Google Pixel 6a Assessment | Greatest Android Telephone Below $500

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The Takeaway: Google’s $449 Pixel 6a is a powerhouse of a funds telephone, outfitted with a vibrant OLED display screen and a pointy digicam that processes pictures with best-in-class AI. All the pieces runs off of the corporate’s proprietary Tensor chip, which is optimized to squeeze probably the most efficiency and longest battery life out of an Android telephone. In my week of utilizing it as my major handset, I discovered the synergy between Google’s {hardware} and software program offered fluid visuals in demanding 3D video games and seamless multitasking—with out the crashes widespread on even mid-range Android smartphones.

Wanting past the Android panorama, the Pixel 6a competes with the $429 iPhone SE (2022). These two sub-$500 smartphones don’t really feel entry-level, as they pack flagship stage processors—maintaining them aggressive with mid-range telephones double the value. The Pixel 6a pulls off on a regular basis duties higher and is the most effective telephone of the 12 months.

Google Pixel 6a Smartphone

Google Pixel 6a Smartphone

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Key Specs

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2400×1080)
CPU: Google Tensor
Storage: 128 GB (non-expandable)
RAM: 6 GB

A Comfy Design Homes A Giant, Vibrant Display

The Pixel 6a’s compact physique measures simply 6 x 2.8-inches and weighs simply 0.4 kilos. Its lanky candy-bar-like form makes it simple to grip and function with one hand whereas offering loads of vertical area for extra data on the prime. Edges are curved to raised suit your hand—a welcome addition on this period of chunky, squared-off metallic iPhone enclosures. From the entrance, simply the OLED display screen and aluminum body edges are seen. Google lower prices by switching out the again glass on the Pixel 6 for a plastic cowl.

On the left aspect, you’ll discover only a sole pinhole for the SIM tray, and on the appropriate is an influence button simply above the amount rocker. Flipping the telephone over reveals the signature Pixel digicam visor, which is extra compact than on its pricier siblings. Throughout my time with the 6a, it survived falls from tables and my pants pockets with out a lot as a smudge or scratch. And I had no subject typing out texts or putting calls after submerging it within the sink to check its IP67 water- and dust-resistance score. Whereas its supplies could also be much less sturdy than the pricier Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Professional, the 6A continues to be a strong telephone.

call of duty on google pixel 6a

Trevor Raab

A colourful 6.1-inch OLED display screen pushes out a median 750 nits of brightness—greater than most telephones at this worth level. This huge, high-contrast show brings environments to life with lifelike colours, whether or not you’re a photograph you’ve captured or watching movies. With none distracting notch reducing into display screen area, I may focus extra on no matter sport I used to be taking part in. This meant, in top-down video games like Stardew Valley, I may see a bigger portion of the map, and my first-person subject of view in Name of Responsibility was good and vast. Whereas the iPhone SE ditches the notch of its huge siblings to provide you a full-screen image, it feels wasted on a squished 4.7-inch display screen at 1334×750 pixels (non-HD) that’s noticeably dimmer at a max brightness of 625 nits. The Pixel 6a’s 1080×2400, 60-hertz OLED display screen outshines it and, on the floor, is sort of on par with the $799 base iPhone 14, save for the truth that it could’t get as brilliant.

There’s loads of area to navigate round Pixel’s bloat-free Android launcher. Paired with gesture navigation, the expertise is frictionless; swipe left to see your Google Information feed, drag upwards to reveals all your apps, and pull down from the highest for a fast menu. Regardless that the Pixel is capped to the identical 60-hertz refresh charge because the iPhone SE, it felt noticeably quicker opening the app tray or swiping pages. Whereas different funds Android telephones just like the Samsung A53 have as much as a 120-hertz show, their processing energy can’t match that of the Google Tensor.

Google Tensor Gives Highly effective Android Efficiency

Each on paper and in use, the octa-core Tensor chip powering the Pixel 6a (the identical one on the $899 Pixel 6 Professional flagship) is a beast. I skilled no sluggish downs and fewer than a handful of crashes when switching between demanding apps. Enhancing video clips was snappy, and I performed graphic- and resource-demanding video games at excessive visible settings with out perceptible drops within the body charge. The Pixel makes use of this additional computing energy for not solely improved operation, but additionally unique options like Dwell Translation of textual content or audio in addition to Now Enjoying, which passively identifies songs the gadget hears within the background with out draining battery.

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Each Google and Apple have shared the identical highly effective chips of their flagship telephones with their entry-level fashions. This pits the Tensor head-to-head with the A15 Bionic, which is the strongest cell chip in a telephone. Within the Geekbench 5 task-processing check I used, the iPhone SE’s A15 Bionic put up 1722 single- and 4546 multi-core scores to the Pixel’s 1052 and 2946. So whereas the Pixel 6a guidelines over its nearest Android competitor, the Samsung Galaxy A53 (which scores 681 and 1778), Apple nonetheless has a far stronger chip. However in most on a regular basis use, the distinction is imperceptible.

