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Google Pixel 6a vs 6 (2022): What’s The Difference?

The recently released Google Pixel 6a (July 2022) is the most affordable of the Pixel 6 lineup. On the surface, it offers strong price to performance as it also features Google’s Tensor and M2 chips. However, to maintain its lower price point, there are also some corners cut. If you are in the market for a new Pixel Phone, should you consider the cheaper Pixel 6a or spend the extra money for the Pixel 6? What exactly are the differences between the two? Here is our Google Pixel 6a review and comparison against the Google Pixel 6 to help you decide which phone is better for you.

Google Pixel 6a vs 6 Comparison Chart

Google Pixel 6a SpecsGoogle Pixel 6 Specs
 
PriceCheck Price Check Price
Size5.99 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches
178g
6.24 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches
207g
BuildGlass front (Gorilla Glass 3)
Aluminum frame
Plastic back
IP67
Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus)
Aluminum frame
Glass back (Gorilla Glass 6)
IP68
Display6.1 inches OLED, HDR
1080 x 2400 pixels
6.4 inches AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10+
1080 x 2400 pixels
ChipsetGoogle Tensor
Mali-G78 MP20
Android 12
Google Tensor
Mali-G78 MP20
Android 12
Configurations128GB 6GB RAM128GB 8GB RAM
256GB 8GB RAM
Camera12.2 MP, f/1.7, 27mm wide
12 MP, f/2.2, 17mm ultrawide

8MP, f/2.0, 24mm wide
50 MP, f/1.9, 25mm wide
12 MP, f/2.2, 17mm ultrawide

8MP, f/2.0, 24mm wide
Connectivity & PortsWiFi 6e
Bluetooth 5.2
USB-C 3.1
WiFi 6e
Bluetooth 5.2
USB-C 3.1
SensorsFingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometerFingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Battery4410 mAh
18W Fast charging
4614 mAh
30W Fast charging
21W Wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
ColorsChalk, Sage, CharcoalSorta Seafoam, Stormy Black, Kinda Coral

Design

The Google Pixel 6 is better built than the Google Pixel 6a, featuring a glass front and back, an aluminum frame and an IP68 certification.

google pixel 6a vs 6 design
Aside from their size difference, the Google Pixel 6a (left) and Pixel 6 (right) maintain the same design approach.

If you are looking at the Google Pixel 6a and Pixel 6 via images on the net, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two models since they have the same design approach. They both have the brand new design that debuted with the Pixel 6, featuring a small camera hole at the top center and a horizontal rear camera bar that spans the entire width of the phone.

The rear horizontal bar on the Pixel 6a is slightly smaller and protrudes less since it is the smaller phone. It has a 6.1-inch screen, it measures 5.99 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches and it weighs 178 grams. Meanwhile, the Google Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch display and its physical dimensions are 6.24 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches. It weighs 207 grams. Looks-wise, those are the notable differences between the two models.

When it comes to build quality, the Google Pixel 6 is, unexpectedly, better built. It features a glass front and a glass back with an aluminum frame. It also has an IP68 rating. On the other hand, the Google Pixel 6a also has a glass front with an aluminum frame, but the back is made of plastic and it only has an IP67 rating.

Both phones are available in three color options. You can get the Google Pixel 6a in chalk, sage and charcoal, while the Pixel 6 is available in sorta seafoam, stormy black and kinda coral.

Display

The Google Pixel 6a has a 6.1-inch OLED panel while the Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display.

google pixel 6a vs 6 display
The Google Pixel 6a (left) has a 60Hz OLED display while the more expensive Pixel 6 (right) features an AMOLED screen with a max refresh rate of 90Hz and support for HDR10+.

Display type and panel type are where corners are cut on the Google Pixel 6a. Don’t get us wrong, the screen of the Google Pixel 6a is more than acceptable and it is nice to look at. However, its shortcomings are easily noticeable when compared against the superior display of the Google Pixel 6.

The Google Pixel 6a has a smaller 6.1-inch OLED display with HDR support, and it has a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. The smaller screen results in a higher ppi for sharper text and images. But that’s about it for its features.

