Google Pixel 6a: From Cameras To Gaming Compatibility, Here's All Your Questions Answered

Google Pixel 6a: From Cameras To Gaming Compatibility, Here's All Your Questions Answered

The Google Pixel 6a is one of the most talked-about devices in the market. It is not only the most affordable device of the Pixel 6 series, but is also the first Pixel phone to be released in India since 2020. And if you want to know more about the device, then you have come to the right place. Here are our detailed and updated answers to every question you may have about the Pixel 6a: 

Why is there so much talk about the Google Pixel 6a?

Well, simply because it is the most affordable new Pixel phone around. The Google Pixel 6a is part of Google’s famous Pixel range of phones, which are manufactured by Google, and are known for their good performance (especially the cameras) and assured updates. While Pixel phones come with premium price tags, the ones with an ‘a’ suffix after their name are generally more affordable variants of their premium siblings. The Pixel 6a is a more affordable version of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro — its international price is $449, which is below the $599 of the Pixel 6 and the $899 of the Pixel 6 Pro. In India, the Pixel 6a is available for Rs 43,999. It is also the only member of the Pixel 6 series, which is available in India. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were not released in India. 

What is so special about a Pixel phone?

The Pixel range is manufactured by Google. As Google also is the maker of Android, this means that the Pixel range is the only phone in the Android universe where the hardware and software come from the same brand. This means that Google can actually ensure that its software works perfectly with the hardware on the phone — other phone manufacturers provide hardware but take Android from Google. It also means that the Pixel range almost always gets software updates before Android smartphones from other brands do. In essence, the Pixel is perhaps the closest any Android phone can come to the iPhone, as Apple also controls both hardware and software on that device. Google used to earlier manufacture the Nexus range of phones, but that was in collaboration with other brands.

What are the USPs of the Pixel 6a, apart from being the most affordable Pixel of them all?

We would say that the biggest USPs of the Pixel 6a are its processor and software. The Pixel a series often was powered by mid-segment processors, but the Pixel 6a actually runs on the same processor as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro — Google’s own Tensor processor. In terms of performance, this is a flagship-level chip whose performance is roughly between that of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 and Snapdragon 888 processors.  And of course, as this is a Pixel, you will get assured Android updates before almost any other device does. The Pixel 6a comes with assurances of three OS updates and five years of security updates.

What are the weaknesses of the Pixel 6a?

In terms of specs, the Pixel 6a seems a little overpriced — you get devices with faster processors and bigger displays with higher refresh rates protected by higher versions of Corning Gorilla Glass at its price. The Pixel 6a also tends to get heated at times and its fingerprint sensor can be erratic. There is also no battery charger or protective case in the box, which you generally get with other phones at this price point. 

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What material is the Pixel 6a made of? Is it dust and water-resistant?

The Pixel 6a comes with Gorilla Glass 3 on its display and an aluminum frame. Its back is made of plastic. Yes, it comes with IP67 dust and water resistance, which means that it can survive in 1 meter of water for about half an hour. 

What is the horizontal thin bar that sticks out on the back of the Pixel 6a?

The horizontal bar on the back of the Pixel 6a is its most distinguished design feature, making it appear very different from other devices. The bar houses dual cameras and the flash and is jet black in colour. 

How does the Pixel 6a look?

The Pixel 6a comes across as a very compact device. It is 152.2 mm tall, which makes it taller than the iPhone 13 and the Galaxy S22, but still on the compact side when compared to devices like the Redmi Note and the OnePlus 10R and 10T. It comes in two shades, Charcoal (grey-ish) and Chalk (white), and the jet black camera bar on the back gives it a distinct look. The plastic back, however, picks up a lot of fingerprints and smudges, and dust can accumulate around that bar. 

Cameras have always been the forte of the Pixel range. How good are the cameras on the Pixel 6a?

The Google Pixel 6a comes with a 12.2- megapixel main sensor with OIS and a 12-megapixel ultra wide camera on the back, and a 8-megapixel selfie camera. The Pixel range is known for great photography and the Pixel 6a does very well too. We would say that if you are looking for images that are rich in detail, then the Pixel 6a is a great camera. It captures textures beautifully, even though sometimes the details seem a bit exaggerated. The colours are a little saturated but not as bright as you would see from cameras on other devices in the same price range. If you want crazy, bright colours, then perhaps you would be better off with something from Samsung or a Realme. The selfie camera is excellent too. It delivers slightly brighter colours than the rear cameras, but we do not think anyone will mind that.  

Google has added Night Vision to the cameras for low-light photography and they deliver rather good results. You will not get an exceptional amount of detail but there is also no artificial attempt to brighten up the night to make it appear like daytime. Video quality is decent, but not exceptional, especially in terms of capturing sound. There is no telephoto sensor but thanks to Google’s computational photography magic, you can zoom up to 4X without significant loss of detail. We would say that these are among the best cameras you can get in the Pixel 6a’s price segment. 

Are the cameras of the Pixel 6a comparable to the ones on the S22 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro?

No, they are not. We felt that the iPhone 13 Pro and S22 Ultra delivered much more detail and also were more versatile in terms of both macro and telephoto sensors. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro cameras are closer to the Samsung and iPhone flagships, but the Pixel 6a is a clear step behind. 

What is the Magic Eraser feature of the Pixel phones that is making so much news? Does the Pixel 6a have it?