Looking the online, opening pages, viewing animations, and launching apps is nearly the identical on the telephones. The truth is, the sharper textual content and visuals on the Pixel’s bigger 2400x1080p display screen appears to be like higher. However crack open a video editor and the ability hole comes into play. The place the Pixel can export an edited video clip in 46 seconds, the iPhone SE renders that very same clip in simply 22. And when unpacking useful resource information of heavy apps like Diablo Immortal or Name of Responsibility Cellular, the iPhone SE labored at a charge of 5 megabytes to each 1 megabyte on the Pixel for quicker installs.

google pixel 6a display

Trevor Raab

Gaming on the Pixel 6a is lots clean and earned a excessive rating on the 3DMark GPU Wildlife Take a look at graphics benchmark check. This pegged the telephone’s 40.5-frame-per-second common at 89 p.c higher than the outcomes from all different units. In Name of Responsibility cell at excessive settings, there was an occasional stutter when a number of animated results—like flying sparks and swaying coat tails—taxed the telephone. Nevertheless, its in-game graphical efficiency was regular, with out main drops or artifacts, on par with mid-range Androids. In the meantime, the iPhone SE averaged 46 FPS on the identical check. In my time with the iPhone, I didn’t see any of the occasional visible hiccups as on the Pixel. Whereas that telephone’s smaller display screen may not be probably the most immersive, the SE’s energy is simple. As a gamer, I wasn’t turned off within the slightest by this hole. On a bigger TV, I count on 4K at 60 FPS. However on telephones with smaller screens, the distinction is negligible. I most well-liked gaming on the Pixel’s larger, brighter display screen, which give a greater window into the digital worlds.

As for battery life, the Pixel lasted a full 24 hours in my real-world utilization of sending messages all through the day, bite-sized gaming periods, and looking via social media feeds. However in our battery drain check, which consistently streams stay video and remark information at 20 p.c brightness, the Pixel lasted 8 hours and 43 minutes from a full cost.

Digital camera For Content material Creators

The Pixel’s vast and ultra-wide rear 12-megapixel cameras profit from Google’s image-processing expertise with sharp and punchy colours. Within the photographs under, you may see how the digicam brings out the richer reds within the pepperoni slice and sharper background textual content on the umbrella within the background. However, the iPhone SE’s single digicam isn’t any slouch, however its hotter tones nearly appear like there’s a filter on its pictures. Equally, daytime snaps on the Pixel precisely relayed life-like colours just like the darker blacks of a tee shirt the place the iPhone SE created a picture that made the shirt look grey. Shift over to low-light capturing, and the SE’s lack of night-sensor {hardware} left darkish pictures taken with out flash too noisy to be usable. Evening Sight on the Pixel 6a comes out clear and extracts a powerful quantity of colour from a virtually pitch-black room.

→ Google Pixel 6a & iPhone SE Digital camera Samples

pepperoni pizza on outdoor table

With the Pixel, you could have extra capturing selection and modes. Tensor additionally extracts extra particulars from photographs so that you’re much less prone to lose them in shadows and brilliant mild. And in contrast to the iPhone SE, it could shoot in RAW format for extra freedom for enhancing. The Pixel’s built-in enhancing instruments aren’t any Photoshop, however the telephone does home comparable AI-assisted tech like Magic Eraser. This instrument makes it simple to circle and take away objects shortly with a faucet. I used the impact on offered clear outcomes—eradicating distractions like wires, photobombers, and litter on the bottom. However every now and then, it could fill within the space I changed with a distracting sample or depart a visible goof just like the reflection of the lower object (as you may see with the paper towel under). On different telephones, you want a third-party app to take away undesirable objects from a picture, they usually depart you with a lot worse outcomes.

using eraser on google pixel 6a

Trevor Raab

using eraser tool on google pixel 6a photo

Trevor Raab

The Pixel captures video at as much as 4K decision at 60 frames per second or 1080p at as much as 240 FPS, which is best than most funds telephones. Even nearer to $500, these units prime out round 4K 30. Stationary clips that I shot with no tripod had been freed from jitter, however the Pixel does have panning and moving-stabilization choices. I discovered these modes efficient, even taking away the vicious bobbing of a clip I took whereas jogging. However since this tech crops in on the seize to stabilize your footage, it compresses exports all the way down to a 1080p decision. In the meantime, the iPhone gives a aggressive 4K 60 however with a weaker zoom-in efficiency and fewer capturing modes.

The Verdict

The Pixel 6a is the most effective Android telephone you may get for underneath $500. Its optimum dimension and balanced energy rips via on a regular basis duties and runs the most recent video games. Google’s strategic cuts enable for a premium show and digicam so it doesn’t really feel like a compromise. However in case you’re somebody who pushes graphics to their most settings and/or usually edits video, then the pace and energy of the iPhone SE (2022) with the A15 chip is unmatched. For most individuals, the Pixel 6a’s bigger display screen, sleeker physique, and stronger dual-lens digicam make it the higher alternative.

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