Google Pixel 6a pre-orders: when and how to get Google’s latest budget smartphone

Google Pixel 6a pre-orders will open on July 21 worldwide if you’re interested in picking up the brand’s latest budget Android flagship. Revealed at the Google I/O event back in May, the Google Pixel 6a (opens in new tab) device looks to pack in a ton of handy upgrades and features in a device that starts at just $449 / £399.

Is it likely to be one of the best phones (opens in new tab) for under $500? The jury is still out on this since we haven’t had a chance to get our hands on it yet. However, it’s safe to say that using the excellent Google Pixel 6 (opens in new tab) as a base is likely to prove a winner if you’re looking for powerful specs at a reasonable price.

cut to the chase

  • What is it? Google’s new mid-range Pixel
  • When are pre-orders live? Thursday, July 21
  • When is it released? wednesday, July 28
  • How much does it cost? $449 / £399 / AU$749

Google Pixel 6A specs

BONE: Android 12
Display: 6.1-inch OLED (1080 x 2400, 60Hz)
CPU: Google Tensor
Storage: 128GB
Rear cameras: 12.2MP main (f/1.7), 12.2MP (f/2.2) ultrawide
Front-camera: 8MP (f/2.0)
Battery: 4,410mAh
Size: 6 x 2.8 x 0.35 inches
Weight: 6.3 ounces
Colors: Chalk, Charcoal, Sage

The Google Pixel 6a features the same basic design as the Pixel 6 – with a unique crossbar camera housing on the back. It swaps out the metal case housing for a plastic one but keeps the glass back as well as the overall aesthetic. Internally, the Pixel 6a features the same Google Tensor chip, which is the standout feature of the device. It’s not the fastest mobile chip on the market, but it’s decent and up to five times speedier than the chip in the Pixel 5a Google claims.

Screen-wise, the Pixel 6a features a 6.1-inch OLED screen with the same punch-hole design as the other 6-series devices. It supports HDR and 1080 x 2400 resolution, par for the course, but only a 60Hz refresh rate, which is on the slow side in today’s market. Its cameras are 12.2MP f/1.7 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, and 8MP on the front-facing camera – and support the same Real Tone and Magic Eraser trickery as the standard Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6A pre-orders in the US

  • More US retailers that are likely to stock Pixel 6a pre-orders:
  • AT&T
  • BestBuy
  • B&H Photography
  • T Mobile

Google Pixel 6A pre-orders in the UK

  • More UK retailers that are likely to stock Pixel 6a pre-orders:
  • Affordable Mobiles
  • Amazon
  • AO
  • Buy Mobiles
  • curries
  • EE
  • John Lewis
  • Mobile Phones Direct
  • O2
  • Three

Should you pre-order the Google Pixel 6A?

(Image credit: Future)

We can’t give definitive advice since we haven’t thoroughly tested the Google Pixel 6a yet. However, just from the specs sheet alone, it’s fairly easy to judge what this device is likely to offer for the price.

Firstly, the main selling point of this device is the chip. Having Google’s own Tensor CPU inside this device gives it the same power (on paper) as last year’s flagship Google Pixel 6 Pro (opens in new tab). Having such a beefy chip in a budget device is an attractive proposition since it unlocks a lot of potential for nifty tricks like the Magic Eraser tool for the camera. As you’d imagine, it’s more than enough to breeze through the vast majority of apps and offer great, zippy general performance.

Where the new Pixel 6a falls down, however, is with its 60Hz display. It’s an OLED screen, which is fantastic for colors and picture quality, but it’s not uncommon to find 120Hz displays on budget devices in 2022. If you’re coming from a similar device with a 60Hz device, then you might not be bothered. If you’re coming from a 90Hz or 120Hz device, however, then it’s likely you’ll notice the difference when you’re scrolling through content. For context, higher refresh rates make content appear to move more smoothly when you’re scrolling or minimizing apps.

So, in our eyes, whether you should pre-order the Google Pixel 6a comes down to what you value with your device. If you’re looking for a clean software experience, power, and a great camera then the Pixel 6a is likely to be a real winner. If you prioritize a zippy display, then you’ll likely find a better refresh rate screen elsewhere for the same price.

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