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Google Pixel 6a review – the best camera phone for people who care about money

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The Google Pixel 6a is a hodgepodge of top-end and mid-range features. It starts off good and gets the same powerful Google Tensor processors that were introduced in the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, so it should offer flagship performance and 5G data speeds.

Google also revisited the playful Pixel 6 styling, with a two-tone black bar back and a gorgeous blasted metal frame for the phone. With some competition sporting plastic at a price like the Galaxy A53 5G (opens in new tab), things look good for the Google 6a’s design, and it’s also water resistant.

However, when you swipe through the 6a’s interface, if you’ve ever used a phone with a high refresh rate screen, you’ll notice the 6a’s screen is a bit jerky. After all, it works at 60Hz. Half of 120Hz. Phone (1) (opens in new tab). The 6a also misses a new larger camera sensor, instead getting re-evaluated camera settings seen on the Pixel 4 (opens in new tab) and Pixel 5 (opens in new tab) series.

Priced at $449 / £399, the same price as Nothing’s Phone (1) and Samsung’s A53 5G, the Pixel 6a faces stiff competition from camera phones. Can modern computational photography keep things fresh despite familiar hardware, or is this a plateau for his Pixel line of cameras in the mid-range?

Google Pixel 6a Priced at $449 on Amazon (Opens in a new tab)Google Pixel 6a design and screen

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World) (opens in new tab)

If you like the design of the Pixel 6 (opens in new tab) and 6 Pro (opens in new tab), the 6a should also keep your boat afloat. Like the more compact Pixel 6, it has the same black camera band on the back. , surrounded by two glossy panels, playing two colors against each other. The color has been reviewed in sage (green) and is also available in chalk (white/grey) and charcoal (black/grey).

The 6a sports a premium metal frame that’s rounded and transitions smoothly into the phone’s curved back, though the back panel is plastic rather than glass, so it’s not quite as rich as its more expensive siblings.

The Pixel 6a has a USB-C port and loudspeaker at the base, power and volume buttons on the right side, a punch-hole camera at the top center of the screen, and a camera band on the back. Equipped with a wide-angle camera and an ultra-wide-angle camera.

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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Make no mistake, the Pixel 6a is fun to look at, playful, and feels good for the price. Google checked the design and most of the time the screen is also good enough.

The Pixel 6a has a screen size of 6.1 inches, which is smaller than the 6.4-inch Pixel 6 and the 6.7-inch Pro. This makes it one of the smallest pixels ever, with only the Pixel 5 boasting a more compact footprint.

With a wide Full HD resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and a 20:9 vertical aspect ratio, it doesn’t sound too sharp thanks to its modest size, but the phone’s screen is crisp, with about 430 PPI (PPI) per inch. number of pixels). screen. It’s sharper than many flagships.

When it comes to screen quality, you can’t argue with a good OLED display. That’s exactly what you get here. It’s bright enough to be easily viewed outdoors, vivid and deep, and its HDR credentials are recognized by apps like Netflix.

The 6a misses the high refresh rate screen, which is an interesting move by Google. Especially noticeable when used with smooth 120Hz phones. But given the fact that it’s one of the best-looking and powerful phones for its price, we’re not too hung up on that fact, and we don’t think you will either.

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World) Google Pixel 6a camera

The Google Pixel 6a’s main camera module features f/1.7, 12.2MP resolution with a 27mm lens. This is nothing new. The 1/2.55-inch sensor has been around since Pixel 2 and combines 1.4-micron pixels, dual pixel PDAF, and OIS.

There is no telephoto camera here, but a 12MP resolution sensor with 1.25 micron pixels and an ultra-wide camera with a 17mm, f/2.2 lens with a 114 degree field of view.

Google’s flagship Pixel 6 and 6 Pro cameras have introduced new 50MP hardware, so you’ll be relying heavily on computational photography to get the most out of the 6a. The resolution is 8MP, f/2.0, paired with a 24mm lens.

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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Shooting modes include Night Sight, Portrait, Auto, Panorama, Photo Sphere, and Google Lens. The Pixel 6a doesn’t have a manual mode, so it’s a bit of a procrastination. However, you may still have all the controls you need, in addition to shooting RAW, and generally reliable exposure from auto mode and an on-screen exposure slider.Also, Google’s open camera API is It’s also worth noting that pro mode is available for download, as it means that third-party manual camera apps work with the Pixel 6a.

Google Pixel 6a camera review

Compared to phones with bigger, newer sensors, the Pixel 6a has some drawbacks because it has a smaller, older sensor. As a general rule, the smaller the sensor, the worse the handling noise and low-light photography. The smaller the sensor, the shallower the depth of field. This means less background blur. Google’s super-smart photo processing handles noise for the most part, but the Pixel 6a can’t capture as much natural depth of field as phones like the Nothing Phone (1).

