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Google Pixel 6a leaked video shows new fingerprint scanner in action

Pixel 6a phones
(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 6 was an exciting new dawn for Google’s smartphone division, with the impressive home-grown Tensor chip powering a genuine contender at a very reasonable price. But there was one big blot on its copybook: a fingerprint reader that was inconsistent, slow or broken, depending on how unlucky you were.

Google has confirmed that the upcoming Pixel 6a will feature a whole different underscreen fingerprint sensor, but will that improve things? 

While we won’t know for sure until the phone ships to early adopters on July 28, a seemingly official unboxing video from Google France shows the fingerprint reader performing quickly and flawlessly on the first attempt, which should give us a little hope.

Unfortunately, after the YouTube URL became widely shared, Google quickly made the video private. But not before Android Police (opens in new tab) had captured the key moment as a GIF, which you can watch on a loop below to your heart’s content.

Pixel 6a

(Image credit: Google France/Android Police)

As you can see, it looks pretty quick, and while it would be odd for an official training video to show somebody repeatedly failing to get a phone to unlock, it does feel like Google has good reason to get it right this time. After all, the fingerprint issue is one of the main complaints buyers have about the Pixel 6 which, by all other metrics, is an excellent handset. It sits high up in our list of the best phones, after all.

Otherwise, you’re not really missing much by the video being made private, even if you do speak French. But there are a couple of things of note, assuming the video does turn out to be genuine. 

Firstly, as is the fashion with smartphones these days, there’s no charger in the box, with the (probably safe) assumption that you’ll have one or two knocking about. It’s a trend that makes sense for environmental reasons, as well as offering a few dollars’ savings per handset, which really adds up for companies looking to shift several million units. 

Secondly, Google seems to be pushing the Tensor brand quite hard within the packaging. As you can see in this screenshot, it actually gets bigger text than the words “Pixel 6a” inside the box, and this branding wasn’t seen within the Pixel 6’s packaging. 

Pixel 6a

(Image credit: Google France/Android Police)

It’s not that the presence of Tensor isn’t a big deal — the Pixel 6a using the same chip as the Pixel 6 Pro makes it objectively superb value — it’s just that most consumers don’t know or care what chip powers their phones, so flagging it prominently is unusual. 

Available at just $449, the Pixel 6a is the same price as the Pixel 5a when it arrived. It’s a strong contender to replace it on our list of the best cheap phones, not least because it takes a different approach from other budget phones such as the iPhone SE (2022).

Like the sound of it? Then make sure you find out how to preorder the Google Pixel 6a before it arrives on July 28. 

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.