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The big picture: After introducing its machine learning Tensor chip in the flagship Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones, Google has unveiled the same technology in a cheaper package. While Google cut down all the Pixel 6a's tech specs compared to its bigger brothers, all of Tensor's features are still here.
To cut $150 off the Pixel 6 introduced last October, the Pixel 6a sacrifices on memory, screen, camera, and charging functionality. It goes from the Pixel 6's 6.4-inch 90Hz screen down to 6.1-inches and 60Hz with nearly the same FHD resolution. The always-on functionality and HDR with 24-bit color depth remain.
The Pixel 6a gets 6GB of memory from 8GB in the Pixel 6 and 12GB on the 6 Pro. The more affordable model also offers a single storage tier — 128GB. Although the phone retains the same front camera as its brethren, its rear camera goes from 50 megapixels to 12MP. It also loses the laser detect autofocus sensor, optical image stabilization, the telephoto camera, and the motion mode.
In exchange, Google's budget phone makes savings in battery life and cost. Battery-saving mode gets the 6a three times the life of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, though it loses wireless charging.
The Pixel 6 series' headline feature -- the Tensor SoC -- is unchanged in the budget-minded device. It offers the same machine learning enhancements for quickly composing messages, transcribing speech, editing photos, and more.
Pixel 6a pre-orders open on July 21 at $449. The phone will ship to customers and stores starting July 28.