[Test] Pixel 6a: a complete mid-range that ensures the photo part

Finally available in France (this was not the case with the Pixel 5a), the Pixel 6a looks like a promise, that of a really beefy mid-range smartphone on the photo part (which is traditionally the strong point of Pixel devices). The other seemingly obvious advantages of this model are the integration with Google services, the performance of the Tensor chip and more generally services very close to the Pixel 6… all in a much tighter format and price. After several days of use and therefore also a nice battery of shots in your pocket, it’s time to define the real strengths of the Pixel 6a. Spoiler, we were not disappointed.

Elegant and instantly recognizable

Out of its box, the Pixel 6a is a rather elegant looking smartphone with its glass-like back glossy (it’s not) and its horizontal band on the back which serves as a photo block. The device is easy to hold (the base is a little wide), in part no doubt thanks to more compact dimensions than those of the Pixel 6. With its 6.1-inch screen, the Pixel 6a is necessarily more compact than the model premium, also lighter; the Pixel 6a thus falls below the 200 gram mark (170 grams exactly), which is enough to erase the impression of heaviness that we generally feel with many 6.4 or 6.7 inch giant screen mobiles.

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The external appearance of the Pixel 6a is more towards the high end than the mid-range on which the device is positioned, which is necessarily satisfactory.

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A satisfying screen but nothing more…

To tell the truth, the occupancy rate of the slab on the front is undoubtedly what betrays the positioning of the Pixel 6a the most. The small black band at the bottom of the screen and fairly visible borders do not allow the OLED panel to occupy more than 82% of the front surface. The 1080 x 2400 pixel resolution panel is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 (against Gorilla Victus on the Pixel 6) and its refresh rate remains stuck at 60 Hz (against a variable rate of 90 to 120 Hz for the Pixel 6 ). In use, this screen is more than enough to fulfill its role even if the comparison with the panel of my iPhone 12 Pro is clearly not in favor of the Google model, especially in terms of image sharpness and brightness. Inevitably, because of this lack of boost in brightness, the Pixel 6a loses readability in direct sunlight (and the sun has not been lacking for several weeks…). Still in the area of ​​small criticisms, the fingerprint sensor located under the screen is not particularly fast and you sometimes have to try two or three times *. A detail (it is not slow either), but it ends up brushing a screen part not really at the top of the basket. The sound part of the Pixel 6a is generally without reproach, with a low level of saturation at high volume and a fairly precise sound reproduction. It’s even better with headphones (as often).

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Solid performance thanks to the Tensor Core

While the screen isn’t free from criticism, the good news is that it’s the one element that isn’t top notch. Because for the rest, this Pixel 6a has little to envy to the Pixel 6 and more generally to many other premium smartphones. The raw performance component does not disappoint with results around 1045 points in the single-core Geekbench 5.0 test, and just over 2800 points in the multi-core test. It’s actually right in the nails of the Pixel 6’s scores, and the Tensor Core is starting to no longer be ridiculous against the Snapdragon competition, although there’s still a gap to Google’s chip. In day-to-day use, the Tensor Core’s power reservoir has been put to good use: the Pixel 6a’s “canon” Android interface shows no signs of faltering, not the slightest slowdown. It’s sober, clean and fluid.

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A real cador in photo

We expected the Pixel 6a on the photo part, especially since this model has to make do with a main wide-angle sensor of 12.2 megapixels (f / 1.7, eq. 27 mm) while the Pixel 6 sports an impressive 50 megapixels. In the end, whether it’s the wide-angle sensor or the ultra-wide angle (always in 12.2 megapixels), the shots are generally of high quality, even more so if we consider that we are dealing here to a mobile around 500 euros. The shots are detailed (very good sharpness), the colors respected and we note above all a virtual absence of noise even in lower light conditions.

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The color rendering is very faithful

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The dive is very good, without overdoing it either

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The ISP integrated into the Tensor Core and the image processing software refined by Google are truly formidable, not to mention some frankly spectacular functions, such as the one that allows you to remove any element from the final image! It’s a little less fun in low light conditions, but it’s still very respectable for a mid-range smartphone. The Pixel 6a is therefore a very good photophone, perhaps even the best in its price range.

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The garden hose is here…

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…and it is no longer there by the magic of the software (it is indeed the same shot)

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Solid battery life, but charging is slow

With its 4410 mAh battery (a tad less than the 4614 mAh of the Pixel 6), the Pixel 6a provides without flinching 1 1/2 days of use, or even 2 days for those who take a little more off their mobile. On the other hand, charging at 18W is not very fast (allow about 2 hours for a full recharge). As a reminder, the USB-C charger is not included in the box.

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Conclusion: a reference in the Android mid-range

Pretty, rather compact, with no major faults and very good on the photo part, the Pixel 6a stands out quite easily from the peloton of mid-range smartphones ‘and imposes itself on the Android side as an almost obvious choice in its price range. . The user benefits at a tight cost from a mobile with the “canon” Android interface (necessarily) which is the perfect representative of the “good enough” mobile. If we add to that a flawless software component and some impressive functions (the removal of an element in a photo, magic!) then the conclusion is self-evident.

* Our test Pixel 6a showed some weaknesses in the “fingerprint recognition” part, a recurring problem that will be corrected very soon via a simple update. We will therefore not take this into account in the final grade.

the Google Pixel 6a is available for €409 on Amazon (promo), or €439 at Cdiscount, €459 at Fnac and Darty

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