By this point, we all know what to expect from Google's "a" phones: Last year's hardware for a much lower price. In that respect, the Pixel 6a isn't a huge surprise. The phone, which was announced today at Google's I/O 2022 keynote, is powered by Google's first "Tensor" AI chip, just like the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro before it. It will cost just $449 when it hits shelves on July 28th. But unlike the previous Pixel 5a, which was a slightly boring rehash of the Pixel 4a 5G, Google's new mid-range phone actually offers some useful upgrades.
For one, the Pixel 6a offers the same unique two-tone case as the Pixel 6, something that helps it to stand out in the crowded field of boring smartphones. Google also shrunk the screen down to 6.1 inches, whereas the 5a had a 6.34-inch display. Because of that decision, along with smaller enclosure materials, Google says it's roughly the size of the Pixel 5. If anything, it's nice to have a modern Pixel phone that's a bit more compact for smaller hands.
Most importantly, though, Google's Tensor chip delivers all of the same features as the more expensive Pixels. There's support for 5G, Titan M2 security and enough speed to power complex tasks like Google's Live Translate. According to Rick Osterloh, Google's SVP of Devices and Services, the Tensor chip is a "big deal for a phone at this price." It's certainly more impressive than the aging Snapdragon chips mid-range phones are typically stuck with.
The Pixel 6a features dual rear cameras, just like the 5a, but now there's a 12 megapixel ultrawide sensor alongside the 12-megapixel main camera. It still has the same 8MP front-facing camera as before, but we're hoping Google's upgraded software can do more with that lens this time. Pixel 6a comes with an enhanced version of Google's Magic Eraser photo editing tool, and its Real Tone feature will also better capture the nuances of skin tones.
Google says the Pixel 6a will receive five years of security upgrades, making it a solid investment if you don't plan to upgrade too often. It will be available in charcoal, chalk and sage cases, and you'll be able to pre-order Pixel 6a phone on July 21st.
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