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    Google Pixel 6A Review: The Best Android Phone Under $500

    Samsung and Apple proved you do not have to pay near $1,000 for an awesome telephone earlier this 12 months, and now Google is doing the identical with its $449 Pixel 6A. The firm’s extra inexpensive new Pixel launches on July 28 and has the identical Tensor processor because the Pixel 6, however for $150 much less. Internationally, the Pixel 6A prices £399 and AU$749.Google’s cheaper A-series Pixel telephones aren’t new; they have been round since 2019’s Pixel 3A. But the Pixel 6A fills a distinct want in Google’s lineup in comparison with its most up-to-date predecessors. In some methods, the Pixel 5A and Pixel 4A felt like they have been fixing the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4’s shortcomings. Both units felt overpriced once they launched, making the Pixel 5A and 4A really feel like the higher improve for Pixel followers.

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    The Pixel 6A, however, has a more durable act to observe. The Pixel 6 earned a CNET Editors’ Choice Award final 12 months for its glorious worth at $600, which undercut flagships from Apple and Samsung by about $200. The Pixel 6A typically accomplishes its meant goal of offering loads for much less. The digital camera could also be a step down from the Pixel 6, but it surely takes crisp and colourful images for a telephone of its value. You additionally get the identical eye-catching design and Pixel-specific software program options like Magic Eraser and Live Translate. The downside, nevertheless, is that the Pixel 6 was simply obtainable at a significant low cost that introduced its value right down to $499. With solely a $50 value distinction between these fashions for Amazon Prime Day, the Pixel 6A appeared exhausting to suggest. 

    LikeGreat cameraAffordable pricePremium design for a middle-tier phoneAmong the primary to get new Android updates

    Don’t LikeSomewhat dim showNot an awesome worth alongside discounted Pixel 6Not as a few years of assured Android updates as SamsungVideo high quality is not pretty much as good as nonetheless images

