Technology

Google Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 6: which smartphone to buy?

The Pixel 6a is the cheapest model in Google’s latest generation of smartphones. Maybe it’s worth spending more money on the Pixel 6 though. We compare the Pixel 6a to the Pixel 6.

Price: Inexpensive entry-level model

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In terms of design, the Pixel 6a does not differ from the other Google phones.

Bild: © YouTube/Google 2022

With the first generations of the Pixel A series, the main argument for the purchase was the low price together with a great camera and a high-contrast OLED screen. The Pixel 4a cost less than 400 euros when it was launched. The new Pixel 6a, on the other hand, costs around 460 euros for the release.

So while it’s cheaper than the Pixel 6, it might not be as bargain as the Pixel 4a. Especially since the better equipped Pixel 6 is just over $100 more expensive. So it depends on what you primarily want to use the Pixel 6a for and whether you are bothered by the following technical limitations.


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Display: Smaller and lower refresh rate

The Pixel 6a is smaller at 6.1 inches than the Pixel 6 at 6.4 inches. So if you’re not a fan of large screen sizes, the Pixel 6a is a better choice. Fortunately, Google didn’t skimp on the display resolution. Pixel 6a has a Full HD+ resolution just like Pixel 6.

However, the Pixel 6a offers a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hertz, whereas the standard Pixel offers 90 Hertz. In my opinion, however, this difference is only noticeable in everyday life in a direct comparison. You only perceive a 60 Hertz display as jerky if there is a smartphone with a higher frame rate right next to it. However, if you prefer to play fast shooters or racing games on your smartphone, the higher refresh rate pays off.

Camera: Technology as in the predecessor

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The camera equipment of the Pixel 6a is fundamentally different than that of the Pixel 6.

Bild: © GOOGLE/YouTube 2022

Buyers of the Pixel 6a definitely lose out when it comes to the camera. The Pixel 6 sister model has a 50-megapixel wide-angle camera with Sony’s Quad Bayer technology. Among other things, the new camera system should ensure less image noise in poor lighting conditions. A lightning-fast laser autofocus is also integrated.

The Pixel 6a, on the other hand, only offers a 12.2-megapixel camera. This is the same camera module that was already installed in the 5a. Only the rear 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera and the 8-megapixel front lens are identical to the Pixel 6.

After all: features like that magic erasers and night mode are still included. However, the “motion mode”, in which you can photograph fast-moving objects with motion blur while the subject is in focus at the same time, is missing. You will of course also be able to take good photos with the Pixel 6a, but they will not come close to the quality of the Pixel 6 due to the different technical features of the wide-angle lens.

Processor: New Google chip included

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Google is installing its own processor in its smartphones for the first time.

Image: © GOOGLE 2022

On the other hand, buyers of the Pixel 6a do not have to make any compromises when it comes to the processor. Just like the Pixel 6, the new Google Tensor is integrated. This chip is the first smartphone processor developed by Google itself. This has several advantages: Google can better coordinate software and hardware and thus ensure better performance and battery life.

In In benchmarks, the Tensor comes in just behind the 2021 leader Snapdragon 888 from Qualcomm. The only downside: In the Pixel 6a, the tensor chip is supported by less RAM than in the Pixel 6. Instead of 8, there are only 6 gigabytes on board. However, the difference should only be noticeable if you open a large number of performance-intensive apps at the same time.

Battery: No wireless charging, but more endurance

On paper, the Pixel 6a has the smallest battery. Only 4,410 mAh compared to 4,614 mAh for the Pixel 6. Google still states a longer battery life in the technical data. In the energy-saving mode, the Pixel 6a lasts 72 hours and not just 48 hours like the Pixel 6.

This is partly due to the smaller screen and the lower refresh rate. Both consume less power and thus ensure a long-lasting battery. So depending on which aspect is important to you, the smaller display and lower refresh rate are pluses for the Pixel 6a. However, buyers of the entry-level model will have to do without wireless charging. The 6a does not support this function.

Conclusion: Less demanding users can use the Pixel 6a

Compared to the entry-level Pixel phones of the past, Google has priced the Pixel 6a a step up, as it did with the 5a. As a result, the entry-level models are no longer necessarily price-performance winners. If you value a particularly good camera and expect a lot from your smartphone in terms of performance, you should spend 100 euros more and invest in the Pixel 6.

However, if the latest photo technology is not that important to you and you know that you have not exhausted the computing power or storage capacity of your previous smartphones, then the Pixel 6a is a good choice.

The Pixel 6 is already available to buy. The Pixel 6a will be available in stores soon.


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