Last week I tested the latest budget smartphone, Pixel 6a. And while the “affordable” phone costs $749, it has a lot in common with the $999 premium Google Pixel 6 smartphone.
Unboxing and Design
Telephone comes in three fresh colors including light green ‘Sage’, white with gray accent ‘Chalk’ and predominantly dark gray ‘Charcoal’. I got my hands on the Sage, which has to be my favorite.
The Google Pixel 6 had a similar colorway called Seafoam and it looks just as good on this one. budget phone. In fact, the device looks like they’ve done a shrink with the Google Pixel 6. At first glance, it’s identical, with the same FHD+ OLED display and in-screen fingerprint scanner, with the only visible difference being its size.
The Pixel 6a has a 6.1-inch display compared to the Pixel 6’s 6.4-inch screen. And while the Pixel 6 has a more premium glass back, the Google Pixel 6a is indistinguishable from it despite being made entirely of plastic.
In terms of looks, you can certainly flaunt the illusion of owning a premium phone at a more affordable price.
Unfortunately, you get the same contents in the box that have become the norm for premium phones, which means there is no charger in the box. All you get is a phone, a USB-C charging cable, and a USB-A to USB-C adapter. Google sells its USB-C fast charging adapter separately at checkout.
The Google Pixel 6a has a stripe on the back of the phone that houses the cameras and protrudes from the device. I like this design because it means that the phone balances when placed face down on a table, while some phones wobble due to balancing on the side facing cameras.
There are two rear cameras, including a 12.2MP wide camera and a 12MP ultra wide camera. And while they can’t compete with many phones in this price range, Google’s in-camera technology captures high-quality photos with balanced, vibrant, true-to-life colors.
Although these lenses are a little dated, traditionally the Pixel camera hardware and software have always produced excellent results, and the same for the 6a. Night mode is particularly impressive, and the camera performs well in all conditions.
On the front, you also get a reasonable selfie camera. It’s only 8 megapixels, but believe it or not, it’s the same front-facing camera found on the premium Pixel 6.
There are a few notable sacrifices you’ll make with this more budget phone, and that’s the 60Hz refresh rate. If you don’t know what that means, then honestly you probably won’t notice the difference.
On the other hand, if you’re running into a higher refresh rate on your phone, like the 90Hz on the Pixel 6, you’ll notice that the phone doesn’t scroll as “smoothly”.
Also, the phone only has 6GB of RAM, so it technically has slightly less processing power, but it’s not very noticeable with Google’s new Tensor chip.
It’s the same chip not only in the Pixel 6, but also in the Pixel 6 Pro. This allows the phone to carry out amazing new features such as live translation, which allows you to communicate in 11 languages in real time. In addition, the phone launches with the latest Android 12 operating system.
You can’t share your battery with others with this phone, but you can keep the battery going for more than 24 hours, or at least that’s what Google is quoting.
The phone has an adaptive battery that can learn how you use your device and turn off less used apps in the background to save battery.
I found that over time my battery could consistently last around 20 hours if I didn’t spend too much time watching video content.
And if you’re in a pinch, you can also use “Extreme Battery Saver” to increase battery life (but only to save it until the last phone call or Uber ride to get home).
Is it worth buying?
It’s a great phone, but I miss the headphone jack that the Google Pixel 5a 5G used to have.
There are several new software features that set the Pixel 6a apart from its predecessor, including the Tensor processor. However, I’m a big fan of the previous Pixel 5a’s durable plastic, smart design, which I think still holds up well.
Overall, this is a nifty little 5G-enabled Pixel 6 clone that does a great job of bringing you the latest and greatest Pixel 6 performance and style at an affordable price. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd but still save some money, then the $749 Pixel 6a is the way to go.
Originally published as Elly Awesome on a new budget smartphone that looks premium