three reasons to fall for Google’s “cheap” smartphone

Announced at the Google I/O 2022 conference in May, the Google Pixel 6a has been a long time coming. Now available for pre-order at a recommended price of 459 euros, this mid-range smartphone is positioned as a more affordable product than the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, released at the end of 2021.

After a few days of testing at 01Lab, our test lab, we can share objective data on the performance of the Google Pixel 6a. We had fun comparing it to other smartphones in its category and you can see that Google’s latest addition has some serious advantages.

Three reasons to choose the Pixel 6a over its competitors

As a reminder, the Google Pixel 6a is equipped with a 6.1-inch AMOLED screen with a Full HD + definition of 2400 x 1800 pixels. The onboard chip is the same as its big brothers: a Google Tensor clocked at 2.8 GHz accompanied by an ARM Mali G78 MP20 GPU and 6 GB of RAM. Google’s latest smartphone also benefits from 5G compatibility, IP67 waterproof certification and a 4,410 mAh battery. All for 178 grams on the scale. Now that the presentations are done, let’s put in our top 3.

For excellent Google Tensor performance

01net.com – The Pixel 6a, facing its elders and the competition

Google pulled out all the stops by putting its in-house processor, the famous “Tensor”, in its Pixel 6a. A high-end chip that may not be the best in its class when it is launched in 2021, but stands today in this mid-range phone for less than 500 euros.

In AnTuTu benchmarks, it ranks above direct competitors in this price range. To be precise, the Pixel 6a’s Google Tensor scored 188,500 CPU performance points. This is 32.2% more than the average of other phones between 400 and 500 euros that we have tested in the last 12 months. Same observation for the graphics part (GPU) showing 280,185 points. Again, this is 76.4% stronger than the average for this price bracket and this period.

The average score of AnTuTu 9 places the Google Pixel 6a between the Sony Xperia 5 III and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, both equipped with the Snapdragon 888 processor from Qualcomm, and more expensive. The 6a even affords the luxury of doing a little better at benchmarks than its big brother the Pixel 6, which has the same Tensor chip. We also appreciate the real jump between Pixel 6a and Pixel 5.
In addition, if you like smartphones that make the buzz, see the results of the Nothing Phone (1), which is sold around 100 euros more expensive. You can see that the hype not all and that Snapdragon 778G+, from Qualcomm, should logically bow to Tensor, from Google. This SoC sits in the middle, where Tensor aims to be higher. The only AnTuTu 9 score where the smartphone of the young company is No better than the Pixel 6a in relation to memory. In this case, it is completely normal, because the Left Phone (1) has 12 GB of Ram, and the Pixel 6a, half of it… However, it is a safe bet that the act of Google’s Android optimization is excellent…

Finally, if we turn to one of the best sellers in the middle, the Galaxy A53 5G, from Samsung, which disappointed us compared to the previous model, we see that the Pixel 6a benefits again from the presence of Tensor. inside it. The Exynos 1280, which drives Samsung’s mid-range, has no weapons to contend with.

For above average screen quality

google pixel 6a screen
© 01net.com

Another point where the Google Pixel 6a stands out: the quality of its screen. If the diagonal of 6.1 inches allows it to be a relatively compact phone, it is the fine tuning of the OLED panel that makes the difference. This technology offers him by default an infinite difference. So far, nothing impressive. We can also blame this panel that is only refreshed at 60 Hz, when the competition aims at 120 Hz, but the Pixel 6a has other arguments to show.

Thus, we were very impressed with the average brightness of 864 cd/m2. If this does not speak to you, know that the smartphones between 400 and 500 euros that we have tested in the last 12 months have an average brightness of 672 cd / m2. With such brightness, you can watch videos in direct sunlight without much problem as long as you avoid direct glare. So the Pixel 6a is in the upper bracket with an average score of 28.5% higher. In HDR mode, Google’s phone reaches its light peak at 795 cd/m2, which is more than enough to view this type of content.

The Pixel 6a, a panel that holds...
01net.com – The Pixel 6a, a panel that holds the…

But what about colorimetry and color fidelity? Again, Google has taken care of its copy. According to our measurements, the “natural” color display mode is the one that offers the fairest rendering. With Delta E of 2.68 (a number closer to zero is better because it is a delta, a difference between the true value of a color and the one shown, which is measured), the Pixel 6a display is 36.3% fairer than the average smartphone between 400 and 500 euros that we have tested in the last 12 months. As for its screen, the Google Pixel 6a should not be ashamed of high-end smartphones that are sold more expensively. It still follows in the footsteps of its older Pixel 6, in terms of quality at least, because its diagonal is smaller, as we said.

For its great autonomy

google pixel 6a
© 01net.com

The 4,410 mAh battery is not impressive on paper. It’s even smaller than the Pixel 5a and its 4,680 mAh. But stopping at that number would be a mistake, because the Pixel 6a screen is smaller, the Tensor chip is more energy efficient and Google has clearly made some software optimizations in Android 12.

Let’s not beat around the bush, the Pixel 6a has excellent endurance according to our laboratory tests. If they were to be confirmed in real use in our complete test, these results were not very encouraging. In terms of autonomy, the Pixel 6a is 7.8% more autonomous than the average smartphone between 400 and 500 euros that we tested in 12 months. This average is 1:39 pm, compared to 2:33 pm for the Google phone. It still represents a good extra time, which is always good to get.

Pixel 6a, Google offers it more than decent autonomy.
01net.com – Pixel 6a, Google offers it more than decent autonomy.

But it’s in streaming video playback that the Pixel 6a widens the gap. At 3:12 p.m., it surpasses the competition, which lasts an average of 11:45 a.m. This is a score 29.5% higher than average, or almost 3h30 of additional video playback to watch your favorite series and movies on Netflix. Also note that it can be placed in the middle, it is better than its big brother Pixel 6 both in versatile autonomy, which simulates daily use, and in video streaming. Count 1h12 more on versatile, and 2h47 more on video. Not bad for a smartphone for 459 euros.
If it largely dominates the Galaxy A53, from Samsung, it is not much better than the Left Phone (1) in the field. Maybe we’ll see the price to be paid for more power…

Pixel 6a: Google’s future “bestseller”?

Google clearly has a card to play with its Pixel 6a. By offering its smartphone at a cheaper price than the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, while making the right concessions, the American giant can hit the mark and find its audience. The autonomy is promising, the screen is very good and the displays are beautiful and good at meeting.

But if there’s one point where we’re looking forward to the Pixel 6a, it’s in the photography department. Google smartphones have always stood out in this area. On paper, the phone is less endowed than its elders. But that doesn’t count Google’s software prowess, which has long made the difference in creating amazing shots.

We will also see what the Pixel 6a has to offer in terms of design, handling and of course the software experience. We will spend a few more days with the phone before giving you our verdict on the full test, which will be read and re-read on 01net.com.

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