We spent 8 days with the 100% Google smartphone, the Pixel 6a


Powered by Google Tensor for fast performance, adaptive battery that can last 24+ hours, smart photography, well-established security and water resistance.

Google will announce its newest additions to the Pixel family, including the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, during a livestream event on October 6. The Pixel brand was launched in February 2013, and Google announced the first-generation Pixel smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, on October 4, 2016 at the Made By Google event. The strength of this line is Google’s photo and tools in its entirety with Google Pixel UI which is an Android skin used for the Google Pixel line of smartphones and developed by Google. In 2021, in the United States, Google phones have a lower market share than LG and Huawei.

This can be partly explained by the lack of popularity of the Pixel range, although they are excellent phones, often due to the lack of publicity on the brand. According to Nielsen, since the start of 2016, for example, Google has spent just over £40m on smartphone advertising in the UK. By comparison, Apple and Samsung spent about four to five times more than that. Google’s DNA is cloud, software and AI, not hardware. Also, building your own hardware and competing with your partners, especially Samsung or Chinese vendors, is not easy. This argument was made before the Pixel’s launch, however, about whether vendors would be happy with the company behind Android making its own phone, but Google pushed on.

Pixel 6a

Since the first Pixel, Google has always done a terrific job of industrial design. The thing continues with the Pixel 6 series with a thick, symmetrical camera bar that puts the camera front and center. The two-tone design language offers a sophisticated look and feel, which makes the Pixel 6a smartphone stand out. Google’s cheaper A-series Pixel phones aren’t new, having been around since 2019’s Pixel 3A. But the Pixel 6A fills a different need in Google’s lineup than its more recent predecessors.

The Pixel 6a is a very good smartphone under €500, a winning formula for Google for best budget phone in a major purchase segment. One of the strengths over its competitors: it’s powered by Google’s in-house Tensor SoC which leverages AI and ML to enable rich new experiences. It comes with a 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED display with a 60Hz refresh rate. The size falls well in between the two extremes of the iPhone 13 Mini and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The Pixel 6a doesn’t feel much different from a phone with a higher refresh rate screen, except for fast scrolling.

One of the surprising assets, but well adapted to one of the apps of the Google suite, Youtube. The Pixel 6a’s stereo speakers deliver the best sound of any phone in its class. They’re loud enough, sound fuller, and the bass doesn’t overpower other sounds. More importantly, the speakers don’t crackle even at full volume, and the stereo output is equally balanced between the bottom speaker and the earpiece.

Its battery is not a problem for your uses, especially with optimization tools like battery saver, which activates dark mode and limits or disables background activities, as well as certain visual effects, functionalities ( e.g. screen timeout) and network connections. You can program this saver which will activate if the autonomy is insufficient, which generally makes it possible to hold until the loading. Pixel 6a gives you all-day battery life, up to 72 hours in battery saver mode.

  • Size 152.2mm – 71.8mm – 8.9mm – 178g
  • 3 colors: sage, pebble, charcoal
  • 128 GB of storage space
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • 8 MP front camera
  • 4K video recording at 30 FPS, 60 FPS
  • 4410mAh battery
  • Fingerprint unlock
  • WiFi 6, 5G, Bluetooth 5.2
  • Dual SIM, eSIM
  • The Pixel 6a comes with a 1 meter USB-C to USB-C (USB 2.0) cable, Quick Start Guide, Quick Switch adapter and SIM card tool. The 30W USB-C charger is not included in the Pixel 6a box, but can be purchased separately.

Android 13

Android 13 is a mature OS. For example, with the Instant Translation feature, you have a very efficient pocket interpreter wherever you go. A real voice assistant with the power of Google, both to control your smartphone and to open Gmail by voice, as well as for a navigation request by asking it to search. The Material You system simplifies your daily tasks. And the Pixel’s interface colors even match the wallpaper you choose. The Preview feature brings useful information to the forefront, like your recent playlists when you plug in your headphones or calendar notifications if you have meetings scheduled.

With Google Tensor, the Pixel 6a shares the same security architecture as the Pixel 6 Pro, with the integration of our dedicated Titan M2 security chip. You can have peace of mind that your private data is safe. The Pixel 6a gets five years of security updates from its initial release date, just like the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.

Photo

The Pixel 6 comes with a dual-camera setup, featuring a 50MP wide main camera with an f/1.9 aperture, laser autofocus, and OIS. Using a four-bay filter that combines four adjacent pixels into one, the camera produces 12.5MP images. The Pixel 6 also comes with a 12MP ultra-wide secondary camera and a 114-degree field of view, which is a bit less compared to the iPhone 13 series’ 120 degrees and the Samsung Galaxy Z’s 123 degrees. Fold 3.

The 6a’s camera may be a step down from the Pixel 6, but it takes crisp, colorful photos for a phone of its price. You also get the same eye-catching design and Pixel-specific software features like Magic Eraser and Live Translate. You could almost mistake the Pixel 6a for the Pixel 6. It has the same two-tone design and a black camera bar that extends horizontally from the back of the phone. It therefore has two cameras on the back: a main, a 12.2 megapixel wide-angle and a main 12.2 megapixel ultra-wide-angle photo. The ultra-wide camera allows for lower resolution and a smaller field of view, but its pixels are larger.

The addition of the Tensor chip also brings dynamic photography functionality to the processing and extensive software options. This includes Magic Eraser for removing unwanted background objects that are easy to use (see photos below), Real Tone for rendering skin tones more accurately, and Face Unblur, which freezes a subject’s face. when there is movement in the frame. These features help set Pixel phones apart from other Android devices, though it’s really the image quality that’s the biggest selling point. The macro is excellent, on the other hand, the zoom is, like on many smartphones, disappointing.

unfortunately this magnificent robin took the full force of a bay window :(

unfortunately this magnificent robin took the full force of a bay window 🙁

Thanks to its IP67 protection, the Pixel 6a can withstand a little water and dust.

Thanks to its IP67 protection, the Pixel 6a can withstand a little water and dust.

Magic Eraser removes unwanted background objects

Magic Eraser removes unwanted background objects

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a solid phone that can keep up with your on-the-go lifestyle for under $500, this is ideal. It offers a good compromise so as not to double your budget and go to the top of the range 🙂 Slow charging (30 W) and a plastic construction of the smartphone, even if it is elegant, bothers me a bit… We are going a step further with smartphones under €500 that are not low-end (€200) offering quality hardware.

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