The Google Pixel 6a is the smaller sibling in Google’s Pixel 6 family, which includes the mid-range Pixel 6 and premium Pixel 6 Pro. The ‘a’ moniker is used by Google to designate their budget smartphone options, yet the Pixel 6a should only be viewed as ‘budget’ in price range alone.

By smartly cutting in areas that have little impact on performance, Google has shaped the Pixel 6a into an affordable powerhouse that can proudly stand alongside many premium smartphones.

The Google Pixel 6a is available to order in a selection of colours and with 128GB of internal storage for games, photos and videos.

Design

Being the smallest of the Pixel 6 range, the 6a is by far the most pocket-friendly of the line-up. Like many Pixel devices, this phone is premium in touch and design, with solid aluminium edges around the frame. However, the back of the Pixel 6a is plastic, so it can be susceptible to scratches from wear and tear.

Pixel-6a--2-

The screen on the 6a removes the rounded edges found on some smartphones, instead opting for a flat display. Atop the back of the phone is the chunky black camera bar, which contrasts very nicely with the 6a’s white colour option. Not everyone will like the bold design, but this sharp style is present throughout the entirety of the Pixel 6a’s aesthetic.

Performance

The differences between the Pixel 6a and the rest of the Pixel 6 range on the inside are minimal. The Pixel 6a has the same Tensor chip as the other smartphones in this range, giving it equal processing performance as the premium Pixel 6 Pro. This means fast loading of apps and reduced lag when switching tasks, particularly when swapping between games and web pages. With 6GB RAM also in the Pixel 6’s arsenal for rapid processing, this smartphone can handle practically anything thrown it's way.

Pixel-6a-Tensor-

The display of the Pixel 6a is a 6.1-inch HDR OLED screen, which is a fantastic addition to a smaller phone. At 1080p resolution, you have the full HD experience; combined with HDR, the colours and contrasts on the Pixel 6a are true-to-life and stunning.

Pixel-6a-Pic--1-

Whilst the Pixel 6a’s maximum refresh rate of 60Hz is not as smooth as 90 or 120 Hz on some phones, the tangible difference is minor. When you have a display like this, 60Hz still offers a fast experience and high levels of performance for day-to-day use, without pushing for a more expensive refresh rate.

Battery Life

The exceptional brightness, colour levels, and CPU performance of the Pixel 6a bring with it a hunger for battery power. This phone will typically last two days with 100% battery, but this may be dependent on how hard you push the Pixel 6a. 18W charging is on the slower end of the scale too, so it is advisable to try and charge the Pixel 6a throughout the day, to prevent you from being out of action should the battery reach 0%.

Cameras

Google’s smartphones have long had some of the best cameras in the industry, and the Pixel 6a confidently continues this streak. The company has opted to use the 12.2MP main camera found in the past three eras of the Pixel range, rather than the 50MP on the Pixel 6. This is a drop in raw visual quality and fidelity, but a 12MP wide-angle lens and 8MP front camera have been included alongside the main camera, the same used in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Google has offset the loss of the main camera’s megapixel count by including this impressive 12MP wide-angle lens for excellent landscape and panoramic shots.

Pixel-6a--4-

The software suite in the Pixel 6a also makes this phone a superb device for photographers. The Magic Eraser tool is a standout feature, enabling the user to remove objects and people from photos with the swipe of a finger. Real Tone is a tool built into the camera’s algorithms that helps produce photos with accurate tones, with no additional input needed by the user. Detail-rich images in all lighting conditions is where the Pixel 6a really shines, making it a tremendously versatile camera option.

Software & Storage

Android 12 is the operating system installed on the Pixel 6a and brings with it years of refinement. The clean user interface makes it a joy to use, as is the new dynamic colour feature, which automatically adds splashes of colour to the UI based on your phone’s wallpaper. Google has also included new accessibility features with Android 12, such as area magnification and extra dim.

Pixel-6a--5--1

128GB storage is available with the Pixel 6a, which is capable of storing dozens of games and hundreds of photos. There is no expandable storage in the Pixel 6a, so this should be considered if you plan to fill up the internal storage.

Summary

The term ‘budget premium’ has been used to define certain smartphones that aim for an effective balance between lower cost and more advanced technology. The Google Pixel 6a is a prime example of such a device. By sharing many of the features and hardware of its premium counterparts, the Pixel 6a can excel in many areas such as photography, whilst trimming down in size. This is a bold smartphone that easily stands out from the crowd.

Managing a budget extends beyond choosing which device to pick as your next smartphone. There are many budget apps available that can help you keep on top of your spending and plan where your money is going. Check out our breakdown of the top budget management apps to help find the best one for you.