Google has further expanded the Pixel smartphone offer with the 6a made official yesterday.It is therefore possible and useful to compare the technical characteristics of the new smartphone with those of two models of the same family that are more similar to it: the Pixel 5a, to which the new Pixel 6a gives the change in the mid-range and the Pixel 6 which is placed one step higher (medium-high range), but not so far – also as regards the price – from the top Pixel 6 Pro range.
The first emerging finding of the comparison is that Pixel 6a sits exactly halfway there between the previous mid-range and the more recent Pixel 6 from which it borrows an important element, that is the SoC made in Google (technically Samsung took care of the material production, but we understood each other, on). As will be clearer from the comparison, however, many points of contact with the Pixel 5a still remain. Refinement of substance compared to the previous 5a, without revolutions, except in the aspect that now closely resumes that of the older brothers Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
DESIGN AND MATERIALS
The aesthetic side step change compared to the previous generation is evident: the new Pixel 6a takes up the characteristic back cut by the horizontal element that encloses the camera lenses introduced with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. In comparison, the Pixel 5a sports a more dated and less appealing look (de gustobus, of course). Similar considerations regarding the front: 6a and 6 with the front camera placed in a hole in the upper part of the screen, which in the 5a is in the upper left corner.
The three smartphones exhibit different solutions regarding materials: the back of the 6a is composite and 3D thermoformed and has a tactile alloy structure; the Pixel 6 has a Gorilla Glass 6 glass back, while the Pixel 5a has a metal monocoque. The higher-end model (Pixel 6) uses a Gorilla Glass Victus glass, the other two are satisfied with Gorilla Glass 3. It should be noted that Pixel 6 can boast an IP68 resistance against water and dust infiltrations, while the others two models stop at IP67.
Pixel 6a has the screen with the smallest diagonal of the group: 6.1 “against the 6.3 of the Pixel 5a and the 6.4 of the Pixel 6. For all the screen technology is OLED and the FHD + resolution. Pixel 6a maintains the maximum screen refresh rate of 60Hz of the previous model, while Pixel 6 goes up to 90Hz.
CHIP, SECURITY AND MEMORIES
On the processor front there are the most marked differences between the new Pixel 6a and the previous model: the latest arrival can rely on the same SoC as its bigger brothers, the Google Tensor GS101 comprising an octa-core CPU (2 cores X1 @ 2.8 GHz + 2 cores A76 @ 2.25 GHz + 4 cores A55 @ 1.8 GHz) and the Arm Mali G78 MP20 GPU.
The previous Pixel 5a instead relies on the Snapdragon 765G including the Adreno 620 GPU and an octa-core CPU consisting of 1 Kryo 475 Prime core (based on Cortex-A76 @ 2.4 GHz), 1 Kryo 475 Gold core (always based on A76) @ 2.2 GHz and 6 Kryo 475 Silver cores (based on Cortex-A55) @ 1.8 GHz. The Pixel 6 SoC is then paired with the Titan M2 security coprocessor of the latest generation that made its debut with Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
And remaining on the subject of safety, there is another affinity between 6a and 6: the fingerprint sensor is integrated into the display, while in the Pixel 5a it is positioned at the rear of the body. The latest addition is marketed in the only memory cut with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, exactly like 5G, but it is faster memories: LPPDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage, like those of the Pixel 6.
CAMERA AND CONNECTIVITY
There are two rear cameras for all three models, but the Pixel 6 can boast a 50MP main module, while it drops to 12MP in the Pixel 6a and Pixel 5a. At the front all three models are equipped with an 8MP camera, but in the Pixel 6 and 6a it has a slightly wider viewing angle.
Also on the connectivity front, the most recent model mutates the characteristics of its older brother and is more updated than the Pixel 5a, thanks to the most recent SoC: WiFi-6E and Bluetooth 5.2. The Pixel 5a takes a little revenge with the 3.5mm audio jack, which has disappeared in more recent models. 5G supported by all three models.
BATTERY AND DIMENSIONS
Examining the purely numerical data of the battery capacity to tick between Pixel 6a and Pixel 5a is the latter (4,680 mAh vs 4,400 mAh), but evaluating the actual autonomy will be another matter considering the different SoC. Instead, it is an objective fact that Pixel 6a and 5a do not support wireless charging, and via USB cable they are slower than the Pixel 6: 18W versus 30W.
On the dimensions and weight side it should be noted higher thickness of the Pixel 6a and 6 than the Pixel 5a also determined by the aforementioned rear camera module. Pixel 6 is the only model to exceed the 200 gram threshold, 5a is the lightest of the group with 178 grams.
PRICES AND AVAILABILITY
Here the comparison is actually two, because Pixel 5a has never been officially marketed by us in Italy. And if you need to buy a Pixel urgently just todaythe choice is only one (within the confines of this comparison, of course): Pixel 6. The list price is € 649, but at the moment it is discounted by € 70 and will be until May 26th. Pixel 6a, on the other hand, will arrive this summer (when we do not know precisely, but it is worth observing that the US debut is scheduled for July 28, so let’s imagine: after this date) and it will cost € 459.
At the moment, therefore, Pixel 6 costs € 120 more than the 6a (when it arrives). Finally, looking at the parallel importers, it is not impossible to find Pixel 5a in Italy at figures of around € 430-450, but of course it is a slightly more insidious path, difficult to recommend to any user. Instead, making a comparison with the US list prices, we discover that they are perfectly identical for Pixel 5a and 6a. Summarizing in a quick review:
- Pixel 6: US price list $ 599, ITA price list 649 €, official discount € 579 on the Google website until May 26, available immediately
- Pixel 6a: US price list $ 449, ITA price list 459 €, available from this summer
- Pixel 5a: US price list $ 449, ITA price list does not exist, it can be imported around € 430-450, available immediately
(updated February 28, 2022, 09:22 am)
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