Google Pixel 6a could address one of the biggest Pixel 6 flaws

Pixel 6a phones
(Image credit: Google)

Update: This new Pixel 6a scanner may be more trouble than it's worth

The Google Pixel 6a doesn’t go on sale for another month, but that hasn’t stopped recent links hinting at upcoming features we might see in the company’s budget phone. 

Fazli Halim, a Malaysian YouTuber, has leaked a video of the Pixel 6a which shows its fingerprint scanner is much faster than the Google Pixel 6 Pro. This is definitely good news as the Pixel 6 series’ fingerprint was one of its biggest drawbacks.

In the video, Fazli, who appears to have acquired a Pixel 6a early — does a hands-on review. At the 4:55 mark, he can be seen pitting the Pixel 6a fingerprint scanner against the Pixel 6 Pro. He attempts to unlock both the phones using the fingerprint scanner and the Pixel 6a unlocks in an instant while the Pixel 6 Pro struggles. In the video it is clear that the Pixel 6a’s fingerprint scanner seems to be much snappier than that of the Pixel 6 Pro.

We have to note though, that the Pixel 6a in the video is probably not running on completed software and the finished user experience may not match what’s shown in the video. 

The Google Pixel 6 series was criticized for having an unreliable fingerprint scanner. In our Pixel 6 review, our Group Senior Editor, Mobiles, Philip Michaels notes that the phones “fingerprint sensor has run into the biggest problems, largely because of slow response times.” 

A Google support page had later noted that the device’s “enhanced security algorithms” were to blame for the unreliable fingerprint sensors on the Pixel 6 series. The fact that the Pixel 6a, a budget variant in the Pixel 6 series, could potentially fix this issue is great news. 

It’s not clear if this is a purely software fix or if the hardware plays a role. Google noted earlier that the Pixel 6A ships with a different in-device fingerprint sensor than both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. 

The video aligns with this which could potentially mean the Pixel 6a will fix one of the biggest flaws of both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. 

The Pixel 6a could very well make it on our list of the best cheap phones if its fingerprint scanner works as prescribed and we can’t wait to test it for ourselves when it comes out next month.

We have also explored the tough question: should you buy the Google Pixel 6 or wait for the Pixel 6a?

Sanjana Prakash
News Editor

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.