The Pixel 6a is a small, highly effective Android telephone that’s extra wallet-friendly subsequent to Google’s different gadgets. It isn’t as revolutionary as different A-series handsets we’ve seen, however it stays an amazing telephone in 2023 for many who favor nice software program relatively than massive spec sheets. The one actual problems are the introduction of the Pixel 7a and the very fact the upgraded Pixel 6 can now be discovered at fairly a reduction.
- Pretty small form-factor
- Dependable digital camera for the worth
- Google’s glorious software program
- 60Hz show feels sluggish in comparison with the rivals
- Gradual to completely cost
Wonderful Android expertiseClear, well-designed software program with none bloatware. Plus the promise of 5 years of updates.
Robust rear camerasTwo 12-megapixel rear cameras take glorious photographs due to Google’s sensible processing
Succesful internalsTensor chip, 8GB RAM and 128GB storage
The Pixel 6a is Google’s 2022 inexpensive smartphone and essentially the most budget-conscious entry within the Pixel 6 collection.
It gives a very good digital camera system, a glossy design and the promise of a few years of software program updates – all at a worth that places it proper up towards the Nothing Cellphone (1) and OnePlus Nord 2T.
Nevertheless, Google takes a barely completely different strategy to most of the greatest low cost telephone rivals. This can be a modest telephone that focuses on the general expertise, relatively than having a standout, headline-grabbing spec or function.
It’s additionally a much more compact machine than rival handsets, making it a wonderful possibility for consumers preferring a smaller telephone, though it has since been usurped by the newer, extra succesful (and barely dearer) Pixel 7a.
Design and Display
- Compact design feels nice to carry
- The Sage color has a stunning end
- You miss out on a quick 90 or 120Hz show
Google switched up its design philosophy with its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional handsets, transferring away from the simplistic strategy it had adopted earlier than and right into a extra attention-grabbing course. It additionally continued this pattern with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Professional in late 2022. I’ve been a fan of the standout look of latest Pixel gadgets, and I’m glad to see Google persevering with on this course.
The Pixel 6a seems very very like a extra compact Pixel 6 or Pixel 7. It has the identical visor protecting the twin rear cameras, the identical two-tone color scheme, and the identical boxy end. When you dislike the flagship Pixel design, then I very a lot doubt that this machine will win you round.
My assessment unit, which I’ve been utilizing for the previous two weeks, is within the Sage colourway and in my view it seems nice. The pastel inexperienced graduates right into a darker end additional down the telephone, and the inexperienced colouring itself is without doubt one of the extra tasteful hues I’ve seen this yr. When you’re on the lookout for one thing somewhat extra refined, then there are black and white choices, too.
The largest distinction visually between the Pixel 6a and the common Pixel 6 is the dimensions. The Pixel 6 wasn’t an enormous telephone, however the 6.1-inch show right here makes for a far dinkier machine that can enchantment to these alienated by the rising dimension of most fashionable smartphones. The Pixel 6a isn’t as compact because the iPhone 13 Mini, however it’s the same dimension to the Galaxy S23 and iPhone 14. It’s uncommon to see a good telephone of this dimension on the £399 worth, with many rivals such because the Nothing Cellphone (1), Realme GT Neo 3T and OnePlus Nord 2T coming in a lot bigger.
Whereas I’m a fan of the 6a’s dimensions, I’m positive there will likely be some who will likely be immediately postpone. This machine isn’t going to be your best option for many who wish to partake in hefty bouts of cell gaming. Fortunately, the rival gadgets talked about will likely be glorious alternate options.
Regardless of sitting on the decrease finish of the market, the Pixel 6a is nicely constructed. The telephone sports activities a glass (Gorilla Glass 3) exterior on each the entrance and rear of the machine, whereas an alloy rim provides a level of rigidity. Google has saved the IP67 ranking, too, which delivers some correct safety towards water and dirt – one thing you gained’t discover on a lot of the competitors, apart from the iPhone SE.
Nevertheless, the 6.1-inch show is each nice and one thing of a disappointment.