Magic Eraser is a feature that Google introduced with the Pixel 6 series of phones last year. It used computational photography and the Tensor processor to let users remove unwanted objects in photographs by simply highlighting them. It is very simple to use and delivers almost magical results, with people and objects disappearing from photographs leaving hardly any trace behind. Yes, the Pixel 6a does have the Magic Eraser feature – just remember to update your device after you get it. 

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Is the Pixel 6a good for gaming?

The Tensor processor running the Pixel 6a is close to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, so the phone is capable of running most games without compromises.  The Pixel 6a also comes with a 6.1-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display, and stereo speakers, which can make gaming more immersive. We would have liked the speakers to be a bit louder and the display to be larger and brighter, but all in all, you will get a very decent gaming experience on the Pixel 6a. It does heat up sometimes, though, which means if you are looking to do a lot of gaming on your phone, then we would recommend a device with a bigger display and a higher refresh rate, and louder speakers.

The Pixel 6a comes with a 60Hz refresh rate display while other phones in its price range come with refresh rates of  90Hz and 120Hz. Does this make a difference?

Not unless you are scrolling through a lot of content. We had no problems with viewing content on the display of the Pixel 6a. The low refresh rate did not affect our experience as such.  

How is the battery life on the Pixel 6a? Does it charge fast?

The Pixel 6a comes with a 4,410mAh battery, which should easily see you past a day of normal to heavy usage. It supports up to 18W charging, which is not the fastest out there  – other brands have phones with much faster charging speeds, ranging from 67W to even 150W.  The Pixel 6a charges from zero to 100 percent in slightly less than two hours, with a 33W charger. 

Does the Pixel 6a come with a battery charger in the box?

No, it does not. You will have to get one separately. Do remember that it does not support charging speeds of more than 18W. 

How does the Pixel 6a perform normal, everyday tasks?

The Pixel 6a is a smooth operator in day-to-day tasks. The relatively compact form factor makes it comparatively easier to handle one-handed. Call handling is very good, and as there is no bloatware, the phone works very smoothly, even when you are multi-tasking. The one area where it does have problems is the in-display fingerprint scanner, which is very erratic. 

There has been talk of the fingerprint scanner of the Pixel 6a not being the greatest. Is this true?

Unfortunately, yes. The Pixel 6a has a rather unreliable fingerprint scanner and we sometimes had to place our thumbs two or three times on the display to unlock the phone. There have even been rumours that people with unregistered fingerprints have unlocked the phone. We have not seen that happen with our unit, but we do hope Google fixes it as this is perhaps the biggest flaw in the Pixel 6a. 

Till what version of Android will the Pixel 6a get updated?

From what we know, the Pixel 6a is assured of three OS updates. The phone was released with Android 12 out of the box, and has received its first major OS update, to Android 13. It is therefore likely to receive Android 14 and 15 as well. We would like to stress that it is very likely that the Pixel 6a will receive these updates well before any Android phones from other brands do. 

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What is the price of a Google Pixel 6a? Where can I get one from?

The Google Pixel 6a is available in a single RAM and storage variant of 6 GB/ 128 GB  at Rs 43,999. You can get it in two colours, Charcoal (black/grey) and Chalk (white). The phone is available on Flipkart in India. You can find out more about its international availability here. 

I see the Pixel 6a at lower prices on sites like Amazon India. Are these official versions?

At the time of writing, the Google Pixel 6a was only officially available on Flipkart in India. The dealers selling them on Amazon might be selling unofficial or refurbished units. We would advise against purchasing these as they often have warranty issues. 

Is the Pixel 6a the best phone I can get for under Rs 45,000? What are the alternatives? 

It certainly is ONE of the best phones you can get for under Rs 45,000, especially in terms of software and a compact design. However, it is more than matched by the likes of the Xiaomi 11T Pro, the OnePlus 10R, and iQoo 9, which come with better displays with higher refresh rates, faster-charging batteries, and more powerful processors. What’s more, those phones also come with a battery charger in the box and often a case as well, something the Pixel 6a lacks.

What are the chances of the Pixel 6a getting a major price cut in the coming days?

Unlike many Android devices, the Pixel series does not get major price cuts. You might get a price reduction of Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000 in the course of shopping festivals, but these are generally short-term. So if you are waiting for the price to take a major dip and say, go below Rs 35,000, we would advise you to not hold your breath. 

How future-proof is the Pixel 6a? How long can I realistically expect it to last?

We think that the Pixel 6a should be able to last you at least three years of steady use. The phone is well-built, has an IP rating, and will keep getting Android updates for a while. In fact, even though it will not get updated beyond Android 15 (which is expected in 2024), it will keep getting security updates till mid-2027. Unlike previous Pixel a devices, the Pixel 6a also has a flagship-level processor, which means it is likely to deliver a high level of performance for a longer period of time. And yes, the fact that it comes with 5G on board means you can use it when that network arrives in India (and it is expected later this year) as well.

Should I buy the Pixel 6a?

In our opinion, it really depends on how much importance you give to Android updates and a very clean Android interface. The Pixel 6a is a very good phone in other departments too, but you will get phones with better displays, bigger and faster-charging batteries, and even comparable cameras in its price range. What makes the Pixel 6a really different is the fact that it runs a very clean version of Android with absolutely no bloatware and that it will also get Android updates before any other device will. You might also like the slightly quirky design with that “camera bar”, but in our opinion, this is a phone for those who love Android in its purest form.