There are a ton of smartphones out there. Why have something that costs over a thousand dollars when you can have this. The Pixel 6a. Or two of them for the price of a flagship phone. The Pixel 6a is a smartphone that’s priced squarely in the mid-range. But does it make this phone… well. Mid? Well let’s find out with a little review.
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0:35 Physical Features
2:23 User Experience
5:00 Google Pixel 6a Alternatives
The Pixel 6a continues the pixel trend of a series devices. A mid range device that takes on the features and design language of the previous flagship phone. But with a much more digestible price tag. This year’s Pixel 6a has a premium feeling aluminum body, the power rangers looking visor of the pixel 6, and the back is actually not glass like the Pixel 6 pro but it’s instead a glossy and smooth plastic. The fingerprint sensor is now in the glass on the bottom third of the display, and the front facing camera is now in the center of the display instead of off to the side. There’s stereo speakers with one embedded at the top and a speaker in one of the grills on the bottom. And under the hood, the main update to this device is the google tensor chip. This is Google’s own custom chip for their smartphones and is pretty hard to beat in the mid range category. Other than the design of the phone, and the google tensor chip. This phone is really similar to last year’s pixel 5a. People online have already found that through some software hacks you can get the Pixel 6a’s display running at 90Hz. Which would have made this phone feel smoother in use and more in line with its competition. I wish they could have made that work as most of the competition in the price range of this phone supports higher refresh rate displays. It’s not the end of the world, the display on the Pixel 6a is fine.
The size of the phone makes it nice to hold in the hand, and the fingerprint sensor under the display works well enough that it grabs my fingerprint most of the time. Despite the back looking similar to the Pixel 6, it doesn’t have wireless charging, a feature that other phones in this price bracket are starting to include. The speakers sound decent for a smartphone. For watching widescreen content, I suggest you rotate the phone counterclockwise because the bottom speaker is in the right grille, and is much louder than the one on the top. There’s no longer a headphone jack, so you will have to use wireless earbuds and headphones. When it comes to daily usage, I find no real performance issues. I don’t play many games but I’ve been playing Genshin Impact and it plays that game fine at medium settings 45fps. The pixel 6a has minimal bloat and still comes with Google’s Pixel-exclusive features. That being said. Something I couldn’t note on the Pixel 6 Pro review is that the latest Pixel phones have been dealing with bugs and software issues that tarnishes the Pixel brand lately. But on the other hand, Google promises 3 years of major android updates, and 5 years of security updates, software updates and bug fixes for this phone.
Now let’s move onto the camera. It’s still really good for a mid-range phone and takes great photos for the price. I think Google provides one of the nicest camera UIs for their Pixels, because it’s really easy to use as a beginner but provides a ton of features that Photographers and videographers would appreciate like track focusing, image stabilization toggles, and manual white balance. But video on the Pixel 6a is just okay. The tensor chip in this phone also opens the doors to some google exclusive camera focused features like the Magic Eraser tool that lets you erase objects in a picture, as long as it’s not too complex.
I think the Pixel 6a as a phone, as a budget option is a great mid range phone. It has a great camera with cool features, 5 years of software updates and fixes, and provides a lot of performance in a more wallet friendly, and smaller package that it’s mid-range counterparts don’t offer. But it also has downsides, No more headphone jack, the lineup has been dealing with software glitches recently, and the Pixel 6a struggles with no higher refresh rate displays, or even nice to have features like wireless charging. So if you’re looking for a mid-range phone that’s average in most specs but has a fantastic camera and performance for its price. Then the Pixel 6a is for you. If you want all of that but with more fancy features like a higher refresh rate display, or wireless charging. Check out the Pixel 6 instead; it’s currently only slightly more expensive than the pixel 6a.