In lots of areas, it has impressed me. The 1080p OLED panel delivers a beautiful punch of color in its default Adaptive mode, whereas those that favor a extra muted look can go for the Pure setting. The usage of OLED permits for deep blacks, and this comes throughout nicely when streaming HDR content material on YouTube and Netflix. It’s removed from the brightest display screen round, however even on the sunny days that I used to be utilizing the telephone outside, the display screen remained viewable. I’m not an enormous fan of the janky auto-brightness, however that’s a problem I’ve with most Android telephones.
Having stated all of that, the Pixel 6a’s show misses a giant function you’ll discover on the OnePlus Nord 2T and the Nothing Cellphone (1): a quick refresh fee show. The 60Hz panel right here lacks the zip of a 90Hz or 120Hz model, and having come to this machine from the Nothing Cellphone (1), I instantly observed the slowdown. These quicker shows refresh extra occasions each second, and because of this produce a smoother picture that offers the telephone a quicker really feel.
It’s hardly a shock that Google has determined to depart off the quick show. The Pixel 6 solely has a 90Hz panel, relatively than 120Hz, and it stays a function Apple provides solely to its top-end telephones. Nonetheless, it does make the rival gadgets a better option if the function is a precedence for you.
- Two rear 12MP cameras that each take good photos
- No enormous upgrades from the earlier A-series telephones
It was telling that Google barely talked about digital camera upgrades on unveiling the Pixel 6a. The options which can be new principally arrive because of the advantages afforded by the Tensor chipset.
However earlier Pixel A-series telephones have at all times impressed for pictures expertise, and the 6a continues in that vein – it simply doesn’t actually push it ahead.
Just like the flagship Pixels, the Pixel 6a impresses tremendously in relation to producing correct pores and skin tones and churning out sturdy photos in low-light scenes. Each expertise are aided by the Tensor and AI components it builds into the photo-processing pipeline.
Most snaps taken with the Pixel 6a stay higher than I’d anticipate at this worth. For instance, a canine’s fur stands out with sharp element, with out feeling oversharpened. The telephone’s HDR expertise additionally stage out the color much better than competing handsets such because the Nothing Cellphone (1), delivering extra definition to shiny and darkish spots.
In typical Pixel trend, the photographs shot outside with the Pixel 6a are wealthy, vibrant and filled with dynamic vary. Panorama pictures with shiny skies actually pop off the show; nothing is just too uncovered or underexposed. There’s much less saturation right here to pictures taken with a Samsung telephone, however there’s extra punch to colors – particularly greens and reds – than you’d get with the iPhone SE. Indoor pictures can typically lack a few of that punch, although, with a variety of snaps I took wanting way more gray and washed-out than they need to have.
The Pixel 6a has another neat tips up its sleeves that make it a very good decide for these on the lookout for a wonderful digital camera system on a funds. Magic Eraser is a brilliant enhancing function that removes undesirable company from snaps; it really works nicely, and I discovered myself utilizing it loads to neaten up photographs. The Evening Sight mode is one other Pixel stalwart, pulling a lot of brightness out of lower-light pictures that may often be far too darkish to make use of.
There’s no telephoto zoom right here, however the digital zoom is much better than that on different telephones I’ve used – you will get somewhat nearer to a topic with the Pixel 6a with out your photograph turning right into a blurry mess. As well as, there’s a 12-megapixel ultrawide that provides some versatility to your pictures; however the photographs aren’t as good as these from the principle digital camera, so we propose you employ it solely when it’s wanted.
The Pixel 6a’s video recording can also be fairly good, though many of the options are typical for the Pixel collection. You possibly can document footage at as much as 60fps in 4K decision, and there’s a intelligent Cinematic Pan mode that provides some clean pans to your video.
- The identical Tensor chip because the Pixel 6 Professional makes this an amazing performer
- 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage
- 5G help
Google has taken the same strategy to the Pixel 6a as Apple does with its SE line. As an alternative of constructing, or shopping for, a less expensive mid-range chip to energy the telephone, it has merely plucked the identical Tensor SoC from 2021’s Pixel 6 Professional. This is sensible for Google; Tensor has been constructed to its spec and designed to profit from the Android construct operating on these telephones.
