Since the release of the Pixel 3A in 2019, Google has been offering more affordable Pixel phones in the form of the A-series. The Google Pixel 6a is the company’s fourth-generation A-series smartphone which is powered by the Google Tensor chipset.
It is the first phone from Google that is certainly affordable, and it brings both the Tensor chipset as well as a unique design. It’s just the right size; not too big, not too small. Don’t worry about the small size, it doesn’t cut corners on features or components.
It’s almost perfect in nearly every aspect. But is this so-called the ‘perfect phone’ in every aspect worth 44k? Let’s find out in this Google Pixel 6A review.
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The Google Pixel 6A comes only in a single variant. The 6GB and 128GB storage options of Pixel 6a cost Rs. 43,999 in India. It is available in two colour options: Charcoal and Chalk.
You can buy the phone online from Flipkart. Axis Bank Credit and Debit Card cardholders will get Rs. 4000 instant discount.
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The all-new Google Pixel 6A packs the following items inside the box::
- USB-C to USB-C Cable
- Quick Start Guide
- Quick Switch Adaptor
- Sim Ejector Tool
Before we talk in detail about the Google Pixel 6A, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like:
- Display: 6.1 inches OLED
- Chipset: Google Tensor
- RAM & ROM: 6GB RAM 128GB Internal Storage
- Software: Android v12
- Rear camera: 12.2MP + 12MP
- Selfie camera: 8 MP
- Battery: 4410 mAh
- Weight: 178 grams
- Dimensions: 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm
From a distance, the Google Pixel 6A looks a lot like the Pixel 6 (review). It has the same camera strip with the two-tone finish on the back as the Pixel 6. I thought at first that the back was made of glass; however, it’s actually made of plastic, but it’s high-quality plastic.
Even though it is smaller than the vast majority of other compact smartphones on the market, the Pixel 6a is still quite a sizable device, especially when compared to the huge Pixel 6 Pro (review). Rounded aluminium edges make its boxy design comfortable to hold.
It’s rough and feels sturdy, which balances out the glossy back, which can be slightly slippery without a case. Even though it’s not often mentioned, the camera strip runs all the way from left to right, which makes the phone sit flat on a table, allowing you to navigate the screen without having to worry about it wobbling.
As far as the buttons are concerned, the power button and volume rockers are on the right side. The phone has a SIM tray slot on the left side. It has a USB Type-C port, microphone, and speaker grill located on the bottom.
The phone has dust and water resistance ratings of IP67, which is lower than the IP68 ratings found in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro; however, it’s still good when compared to other phones on the market.
The camera on the Google Pixel 6A is good for a phone that costs as much as it does, but it’s not as good as the one on the Pixel 6. It lacks the 50-megapixel sensor found on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, but you still receive two excellent cameras.
The Pixel 6a uses a 12MP Sony IMX363 sensor with optical image stabilisation and a 12MP ultrawide sensor. You get to see an 8MP selfie camera on the front. The camera’s user interface is easy to use. You can choose between different modes like portrait, camera, night sight, video, photo sphere, panorama, and Google Lens.
The camera takes well-balanced pictures with good colour consistency between the ultrawide camera and the primary camera, which is something that some phones have trouble with. There is no optical zoom, but instead you get a 0.6x ultrawide lens and a 7x digital zoom. The results of this digital zoom aren’t particularly impressive and may not be very useful.
The ultra-wide camera on the Pixel 6a isn’t quite as good as the Pixel 6, but there’s still a lot to appreciate about it. With a 114-degree field of view, you’ll be able to fit a lot of things into the shot. It’s also worth noting that the Pixel 6a has a portrait mode that takes great shots. The Pixel 6A has excellent edge detection. There is also a nice amount of blur in the background, and the edges are clear.
When it comes to taking pictures in low light, a Pixel is hard to beat. Even though a bigger sensor can help reduce exposure times, Google’s Night Sight mode works incredibly well even if the subject is moving. It can capture details that other phones would miss out on.
In terms of the selfie camera, the Pixel 6A has an 8-megapixel sensor like the Pixel 6. It takes good selfies, however, the portrait mode has some trouble picking up my hair strands and doesn’t seem as uniform with results as the primary rear camera.
Both the main and the ultra-wide cameras can record videos in 4K at 60 fps. You can also swap between the two cameras. The primary camera offers a number of stabilisation modes, including standard, locked, active, and cinematic pan.
Both the primary and ultra-wide cameras record high-quality video with good detailing. Due to the low resolution of the front-facing camera, you can only record video in 1080p at a maximum of 30 fps.
Talking about the battery, Google Pixel 6A packs a relatively small 4410mAh battery inside it. However, don’t let the small size fool you. Thanks to the Tensor chipset, the Pixel 6A will easily last one day of regular use and can even survive the next day with light use.
