Google is Releasing One of the Pixel 6a’s Best Camera Capabilities to Older Phones This Phone

In the wake of Samsung and Apple demonstrating that you don’t need to spend close to $1,000 on a great phone, Google is following suit with the $449 Pixel 6A. On July 28, the company will unveil a new, cheaper Pixel that shares the same Tensor processor as the Pixel 6 but retails for $150 less. The Pixel 6A is available for £399 (approximately AU$749). 

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This year’s Pixel 3A isn’t the first in Google’s budget-friendly Pixel A-series. However, the Pixel 6A serves a different purpose than its predecessors did in Google’s lineup. The improvements made with the Pixel 5A and Pixel 4A seemed to address some of the issues that were present with the original Pixel 5 and Pixel 4. They were both overpriced when released, making the Pixel 5A and 4A seem like a better option for Pixel loyalists.

Pixel 6A’s Best Camera Capabilities

Instead, the Pixel 6A has some pretty big shoes to fill. The Pixel 6, with its excellent value at $600, undercuts flagships from Apple and Samsung by about $200 and was awarded an Editors’ Choice Award by CNET last year.

The Pixel 6A achieves its goal of providing excellent value for the money. Although the camera isn’t quite as good as the Pixel 6, the affordable phone still captures reasonably high-quality images. The same eye-catching design and software features unique to Pixel devices, such as Magic Eraser and Live Translator, are included. Unfortunately, the Pixel 6 just went on sale for $499, significantly reducing its original price. It was difficult to recommend the Pixel 6A when the price difference between it and the Pixel 6 was only $50 on Amazon Prime Day.

Google is Releasing One of the Pixel 6a's Best Camera Capabilities to Older Phones This Phone
Google is Releasing One of the Pixel 6a’s Best Camera Capabilities to Older Phones This Phone

The Pixel 6A is nearly indistinguishable from the Pixel 6 if you don’t compare the two devices side by side. The back of the phone is split into two colors, and a black camera strip runs across the middle. Instead of the lighter “sorta seafoam” green of the Pixel 6, I’ve been using the sage-colored Pixel 6A. The camera strip on the Pixel 6A is also narrower than on the Pixel 6, but otherwise, the two phones are identical in design.

Google says the back of the Pixel 6A is made of a “thermoformed plastic composite,” but it looks and feels like glass. This is one of the minor visual distinctions between the Pixel 6A and the Pixel 6, though it is nearly impossible to notice.

When compared to similarly priced Samsung phones, these aspects make the Pixel 6A feel more expensive than it actually is.

When compared to the Pixel 5A and 4A, Google‘s new Pixel 6A is on the smaller side. Google made the Pixel 6A smaller than the Pixel 6, whereas those other devices were larger than the flagship phones they were based on. The regular Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch screen, while the Pixel 6A’s screen is only 6.1 inches (making it the same size as the Galaxy S22 and iPhone 13).

The OLED screen on the Pixel 6A is bright, vivid, and clear enough for watching videos, reading the news, and checking email. Yet, in this respect, Samsung outperforms Google. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 and A53 both have brighter screens and the option to increase the refresh rate to 120Hz, making for silkier scrolling.

Compared to the Pixel 6, the Pixel 6A camera is a noticeable downgrade, but it’s still quite good for a phone at this price point. The camera system appears to be analogous to that of the Pixel 5A. The primary cameras on both handsets are identical in size, at 12.2 megapixels, with the same aperture, field of view, and pixel width.

Ultrawide cameras differ, with the Pixel 6A’s having a lower resolution and narrower field of view despite its wider pixels.

When it comes to color, detail, and sharpness, the Pixel 6’s 50-megapixel main camera is superior to the Pixel 6A’s 12.2-megapixel main camera. In nearly all of my tests, however, I found that the photos taken with the Pixel 6A were superior to those taken with the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G.

Unsurprisingly, the Pixel 6 had the highest quality photo output. Photos were taken with Google’s budget phone still have plenty of detail, despite being brighter and covering more of the frame than those taken with the Pixel 6A. While the photo taken with the Pixel 6A is darker than the one taken with the Samsung, it is also more detailed.

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