    Google can also be dealing with extra competitors from Samsung within the midtier Android OS telephone area. Samsung outshines Google in some methods, significantly in relation to shows, however I feel Google supplies a greater total package deal. Google’s Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Possibly the best-looking telephone at this valueWithout wanting on the two telephones aspect by aspect, you could possibly nearly mistake the Pixel 6A for the Pixel 6. It has the identical two-toned design and a black digital camera bar that stretches horizontally throughout the again of the telephone. I’ve been utilizing the sage-colored Pixel 6A, which is a darker inexperienced than the Pixel 6’s minty “sorta seafoam” coloration. The Pixel 6A’s digital camera strip can also be thinner than the Pixel 6’s, however they in any other case share an analogous feel and look. The Pixel 6A’s again panel is made from a “thermoformed plastic composite” in response to Google, but it surely’s straightforward to mistake it for glass. It’s one of many few beauty variations between the Pixel 6A and Pixel 6, though you possibly can barely inform the distinction. These elements make the Pixel 6A really feel dearer than it really is, particularly when in comparison with equally priced Samsung telephones. In truth, the Pixel 6A could be the best-looking telephone on this value vary that I’ve tried thus far. Another perk: Fingerprint smudges aren’t as noticeable on the Pixel 6A’s “plastic composite” again as they’re on the $450 Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, which might be the Pixel 6A’s largest competitor. Google is taking a barely totally different method with the Pixel 6A by way of dimension in comparison with the Pixel 5A and 4A. While these units have been bigger than the flagship telephones they have been primarily based on, Google made the Pixel 6A smaller than the Pixel 6. The Pixel 6A has a 6.1-inch display screen (making it the identical dimension because the Galaxy S22 and that iPhone 13), whereas the common Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch display screen. The Pixel 6A is less complicated to handle with one hand than a Pixel 6, however I would not describe it as a compact telephone. Samsung is significantly better at cramming massive screens into small areas, because the Galaxy S22 proves. The Pixel 6A (left) subsequent to the Pixel 6 (proper).
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    The Pixel 6A’s OLED show is sharp and colourful sufficient to comfortably watch movies, learn the information and test e mail. But Samsung beats Google on this regard. Not solely do the shows on telephones just like the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy A53 really feel brighter, however Samsung additionally affords the choice to spice up the display screen’s refresh price to 120Hz for smoother scrolling. This characteristic is extra widespread on pricier telephones, so its absence from the Pixel 6A is affordable. But Samsung and Motorola have began together with larger refresh charges on cheaper telephones just like the Galaxy A53 5G and Moto G 5G, making its omission from the Pixel 6A extra noticeable.The Pixel 6A’s commonplace 60Hz display screen is a lot quick and responsive, however I want it have been brighter. I discovered myself combating the urge to crank the show brightness above 50% when utilizing the Pixel 6A on a number of events, even indoors. Aside from its new Pixel 6-esque design and smaller display screen, there’s one other bodily trait that separates the Pixel 6A from final 12 months’s 5A: its lack of a headphone jack. There’s no headphone adapter within the field both, however Google does embrace a USB adapter for transferring knowledge out of your previous system.The Pixel 6A’s stereo audio system are loud and clear sufficient to get the job accomplished. It was the proper quantity for offering background music throughout a picnic on the park with out disturbing different individuals close by. Camera: Better than Samsung’s $450 telephone, downgrade from the Pixel 6The Pixel 6A’s digital camera.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    The Pixel 6A’s digital camera is stable for a telephone at this value, but it surely’s a step down from the Pixel 6. On paper, the digital camera system is much like the Pixel 5A’s. Both telephones have a 12.2-megapixel primary digital camera with the identical aperture, subject of view and pixel width. But there are variations within the ultrawide digital camera; the Pixel 6A’s has a decrease decision and smaller subject of view, however its pixels are wider. The addition of the Tensor chip additionally brings pictures options you will not discover on the Pixel 5A. The Pixel 6A’s 12.2-megapixel primary digital camera took crisp and vibrant images, though the Pixel 6’s 50-megapixel digital camera is healthier at balancing coloration, element and sharpness. However, I believed the Pixel 6A captured higher images than Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G in practically all of my testing situations.Bright out of doors daylightThe Pixel 6 unsurprisingly took the most effective picture of the bunch. It’s brighter than the Pixel 6A’s and captures a wider subject of view, however the picture from Google’s cheaper telephone nonetheless has loads of element. The Pixel 6A’s picture could also be a bit dimmer than Samsung’s, but it surely’s additionally extra detailed whereas Samsung’s picture appears a bit blown out and oversaturated. Pixel 6AAn picture of a yellow flower taken with the Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A picture of a yellow flower taken with the Pixel 6.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Galaxy A53A photograph of a yellow flower taken with the Galaxy A53. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Portrait modePortrait mode is one space the place the Pixel 6A fell behind each the Pixel 6 and Galaxy A53. There’s an excessive amount of shadow over the topic’s face within the Pixel 6A’s picture in comparison with the others.Pixel 6AHere’s what a portrait mode picture taken with the Pixel 6A appears like. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A picture taken with the Pixel 6’s portrait mode.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Galaxy A53A photograph taken with the Galaxy A53’s portrait mode.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Indoor portraitThe Pixel 6A took nice images of individuals indoors, as proven beneath. However, the Pixel 6’s digital camera was barely higher at rendering pores and skin tones; the topic’s face appears barely paler within the Pixel 6A’s picture. The Samsung Galaxy A53 did an satisfactory job, however its colours weren’t fairly as correct. The lace close to the highest of the topic’s costume appears barely blue in Samsung’s picture, but it surely’s speculated to be black. Differences could also be exhausting to see at this dimension, however I seen these discrepancies when viewing every picture at its full dimension on a 27-inch monitor. Pixel 6AThis picture was taken with Google’s Pixel 6A. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6An indoor portrait taken with the Pixel 6.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Galaxy A53An indoor portrait taken with the Galaxy A53.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Night modeThe Pixel 6 is the apparent winner of this spherical, however the Pixel 6A’s picture was a lot brighter and clearer than the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G’s picture.Pixel 6AA picture of my cat Buddy taken with the Pixel 6A in night time mode
