With Android purists and hardcore Google fans already focused on the undoubtedly distant high-end Pixel 7 handset duo and an almost mythical Pixel Watch that could finally become a commercial reality this year, some of you might be wondering whatever happened to the Pixel 6a.
Following in the footsteps of a very well-reviewed Pixel 5a 5G model that only came out in limited numbers in August 2021, the presumably 5G-enabled Pixel 6a is expected to go on sale as early as May and get a proper global release in an attempt to give the best budget phones available today a solid run for their money.
With an official announcement thus drawing near, it’s not surprising to see the handset make headlines again with a preliminary benchmark of what looks like a fairly advanced pre-release unit.
Snapdragon out, Tensor in
In addition to radically changing the undeniably boring appearance of its budget-friendly predecessor to fall perfectly in line with its premium-looking Pixel 6 and 6 Pro cousins, the 6a seems all but guaranteed now to replace the 5a’s Snapdragon 765 processor with a Google-designed Tensor chip.
While Geekbench records of unreleased devices should generally be treated with caution, it really doesn’t look like any of the information uploaded on March 4 is fake or misleading. Codenamed “bluejay”, the Pixel 6a squeezes extremely similar single and multi-core performance scores as the Pixel 6 out of what can only be the first-gen Tensor SoC with four 1.8 GHz CPU cores combined with a dual 2.25 GHz and a dual 2.8 GHz cluster.
In short, the Pixel 6, 6 Pro, and 6a are likely to offer the same exact level of raw power, contrary to those early rumors that called for an inferior Qualcomm Snapdragon 778 processor residing under the 6a’s hood.
Before you get too excited, you should remember that the Tensor chipset is not perfect, being blamed by many for a fair share of the bugs that have been plaguing the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro user experience since October while also making it difficult for Google to hit truly impressive production and sales numbers around the world.
No memory upgrade and other previously rumored specs
If you’re the least bit familiar with how benchmarking tools work, you probably won’t be surprised to see this newly surfaced page list just the Pixel 6a’s 6GB RAM count (5.43 usable) and Android 12 software apart from the Tensor details.
The rest of the specifications will obviously have to be “confirmed” another way, but relying on existing information (read mostly gossip and educated guesses), here’s what we currently expect the Google Pixel 6a 5G to be all about:
- 6.2-inch OLED display with 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution and 60Hz refresh rate
- 12.2MP primary Sony IMX363 imaging sensor
- Secondary ultra-wide-angle lens with 12MP Sony IMX386 sensor
- 8MP front camera with IMX355 sensor
- 4,800mAh battery
- 30W fast charging
- 128GB storage
- 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.7mm dimensions
That’s right, ladies and gents on tight budgets, the Pixel 6a is tipped to somehow squeeze a larger battery into an overall smaller body than the 6.4-inch Pixel 6 while supporting the same exact top 30-watt (wired) charging speeds.
Of course, because certain compromises have to be made to keep the price point low (hopefully, around $450 or so), bargain hunters won’t get a 50MP rear camera or 90Hz screen refresh rate technology. Compared to the Pixel 6, the 6a is likely to settle for less RAM as well, although an 8GB variant is also possible.
Worst case scenario, the Pixel 6a will retain its forerunner’s memory and storage count while improving the camera capabilities, processing power, battery capacity, and charging speeds and rolling everything into an unquestionably prettier design. What more could you possibly ask for?