Tensor options the M2 safety chip in-built, which works with the in-display fingerprint sensor. It has a deal with Machine Studying and AI components, permitting the Pixel unique options corresponding to Face Unblur and Magic Eraser.
What Tensor isn’t is a efficiency beast. In benchmark exams, the Pixel 6a beat the single-core rating of the Nothing Cellphone (1), however delivered comparable scores in multi-core exams – and that telephone makes use of a mid-range Snapdragon chip. You’ll discover solely 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage within the Pixel 6a.
The quantity of RAM may appear ungenerous in comparison with rival gadgets (you will get the Nothing Cellphone (1) with 12GB), however this hasn’t proved a lot of a problem throughout my fortnight utilizing the Pixel 6a. Apps have remained in reminiscence all through the day, and multitasking has been snappy. Nevertheless, the 128GB storage providing isn’t as straightforward to dismiss, particularly since there’s no SD enlargement. When you prefer to hold numerous content material – corresponding to video games, motion pictures, RAW photographs, and so forth – offline, you then may replenish that allowance relatively shortly.
The scale of the telephone, and the truth that it lacks a super-quick 120Hz show, means the Pixel 6a isn’t prone to be prime of the listing for these massive into cell gaming. Nonetheless, the Tensor chipset can comfortably deal with intensive titles on the Play Retailer. I loaded up Name of Responsibility Cell on each the Pixel 6a and the Nothing Cellphone (1), and it loaded far faster on Google’s handset.
For the reason that Google 5a did not arrive within the UK, and the Pixel 4a arrived with out 5G, the Pixel 6a is the primary compact A-series Pixel telephone with 5G to hit the UK market. At this worth and above, 5G is just about an anticipated function, so it’s good to see Google embody it right here. The function gained’t change how you employ your telephone – however 5G will likely be welcome on these events that you just need to shortly obtain one thing and also you’re in a 5G space. Different connectivity choices embody Wi-Fi 6 and 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.
The Pixel 6a got here operating Android 12 initially, although it was one of many first gadgets to be up to date to Android 13 when it arrived in late 2022. The model right here is identical one you’ll discover on the Pixel 6 and newer Pixel 7, full with the deeper customisation choices that ship larger management of the look of the homescreen.
For me, Google’s model of Android is the perfect – at the very least in relation to look and usefulness. Among the options lack depth in comparison with rivals, particularly the expanded Battery Saver modes discovered elsewhere, however the software program is so nicely designed and slick in use that that is forgivable.
Google additionally throws in a smattering of Pixel-exclusive options, which I really like. Now Enjoying, for instance, shows no matter tune is enjoying within the background in your lockscreen, and the Recorder app transcribes recordings higher than some other resolution I’ve tried. It’s these small extras that make it tough for me to depart a Pixel telephone for different Android alternate options.
One other profit is the 5 years of promised software program updates, guaranteeing the telephone ought to nonetheless be in receipt of latest options and patches for a lot longer than rival gadgets at this worth.
- No charger included, only a cable
- No wi-fi charging
- Most cost pace of 18W
Contained in the Pixel 6a sits a 4410mAh battery. That is smaller than the battery included within the Pixel 6 (4614mAh), the Pixel 6 Professional (5000mAh) and the Nothing Cellphone (1) (4500mAh). Nevertheless, the Pixel 6a has a extra compact, slower show than these telephones, and as such consumes much less energy over the course of a day.
I’ve been utilizing each the Pixel 6a and the Nothing Cellphone (1) loads over the previous few weeks, and Google’s machine has constantly outlasted the latter, leaving me with about 5-10% additional by the top of a day. Standby occasions are additionally boosted over a lot of the competitors at this worth, with the telephone shedding solely about 3-5% if left unplugged in a single day.
Plainly a slower show additionally helps out when streaming. An hour of Netflix viewing solely consumed 7% of the battery, which is notably lower than the Nothing Cellphone (1).
The place the Pixel 6a falls behind the pack is when it comes to its charging expertise. Not solely has the machine been provided and not using a bundled charger, however that most 18W charging pace is meagre in comparison with a lot of the Android competitors. A full 0-100% cost utilizing a 35W charger took the Pixel 6a 1hr 45mins, whereas the Realme Neo 3T can get to 100% in exactly 35 minutes. When you are likely to solely cost your telephone in a single day, this gained’t be a problem; however for these seeking to shortly prime up in the course of the day, it will likely be a problem.
