Meet the new Google Pixel 6a: Tensor chip features at $449

Daniel Sims

Posts: 447   +18
Staff
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.

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Shaitan

Posts: 174   +197
Another great phone from Google which doesn't offer:
IR blaster
Headphone Jack
User-replaceable battery
I'm so sick and tired of hearing about these companies boasting of the "environment-conscious" decisions (no charger, headphones, microSD card).
Looking forward to the day in which the EU forces these behemoths to really consider LONG sw updates (>4 years) and forces them to provide users original parts, tools and instructions
Long-term sustainability means providing support for users and making things reliable...
 

WhiteLeaff

Posts: 8   +5
Another great phone from Google which doesn't offer:
IR blaster
Headphone Jack
User-replaceable battery
I'm so sick and tired of hearing about these companies boasting of the "environment-conscious" decisions (no charger, headphones, microSD card).
Looking forward to the day in which the EU forces these behemoths to really consider LONG sw updates (>4 years) and forces them to provide users original parts, tools and instructions
Long-term sustainability means providing support for users and making things reliable...
Plus better batteries* Li-ion sucks.
 

NumberSix

Posts: 140   +189
Another great phone from Google which doesn't offer:
IR blaster
Headphone Jack
User-replaceable battery
I'm so sick and tired of hearing about these companies boasting of the "environment-conscious" decisions (no charger, headphones, microSD card).
Looking forward to the day in which the EU forces these behemoths to really consider LONG sw updates (>4 years) and forces them to provide users original parts, tools and instructions
Long-term sustainability means providing support for users and making things reliable...

No doubt this will get 5 years of updates thanks to Tensor and the shift away from Qualcomm who were the ones dropping chipset support after only 2 years (now 3) from the date of release.

I cant see the problem with no headphone socket, I've not used a wired headphone for 3 or 4 years now and the freedom from the cables is wonderful. If you are that serious about music that you want the purest fidelity I cant see a mobile phone being your main source of music anyway.

I've got more chargers than I know what to do with and I am guessing so has everyone else.

Genuine parts and repair kits are available on iFixit, for instance https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Android/Google-Pixel-4-XL-Battery/IF356-158?o=3
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 527   +676
Another great phone from Google which doesn't offer:
IR blaster
Headphone Jack
User-replaceable battery
I'm so sick and tired of hearing about these companies boasting of the "environment-conscious" decisions (no charger, headphones, microSD card).
Looking forward to the day in which the EU forces these behemoths to really consider LONG sw updates (>4 years) and forces them to provide users original parts, tools and instructions
Long-term sustainability means providing support for users and making things reliable...

IR blaster- Pointless, control over wifi

Headphone Jack- I still rock a Note 9, I've still never used the headphone port. I have a pair of TOZO wireless earbuds and they work great.

User replaceable battery- This is a horrible idea for a phone if you value the phones size and want to maximize battery life. The battery inside a phone will have no problem lasting 5+ years.

Accessories- I agree that removing the nice charging adapter and cord from the package and making them a separate purchases is a money grab. Can't go wrong with having more high quality chargers and cables in the home. SD card is nice, but really is a case by case need. No reason why the SIM card slot shouldn't have both sim and SD card. But I personally don't use my SD card slot, as the 128GB on my phone has been more than enough for me.

Software Updates- This is a huge Android issue, and only Pixel Phones have really gotten long term support. It is a Shame. Other Big vendors like Samsung are quick to forget old devices and drop support. It is a big blunder on Google's Part for not forcing partners to a long term support structure. Also would help if Android was built in a way where most updates could come directly from google.

Google Pixel Phones are already long term devices, they can easily be primary devices for 4-5 years no problem. After 5 years you are better off getting a new phone, and the phone properly recycled. 5YO iPads, iPhones, etc are all pretty much useless devices for anything but basic tasks. Good Example is the iPad Air 2, sure it can watch YouTube. But its use case is really limited. Especially considering most only had 16GB. I've just about removed all the Air 2's we had in production at our company, now they are a useless stack that will largely serve as youtube devices for the parents that want one for their kid...