Google lifts the curtain on Pixel 6a at Google I/O 2022

Google is back with a cheaper Pixel that, as always, might be one of the best smartphone deals around.
By Alex Perry  on 
Google Pixel 6a
Pixel 6a looks a lot like Pixel 6. Credit: Google

Being predictable isn't always a bad thing.

Google's beloved Pixel A-series is back with the Pixel 6a, officially confirmed at Google I/O 2022. As always, this is a cheaper variant of last year's excellent Pixel 6. Like previous A-series Pixel phones, it looks very similar to its flagship predecessor, with the long, horizontal camera bump along the phone's rear. It also includes the Google Tensor chip that shipped with Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, giving it the same 5G speeds and security features. Returning camera features include Real Tone filters for more accurate skin tone representation and the Magic Eraser tool for removing unwanted elements from photos after you've taken them.

The biggest difference is that it's launching later this summer and costs far less, with a $450 price tag compared to the Pixel 6's $600 starting price. You can pre-order it on July 21 and buy it in stores starting July 28. Pixel 6a comes in three colors: Chalk, Charcoal, and Sage.

As for the nitty-gritty specs, the most obvious downgrades from Pixel 6 to Pixel 6a come in the form of display compromises. It's locked to a 60Hz refresh rate, which will look a lot less smooth than the 90Hz you got on Pixel 6. It's also smaller than the Pixel 6, coming in at 6.1 inches rather than 6.4 inches. There's a dual-camera array on the back like before, though you just get two 12MP lenses rather than one 50MP lens and a 12MP lens on Pixel 6.

Storage and memory max out at 128GB and 6GB, respectively. For reference, Pixel 6 offered 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. In all, those cuts are largely acceptable given the fairly meager $450 price on Pixel 6a. You're paying a mid-range price and getting something that still cuts above mid-range performance thanks to Google's Tensor chip.

Between this and the new iPhone SE, it's turning out to be a real golden age for mid-range phones that behave like flagships.

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