Google Pixel 6a evaluation: The small Pixel phone I have actually been wishing for

Image Credit: Sam Rutherford/ Engadget

Video Cameras

Google has actually long stood out at photography, and the Pixel 6a is an extension of that custom. Its set of 12-megapixel rear electronic cameras and 8-MP front sensing unit took brilliant, vibrant photos that equaled those from more costly phones.

Information like window panes and specific blades of yard were crisp, and Google continues to provide exceptional images in low light. Honestly, at this rate, there is no much better electronic camera for nighttime photography. Thanks in big part to Night Sight, the Pixel 6a normally caught brighter images in incredibly dim environments, keeping higher information even in shadows. The fixed bikes in a workout space in the evening were clearer in shots from the Pixel 6a than those from the iPhone SE, and I might even check out the words on a check in Google’s variation. Apple’s choice to cut the night mode on its budget plan phone puts it at a genuine drawback here.

Compared to the iPhone SE, the Pixel 6a’s photos tended to have lower contrast and less-saturated colors. Apple likewise produces much better vibrant variety, and it was tough to choose my preferred images in between the 2.

Google has the upper hand when it concerns adaptability, however. Given that it has an extra ultrawide lens (compared to the iPhone’s solo rear electronic camera), the Pixel 6a made it possible to zoom out to get extensive landscapes. And though it does not have a telephoto lens, Google’s viewfinder user interface makes zooming into far-off topics easier. Rather of needing to pinch on the iPhone, you can change in between pre-programmed ranges like 0.6 x, 1x and 2x simply by tapping the onscreen buttons.

Gallery: Pixel 6a electronic camera samples|27 Pictures

Gallery: Pixel 6a electronic camera samples|27 Pictures

I likewise chose Google’s Picture mode, which let me get closer to topics and used a shallower depth of field. Both the iPhone and the Pixel took selfies of comparable quality, and the distinctions in between them boiled down to really small variations in color temperature level. Provided Google and Apple utilize 8-MP and 7MP sensing units respectively, the resemblance in sharpness isn’t unexpected.

Regardless of having the sharpest electronic cameras, the Galaxy A53 provided images that were close in quality to the Pixel 6a and iPhone SE. Its 32-MP front electronic camera and main 64-MP sensing unit on the back didn’t lead to crisper images. Compared to the Pixel and iPhone, however, the Galaxy A53’s electronic camera was visibly slower and had a hard time to record several shots in fast succession.

Though Google did gear up the Pixel 6a with a few of the tools discovered on its flagships, like Magic Eraser to modify away photobombers, for instance, functions like Action Pan and Long Direct exposure are missing. That’s great by me, considering that Magic Eraser is the most beneficial of the lot, and works too on the 6a as on the Pro. You likewise get the capability to shoot in RAW, which you can’t do on the iPhone SE.

The Pixel 6a showing its lock screen with a fingerprint icon below the clock widget.

Sam Rutherford/ Engadget

Efficiency, finger print sensing unit and in usage

As the very first A-series phone utilizing Google’s own Tensor chip, the Pixel 6a’s efficiency must be quite comparable to its flagship brother or sisters. In basic, this held true– the 6a hardly stammered when leaping in between video games, modifying images, searching Instagram and shooting videos. Much like my Pixel 6 Pro, however, the 6a tended to run warm when playing casual video games such as HK Mahjong or the New York City Times Crossword for more than 15 minutes. It never ever got amazingly hot, however I did wish to put it down after a while.

Sometimes, the Pixel 6a would take a couple of seconds to show info in an app, however that primarily taken place in the very first hours after I established the phone, so I’ll chalk that as much as early loading concerns. I’m more worried about the long-lasting stability of the Pixel 6a’s software application, particularly provided all the issues pestering the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro considering that they released. I have not come across anything significant throughout my screening, however the majority of the bugs on the other 2 just began appearing weeks after our evaluation duration.

In the meantime, I can just state the software application acts as anticipated, which Google supports as much as 5 years of Pixel updates. Changing wallpapers and using brand-new system-wide color pattern produced by Android occurred without considerable hold-up, and whatever I take pleasure in about Pixel UI is here. I like having the ability to simply inform my phone “Stop” to silence it when an alarm is going off. (Though, on my Pixel 6 Pro this typically takes around 3 progressively annoyed efforts till I’m yelling at the phone.) I likewise value Assistant functions like Call Screening and Hold For Me, that make the unbearable experience of being on the phone a lot less unpleasant.

Top down view of the sage and white Pixel 6a next to each other, on top of book on a wooden surface.

Sam Rutherford/ Engadget

Perhaps I have actually grown utilized to the Pixel 6 Pro’s slow, in-display finger print sensing unit, however the Pixel 6a’s scanner didn’t feel as difficult. It’s still slower than Samsung’s, however it’s functional.

Battery life

The A-series has actually long stood apart for outstanding battery life, and when again, the 6a is a winner. It clocked a massive 19 hours and 10 minutes on our video rundown test, which is much shorter than the Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, and Galaxy A53, however still hours longer than the iPhone SE.

While the iPhone SE provides cordless charging, regrettably the Pixel 6a does not. It likewise just supports quick charging with wired 18W battery chargers. Fortunately is however, the 6a is likewise suitable with the M3/T4 listening devices requirement, in addition to sub-6 and mmWave 5G.

A woman holding up the sage Pixel 6a to her ear.

Sam Rutherford/ Engadget


I believe it’s time we stopped seeing the Pixel A series as a “budget plan” line. With its refined style, effective processor and pleasing electronic cameras, there are more resemblances than distinctions in between the 6a and its flagship brother or sisters. It is quickly among the very best phones for the cash. Yes, it would be great to get a quicker, brighter screen and cordless charging, however those aren’t a provided on a midranger. If you can’t live without a greater refresh rate and can invest no greater than $500, the Galaxy A53 is an option, though be alerted that its efficiency is doubtful. In the United States, there is no much better Android phone under $500 than the Pixel 6a.

Secret specifications


Pixel 6a


6.1-inch 2,400 x 1,080 (20:9) OLED, 429ppi, 60Hz


6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35 inches/ 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm; 6.3 oz/ 178 grams

Processor and Storage

Google Tensor; 6GB LPDDR5 RAM, 128GB (UFS 3.1) storage

Rear electronic cameras

12.2 MP primary dual-pixel electronic camera, f/1.7 aperture with 77-degree FOV, 12MP ultrawide electronic camera, f/2.2 aperture with 114-degree FOV.

Front electronic camera

8MP, f/2.0, 84-degree FOV


4,400 mAh battery, 18W wired charging (0.8 c)

Sensing units and connection

Finger print Unlock with under-display finger print sensing unit, NFC, WiFi 6 and 6E, Bluetooth 5.2

Water resistance


Score for hearing help

M3, T4

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