Google has revealed the latest member of the Google Pixel smartphone family: the smaller, more affordable Google Pixel 6a. The bouncing baby handset delivers many of the features of the flagship Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, but in a more pocket (and wallet!) friendly package.
The Pixel 6a includes the same powerful Google Tensor processor as the premium 6 and 6 Pro, and offers dual rear cameras, a good-sized battery, and 5G connectivity. Presenting some serious competition to the 3rd edition iPhone SE, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE and OPPO’s Find X5 Lite, the Google Pixel 6a is set to arrive in Oz mid-year — so let’s take a look at what this pared-down Pixel has to offer.
Google Pixel 6a: design, cameras, performance and more
The Google Pixel 6a features the same general design as the bigger Pixel 6, with a horizontal black camera bar across the rear top, and rounded corners. You’ll get a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display — slightly downgraded from the Pixel 6’s tougher Gorilla Glass Victus — along with IP67 water and dust resistance, which allows for the phone to be submerged unharmed in up to one metre of water for 30 minutes.
The Pixel 6a comes with a 6.1-inch display; it’s far from tiny, but definitely smaller in the hand than the 6.4-inch Pixel 6 or 6.7-inch Pixel 6 Pro. The OLED screen features a 2400 x 1080 resolution, plus a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz (compared to the smoother 90Hz of the standard 6, and ultra-fast 120Hz of the 6 Pro). This device is smaller and lighter overall than last year’s Google Pixel 5a, but does include the same under-display fingerprint scanner as the Pixel 6.
Perhaps the biggest perk is the inclusion of Google’s Tensor processor, which the company debuted in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Google Tensor offers some serious security through its Titan M2 chip, as well as advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence. The custom-made Tensor can facilitate fast image processing, and enables extra features such as real-time language translation. It’s a super-fast, efficient processor that’s especially great for camera use, so it will be a huge plus for Pixel 6a buyers who want a powerful phone at a lower price.
Speaking of cameras, the Pixel 6a packs an 8-megapixel front-facing lens and a dual rear camera setup, with a 12.2-megapixel primary shooter and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera. This isn’t as premium as what you’ll find on the Pixel 6, which features a 50-megapixel main camera, 48-megapixel telephoto lens, and 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera. However, the front selfie camera is the same 8-megapixel version as the standard 6, and the Google Tensor chip gives the 6a plenty of processing power for enhanced photography.
Camera highlights include Real Tone, to accurately capture authentic skin tones (particularly in people of colour), plus Face Unblur for clearer facial features. The Pixel 6a also offers improved low-light photography through Night Sight, and easy on-device photo edits with Magic Eraser. In terms of video, the device can record in 4K at 30 and 60 frames per second via the rear camera, and in 1080p using the selfie cam.
Google’s Pixel 6a also offers a 4,400mAh battery, which Google says can be used for 72 hours on a single charge in Extreme Battery Saver mode. You probably won’t get quite that much use in real life, and unlike the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the 6a isn’t compatible with wireless charging.
Rounding up the 6a’s key features, the phone will include 6GB of RAM, 128GB of on-board storage, and a USB-C charging port. Unfortunately, there’s no microSD card slot for expandable storage (and no headphone jack, although Google has also announced new wireless Pixel Buds Pro). But in good news, the Android 12 device comes with five years of security updates, and will be among the first devices to receive Android 13 later this year.
Google’s newest Pixel will be available for pre-order in Australia from July 21, 2022, and will ship out and arrive in stores on July 28. You’ll be able to buy the Pixel 6a in Chalk, Charcoal, and Sage colours, and you can pair the phone with a specially-made Google Pixel case.
The Google Pixel 6a will be priced from $749 outright: this makes it around $250 cheaper than the $999 Pixel 6, and $550 less than the 128GB Pixel 6 Pro. You’ll be able to pick up the Pixel 6a from Google and selected retailers, and the phone is likely to be available on telco plans from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
Google Pixel 6a: specs and features
Here’s a quick overview of the specs to expect on the Google Pixel 6a:
- 6.4-inch OLED display
- 4,400 mAh battery with Extreme Battery Saver
- 6GB RAM, 128GB internal storage
- Google Tensor processor
- Dual rear camera setup (12.2MP + 12MP ultra-wide camera)
- 8MP front-facing camera
- Android 12 operating system
- 5G connectivity
- IP67 water resistance
- $749 AUD RRP
- Available in Sage, Chalk, and Charcoal colours
Should I buy the Google Pixel 6a?
The Google Pixel 6a joins the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G, iPhone SE, and OPPO Find X5 Lite in the ‘budget high-end/luxury mid-range’ category that’s become increasingly popular with buyers. These devices pair some of the big-ticket features of premium smartphones with smaller displays, cheaper hardware and down-scaled cameras, giving phone owners a more affordable option that still delivers on performance.
With the Pixel 6a to retail for just under $750 AUD, it’s set to be slightly pricier than the $719 iPhone SE 2022, but cheaper than the $799 OPPO Find X5 Lite and the $999 Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G. It also directly competes with Samsung’s new Galaxy A series, which includes the $699 Samsung Galaxy A53 5G. We’ll take the Google Pixel 6a for a test drive once it becomes available locally, to see exactly how it stacks up to other phones at this price point.
For now, if you’re interested in the pricier Google Pixel 6 or Google Pixel 6 Pro, you can compare telco plans below.
The following table shows a selection of published 24-month plans for the 128GB Google Pixel 6 Pro on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile phone comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.
The following table shows a selection of published 24-month plans for the 128GB Google Pixel 6 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile phone comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.