Monday, June 27

Google Pixel 6a could get the best feature out of the Pixel 6

There is a good / bad news situation regarding the latest spec leak for the Google Pixel 6a. It looks like Google’s next budget phone will feature the same Tensor chipset that was just introduced in the Pixel 6 flagships, but the main camera won’t be as powerful.

That’s the word of 9to5Google, which attributes the news of the Pixel 6a’s main camera to information in the Camera app discovered by its APK Insight team. According to the report, the Pixel 6a will use a 12.2MP Sony IMX363 primary sensor, which is what previous A-series Pixels have used. That was also the primary camera on Pixel flagships until the Pixel 6 switched to. a 50MP sensor for your main shooter.

In addition to the megapixel increase, the Pixel 6 sensor is also larger than what previous pixels have used, so it lets in more light. If the Pixel 6a opts for the smaller Sony IMX363 sensor, you won’t see the same benefit in low-light shots.

For one thing, it would make sense for a flagship phone to use a better camera setup than a lower-cost budget phone. But Google hasn’t always worked that way. Instead, its Pixel A phones have often relied on the same camera sensors and features found on Google’s flagship phones. Based on this rumor, it looks like that policy is coming to an end with the Pixel 6a.

Other cameras on the Pixel 6a will reportedly match what the Pixel 6 offers. That includes the 12MP ultra-wide lens on the back of the phone along with the 8MP front-facing camera. And as we saw in the Pixel 6a renders that emerged this month, the next phone is expected to adopt the horizontal camera bar that makes the Pixel 6 look so distinctive.

Pixel 6 Pro y Pixel 6 (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Both the Pixel 5a and Pixel 6 are among the best camera phones we’ve tested in the past year. Hopefully the Pixel 6a will also fight well against other budget camera phones when it’s scheduled to come out next year, but it seems possible that it won’t quite match the image quality of the Pixel 6.

The Tensor news in the 9to5Google report is more encouraging. The Pixel 5a runs on a Snapdragon 765G chipset, although that phone debuted before Google introduced its own Tensor system-on-chip. With the Tensor able to keep up with the silicon from the Snapdragon 8 series, I would expect a big leap in performance from the Pixel 6a next year. More importantly, Tensor enables many features driven by machine learning, such as improved call support and dictation on the device. We can’t wait to see if those features make the cut for the Pixel 6a.

We could be waiting before we find out. While the Pixel 3a debuted in spring 2019, both the Pixel 4a and 5a arrived in August. It’s unclear if Google will stick to that timeline for the Pixel 6a next year.

And for those looking to get a Pixel ahead of the eventual 6th release, there are some Black Friday phone deals. These include the Pixel 5a for $ 349, as well as the Pixel 6 at a decent discount at Best Buy, depending on your carrier. And be sure to check out our best Black Friday deals for the latest discounts.

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