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A picture of my cat Buddy taken with the Pixel 6’s night time mode.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Galaxy A53A photograph of my cat Buddy taken with the Galaxy A53’s night time mode
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    ZoomNone of those telephones have a devoted zoom lens, however the Pixel 6A and Pixel 6 can every zoom as much as 7x digitally. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G can zoom as much as 10x digitally, but it surely had the blurriest picture of the bunch. Pixel 6AA zoomed-in picture taken with the Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A zoomed-in picture taken with the Pixel 6.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Galaxy A53A zoomed-in picture taken with the Galaxy A53. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    UltrawideAll three telephones have a 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera lens for taking images from a broader perspective. Photography could be subjective, however I most popular the extra life like colours in images from the Pixel 6 and 6A over Samsung’s. But the Galaxy A53 5G’s photos are brighter, which some individuals could choose aesthetically. Pixel 6AA picture taken with the Pixel 6A’s ultrawide digital camera. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A picture of a park taken with the Pixel 6’s ultrawide digital camera. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Galaxy A53A photograph taken with the Galaxy A53’s ultrawide lens
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Selfie The Pixel 6A primarily has the identical selfie digital camera because the Pixel 6: an 8-megapixel sensor with the identical pixel dimension, aperture and subject of view. The Galaxy A53, however, has a 32-megapixel entrance digital camera. All three telephones captured detailed and colourful selfies, however I feel the Galaxy A53’s lighting is barely higher. Pixel 6AA selfie taken with the Pixel 6A. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A selfie taken with the Pixel 6. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Galaxy A53A selfie taken with Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    The Pixel 6A can report 4K video at as much as 60 frames per second, identical to the Pixel 6. Even although Google’s telephones typically excelled in nonetheless pictures, I most popular Samsung’s video seize. The clips I shot with the Galaxy A53 in 4K at 30 frames per second had extra coloration and element than these shot on the Pixel 6A on the similar decision and body price. Since the Pixel 6A runs on Google’s Tensor processor, you will additionally get lots of the similar pictures options. That contains Magic Eraser for eradicating undesirable background objects, Real Tone for rendering pores and skin tones extra precisely and Face Unblur, which freezes a topic’s face when there’s motion within the body. These options assist distinguish Pixel telephones from different Android units, though it is actually the picture high quality that is the principle promoting level. Google’s Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    SoftwareLike the Pixel 6, Google’s extra inexpensive telephone launches with Android 12 and might be among the many first to get Android 13. Google additionally periodically releases new software program options for Pixel telephones by way of a program referred to as Feature Drops. Android 12 feels slick and clear on the Pixel 6A total, making it a powerful selection for many who choose a easy, no-fuss interface. I used to choose Google’s interface above all else because of its simplicity, however Samsung has drastically improved its One UI software program, which sits on high of Android 12 in telephones just like the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy A53 5G.Samsung additionally affords Android assist for an extra 12 months in comparison with Google, which solely ensures Android model updates for 3 years from the Pixel 6A’s launch. Samsung’s new telephones, by comparability, will get 4 years of Android updates. Most importantly, although, Google and Samsung each provide safety updates for 5 years.Pixel telephones even have software program options you possibly can’t get on different Android telephones, and that additionally holds true for the Pixel 6A. You’ll get Google-specific additions like Wait Times, which may present estimated wait occasions earlier than you dial a toll-free US quantity. I attempted this earlier than calling CVS customer support and was pleasantly shocked to see a warning that I may expertise a wait of as much as 10 minutes. There’s additionally Hold For Me, which allows the Google Assistant to attend on maintain and warn you when a consultant is able to communicate with you.Google additionally guarantees that its Tensor chip will carry advantages for language translation by way of a characteristic referred to as Live Translate. As the title implies, this permits your Pixel 6 telephone to translate textual content in conversations and movies into a distinct language. I requested a co-worker to ship me a message in Spanish, and the textual content magically modified to English as soon as I hit the translate button that appeared on the high of the display screen. Google’s Pixel 6A
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Solid efficiency and first rate battery lifeThe Pixel 6A’s efficiency felt quick sufficient for many on a regular basis duties, and I have never seen any of the bugs or hiccups that plagued the Pixel 6. The digital camera and different apps launch rapidly, there is not any stutter or lag when navigating across the working system, and video games like Call of Duty and Asphalt 9 run easily. I by no means seen the Pixel 6A feeling heat whereas taking part in video games or utilizing the digital camera. That definitely provides it a leg up over Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G. Samsung’s $450 telephone carried out simply wonderful more often than not, however there have been cases once I needed to press the house button a number of occasions to exit an app. The fingerprint sensor additionally works rapidly more often than not, not like the Pixel 6’s which my colleague Patrick Holland wrote was a bit finicky at first. The Pixel 6A’s battery is enough however not significantly spectacular. When I spent most of my day at residence, the Pixel 6A had loads of battery left by round 9 p.m. But busy days that concerned commuting to the workplace and assembly buddies after work drained the battery sooner.It’s necessary to do not forget that battery life will at all times fluctuate relying on how you employ your telephone. Cranking up the display screen brightness, taking part in video games usually and recording video for lengthy intervals of time will deplete your battery sooner. During my time with the Pixel 6A, I primarily used the telephone for checking e mail, streaming music from Spotify, watching YouTube movies, and sometimes taking part in video games or taking images. Here are some examples of how the Pixel 6A’s battery held up in numerous circumstances. I have never tried the Pixel 6A’s Extreme Battery Saver Mode but, which Google says can allow as much as 72 hours of battery life by prioritizing your most necessary apps. Other Pixel telephones just like the Pixel 6, 6 Pro and 5A even have this selection, however Google solely charges it for 48 hours on these units. 

