test google pixel 6a

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

Announced at the Google I/O 2022 conference last May, the Google Pixel 6a will be long overdue. Now available for pre-order at the 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 are able to share objective data on the performance of the Google Pixel 6a. We had fun comparing it to other smartphones in its category and you will see that the latest addition to Google 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 identical to that of its big brothers: a Google Tensor clocked at 2.8 GHz accompanied by the 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 made, place to our top 3.

For the excellent performance of the Google Tensor

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

Google has 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 have been the best in its class when it launched in 2021, but stands out today in this mid-range phone under 500 euros.

On the AnTuTu benchmarks, it ranks above its direct competitors in this price range. To be precise, the Pixel 6a’s Google Tensor scores 188,500 points in CPU performance. 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) which displays 280,185 points. Again, it is 76.4% more powerful than the average for this price bracket and this period.

The average score on AnTuTu 9 positions 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 much more expensive. The 6a even affords the luxury of doing a little better in the benchmarks than its big brother the Pixel 6, equipped with the same Tensor chip. We will also appreciate the real leap forward between the Pixel 6a and the Pixel 5.
Moreover, if you like smartphones that make the buzz, take a look at the results of the Nothing Phone (1), which is sold around 100 euros more expensive. You will then find that the hype is not everything and that the Snapdragon 778G+, from Qualcomm, must logically bow to the Tensor, from Google. This SoC is positioned in the mid-range, where the Tensor aims higher. The only AnTuTu 9 score where the smartphone of the young company Nothing does better than the Pixel 6a is that related to memory. In this case, it’s completely normal, since the Nothing Phone (1) has 12 GB of Ram, and the Pixel 6a, half as much… Nevertheless, it’s a safe bet that the optimization work of Android by Google is excellent…

Finally, when we turn to one of the best-sellers in the mid-range, the Galaxy A53 5G, from Samsung, which disappointed us compared to the previous model, we see that the Pixel 6a once again benefits from the presence of the Tensor within it. The Exynos 1280, which drives Samsung’s mid-range, does not have the weapons to resist.

For its above-average screen quality

google pixel 6a screen
© 01net.com

Another point on which the Google Pixel 6a stands out: the quality of its screen. If its 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 contrast. So far, nothing impressive. We can also blame this panel for only being refreshed at 60 Hz, when the competition is aiming for 120 Hz, but the Pixel 6a has other arguments to show off.

Thus, we were very pleasantly surprised by its 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’ll be able to watch videos in direct sunlight without too much of a problem once you’ve managed to avoid direct glare. The Pixel 6a is therefore in the high bracket with an average score 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 up...
01net.com – The Pixel 6a, a panel that holds up…

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 offering the fairest rendering. With a Delta E at 2.68 (a figure closer to zero being better since it is a delta, a difference between the true value of a color and the displayed one, which is measured), the 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 does not have to be ashamed of high-end smartphones sold much more expensive. It even follows in the footsteps of its elder Pixel 6, in terms of quality at least, since its diagonal is smaller, as we have said.

For its excellent autonomy

google pixel 6a
© 01net.com

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

Let’s not beat around the bush anymore, the Pixel 6a has a very good endurance according to our tests carried out in the laboratory. If they must be confirmed in real use in our complete test, these results are no less encouraging. In versatile autonomy, the Pixel 6a is 7.8% more autonomous than the average smartphone between 400 and 500 euros that we tested over 12 rolling months. This average is 1:39 p.m., compared to 2:33 p.m. for the Google phone. This still represents a good extra hour, which is always good to take.

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

But it is in streaming video playback that the Pixel 6a widens the gap. With 3:12 p.m., it outclasses the competition, which lasts the distance on average for 11:45 a.m. This is a score 29.5% higher than the average, or almost 3h30 of additional video playback to watch your favorite series and films on Netflix. Note also that it may be placed in the mid-range, it does better than its big brother the Pixel 6 both in versatile autonomy, which simulates daily use, and in video streaming. Count 1h12 more in versatile, and 2h47 more in video. Not bad for a smartphone at 459 euros.
If it largely dominates the Galaxy A53, from Samsung, it does less well than the Nothing Phone (1) in the field. We can probably see the price to pay for the extra power…

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

Google clearly has a card to play with its Pixel 6a. By offering its smartphone at a more affordable price than the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, while making the right concessions, the American giant could hit the mark and find its audience. Autonomy is promising, the screen is superb and the performances are beautiful and well on the agenda.

But if there is one point on which we expect the Pixel 6a, it is on the photo part. Google smartphones have always stood out in this area. On paper, the phone is less well endowed than its elders. But that’s without counting on Google’s software expertise, which has long made the difference in producing remarkable shots.

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

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