Pixel 6a: Everything you need to know about Google’s new smartphone

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The Pixel 6a was unveiled at Google I/O 2022, as the brand’s latest affordable handset. Here’s everything that you need to know about the upcoming mid-range smartphone.

The sequel to the Pixel 5a has just landed, and there are some very impressive specifications to get to grips with. If you’re on the hunt for a mid-range Android smartphone, then read on to see what this one could offer to you.

Price and Availability

The Google Pixel 6a will cost $449 in the USA and £399 in the UK. Included in the price, you’ll get three months of YouTube Premium and Google One free of charge.

The Pixel 5a was available only in the United States and Japan, so it’s good to see wider availability for the followup.

Pre-orders for the Pixel 6a will begin on July 21 in the States, and it will appear on shop shelves on July 28. UK availability isn’t quite so crystal-clear, with the Google Store simply stating the device is ‘Coming Soon’. Hopefully, we’ll learn more in the coming months.

Design

The Pixel 6a design strongly resembles the Pixel 6, with a large camera bar spanning across the back of the phone, and a subtle two-tone effect. There are three colours available, as depicted below: chalk, charcoal, and sage.

Pixel 6a

Whereas previous entries in the series were made in plastic, this new handset will have a metal frame, which lends it a touch of class and hopefully will be more robust too, especially given that it has an IP67 rating against water and dust ingress. The screen measures 6.1-inches

The Pixel 6a will also play host to Material You, the user experience (UX) that allows you to greatly customise the feel of your phone’s software, to give it a personalised and consistent software design throughout its user interface.

Camera

The camera is often the key feature of any Pixel smartphone, and the series is famous for its photographic expertise.

This one will have a dual rear camera system, consisting of 12.2-megapixel wide and 12-megapixel ultrawide sensors. The selfie camera is the same 8-megapixel sensor that you’ll find on the Pixel 6.

Perhaps more exciting than the hardware is the fact that some of Google’s best software tricks are also coming to the Pixel 6a. These include:

Live Translate. If you come across text in a foreign language you don’t understand, you can use this feature to translate it for you in front of your eyes.Real Tone. This feature represents different skin tones accurately and authentically.Magic Eraser. With this handy tool, you can easily edit out distracting objects from the photos that you’ve taken.Night Sight. When you’re shooting in lowlight conditions, this feature is invaluable for restoring detail to your images.Face Unblur. This feature sharpens moving faces in your photos if they seem blurry or undefined.

Performance

The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro were the first mobile devices to run on Google’s own brand chip, Tensor, and now this silicon is making its way to the A series.

When testing the Pixel 6 Pro, we noted that in “everyday use apps open instantly, games run chug free, even with their graphics settings maxed and I’ve been able to comfortably edit images using Photoshop Express with zero issues.”

We’re hoping for similarly lofty performance standards from the Pixel 6a, which could make it one of the best-performing phones in the mid-range, along with the iPhone SE.

Along with the Tensor processor, the Pixel 6a will come with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, along with “enhanced Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.” The Titan M2 security chip, again shared with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, also strengthens your device’s security, and on the software side of things, you can expect at least five years of security updates through this device’s lifetime.

Naturally, the Pixel 6a will be among the first devices to receive the Android 13 update, while Google has also promises that you’ll receive “feature drops” every few months, which contain new features, tricks, and wallpapers for your phone.

Battery Life

Google made some bold claims about the Pixel 6a’s battery at launch, saying that it would last “a really, really long time.” With Adaptive Battery enabled, the phone should prioritise your favourite apps to save battery, so that it “can last up to 24 hours” – and if you apply Extreme Battery Saver, it can last up to 72 hours.

When you need to charge up that battery again, Google says that with its 18W charger, the phone will get “hours of power” after “just a few minutes of charging.”

Notably, these announcements do lack specificity, and we’ve yet to put the Pixel 6a through our rigorous testing, so we’ll just have to wait and see if it can live up to these expectations.

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