back, which is a nice touch. word is for plastic. The Pixel 6 comes with a Gorilla Glass 6 back.

Another corner Google had to cut is the omission of a high refresh rate screen – it’s a 60Hz affair on the Pixel 6a. Not a deal breaker if you ask us, but it’s a difference in smoothness you might notice when spoiled by displays like the Pixel 6’s 90Hz panel.

Performance and software

Tensor is the name of Google’s custom SoC, which made its debut on the Pixel 6 series last year. It’s the chip that also powers the Pixel 6a, which is great news – such powerful chips aren’t common in phones at this price. According to benchmarks, the Google Tensor isn’t as powerful as the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, but it’s optimized for AI and machine learning tasks like speech recognition.

In terms of performance, though, the chipset is where the similarities between the Pixel 6a and the regular Pixel 6 end. When it comes to memory, the 6a has 6GB of RAM while the Pixel 6 has 8GB in comparison. This shouldn’t impact day-to-day tasks that much, but the more affordable model should expect slightly slower loading times and faster background apps. Another difference is that the Pixel 6a only comes in one storage option, 128GB to be exact, while you can get the Pixel 6 in a 256GB version.

Camera

The camera system is usually one of the areas where companies are the first to start cutting back when making a more affordable model for their range. The same is true when it comes to the Pixel 6a, which comes with the same main camera found on the Pixel 5a and even older models.

Despite using the same hardware for the main snapper, the inclusion of Google’s proprietary Tensor chipset gives it new life in the form of features such as the Enhanced Magic Eraser tool for removing objects in photos, Real Tone for accurate skin tones, and Night Sight for better low-light performance. We can’t wait to check out the Pixel 6a and see if Tensor also contributes in detail to some of the improvements. A feature of the more high-end variants that the Pixel 6a does miss is the Motion mode that keeps a fast-moving subject in focus.
When it comes to the ultra-wide camera, the one on the Pixel 6a has the same exact specs on paper as the one on the Pixel 6. In other words, a 12MP ultrawide powered by the Sony IMX386 sensor, with 1.25μm large pixels, an aperture of ƒ/2.2 and a field of view of 114°. Another shooter stolen from the more expensive $150 models is the front-facing camera with an 8 MP and IMX355 sensor. Technically, both cameras should work the same on both phones, but we’ll be sure to let you know once our review is live.

Battery life and charging

The Pixel 6a only comes with a slightly smaller battery than the Pixel 6-4410mAh versus 4614mAh. A more clear win for the more expensive option can be seen when looking at the charging speeds for both devices, showing that the 6a supports up to 18W charging, while the Pixel 6 can go up to 30W.

In addition, the Pixel 6a does not come with wireless charging, unlike the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

expectatitons

For now, the information we have on paper from the official Pixel 6a announcement gives a very clear idea of ​​what to expect if we get a chance to compare it to the Pixel 6.

For example, the main camera probably wouldn’t perform as well as the more expensive model, but the rest should deliver similar results. In terms of performance, having 6GB instead of 8GB of memory might make some difference in day-to-day use of the device, but it shouldn’t be too obvious.

Holding the 6a shouldn’t feel all that different compared to the Pixel 6 either, except for the slightly smaller screen, body and bezel on the back. That said, we can’t wait to see if the slightly smaller form factor eventually translates into a different real-world feel.

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