Google Pixel 6A Review: The Best Budget Pixel Yet

    Google’s Pixel 6A is the most recent signal that you just not must pay near $1,000 for an important telephone, coming after Apple and Samsung launched their very own wallet-friendly gadgets earlier this yr. The $449 Pixel 6A launched 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 gadgets felt overpriced after they launched, making the Pixel 5A and 4A really feel like the higher improve for Pixel followers.

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    Google Pixel 6A Review: Google’s Best Budget Phone Yet


    The Pixel 6A, however, has a more durable act to comply with. The Pixel 6 earned a CNET Editors’ Choice Award final yr for its wonderful worth at $600, which undercut flagships from Apple and Samsung by about $200. The Pixel 6A usually accomplishes its supposed goal of offering quite a bit 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 worth. 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 out there at a serious low cost that introduced its worth all the way down to $499. With solely a $50 worth distinction between these fashions for Amazon Prime Day, the Pixel 6A appeared onerous to advocate. 

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

    Don’t LikeSomewhat dim showNot an important worth alongside discounted Pixel 6Not as a few years of assured Android updates as SamsungVideo high quality is not nearly 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, notably in the case of shows, however I believe Google offers a greater general package deal. Google’s Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Possibly the best-looking telephone at this worthWithout wanting on the two telephones aspect by aspect, you can virtually 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” shade. The Pixel 6A’s digital camera strip can also be thinner than the Pixel 6’s, however they in any other case share an identical feel and appear. The Pixel 6A’s again panel is manufactured from a “thermoformed plastic composite” in response to Google, but it surely’s simple to mistake it for glass. It’s one of many few beauty variations between the Pixel 6A and Pixel 6, though you may barely inform the distinction. These elements make the Pixel 6A really feel costlier than it really is, particularly when in comparison with equally priced Samsung telephones. In reality, the Pixel 6A is likely to be the best-looking telephone on this worth 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 when it comes to measurement in comparison with the Pixel 5A and 4A. While these gadgets have been bigger than the flagship telephones they have been based mostly 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 measurement because the Galaxy S22 and that iPhone 13), whereas the common Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch display screen. The Pixel 6A is simpler to handle with one hand than a Pixel 6, however I would not describe it as a compact telephone. Samsung is a lot 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 fee to 120Hz for smoother scrolling. This characteristic is extra frequent on pricier telephones, so its absence from the Pixel 6A is cheap. But Samsung and Motorola have began together with increased 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 lots quick and responsive, however I want it have been brighter. I discovered myself preventing 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 yr’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 machine.The Pixel 6A’s stereo audio system are loud and clear sufficient to get the job executed. It was the right quantity for offering background music throughout a picnic on the park with out disturbing different folks 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 worth, 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 foremost digital camera with the identical aperture, discipline of view and pixel width. But there are variations within the ultrawide digital camera; the Pixel 6A’s has a decrease decision and smaller discipline 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 foremost digital camera took crisp and vibrant images, though the Pixel 6’s 50-megapixel digital camera is best at balancing shade, element and sharpness. However, I assumed the Pixel 6A captured higher images than Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G in practically all of my testing situations.Bright outside daylightThe Pixel 6 unsurprisingly took the most effective photograph of the bunch. It’s brighter than the Pixel 6A’s and captures a wider discipline of view, however the photograph from Google’s cheaper telephone nonetheless has loads of element. The Pixel 6A’s photograph could also be a bit dimmer than Samsung’s, but it surely’s additionally extra detailed whereas Samsung’s photograph appears to be like a bit blown out and oversaturated. Pixel 6AAn picture of a yellow flower taken with the Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A photograph 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 photograph in comparison with the others.Pixel 6AHere’s what a portrait mode photograph taken with the Pixel 6A appears to be like like. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A photograph 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 under. However, the Pixel 6’s digital camera was barely higher at rendering pores and skin tones; the topic’s face appears to be like 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 gown appears to be like barely blue in Samsung’s picture, but it surely’s alleged to be black. Differences could also be onerous to see at this measurement, however I seen these discrepancies when viewing every photograph at its full measurement on a 27-inch monitor. Pixel 6AThis photograph 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 photograph was a lot brighter and clearer than the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G’s picture.Pixel 6AA photograph of my cat Buddy taken with the Pixel 6A in evening mode
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A photograph of my cat Buddy taken with the Pixel 6’s evening mode.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Galaxy A53A photograph of my cat Buddy taken with the Galaxy A53’s evening 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 photograph taken with the Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A zoomed-in photograph taken with the Pixel 6.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Galaxy A53A zoomed-in photograph 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 will 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 pictures are brighter, which some folks could choose aesthetically. Pixel 6AA photograph taken with the Pixel 6A’s ultrawide digital camera. 
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    Pixel 6A photograph 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 basically has the identical selfie digital camera because the Pixel 6: an 8-megapixel sensor with the identical pixel measurement, aperture and discipline of view. The Galaxy A53, however, has a 32-megapixel entrance digital camera. All three telephones captured detailed and colourful selfies, however I believe 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 file 4K video at as much as 60 frames per second, identical to the Pixel 6. Even although Google’s telephones usually 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 shade and element than these shot on the Pixel 6A on the identical decision and body fee. Since the Pixel 6A runs on Google’s Tensor processor, you may additionally get most of the identical 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 gadgets, though it is actually the picture high quality that is the primary promoting level. Google’s Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    SoftwareLike the Pixel 6, Google’s extra reasonably priced telephone launches with Android 12 and will likely 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 known as Feature Drops. Android 12 feels slick and clear on the Pixel 6A general, making it a powerful selection for many who choose a easy, no-fuss interface. I used to choose Google’s interface above all else due to 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 help for a further yr 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 may’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 stunned to see a warning that I might 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 deliver advantages for language translation by way of a characteristic known as Live Translate. As the title implies, this enables 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 not 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 enjoying video games or utilizing the digital camera. That actually offers it a leg up over Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G. Samsung’s $450 telephone carried out simply nice 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 adequate however not notably spectacular. When I spent most of my day at dwelling, the Pixel 6A had loads of battery left by round 9 p.m. But busy days that concerned commuting to the workplace and assembly pals after work drained the battery sooner.It’s necessary to keep in mind that battery life will all the time differ relying on how you utilize your telephone. Cranking up the display screen brightness, enjoying video games typically and recording video for lengthy durations 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 infrequently enjoying video games or taking images. Here are some examples of how the Pixel 6A’s battery held up in numerous circumstances. I have not 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 gadgets. 