    Pixel 6A battery life

    Battery proportion

    Screen time

    Usage notes

    58% at 9 p.m.

    2 hours, 31 minutes

    Left the display screen at half brightness, spent many of the day at residence

    47% at 9:18 p.m.

    3 hours, 53 minutes

    Streamed video for 46 minutes, had don’t disturb turned on for a number of hours, spent the work day within the workplace

    35% at 9:50 p.m.

    1 hour, 34 minutes

    Had the brightness set to excessive for a portion of the day, spent the work day within the workplace and went out for dinner and drinks afterward

    There’s additionally assist for 18-watt quick charging on the Pixel 6A, however you will need to buy a appropriate energy adapter in case you do not already personal one. There’s no wi-fi charging on the Pixel 6A, so you will need to plug in your system to energy it up. This should not be a deal breaker for most individuals, but it surely may very well be an annoyance in case you’re upgrading from a telephone that already has wi-fi charging. Given its value, I would not anticipate the Pixel 6A to incorporate each main characteristic discovered on the Pixel 6 and different high-end units. But wi-fi charging has been commonplace in most telephones for roughly the final 5 years, so it is stunning that it hasn’t trickled right down to cheaper units just like the Pixel 6A or Galaxy A53 but. Apple’s $429 2022 iPhone SE helps wi-fi charging, however compromises in different areas like display screen dimension and digital camera versatility.The Pixel 6A additionally helps 5G, however Verizon’s model would be the solely mannequin appropriate with super-fast millimeter wave 5G networks. That means it should additionally value $500 as a substitute of $449. But you will not be lacking out on a lot by choosing the non-mmWave model obtainable at different carriers. Millimeter wave 5G operates at brief distances and is barely present in choose areas, like busy avenue corners in main cities or stadiums. More importantly, the Pixel 6A does assist midband 5G on all US carriers, which is quicker than the extensively obtainable low-band 5G and operates at longer distances than mmWave.Google’s Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    The backside lineWith an awesome digital camera, enticing design and early software program updates, the Pixel 6A is the most effective telephone on this value vary for Android followers. Samsung’s $450 Galaxy A53 5G provides it some robust competitors and excels in show high quality and video recording. But the Pixel 6A’s digital camera is noticeably higher than Samsung’s at taking nonetheless images, and Google’s telephone additionally affords smoother efficiency. I’d additionally suggest the Pixel 6A over the $500 Moto G 5G Stylus since Motorola solely ensures one software program replace and three years of safety updates. The OnePlus N20 5G can also be a tempting selection at $300, but it surely’s carrier-limited to T-Mobile and Metro. The similar goes for the not too long ago launched Nothing Phone 1, which prices roughly $480 however is barely obtainable within the UK and Europe for now. The Pixel 6A’s primary downside is its launch timing. The Pixel 6 was not too long ago obtainable at a major low cost for Amazon Prime Day, which happened about two weeks earlier than the Pixel 6A’s debut. Google will even be debuting the Pixel 7 within the fall, so it could be value ready to see which telephone suits your wants. But for now, the Pixel 6A stays a best choice for Android customers trying to spend lower than $500 on a brand new telephone. In truth, it might be the most effective 5G Android telephone for beneath $500.

    Google Pixel 6A vs. Pixel 6

    Google Pixel 6A

    Google Pixel 6

    Display dimension, decision, refresh price

    6.1-inch OLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels; 60Hz

    6.4-inch OLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels; 60Hz or 90Hz

    Pixel density

    429 ppi

    411 ppi

    Dimensions (inches)

    6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35

    6.2 x 2.9 x 0.4

    Dimensions (millimeters)

    152.2 x 7.18 x 8.9

    158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9

    Weight

    6.3 ounces; 178 grams

    7.3 ounces; 207 grams

    Mobile software program (at launch)

    Android 12

    Android 12

    Camera

    12.2-megapixel (broad), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)

    50-megapixel (broad), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)

    Front-facing digital camera

    8-megapixel

    8-megapixel

    Video seize

    4K 60fps (rear), 1080p 30fps (entrance)

    4K 60fps (rear), 1080p 30fps (entrance)

    Processor

    Google Tensor

    Google Tensor

    RAM/Storage

    6GB RAM/128GB storage

    8GB RAM/128GB or 256GB storage

    Expandable storage

    No

    No

    Battery/Charger

    4,410 mAh capability

    4,614 mAh capability

    Fingerprint sensor

    Under show

    Under show

    Connector

    USB-C

    USB-C

    Headphone jack

    No

    No

    Special options

    5G, 18-watt quick charging, Wi-Fi 6E, Magic Eraser, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years of safety updates, 3 years of Android OS updates, twin SIM, IP67 resistance

    5G sub 6 (some provider fashions even have 5G mmWave), Wi-Fi 6E, 30W quick charging, Magic Eraser, Motion mode, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, 5 years of safety updates, 3 years of Android updates, IP68 score for resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (entrance), Gorilla Glass 6 (again)

    Price

    $449

    $599

    Price (GBP)

    £399

    £599

    Price (AUD)

    AU$749

    AU$999

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