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Google Pixel 6a will have an older camera — but that's OK

Pixel 6a phones
(Image credit: Google)

As with Google's other A-series phones, the Pixel 6a looks to be a quality budget smartphone. But, in order to get to its $449 price, it's not going to have one of the best features of the Google Pixel 6 or the Pixel 6 Pro.

First showcased at Google I/O 2022, the Pixel 6a could probably outdo, the cheapest iPhone. And, it might possibly also fix the Pixel 6 finger scanner problem

But, the Pixel 6a will sport a 12.2-megapixel main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide lens, and not the bigger 50MP sensor that we see on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. This is different from the A-series phones we have seen in the past, all of which brought the flagship cameras to the cheaper variants, making us feel like we had the best of both worlds; it's worth noting that Google stuck with 12MP sensors since the original Pixel phone, only changing things with the latest flagship Pixels. 

In fact, the 12MP sensor in the Pixel 6a is the same one we saw in the Google Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 4 and the Pixel 3. 

Another gripe we have with the Pixel 6a is that it ditches the headphone jack as well — but that's for another story — and arguably not that big a deal when wireless headphones are common check out our guide on the best wireless earbuds

But while Google isn't including its best cameras on the Pixel 6a, it is packing in its flagship Tensor chipset that powers the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. For previous Pixel models the 'core experience,' as Google calls it, was the cameras; now that has changed to Tensor. 

Still, that might be enough, as the Tensor chip does enable some pretty neat photography tricks, such as the Magic Eraser. So even if the hardware is a notch below our expectations, maybe the software will make up for it. 

Tensor also powers features like live speech recognition. Google even showed off the Pixel 6a’s night mode at the Google I/O, although that might have been Google’s answer to Apple — or the lack of a night mode on the iPhone SE 2022.

Getting a powerful and smart Tensor chip on a non-flagship phone is definitely a big highlight and we can’t wait to see how the Pixel 6a performs when it launches in July for $449/£399/AU$749. 

If you're already convinced, here's how to preorder the Google Pixel 6a ahead of its launch.

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.