Google officially announces the Pixel 6A, which adopts the company’s new design language and custom chipset, but keeps the 5A’s $449 price tag. The announcement comes as Google kicks off its I/O Developer Conference, but if you can’t wait to snag the new device, you’ll have to wait a bit longer as it won’t ship until July 28. (Pre-orders will start a week earlier, on July 21.)
The 6A follows the pronounced design trend that the 6 and 6 Pro established when they arrived last year with a raised horizontal camera bump and a two-tone body. In a similar vein, the fingerprint sensor sits below the display rather than on the rear panel. And there’s good news if you think the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are too big – the 6A comes with a slightly smaller 6.1-inch 1080p OLED display. It’s also a standard 60Hz refresh rate, so Google seems happy to let Samsung take the lead on fast refresh rate screens in mid-range phones.
Although the design philosophy is the same, the Pixel 6A offers less robust camera specs than the 6 and 6 Pro flagships. That’s a change from previous A-series phones, which offered the same camera hardware as their more expensive counterparts. The 6A includes a 12-megapixel main rear camera with optical image stabilization which appears to be the same hardware used by the 5A, rather than the 50-megapixel main camera on the Pixel 6. There’s also a 12-megapixel ultrawide and an 8- megapixel selfie camera.
Interestingly, the Pixel 6A comes with a smaller 4,400mAh battery than the 5A’s 4,680mAh cell, but Google still claims it will last a full day like its predecessor. It also claims three days of use in Extreme Battery Saver mode, a full day more than the 5A. This is likely due to more efficient hardware and software integration now that Google has both variables under control.
A single storage configuration (128GB with 6GB of RAM) will be available, similar to how Google sold the 5A. And great news for anyone outside of the US and Japan (the only two markets where the 5A has launched) – the 6A will be available in many more places including Canada, UK, Australia, in Germany and France. There is a full list of countries where it will be sold on the Google Store.
There’s also 5G, of course; the 6A supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G. And because all good things must come to an end, the 6A doesn’t include a headphone jack. The Pixel 5A was the last Google phone to ship with a charger, so you won’t find one either.
For a while, the Pixel A series was more or less a shoo-in for the best middle class phone. In recent years, however, serious competition has arrived from Samsung and challengers like OnePlus, so the 6A has its work cut out for it.
Updated May 11, 3:35 p.m. ET: Added new information on Pixel 6A global availability.