Google Pixel 6a could be the most exciting phone of 2022 – here’s why

We had over a week to cool down from Google I/O. You’d expect my enthusiasm for some of the announcements to have died down by now, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been more excited for the Pixel 6a than a phone for a long time.

As things get more and more expensive, I’m happy to see such powerful phones that are on the lower end of the price spectrum. Whether it’s last year’s Pixel 5a, Galaxy A53, iPhone SE (2022) or even the OnePlus Nord N20, you can get what you pay for without going over $500.

What I think will set the Pixel 6a apart from its peers comes down to hardware. Not only has Google refreshed the A-series design to match the Pixel 6, but your $449 will get you access to Tensor, the company’s in-house chipset designed for AI and machine learning applications. And even though the main camera is the same 12.2MP as the Pixel 5a, I think the 6a will prove to be the best camera phone at this price.

I was right about Tensor

Tensor is really a fantastic chip in practice. It enables the best voice recognition you’ll find on a smartphone, along with other smart features like Magic Eraser, near-instant language translation, and faster dynamic subtitles. In fact, the list of hidden Pixel 6 features, many made possible by Tensor, is long.

I’ve never liked using voice-to-text on a phone, but that all changed when I got my hands on the Pixel 6 Pro. Suddenly, spoken texts became much more natural, with the phone able to pick up subtle cues to pick up punctuation. This should translate directly to the Pixel 6a.

Google Pixel 6 revealed at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 6a will also be able to use Magic Eraser, the incredibly powerful photo-editing tool that lets you remove background objects from your photos with incredible precision. It’s not perfect, but for a lot of photos it works like a dream. And now Google is updating it, letting you change some of the colors of objects in your shots.

Tensor is also a flagship-class processor, which means the Pixel 6a should do the tricks around every other budget Android phone. In fact, it looks like only the iPhone SE (2022) will be able to surpass it in terms of raw power, but I think the 6a will have many other advantages.

When I started compiling my wishlist for the Pixel 6a several months ago, I said I hoped to see Tensor. Some have called me crazy, so I feel very vindicated by Google’s revelation. It’s hard to believe we’ll be getting this chip for just $449.

I can’t wait to see the cameras

Some have expressed disappointment that the Pixel 6a doesn’t have the same 50MP main camera as the Pixel 6. I honestly didn’t expect Google to do this, especially since the company did such incredible use of the same 12.2MP sensor for years, even as recently. like the Pixel 5a.

Google Pixel 6 revealed at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 6a will use that 12.2MP sensor for its main camera and a 12MP ultrawide shooter will join it. You might look at the latter and wonder, “Didn’t the Pixel 5a have a 16MP ultra-wide camera?”

You would be right, dear reader. But the main difference here is that the Pixel 6a’s sensor has larger pixels, which means it can let in more light. This should result in brighter ultra-wide shots.

The Pixel 5a impressed me with its photographic prowess last year, and the Pixel 6 Pro even more so. I have a feeling the Pixel 6a will fall somewhere in the middle – it will have mostly the same sensors as the 5a, but the processing power of the 6.

We should get some killer photos, while the inclusion of Night Sight should give the Pixel 6a a leg up on the iPhone SE (2022). Google even pointed this out during the I/O keynote, and it’s one of the main differences between the Pixel 6a and the iPhone SE (2022).

Pixel 6a outlook

Google Pixel 6 revealed at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 6a will be available on July 28, more than two months away. It’s quite a long time to wait for what I think will be Google’s most important phone this year. In fact, I think the Pixel 6a could be the most important smartphone of 2022. Obviously, I’ll reserve all judgment for my review, but I think the value proposition on paper is the best we’ve seen yet. – and which we will probably see for the rest of the year.

Tensor at $449 excited me the most, as I’ve used the Pixel 6 Pro pretty much every day since launch. I know what the chip can do and what it unlocks for Android. I’m glad you can use it for less than $500, which is a big deal for a lot of people.

So we can say that I am counting the days until the release of the Pixel 6a. Be sure to stick around for the full review.

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