Which Google Phone Should You Prefer To Be Your Next Device?

Google Pixel 6 is one of the best camera smartphones on the market. It offers the same primary camera sensor and processing package as its more expensive sibling, the Pixel 6 Pro, while being $300 cheaper. But with affordable entry Pixel 6a phoneHowever, the regular Pixel 6 has some serious competition. The Pixel 6a is essentially a watered-down version of the Pixel 6, offering the same overall design and Tensor chipset for $150 less. But which one is better to buy? We try to find an answer in the comparison between Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a.

Google Pixel 6a vs Google Pixel 6: Specifications

Customize OnePlus 10 Pro Google Pixel 6
Builds
  • Mid aluminum frame
  • Gorilla Glass 3 on the front
  • plastic back
  • IP57 water and dust resistance
  • Mid aluminum frame
  • Gorilla Glass 6 back
  • Gorilla Victus front glass
  • IP68 water and dust resistance
Dimensions and weight
  • 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm
  • 178 g
  • 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9 mm
  • 207 g
Show
  • 6.1 inch AMOLED
  • FHD +
  • 60 Hz
  • Aspect Ratio 20:9
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • always on screen
  • 6.4 inch AMOLED
  • 1080 x 2400
  • refresh rate 90 Hz
  • HDR10 + . support
SoC
RAM and Storage
  • 6 GB RAM
  • 128GB flash memory
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 128GB / 256GB UFS 3.1 Storage
The battery is charging
  • 4,410 mA
  • 18W fast charging (charger not included)
  • No wireless charging
  • 4614 mAh
  • 30W wired fast charging (charger not included)
  • Wireless charging of 21W
protection In-screen optical fingerprint sensor In-screen optical fingerprint sensor
back camera
  • primaryMain: 12.2 Megapixels
  • secondary: 12 MP Ultra Wide
  • Basic: 50 MP, f/1.9
  • secondary: 12 MP ultra-wide, f / 2.2 . aperture
Front camera(s) 8 mega pixel 8 mega pixel
ports)
  • USB Type C
  • No headphone jack
  • No microSD card slot
  • USB Type C
  • No headphone jack
  • No microSD card slot
My voice
Connection
  • 5G NR
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • NFC
  • 5G (mmWave)
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2 x 2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • NFC
Programming
  • Android 12 with Pixel Launcher
    • Three major updates promised to Android
    • Four years of security patches
  • Android 12 with Pixel Launcher
    • Three major updates promised to Android
    • Four years of security patches
Other Features

Google Pixel 6a vs Google Pixel 6: Design and Display

It’s easy to mistake the Pixel 6a for the Pixel 6 because they share a common design and look exactly the same. Both feature a two-tone wallpaper with a stunning black camera visor on the top that covers the width of the phone. Both have a two-tone rear with a prominent black camera guard that extends across the width of the phone. The Pixel 6a features a smaller camera band and protrudes less than the Pixel 6. However, a cover is necessary for both phones to protect the camera bump. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a are among the most unique looking phones on the market. They stand out from the crowd because of their distinct personalities and will undoubtedly turn heads.

Being an affordable offering, Pixel 6a opts for fewer premium materials. It has Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and a plastic back with a finger-resistant coating. The Pixel 6 has Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and Gorilla Glass 6 on the back, along with an aluminum frame.

Both phones are dust and water resistant, despite their different IP ratings. The Pixel 6a has an IP67 rating, while the Pixel 6 has a slightly higher IP68 rating. Neither phone has a microSD card slot nor a 3.5mm audio port.

The Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution, while the Pixel 6a has a smaller 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED panel. Although both are OLED panels with the same resolution, the Pixel 6 panel has the advantage that it can refresh up to 90Hz, providing a smoother scrolling experience. On the other hand, the Pixel 6a panel tops out with a refresh rate of 60Hz. Both devices support HDR10 and HDR10+ content.

cameras

Google Pixel 6a camera module

The biggest difference between the Pixel 6 and the more affordable Pixel 6a is the camera setup. While the previous Pixel A series came with the same camera setup as the flagship Pixel range, this time things are different. The Pixel 6a is a lower version of the Pixel 6 in terms of camera hardware.

While the Pixel 6 gets the new 50-megapixel Samsung GN1 sensor, the Pixel 6a uses the same 12.2-megapixel primary sensor that was used in previous Pixel phones, including the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5 series.

