Google’s Pixel 6a is official with pre-orders going live on July 21st

    Unlike the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the leaks for the Pixel 6a didn’t entirely spoil the launch event at Google I/O and neither was it delayed by the pandemic as its predecessor was. As expected, the Pixel 6a is powered by Google’s Tensor processor and packs in a reasonably-sized battery which is claimed to be good for a full day of normal usage. Its dual 12MP camera setup is what we are used to seeing on Pixel handsets before the advent of the 6-series, with features such as Magic Eraser and Face Unblur bundled in. Pricing for the Pixel 6a starts from $449/£399, which may prove a stumbling block when its specs are compared with the likes of the OnePlus Nord N20 5G or the soon to launch OnePlus Nord 2T 5G.

    Besides being powered by the side Tensor chip as the Pixel 6 series, the Pixel 6a packs in a 6.1-inch OLED display with FHD+ resolution, under-display fingerprint sensor, and what could be its main flaw when compared to similarly priced competitors, a mere 60Hz refresh rate. Once you get past that, you’ll find 6GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 non-expandable storage.

    If the dual camera setup looks familiar it should because we’ve seen the 12.2MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide sensors on previous Pixel handsets. As with the Pixel 6, there’s an 8MP front-facing camera which is housed in a central punch-hole cutout on the display. A 4,410mAh battery is said to be good for at least a day’s usage before any power-saving features need to be activated. In a continuation of Google’s weird attitude towards charging speeds, the Pixel 6a is limited to 18W charging. There’s no wireless charging either, although that’s not necessarily a deal-breaking issue at this price point. Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 protects the display and the Pixel 6a’s rear panel is made from a ‘3D thermoformed composite’ material.

    Pricing. At $449 in the US, the Pixel 6a faces competitor from the likes of the OnePlus Nord N20 5G which offers a similar level of hardware (including a slightly larger display which is also AMOLED, FHD+, and 60Hz). The Nord N20 5G does, however have an ever so slightly larger battery (5,000mAh) as well as a faster 33W charging, and to further muddy the waters there’s also a trio of rear cameras that includes a 64MP main sensor and dedicated macro and monochrome cameras. And when you include the likes of Realme, Xiaomi, and perhaps even Samsung’s A-series, the Pixel 6a may struggle for traction outside of the US, other than diehard fans.

    It all comes down to the software support, and this is where the Pixel 6a stands head and shoulders above its competitors with a minimum of 5 years worth of security updates and access to new versions of Android at the same time as Google’s flagships. Not to mention being part of Google’s Android beta program each year. That being said, Google has struggled somewhat to provide stable firmware for the extremely popular Tensor-powered Pixel 6 series which has stumbled from glitch to glitch in the months since its launch.

    Pre-orders for the Pixel 6a will go live on July 21 in Sage, Chalk, and Charcoal with pricing starting from $449/£399. You’ll be able to buy the Pixel 6a in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, and Taiwan.

    What do you think of the Pixel 6a? Worth buying or are you rather going to wait for the Pixel 7 series later in the year?

    He’s been an Android fan ever since owning an HTC Hero, with the Dell Streak being his first phablet. He currently carries a Realme GT Neo 2 in his pockets, a Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 in his backpack, and thinks nothing of lugging a 17-inch laptop around the world. When not immersed in the world of Android and gadgets, he’s an avid sports fan, and like all South Africans, he loves a good Braai (BBQ).

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