Google Pixel 6a review: Right phone, wrong time

The Google Pixel 6a is an impressive mid-range smartphone that offers a compelling combination of features and performance. With its powerful Google Tensor chipset, high-quality cameras, and sleek design, the Pixel 6a has the potential to be a game-changer in the mid-range segment. However, its release timing has raised concerns, as it faces tough competition from its own flagship counterpart and other mid-range devices.


Powerful Google Tensor chipset delivers fast and smooth performance.
Impressive camera system captures stunning photos and videos.
Sleek design with a vibrant OLED display.


Released alongside the discounted flagship Pixel 6, making it less appealing.
Limited display refresh rate compared to competitors.
Absence of face unlock and microSD expansion options.

Design and Display:

The Pixel 6a features a sleek design that resembles its flagship counterparts, with a horizontal camera bar and a compact form factor. It is available in three attractive colors: Sage, Charcoal, and Chalk. The phone’s build quality is commendable, although some early manufacturing defects have been reported.

The Pixel 6a sports a 6.1-inch OLED display with HDR certification, offering vibrant colors and deep blacks. However, it falls short in terms of display refresh rate, with a limited 60Hz, while competitors offer higher refresh rates for smoother visuals. Nevertheless, the display quality is excellent, with accurate color reproduction and sharpness.

Performance and Software:

Powered by the Google Tensor chipset and paired with 6GB of RAM, the Pixel 6a delivers impressive performance, rivaling many other mid-range smartphones. The Google Tensor chipset ensures smooth multitasking and efficient app performance, making the device suitable for everyday usage and demanding tasks. It runs on Android 12, providing a clean and user-friendly interface with access to timely software updates.

Camera Capabilities:

The Pixel 6a boasts a capable camera system, consisting of a 12.2MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide sensor, and an 8MP selfie camera. While the camera hardware is not groundbreaking, the Pixel 6a leverages Google’s renowned computational photography prowess to capture stunning images. The main camera excels in various lighting conditions, delivering detailed shots with accurate colors and excellent dynamic range. The ultrawide sensor offers versatility for capturing expansive landscapes and group shots.

Software optimizations such as Magic Eraser and Face Unblur enhance the camera experience, allowing users to remove unwanted objects and capture clear portraits. The Pixel 6a’s video recording capabilities are also impressive, supporting up to 4K resolution at 60fps with stabilization.

Battery Life and Charging:

The Pixel 6a’s battery life is respectable, lasting nearly two days on a single charge for moderate usage. However, it falls short compared to its predecessor, likely due to the power-hungry nature of the Google Tensor chipset. The device supports 18W charging, which is slower than some competitors but still adequate for everyday use.

Value and Competition:

The Pixel 6a’s value proposition is overshadowed by its release timing. Its launch alongside the discounted Pixel 6 makes it less appealing to consumers who may prefer the flagship device for just a slightly higher cost. Additionally, the mid-range smartphone market is highly competitive, with strong offerings from competitors such as Xiaomi, Samsung, and OnePlus.

The Google Pixel 6a is an impressive mid-range smartphone with its powerful chipset, capable camera system, and sleek design. However, its release timing alongside the discounted Pixel 6 and stiff competition in the mid-range segment raises concerns. The limited display refresh rate, absence of face unlock and microSD expansion options further impact its appeal. While the Pixel 6a offers a compelling user experience, it may have missed its opportunity to shine due to factors beyond its control.

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