Despite outdated camera hardware, Pixel 6a still offers amazing camera performance due to Google’s excellent image processing and new image signal processor. However, as we noted in our review, the smaller sensor can suffer from night shots and low light and lag behind the Pixel 6’s 50MP super camera. Both phones can shoot 4K videos at 60 frames per second, but the Pixel 6 offers better quality footage.

We have included camera samples from both phones in the galleries below.

Pixel 6a camera samples

Google Pixel 6a

Pixel 6 Pro camera samples

Note: The samples below are from A Pixel 6 Pro. Since the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have the same basic shooter and processing package, there is no difference in image quality.

performance

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a are powered by the same internal Tensor SoC. Although not as powerful as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the Tensor is still a chipset capable of delivering flagship-level CPU and GPU performance. It features an octa-core CPU setup and consists of two Cortex-X1 cores, one Cortex-A76 core, and four Cortex-A55 cores. In addition, Tensor also contains many other components for machine learning and image processing tasks, such as a dedicated Tensor processing unit, a low-power context center, a Titan M2 security chip, and an image signal processor (ISP).

Both phones are prone to heating up and thermal throttling when playing graphics-intensive games like Genshin Impact for extended periods.

Although both phones have the same horsepower, the Pixel 6a performs worse than the Pixel 6 in the real world. This is mainly because the Pixel 6a has less RAM (6GB vs 8GB). In our review, we found that the phone struggled to keep apps in memory for a long time and could sometimes kill apps that are being actively used when there isn’t much space. Furthermore, given the 60Hz refresh rate, the Pixel 6a won’t feel as smooth and fluid as the Pixel 6, which can go up to 90Hz.

All in all, the Pixel 6 is superior in terms of everyday performance, thanks to the extra memory and a higher refresh rate screen. The Pixel 6a isn’t a bad performer per se, but don’t expect it to perform like a real smartphone.

As for the configurations, the Pixel 6a only comes in one variant that has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 gives you two options: 8GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB.

Battery life, fingerprint reader, and more

The Pixel 6 has a 4,614mAh battery, while the Pixel 6a has a smaller 4,410mAh battery. You can expect both phones to offer all-day battery life, although the Pixel 6a might do a little better thanks to its smaller screen size and lower screen refresh rate. Although there is not much difference in battery capacity, charging speed is a different story. The Pixel 6 offers 30W fast charging compared to the Pixel 6a’s 18W charging. Another notable difference is that the Pixel 6 offers wireless charging support while the Pixel 6a does not.

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a both come with a built-in fingerprint scanner. This is an area where the Pixel 6a actually outperforms the flagship Pixel 6. Google did the right thing by giving the Pixel 6a a new fingerprint scanner, which is faster and more reliable than the Pixel 6’s precise fingerprint scanner.

On the software front, both phones are running a version close to Android 12 with Pixel Launcher and Material You theme. Software support is similar, too, with Google promising up to three years of operating system updates and five years of security updates.

Google Pixel 6a vs Google Pixel 6: Which Should You Buy?

One of the biggest draws of the Pixel A series has always been that you can get the same camera hardware as your regular Pixel smartphone for less. This is not the case with the Pixel 6a. Instead of the new 50MP GN1 sensor found inside the Pixel 6, the Pixel 6a recycles the old 12.2MP sensor that’s been around for many generations. The shooter still managed to get the job done, but there’s nothing extraordinary about the camera’s overall performance. It is better than many other similarly priced mid-rangers on the market. But in case you were expecting massive camera improvements over the Pixel 5a and Pixel 4a, you will be disappointed. It’s also a shame that the Pixel 6a still uses a 60Hz screen while almost every other phone in the mid-range segment now has a high refresh rate screen. The Pixel 6a retains the same flagship SoC as the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but it’s not as good a selling point as one might think. Other mid-range SoCs will give you similar levels of performance, and the full experience you’ll get from a phone at a similar price will be almost better.

    The Google Pixel 6 offers a 90Hz AMOLED display, a Tensor chipset, and a powerful camera system.

    The Google Pixel 6a offers a 6.1-inch display, Tensor SoC, and capable cameras at an affordable price.

If you can spend the extra $150, the Pixel 6 is a better buy, in our opinion, because it offers a higher refresh rate display, better daily performance, and superior cameras. And the phone regularly sees discounts and price cuts, so you can get it at a lower price. In our view, the price difference of $150 or less is worth the jump for it, especially since you get camera hardware that stays more capable for longer.

But if you’re on a tight budget and want a phone with a capable camera and clean software, you can’t go wrong with the Pixel 6a. It’s a great device and great value for money too. But it can’t beat the value proposition the Pixel 6 brings to the table.


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