There’s no wi-fi charging, both; Google has saved that function unique to pricier Pixels.
Must you purchase it?
You’re after a small Android telephone that doesn’t price an excessive amount of: I’m a giant fan of the dimensions of this telephone and the best way it feels in use. When you’re uninterested in sizable handsets, then it is a viable possibility – and the digital camera and sensible software program solely assist its case.
You desire a massive, quick display screen: You could find different telephones on this worth vary with quicker, smoother 120Hz panels; the Pixel 6a’s 60Hz panel feels somewhat sluggish as compared
The Pixel 6a is an easy-to-recommend Android telephone in 2023 that doesn’t break the financial institution. You’re getting loads of telephone for the cash with this machine, particularly if you happen to’re after a extra compact machine that can decide up updates for years to come back.
There’s nothing revolutionary right here, and Google’s choice to focus rather less on hefty digital camera upgrades means the Pixel 6a isn’t fairly the funds smartphone shooter it may have been.
Arguably, the largest rival to the 6a is the larger Pixel 6. With the discharge of the newer Pixel 7 vary in late 2022, retailers are promoting off the final Pixel 6 inventory at as little as £440. Despite the fact that I favor the dimensions of the 6a, if I have been spending my cash I’d go for the common Pixel 6 because of its higher digital camera and improved display screen.
How we check
We check each cell phone we assessment completely. We use industry-standard exams to check options correctly and we use the telephone as our most important machine over the assessment interval. We’ll at all times inform you what we discover and we by no means, ever, settle for cash to assessment a product.
Used as our most important handset in the course of the check interval
Digital camera examined in quite a lot of conditions with all modes
Examined with artificial benchmarks and actual world use
Just like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional, the Pixel 6a doesn’t include a charger. It solely comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable which you could plug into your personal charging brick.
The Pixel 6a doesn’t have wi-fi charging and has a max 18w charging pace when plugged in.
Trusted Opinions check knowledge
Geekbench 5 single core
Geekbench 5 multi core
1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)
30 minute gaming (intensive)
30 minute gaming (mild)
1 hour music streaming (on-line)
1 hour music streaming (offline)
Time from 0-100% cost
Time from 0-50% cost
3D Mark – Wild Life
Google Pixel 6a
Pixel 6 Professional
Rear Digital camera
Entrance Digital camera
First Reviewed Date
Google Pixel 6a
12MP + 12MP
71.8 x 8.9 x 152.2 MM
1080 x 2400
Sage, White, Black
2.9 x 0.4 x 6.2 INCHES
1080 x 2400
Stormy Black, Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral
Pixel 6 Professional
50MP + 12MP + 48MP
3 x 0.4 x 6.5 INCHES
1440 x 3120
Stormy Black, Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny
TrustedReviews’ holds the truth that world warming just isn’t a delusion as a core worth and can constantly endeavor to assist defend our planet from hurt in its enterprise practices.
As a part of this mission, at any time when we assessment a product we ship the corporate a collection of questions to assist us gauge and make clear the influence the machine has on the setting.
We at present haven’t obtained solutions to the questions on this product, however will replace this web page the second we do. You possibly can see an in depth breakdown of the questions we ask and why in our sustainability data web page.
Natural Mild Emitting Diode is panel expertise that enables every particular person pixel to supply mild relatively than counting on a backlight. This allows the display screen to precisely show blacks by turning off the pixel, leading to improved distinction in comparison with typical LCD panels.
The trendy USB connector you’ll discover on most Android telephones, new laptops, cameras and video games consoles. It’s reversible and used for charging together with data-transfer.
HDR stands for Excessive Dynamic Vary and refers to distinction (or distinction) between the brightest and darkest elements of a picture. HDR content material preserves particulars within the darkest and brightest areas of an image, particulars which can be typically misplaced in outdated imaging requirements. HDR10 is remitted to be included on all HDR TVs. It’s additionally supported by 4K projectors.
The variety of occasions the display screen refreshes itself per second.