Google Pixel 6a — the company’s first smartphone to debut in India in nearly two years — finally made its debut in India last week. A toned-down version of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the handset will miss the powerful cameras found on its more expensive siblings. However, the phone is equipped with the same powerful Tensor SoC under the hood, which means it offers the same Magic Eraser feature and Real Tone for photography, both of which are available on Google’s high-end handsets. If you live in India, you won’t have a choice, though, as the Pixel 6a is the only smartphone in the series to launch in the country.
On this week’s episode of Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital, host Akhil Arora talks to Senior Reviewer Aditya Shenoy who is reviewing the Google Pixel 6a and Senior Reviewer Sheldon Pinto. We discuss what the handset has to offer and how it compares to the competition.
Google has used the same formula for the cameras on the Google Pixel 6a — just like its predecessors, the camera is front and centre on the phone — and thanks to the Tensor chip, performance has not taken a backseat, according to Aditya. As a Pixel 4a owner, which comes with a weaker Snapdragon chipset, Sheldon agreed, saying that things have slowed down after the Android 12 update. However, it might not make sense to purchase the higher-end Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro, as they were not launched in the country and may not be covered by a warranty, Aditya warns.
The software on the Pixel is something that Android purists have gotten used to, and the Pixel 6a continues to deliver a clean experience without bloatware, according to Aditya. However, the smartphone sports a 60Hz display. When more affordable smartphones — like the Realme 9 Pro — offer displays with 90Hz and 120Hz refresh rates, the Pixel 6a may disappoint some buyers. Aditya also ran into a bug that has also affected some other reviewers, involving an unreliable fingerprint scanner, which could pose a security risk to users.
Pricing has always been a challenge for the Pixel series, Aditya points out, especially compared to the Nexus series. The early iterations, like the Pixel 2, were too expensive for users in India, which meant users would buy them after heavy price drops, Sheldon says. Aditya agrees, saying that Google wanted to go after the iPhone, which might have cost the company in the long run. With the higher end captured by Samsung and Apple in India, how much of a dent can Google make in the flagship category? Perhaps that’s the reason the company decided not to launch the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in India.
You can listen to all of that in detail and more in our episode by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.
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