    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 a lot of the day at dwelling

    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 help for 18-watt quick charging on the Pixel 6A, however you may must buy a appropriate energy adapter in the event you do not already personal one. There’s no wi-fi charging on the Pixel 6A, so you may must plug in your machine to energy it up. This should not be a deal breaker for most individuals, but it surely might be an annoyance in the event you’re upgrading from a telephone that already has wi-fi charging. Given its worth, I would not count on the Pixel 6A to incorporate each main characteristic discovered on the Pixel 6 and different high-end gadgets. 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 all the way down to cheaper gadgets 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 measurement 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 is going to additionally price $500 as an alternative of $449. But you will not be lacking out on a lot by choosing the non-mmWave model out there at different carriers. Millimeter wave 5G operates at brief distances and is simply present in choose areas, like busy avenue corners in main cities or stadiums. More importantly, the Pixel 6A does help midband 5G on all US carriers, which is quicker than the extensively out there low-band 5G and operates at longer distances than mmWave.Google’s Pixel 6A.
    Lisa Eadicicco/CNET
    The backside lineWith an important digital camera, engaging design and early software program updates, the Pixel 6A is the most effective telephone on this worth vary for Android followers. Samsung’s $450 Galaxy A53 5G offers it some powerful 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 advocate 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 identical goes for the not too long ago launched Nothing Phone 1, which prices roughly $480 however is simply out there within the UK and Europe for now. The Pixel 6A’s foremost disadvantage is its launch timing. The Pixel 6 was not too long ago out there at a major low cost for Amazon Prime Day, which occurred about two weeks earlier than the Pixel 6A’s debut. Google may also be debuting the Pixel 7 within the fall, so it is likely to be price ready to see which telephone matches your wants. But for now, the Pixel 6A stays a best choice for Android customers seeking to spend lower than $500 on a brand new telephone. In reality, it might be the most effective 5G Android telephone for underneath $500.

    Google Pixel 6A vs. Pixel 6

    Google Pixel 6A

    Google Pixel 6

    Display measurement, decision, refresh fee

    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


    6.3 ounces; 178 grams

    7.3 ounces; 207 grams

    Mobile software program (at launch)

    Android 12

    Android 12


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

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

    Front-facing digital camera



    Video seize

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

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


    Google Tensor

    Google Tensor


    6GB RAM/128GB storage

    8GB RAM/128GB or 256GB storage

    Expandable storage




    4,410 mAh capability

    4,614 mAh capability

    Fingerprint sensor

    Under show

    Under show




    Headphone jack



    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 ranking for resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (entrance), Gorilla Glass 6 (again)




    Price (GBP)



    Price (AUD)



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