Google's Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro launched last month to pretty rave reviews, other than some conflicting battery life reports. Still, despite the excellent value each represents, these aren't the budget offering from Google.
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Unsurprisingly, the Pixel 6a in the renders adopts the new Pixel 6 design, mirroring what we've seen with previous Pixel A-series phones. The visor-like rear camera array is less pronounced than the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, likely due to smaller camera sensors.
A couple of features that have been a hallmark of the Pixel A-series are notably missing from this design; if the leak is accurate, Google is moving on from both the 3.5mm headphone jack and the rear fingerprint sensor. The former isn't shocking given that most phones gave up on the headphone jack years ago, but the latter may be slightly concerning as the new in-display fingerprint reader is one Pixel 6 feature that has drawn some complaints.
If you feel like the Pixel 6 is too big, the Pixel 6a may be the right choice for you. According to the leak, it drops to a 6.2-inch OLED display, and at 6 x 2.8 x 0.34-inches, the Pixel 6a would be considerably smaller than either of the Pixel 6 models and even the Pixel 5a (6.15 x 2.88 x 0.35 inches).
The renders leave us with plenty of questions regarding what's inside the phone. We can safely assume that it won't match the new 50MP primary camera sensor of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, but hopefully, the wide-angle and presumably ultra-wide sensor are a step up from the Pixel 5a.
As for the processor, does Google have a "Tensor lite" chipset up its sleeve? It's hard to believe they would return to Qualcomm for the Pixel 6a, but matching the Tensor of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro seems like it would undercut those phones sales mid-cycle.
Which brings me to my last big question, what will the pricing be for the Pixel 6a? With the Pixel 6 at a starting price of $599 and already regularly on sale for $549 or less, it feels like a Pixel 6a could drop down to $399 from the current $449 of the Pixel 5a. Google's already had a death grip on the top spot among the best budget phones and that would virtually guarantee it another year there.
The Pixel A-series has a less consistent release cycle than the standard Pixels, but the earliest we would expect it to arrive would be May for Google I/O 2022. In the meantime, we'll be on the lookout for more leaks as Google hasn't kept any of its devices a secret for long.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.