There’s also an extreme power saving mode that further increases the battery life by terminating the background apps and turning off some features. I got about 7-8 hours of screen on time with casual use, including scrolling through Instagram, playing games and making some calls.
Now charging is where things get disappointing. The Pixel 6A supports only 18W of charging and you don’t even get to see a charger in the box. The 18W charging is just too slow. It takes somewhere around 2 hours to fully charge the phone from 0 to 100 per cent.
The Google Pixel 6A has a 6.1-inch OLED screen with a Full HD+ resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels, a 20:9 aspect ratio, and around 431 PPI. The display is very bright, and it also supports HDR. To keep things simple, the Pixel 6a doesn’t have a fast refresh rate; instead, it has a standard 60Hz.
Is it true that a higher refresh rate makes a difference? Yes, there is a noticeable difference in some scenarios, especially when scrolling through social media sites like Instagram and Twitter. But it’s not really a deal breaker when it comes to day-to-day use.
Fortunately, the display on the 6a is excellent, with ample brightness, making it easy to see the display even in direct sunlight. It’s a top-notch panel with fantastic colour reproduction and clarity.
The OLED display on the Pixel 6a has deeper blacks and excellent contrast, and you can see that when you’re watching videos or playing games. The flat display has thin bezels all around the display with a slightly thicker chin than the top of the screen.
As I mentioned earlier, it supports HDR and that enhances the overall multimedia experience while watching movies on Netflix. However, the tiny punch hole on the top of the display tries to interrupt the good experience.
The Google Tensor SoC powers the Google Pixel 6A, which was first seen in the Pixel 6. The Pixel 6a is a mid-range smartphone that offers true flagship performance thanks to its combination of 6GB RAM and 128GB Storage. The phone absolutely flies through everything.
The Pixel 6a delivers excellent performance for most day-to-day tasks, thanks to the Tensor hardware. There is no stuttering or lag when navigating within the operating system, and the camera app and other applications start up quickly.
The performance is flawless and there are no hiccups at any point. It also provides a smooth gaming experience even when playing graphically demanding games. I tried a couple of popular titles like BGMI, COD Mobile, and Genshin Impact. All the games ran well in medium to high settings and I didn’t face any major lags.
However, during my long BGMI sessions, I noticed some frame drops here and there. Lowering the graphic settings seemed to solve this issue.
Well, I’ll be honest here, the phone tends to get warm while playing heavy games, recording 4K videos or while charging. Although it’s not up to a level where you need to worry.
Software and UI is one of those major areas in which Pixel devices really shine and differentiate themselves from other phones. Google Pixel 6A runs on Android 12 and will be among the first devices to get the Android 13 update; which is just around the corner. Pixel phones have software features that other Android phones don’t have, and the Pixel 6A is no different.
It’s fun to use Android 12. In terms of look and performance, it’s right up there with a Pixel 6 Pro. There is no unnecessary bloatware in the phone. You will have access to wonderful features such as “Material You,” a redesigned user interface that includes a number of newly customisable app icons, widgets, and colour schemes. Another feature is to use the Recorder app, which will live-transcribe conversations that you are having.
The always-on display on the Pixel 6A is one of my favourite features, and its simplicity is the most appealing aspect. It displays the current time, date, and weather, as well as full app notifications if you want to. Also, you get to see the Magic Eraser feature, which lets you remove unwanted people and objects from your photos with a tap.
The company has promised five years of security patches and three Android OS updates, which takes it all the way to Android 15 in 2024.
The sound from the stereo speakers on Google Pixel 6A is loud and clear, and there isn’t any distortion even when the volume is turned all the way up. Audio through the headphones is good as well but you’ll need a wireless one as Pixel 6A doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio jack.
Google Pixel 6A supports dual SIM 5G connectivity (Nano-SIM and eSIM) with following 5G bands: n1, n2, n3, n5, n7, n8, n12, n20, n25, n28, n30, n38, n40, n41, n48, n66, n71, n77 and n78. It also features Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth v5.2, GPS and NFC as other connectivity options.
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The Pixel 6A features an in-display optical fingerprint scanner which is located somewhere in the centre of the display. I found it to be fast and reliable in unlocking my phone. However, it takes at least a second for the phone to unlock using the fingerprint scanner.
With the help of the Google Tensor chipset and a top-notch camera, the Google Pixel 6A is in a league of its own at this price range. The attractive design, bright display and improved performance makes this phone more appealing than its predecessor. As it’s a Pixel device, it has one of the best cameras among midrange smartphones and can compete with phones that cost much more.
However, with only a 60Hz screen, 18W charging, and a slow fingerprint sensor, the Rs. 43,999 price tag is difficult to justify. However, the fact that it is a Pixel, means that it provides an Android experience that is unparalleled and has a premium feel that you won’t find on any other phone at this price point.
Overall, the Google Pixel 6A offers flagship performance and a high-quality camera at a mid-range price, making it an excellent buy.