The long-rumoured Google Pixel 6a has officially been unveiled. And it looks like it’s going to be a serious threat to the iPhone SE’s domination of the midrange market.
The Pixel 6a was revealed at the Google I/O developers conference. And like previous ‘Pixel a’ handsets it’s a scaled down model of the Pixel 6, Google’s flagship smartphone.
But this time, Google has seen what Apple did with its recent iPhone SE launches and followed suit. The Pixel 6a is a midrange model that drops down a level on some features but keeps the same high-spec processor - in this case Google’s Tensor chip. This means the Pixel 6a has the same graphical and processing power as the Pixel 6 Pro.
This also gives the Pixel 6a an element of future proofing. In fact, Google has promised at least five years’ worth of updates.
Of course, the Google Pixel 6a has had to cut a few corners to get the prices into the midrange. The camera specs have been downgraded, with the Pixel 6 coming with a 12MP main camera compared to the Pixel 6 Pro’s 50MP shooter. However, the main camera is partnered up with a 12MP ultrawide camera.
Despite the drop in megapixels, it’s worth noting that Pixels always deliver impressive photography. And seeing as the Pixel 6a still comes with editing features like Face Unblur, Magic Eraser, and Real Tone, there’s every chance it will still be on point for everyday snaps.
Materials wise, you get a plastic back, instead of the glass and metal that wraps around the flagship 6 Pro. The 1080p display measures up at 6.1-inches with a 60Hz refresh rate (90Hz on the Pixel 6, and 120Hz on the Pixel 6 Pro).
So far, we’ve seen decent specs for a mid-range handset, but does the price match up?
Good news – it does! At just £399, the Pixel a’s scaled back features look even better. Here’s what Uswitch’s tech expert, Ru Bhikka, thinks: “The new Pixel 6a shows that Google is pulling no punches in the mid-range phone battle, delivering a sleek, powerful model it hopes will be an iPhone SE-slayer.
“Its predecessor the 5a was only released in the US and Japan, so the 6a will be particularly welcome for Google’s UK smartphone fans looking for an affordable option with the latest trimmings ahead of the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro due later in the year.
“Looks-wise the 6a has stayed true to the Pixel 6 playbook, with a 6.1-inch display as well as the distinctive — and divisive — camera bar near the top of the handset. Love it or hate it, this definitely makes it feel like a more modern phone compared with the dated design of the 2022 SE.
“A key plus is the inclusion of Google’s Tensor chip. This might not quite match Apple’s A15 Bionic but it is powerful for a mid-range phone. Having the Tensor also improves battery life, where the Pixel range has drawn criticism in the past. The all day battery will be particularly welcome for people using their phone on the go.
“Unsurprisingly the 6a maintains Google’s stellar reputation for its camera phones. The camera gives users the ability to tap into Google’s signature Magic Eraser, which has been popular with smartphone photographers, enabling them to easily remove unwanted backgrounds. The inclusion of Night Sight also puts the 6a above the SE, which falls behind on night photography.
“Ultimately, Google has delivered an impressive handset with the 6a featuring improvements that tackle some of the Pixel detractors head on. Consumers looking for a good value Android smartphone are likely to find it at the top of their wishlists.”
The Google Pixel 6a’s UK release date has yet to be announced, but with a US launch set for 28 July, it shouldn’t be far off.