Google’s latest smartphone, the more budget-friendly Pixel 6a, is now available, and here is what you can expect from the device.
Canada never got the previous Pixel 5a that only saw a limited release in the United States and Japan in 2021. Because of that, this phone is a bigger leap forward when compared to the Pixel 4a that came to the Great White North in 2020. As with all Pixel models with an ‘a’ affixed to it, the purpose is to offer great value for what you pay.
What the Pixel 6a can do
The Pixel 6a follows the same design language previously seen in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. That applies both on the outside and inside to varying degrees. It has a strip in the rear housing the dual camera setup, along with glass covering the rest of the panel. The 6.1-inch OLED display makes the phone a little smaller than the regular Pixel 6, though they share the same screen resolution. A newer fingerprint sensor aims to improve the inconsistent one from the other Pixel 6 devices, and from my initial experience so far, it is definitely better on this device.
It runs on the same Google Tensor processor the other Pixel 6 models do, including the Titan M2 security chip on top of that. It only comes in one variant, so regardless of the colour you go with, you get 128GB of internal storage and 6GB of RAM. Not to mention Wi-Fi 6E and 5G connectivity, as well as eSIM if you wanted to forego a physical card.
The 4400mAh battery is said to last over 24 hours, and charges via USB-C. No wireless charging here, unfortunately, and no wall charger in the box, either. Google still nicely includes a USB-A-to-USB-C adapter, something you don’t see often these days.
Camera specs and features
The 12.2-megapixel main camera in the rear is different from the other phones. Google also went with the same 12-megapixel ultrawide camera seen in the Pixel 6 Pro. An 8-megapixel front-facing camera rounds things out. No telephoto lens on the rear, nor an ultrawide on the front.
Google’s Tensor chip is the power behind features like Night Sight and Real Tone for the camera to keep results more consistent. You won’t get the motion modes (Action Pan and Long Exposure) available in the other Pixel models. What is cool is Magic Eraser works in Google Photos on the Pixel 6a, letting you remove something from an image. It also doesn’t matter if you captured the photo with the phone or not.
Unlike past Pixel ‘a’ phones, the Pixel 6a does have IP67 protection, so a dip in clearwater won’t ruin it. Gorilla Glass makes the glass tougher, but it’s not going to be able to completely avoid cracking or shattering the screen.
Google is promising three years of Android updates, plus five years’ worth of security updates. Feature Drops will come every few months to improve or add features to the phone as well. Hands-free access to Google Assistant is always there, as is Live Translate or the transcription features with the Recorder app, the latter of which works even when the phone has no Internet access.
There’s more, and we’ll be covering it in the full review coming up on the Best Buy Blog. The Pixel 6a is available now for pre-order and comes in charcoal, chalk, and sage.