Google Pixel 6a Evaluate | Greatest Android telephone below $500

Takeaway: Google’s $449 Pixel 6a is a powerhouse for a price range telephone, outfitted with a vibrant OLED show and a pointy digital camera that processes pictures with best-in-class AI. All of it comes from the corporate’s proprietary Tensor chip, which is optimized to squeeze essentially the most efficiency and longest battery life out of an Android telephone. Throughout my week of utilizing it as my main handset, I discovered the synergy between Google’s {hardware} and software program produced fluid visuals in demanding 3D video games and seamless multitasking—with out the crashes frequent to mid-range Android smartphones.

Wanting past the Android panorama, the Pixel 6a competes with the $429 iPhone SE (2022). These two sub-$500 smartphones do not feel entry-level, as they’ve flagship-level processors — maintaining them aggressive with mid-range telephones twice the value. Pixel 6a copes with on a regular basis duties higher and is the very best telephone of the 12 months.

Google Pixel 6a smartphone

Google Pixel 6a smartphone

Now 13% low cost

Key specs

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2400×1080)
CPU: Google Tensor
Storage: 128 GB (not expandable)

A snug design homes a big, vibrant display screen

The Pixel 6a’s compact physique measures simply 6 by 2.8 inches and weighs simply 0.4 kilos. Its slender, candy-like form makes it simple to grip and use with one hand whereas offering loads of vertical house for extra info on the prime. The sides are curved to suit your hand higher – a welcome addition on this period of thick, sq. steel iPhone circumstances. From the entrance, solely the OLED display screen and the sides of the aluminum body are seen. Google reduce prices by changing the again glass on the Pixel 6 with a plastic cowl.

On the left facet, you may discover only a pinhole for the SIM tray, and on the precise, there is a energy button simply above the quantity rocker. Flipping the telephone over reveals the signature Pixel digital camera visor, which is extra compact than on its dearer siblings. Throughout my time with the 6a, it survived drops from tables and my pants pockets with out a lot as a scratch or scratch. And I had no drawback printing texts or making calls after submerging it within the sink to check its IP67 water and mud resistance. Whereas its supplies could also be much less sturdy than the dearer Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Professional, the 6A remains to be a rugged telephone.

call of duty on google pixel 6a

Trevor Raab

A colourful 6.1-inch OLED display screen pushes out a mean of 750 nits of brightness – greater than most telephones on this worth vary. Whether or not you are taking a look at a photograph you’ve got taken or watching movies, this huge, high-contrast show brings environments to life with true-to-life colours. With no distracting notch chopping into the display screen house, I used to be capable of focus extra on no matter recreation I used to be enjoying. This meant that in top-down video games like Stardew Valley I might see extra of the map, and my first-person area of view in Name of Responsibility was good and extensive. Whereas the iPhone SE ditches its larger siblings to offer you a full-screen picture, it feels wasted on a 4.7-inch 1334×750-pixel (non-HD) show that is noticeably dimmer at a most brightness of 625 nits. The Pixel 6’s 1080×2400, 60-hertz OLED show outshines it, and on the floor is nearly on par with the $799 base iPhone 14, aside from the truth that it might probably’t get as vibrant.

There’s loads of room to navigate across the Pixel’s bloated Android launcher. Paired with gesture navigation, the expertise is frictionless; swipe left to see your Google Information feed, swipe as much as see all of your apps, and swipe down from the highest for a context menu. Though the Pixel is restricted to the identical 60-hertz refresh fee because the iPhone SE, opening the app drawer or swiping pages felt noticeably sooner. Whereas different price range Android telephones just like the Samsung A53 have a display screen as much as 120 hertz, their processing energy cannot match that of the Google Tensor.

Google Tensor supplies highly effective Android efficiency

Each on paper and in use, the octa-core Tensor chip powering the Pixel 6a (similar on the $899 Pixel 6 Professional flagship) is a beast. I skilled no slowdowns and fewer than a handful of crashes when switching between demanding apps. Video enhancing was fast, and I performed graphics and resource-intensive video games at excessive visible settings with out noticeable drops in body fee. Pixel makes use of this additional computing energy for not solely improved operation, but additionally for unique options like Reside Translation of textual content or audio and Now Enjoying, which passively identifies songs the machine is listening to within the background with out draining battery.

This is a picture

Each Google and Apple have shared the identical highly effective chips as their flagship telephones with their entry-level fashions. This pits Tensor in opposition to the A15 Bionic, which is the strongest cell chip in a telephone. Within the Geekbench 5 process processing check I ran, the iPhone SE’s A15 Bionic scored 1,722 single-core and 4,546 multi-core to the Pixel’s 1,052 and a pair of,946. So whereas the Pixel 6a edges out its closest Android competitor, the Samsung Galaxy A53 (which scores 681 and 1,778), Apple nonetheless a a lot stronger chip. However in most each day use, the distinction is imperceptible.

