Has Google lost its way with the Pixel A series?

google pixel 6a back in hand outdoor

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Google’s Pixel A series has a well-defined formula at this point. The budget series boasts of flagship properties such as light, smooth software and advanced camera processing and some corners have been cut to keep the price affordable. It has worked well so far, with devices like the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5a garnering a lot of praise over the years. Now we have google pixel 6a, It follows most of the rules yet blurs the line between budget and flagship like never before. The Pixel 6a takes some solid strides but puts almost all of its eggs in one basket. That’s enough to make me wonder: Has Google lost its way with the Pixel A series?

Read our thoughts: google pixel 6a review

Tensor. swear at

google pixel 6a home screen

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Don’t get me wrong, the Google Pixel 6a is a good phone. It fulfills the need of those who want a smaller pixel these days. However, it’s not the slam-dunk value buy that its predecessor was. Instead of balancing moderate processing power with upgrades across the board, the Pixel 6a is on Google’s Tensor chip. In addition to the revamped design, tensor The chip is arguably the only update to keep the Pixel 6a ahead of the 2021 Pixel 5a or 2020 Pixel 4a 5G.

learn more: Google Tensor vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

Google seems to rely on its own silicon, but the truth is we still don’t know how well Tensor will age. Pixel 6 Series It has been full of bugs since its launch, causing some to jump ship for calmer waters. The chipset is riddled with reception and overheating issues, and it’s bad enough that our own Robert Triggs reluctantly dropped your Pixel 6 Pro — a phone he loved overall — after less than a year of use.

Maybe the biggest problem with Tensor is timing or lack thereof. Google doesn’t have as much opportunity to grow and learn as much as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 series and Apple’s Bionic line have. Still, Google is doubling down. Instead of upgrading components like the refresh rate (stuck at 60Hz) or the camera (hello, the Pixel 3’s 12.2MP sensor), Google is betting on its processing power to propel the Pixel 6a into the future. It’s a risky bet, considering that the Pixel A series is aimed at customers who may not have the facility to replace their devices as soon as things go awry. A mid-tier chip, it’s called Tensor Lite, may have allowed Google to build a more balanced and less risky Pixel 6a.

Is it time for the Tensor Lite chip that allows Google to upgrade other components like the camera and display?

This isn’t the first time we’ve opted for a mid-range device for processing power rather than an all-around upgrade. Apple iPhone SE (2022) Packs a new A15 Bionic chipset in the old iPhone 8 body with tremendous results. Yes, it’s powerful, delivering benchmark results that are basically off the charts, but it’s an unbalanced experience. The iPhone SE (2022) is small and hard to use, while its lone camera rocks its flexibility like a stone.

Apple’s smallest iPhone is an extreme example, but the Pixel 6a is cut from a similar fabric. It’s betting on a younger chipset rather than upgrading the overall package, hoping that, as Chrissy Lannister put it, “power is power.”

value of value

Google Pixel 4a back in hand 5

David Email / Android Authority

Cersei might – not for the first time – be wrong. Sometimes, power is power, but with the Pixel A series the value is power. The unbeatable price earned the Pixel 4a a special place in our hearts, as it transformed the entire Pixel experience into the smallest and most affordable package we’ve seen in years. Sure, it only had a rear camera, but the Pixel 4a only debuted at $349 when the flagship Pixel 4 cost $799.

Now, the $450 difference seems like a Grand Canyon as the Pixel A series moves closer and closer to the flagship model. These days, both start at a mere $150 difference, and it’s hard to recommend the budget range at face value. Dropping the extra cash gets you a bigger, more durable display, faster refresh rates, better cameras, and wireless charging. On the other hand, the biggest reason to choose the Pixel 6a is that you’re not ready for a smaller phone. We all have our preferences, but it’s hard to lend all the value to a small device.

The Pixel A is flying too close to Google’s flagships, tarnishing its historical value proposition.

Without acting as a mini version of Google’s best hardware, the Pixel A series cost half that of a flagship. Now, the lines are as blurry as they ever were. Pixel 6a works almost Like a flagship, while the Pixel 6 is priced almost Like a mid-range device. It’s hard to put aside only $150 for Google’s phones, and it begs the question: Which Pixel blinks first?

Read further: The Galaxy A and Pixel A series herald the golden age of budget phones

Is the Google Pixel A Series Worth Buying?

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