Absence makes the heart grow fonder is possibly what Google may have been thinking when they decided to take almost 2 years to officially launch a new smartphone in the Indian market. The last lineup - Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro - were never officially launched in India, and now the younger, sleeker cousin - the Pixel 6a has landed on Indian shores.
Here are some initial impressions of the Google Pixel 6a smartphone after having used it for close to a week.
The design of the Pixel 6a is quite sleek - the 6.1-inch OLED touchscreen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The back panel looks uncannily like glass too, but is just built with a thermoformed composite panel. Well, sure could have fooled me!
Inside the box, apart from the handset, there’s the charging cable, a quick switch adapter to transfer data using a USB port, the SIM tool, and the Quick Start Guide. There’s no charging head which might be a cause of annoyance for many users.
The device overall looks quite attractive but is also a massive smudge magnet, so be prepared to keep that microfiber wipe handy.
The touchscreen is smooth as butter, and swiping through the fairly vivid screen feels great. The refresh rate is up to 60 Hz and although it doesn’t match up to the usual 90 Hz or even 120 Hz on phones at this price range (or even lower), it doesn’t significantly take away from how smooth and snappy content looks on the smartphone. Oh, and there’s no 3.5 mm jack (Google discontinued this from the Pixel 5 series itself), so you either use a set of wireless buds or invest in a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter for your wired headsets.
One of the highlights of the Pixel 6a is its camera features. The rear panel houses two lenses - a 12.2 MP dual pixel wide camera and a 12 MP ultrawide camera. The spotlight is definitely on the Magic Eraser feature, which easily lets you “scratch” out anything you don’t want present in a photograph, once you’ve taken it.
Here an example of how that looks.
There’s also Night Sight which is designed to brighten up pictures taken in low-light conditions, which works fairly well to reduce grains as well.
The front camera makes people look like a million bucks, even without the filters. It definitely looks like the Real Tone feature that Google started integrating into the Pixel 6 series (Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro) is doing its job quite well in retaining the accuracy of skin tones, and it definitely doesn’t end up making my skin tone look any brighter or darker than it is in real lfe.
Google claims that the device will keep on for almost 72 hours with its Extreme Battery Saver feature, but that’s something we’re currently testing out. So far, we’ve barely been rushing to charge it after a full day of use.
One thing that I personally love about the Pixel 6a - as with all other Pixel phones - is the ‘pure’ Android experience. Absolutely zero bloatware is always such a joy to use. The built-in gestures are intuitive - swipe from the left to go back, pull up from the bottom to get on the homescreen, pull up and hold to access all apps currently open and so on.
Google’s proprietary processor, the Google Tensor, seems to be doing its job well in managing multi-tasking. I’ll include the benchmarking test scores in the full review next week. For now, apart from the fingerprint sensor taking a microsecond longer than I’d like, the Pixel 6a operates quite smoothly, without any lags.
We’re still testing the unit out to share a verdict on whether it’s good value for money at Rs 43,999 (currently available on pre-order for Rs 39,999), and what needs it fulfills the best. The Google Pixel 6a will be sold on Flipkart starting 28 July 2022. It’s available in two colours -