Here’s an example of how the Pixel 6a deals with competing with Nothing and Samsung. The Pixel’s white balance and image processing win, but the detail and depth separation lags Nothing’s debut. In the middle row, the teddy bear’s ears are still sharp on the Pixel 6a and A53 5G, but soft in the phone (1) shot. Meanwhile, the phone (1) still keeps the focus, the gold ‘B’, nice and sharp.

Depth and detail comparison of photos taken with Google Pixel 6, Nothing Phone (1) and Samsung Galaxy A53 (Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

Of course, there is portrait mode, which can artificially fill in some of the missing background blur and layer separation. Others prefer to preserve depth in their photos.

More noticeable than the difference in camera depth is the fact that Google’s Pixel 6a photos look the best overall. Exposure is accurate, white balance is good, there’s a decent amount of contrast, and shadow detail is more nuanced than the Galaxy A53 5G.

For the focal lengths of the two cameras, here’s a comparison of the primary and ultra wide-angle shots taken from the same spot. The example taken at night is notable because it was taken in the evening, much darker than either photo. For those who love bright and dark photos, the Pixel 6a is the champion thanks to Google’s camera software. However, this only works when the scene is static. Unfortunately, moving objects become blurry.

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Primary camera sample (Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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An example of an ultra-wide-angle camera (Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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Primary camera sample (Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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An example of an ultra-wide-angle camera (Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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A sample night camera shot with the main camera (Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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Night camera sample taken with an ultra-wide camera (Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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Detail from the main camera is strong, but it’s not the best in its class, so you don’t want to cut too much into your shots. It’s exactly the same story with ultra-wide-angle cameras and selfie cameras.

The ultra-wide camera benefits from all Google’s processing smarts, ensuring well-exposed and balanced shots despite the poor reading of the 8MP sensor on paper. Ultra-wide photos don’t distort too much, and Night Sight kicks in automatically, so you can be confident that your phone will give you the best shot of a decent photo.

We also appreciate the Pixel 6a’s selfie camera. Instead of glorifying the subject to an unrecognizable degree, it takes more classic contrast photos, and Portrait mode’s subject detection is strong in well-lit environments and slightly better than average in more challenging scenes. .

Sample selfie camera taken with Google Pixel 6a (Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

The Pixel 6a captures 4K video at up to 60 frames per second and looks great in bright light with powerful image stabilization at the highest quality settings. When the light falls, it crumbles quite a bit, but footage captured with the 6a is usable in all but the darkest scenes.

camera sample

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

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Google Pixel 6a performance

The phone has a 4,100mAh battery with 18W semi-fast charging that can charge up to 40% in about 30 minutes and fully charge in about 2 hours.

The 6a doesn’t support wireless charging, but if you’re happy with the dial-back feature, it does have battery saver and extreme battery saver modes that will give you an extra day or so. With moderate use, I was able to get through the day comfortably, but with frequent use, I needed replenishment in the evening.

We found the under-display fingerprint scanner to work well while using the phone, and the dual speakers had plenty of volume, even though they were small when listening for extended periods of time. converters or wireless headphones are the only options if you want to bypass the speakers.

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

The Pixel 6 doesn’t have expandable storage, but its 128GB of internal storage is a decent amount for a phone at that price, with 6GB of RAM, matching Google’s Tensor Titan M2 chip and Performance was decent, no slowdowns or poor heat management after initial setup.

The phone also runs the latest version of Android, which balances new features with a light, easy-to-navigate interface that’s far less intimidating than the UIs of the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi. Buying a Pixel promises some future prospects and great app support.

verdict

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World) (opens in new tab)

Google doesn’t usually offer best-in-class power, but with the Pixel 6a, it does. Powered by the powerful Google Tensor chip, it comes with top-of-the-line features like an under-display fingerprint scanner and a premium metal frame.

That said, at a mid-range cost, it’s clear where Google compromised. The Pixel 6a has a lower screen refresh rate than the competition, less competitive camera hardware, and no wireless charging.

Despite its outdated hardware, the 6a is a powerful camera phone thanks to Google’s smart software, it enjoys a playful design and is well worth the money.

It’s one of the best budget camera phones out there (opens in a new tab). The Pixel 6a, which launched around the same time as the Nothing Phone (1) and the OnePlus 10R (India only), if not the best, is another great product. An option for anyone looking for a great smartphone that doesn’t cost the planet.

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Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/reviews/google-pixel-6a-review

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