Google’s next flagship smartphones were revealed at Google I/O, but don’t let them take away from a device launching in just weeks, not months. Google’s Pixel 6a is replacing the outgoing Pixel 5a—one of the best affordable smartphones ever—as the company’s midrange value pick. Based on specs alone, the Pixel 6a is on track to top the likes of the iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy S52, and other contenders as the best phone for under $500—and by some margin.
Where the Pixel 5a sacrificed performance compared with the Pixel 5, the Pixel 6a is equipped with the same Tensor processor as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Google’s custom mobile SoC, Tensor should give the Pixel 6a significantly faster everyday speeds than its predecessor. Not only should it match the Pixel 6 on raw power, but the Pixel 6a also gains the same Pixel exclusive features (like Live Translate), security architecture (with the Titan M2 chip), and 5G connectivity. Paired with Tensor are 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
Zooming out, the Pixel 6a looks nearly identical to its pricier flagship counterparts, sporting the same camera bar on a recycled aluminum frame. Up front is a large (but more manageable) 6.1-inch display, and on the rear is an upgraded dual-camera setup with an enhanced ultra-wide lens. Face Unblur, Magic Eraser, and True Tone, Google’s nifty camera features, all make a return to this budget device.
Google promises “24 hours” of battery life thanks to adaptive battery features and up to 72 hours when Extreme Battery Saver is enabled. The Pixel 6a is IP67 certified, which is a notch below the IP68 rating on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The Pixel 6a will be available in Charcoal, Chalk, and Sage when it goes on sale for $449 on July 21.