Meanwhile, the Google Pixel 6 sports a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a max refresh rate of 90Hz and support for HDR10+. The resolution is 1080 x 2400 pixels, so it has a slightly lower pixel density, but at these screen sizes, the difference is really not that significant. Having a higher refresh rate means that scrolling is smoother, and games that support high FPS will play better. Overall, the screen of the Google Pixel 6 is a clear step up over the display of the Pixel 6a.

Hardware and Performance

The Google Pixel 6a and Pixel 6 share the same Tensor chip, but the latter has a significantly better main camera.

google pixel 6a vs 6 hardware and performance
Both smartphones are equipped with the Google Tensor and Titan M2 chip.

Internally, the Google Pixel 6a and Pixel 6 have the same hardware. They both feature Google’s own Tensor and Titan M2 chip. The Google Tensor chip is not the fastest chipset in the market, but it’s in line with what Google’s trying to accomplish in the artificial intelligence and machine learning departments. Many of the Google Pixel 6 lineup features such as the Magic Eraser, Live Translation, and Face Unblur are made possible by the Tensor Processing Units in the Tensor chipset.

Both the Google Pixel 6a and Pixel 6 have a dual camera array at the rear. However, there’s a difference in hardware as the Google Pixel 6a has a 12.2MP main shooter along with a 12MP ultrawide camera while the Google Pixel 6 has a 50MP main camera with a 12MP ultrawide. The Pixel 6 offers up to 7x Super Res Zoom and it has laser detect autofocus with electrical and optical image stabilization. Meanwhile, the Google Pixel 6a only has standard autofocus.

In addition to having the better camera, the Google Pixel 6 is also available in more configurations. You can get the Pixel 6 in 128GB & 8GB RAM and 256GB & 8GB RAM variants. In comparison, the Google Pixel 6a only has a 128GB & 6GB RAM variant.

Battery Life

The Google Pixel 6a offers slightly better battery life than the Pixel 6.

google pixel 6a vs 6 battery life
At the back, the only significant difference between the Google Pixel 6a (left) and Pixel 6 (right) is the size of the horizontal camera bar.

Even though the Google Pixel 6a has a smaller battery than the Pixel 6 (4410 mAh vs 4614 mAh), it can still last slightly longer due to having a less demanding display. The Google Pixel 6a has a smaller 60Hz display that’s not as power hungry as the 6.4-inch AMOLED 90Hz display of the Google Pixel 6.

That said, the Google Pixel 6 has the advantage when it comes to quick charging as it supports up to 30W fast charging, which can give you a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes. It also supports wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. On the other hand, the Google Pixel 6a supports up to 18W wired fast charging. It doesn’t have wireless charging capabilities.

Verdict

If camera performance, a larger screen with higher refresh rate and better build are important to you, it’s worth it to get the Google Pixel 6 over the Pixel 6a. But if you don’t need those features, save your money and get the Google Pixel 6a.

Google Pixel 6a

Google Pixel 6

The Google Pixel 6 is clearly better than the Google Pixel 6a. It’s better built, featuring a glass front and back, an aluminum frame and an IP68 rating. It also has a larger and better screen, along with superior camera performance. The Pixel 6 also has more RAM and internal storage. If these features are important to you, then you should definitely grab the Pixel 6 over the Pixel 6a.

The Google Pixel 6a comes with a few compromises, but it still features the same Tensor chipset as the Pixel 6, so its performance is nothing to scoff at. If you can live without the features above, then saving your money and getting the more affordable Pixel 6a might be the better option.

FAQs

📌 Is it worth it to buy the Google Pixel 5a vs 6a?

If you can find a brand new but heavily discounted Google Pixel 5a, then yes, it’s still worth buying. However, if the difference in price is not that big, then you’re better off buying the Google Pixel 6a as it will be supported for a longer period.

📌 When is the Google Pixel 6a release date?

Google releases the Pixel 6a on July 28, 2022.

📌 Which is better, Google Pixel 6 or 6 Pro?

The Google Pixel 6 Pro is better overall, however, when it comes to value for money, the Google Pixel 6 may be the better choice for a lot of people. You can read our Google Pixel 6 vs 6 Pro comparison here.

📌 How big is the Pixel 6a?

It has a 6.1-inch display and it measures 5.99 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches. It weighs 178 grams.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.