Browsing the net, opening pages, watching animations and launching apps are virtually the identical on telephones. In actual fact, the sharper textual content and pictures on the Pixel’s bigger 2400x1080p display screen look higher. However open a video editor and the ability hole comes into play. The place the Pixel can export an edited video in 46 seconds, the iPhone SE renders the identical clip in simply 22. And when unzipping useful resource information from heavy apps like Diablo Immortal or Name of Responsibility Cell, the iPhone SE ran at a fee of 5 megabytes to each 1 megabytes on the Pixel for sooner installs.

google pixel 6a screen

Trevor Raab

Gaming on the Pixel 6a could be very clean and scored extremely within the 3DMark GPU Wildlife Take a look at graphics check. This pegged the telephone’s 40.5 frames per second common at 89 % higher than the outcomes from all different units. In Name of Responsibility cell at excessive settings, there was occasional stuttering as a number of animated results – corresponding to flying sparks and swaying rock tails – taxed the telephone. Nevertheless, its in-game graphical efficiency was stable, with no main drops or artifacts, on par with mid-range Androids. In the meantime, the iPhone SE averaged 46 FPS on the identical check. Throughout my time with the iPhone, I did not see any of the occasional visible hiccups like on the Pixel. Whereas the telephone’s smaller display screen may not be essentially the most immersive, the SE’s energy is simple. As a participant, I wasn’t in the least postpone by this loophole. On a bigger TV I anticipate 4K at 60 FPS. However on telephones with smaller screens, the distinction is negligible. I most well-liked gaming on the Pixel’s bigger, brighter display screen, which supplies a greater window into the digital worlds.

When it comes to battery life, the Pixel lasted a full 24 hours in my real-world use of messaging all through the day, small gaming periods and searching via social media. However in our battery cost check, which continuously streams stay video and commentary knowledge at 20 % brightness, the Pixel lasted 8 hours and 43 minutes from a full cost.

Digital camera for content material creators

The Pixel’s extensive and ultra-wide 12-megapixel rear cameras profit from Google’s picture processing know-how with sharp and highly effective colours. Within the pictures under you may see how the digital camera brings out the richer reds within the pepperoni slice and sharper background textual content on the umbrella within the background. Alternatively, the iPhone SE’s single digital camera isn’t any slouch, however its hotter tones virtually seem like there is a filter on the images. Equally, daytime snaps on the Pixel precisely conveyed true-to-life colours such because the darker blacks of a t-shirt the place the iPhone SE produced a picture that made the t-shirt seem gray. Transfer on to low-light pictures, and the SE’s lack of evening sensor {hardware} made darkish pictures taken with out flash too noisy to be helpful. Evening Sight on the Pixel 6a turns out to be useful, extracting a formidable quantity of colour from an virtually pitch-black room.

→ Google Pixel 6a and iPhone SE digital camera examples

pepperoni pizza on outdoor table

With Pixel you could have extra taking pictures variants and modes. Tensor additionally extracts extra element from pictures so that you’re much less more likely to lose them in shadows and vibrant lights. And in contrast to the iPhone SE, it might probably shoot in RAW format for better enhancing freedom. The Pixel’s built-in enhancing instruments aren’t Photoshop, however the telephone contains related AI-assisted know-how to Magic Eraser. This device makes it simple to circle round and take away gadgets shortly with a faucet. I used the impact to get clear outcomes – eradicating distractions like cables, photobombs and particles on the bottom. However now and again it could fill within the space I changed with a distracting sample or go away a visible dud just like the reflection of the reduce object (as you may see with the paper towel under). On different telephones, you want a third-party app to take away undesirable objects from a picture, they usually offer you a lot worse outcomes.

using eraser on google pixel 6a

Trevor Raab

use the eraser tool on google pixel 6a photo

Trevor Raab

The Pixel captures video at as much as 4K decision at 60 frames per second or 1080p at as much as 240 FPS, which is best than most price range telephones. Even nearer to $500, these units prime out round 4K 30. Stationary clips I shot and not using a tripod have been freed from jitter, however the Pixel has panning and movement stabilization choices. I discovered these modes to be efficient and even eliminated the nasty bump from a clip I took whereas jogging. Nevertheless, since this know-how enters the recording to stabilize your footage, it compresses the export all the way down to a 1080p decision. In the meantime, the iPhone provides a aggressive 4K 60 however with weaker zoom efficiency and fewer taking pictures modes.

The decision

The Pixel 6a is the very best Android telephone you may get for below $500. Its optimum measurement and balanced energy tear via on a regular basis duties and run the newest video games. Google’s strategic cuts permit for a premium display screen and digital camera so it does not really feel like a compromise. However in the event you’re somebody who pushes graphics to their most settings and/or continuously edits video, then the velocity and energy of the iPhone SE (2022) with the A15 chip is unmatched. For many, the Pixel 6’s bigger display screen, slimmer physique, and stronger dual-lens digital camera make it a more sensible choice.

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