If you’re the kind of person who waits for Google’s more affordable Pixel A-series releases, it’s time to start getting hyped for the upcoming Pixel 6a. This device could dominate the budget phone space with its $450 price tag and shockingly good specs.
Update, 5/11/22: Updated with info from Google’s Pixel 6a reveal.
During its I/O 2022 conference, Google announced that it will open Pixel 6a pre-orders on July 21st. The phone costs just $450. We’re not sure when the phone starts shipping, but Verizon says July 28th, so there’s that.
If you buy the Pixel 6a at Verizon, you’ll actually end up spending $500. That’s because Verizon’s version of the phone includes mmWave 5G, which requires additional hardware. Other carriers and retailers will sell the Pixel 6a with just sub-6 and low-band 5G support.
Verizon tells us that it will sell the Pixel 6a for $500. The higher price accommodates for the mmWave 5G hardware in the device—of course, you only get this mmWave hardware if you buy from Verizon
Notably, it seems that the Pixel 6a may roll out to more countries than the Pixel 5a. An FCC filing, first noticed by Droid Life, indicates that there are four separate model numbers for the phone. Only one of these models packs mmWave 5G (maybe it’s a Verizon exclusive), while others offer various (though mostly identical) 5G configurations.
Google confirmed that the Pixel 6a uses a 6.1-inch display, which is slightly smaller than the Pixel 6’s 6.4-inch screen. We expect Google to use a 1080p OLED panel for the Pixel 6a. Still, the Pixel 6a only has a 60Hz refresh rate, which is a downgrade from the Pixel 6’s 90Hz screen.
Official images of the Pixel 6a show that it reuses the Pixel 6 design. There’s the big camera bar, two-toned color scheme, and so on. But oddly enough, the phone has a glass and aluminum design. Most budget devices are plastic. (On the other hand, the Pixel 6a downgrades to Gorilla Glass 6 and a 4306mAh battery. The standard Pixel 6 uses Gorilla Glass Victus and an 4614mAh battery.)
The Pixel 6a comes in three colors—green, black, and white (or silver). Its dimensions, according to AT&T, are 2.8 x 6.0 x 0.35 inches. Google hasn’t shown off any cases or accessories for the device.
As expected, the Pixel 6a uses the same tensor chip as the Pixel 6. That means it has a ton of AI-powered features, including Live Translate and the Magic Eraser. More importantly, it’s a sign that the Pixel 6a will offer flagship performance at a very low price.
Of course, the Pixel 6a doesn’t completely match the Pixel 6’s specs. For example, AT&T tells us that the Pixel 6a has just 128GB of storage. That’s half the amount you get with the standard Pixel 6.
Other specs, such as RAM, are still a mystery. But the standard Pixel 6 uses 8GB of RAM, so it’s safe to assume that Google won’t go any lower. Right?
Nearly every Pixel phone uses the same 12MP Sony IMX363 primary sensor, but Google broke this trend with the Pixel 6’s 50MP lens. Unfortunately for camera nerds, the Pixel 6a uses the old 12MP sensor. But for normal people, the “downgrade” isn’t a big deal.
Pixel photo quality is not the result of hardware. Google’s computational photography algorithms are incredibly advanced, providing high quality photos with hardware that should be outdated. While this 12MP lens won’t outperform the Pixel 6’s 50MP lens, it will crush every other phone camera in the $450 price range.
Of course, you should consider my opinion an educated guess, as we haven’t had a chance to review the Pixel 6a yet.
Note that the Pixel 6a also uses an 8MP selfie camera and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. Presumably, these are the same cameras that are also in the Pixel 6.
Pre-orders for the Pixel 6a start July 21st for $450. We expect the phone to ship in August.
Still, we’ll continue to update this article with any new information we find on the Pixel 6a. Bookmark this page or join our free newsletter to keep up with the latest Pixel 6a leaks and rumors.