Are you planning to invest in a cheap Android phone with a compact form factor, a great camera and one of the best software experiences in a smartphone? In 2023, the Google Pixel 6a offers all these qualities while maintaining a low price. It’s the ideal device for anyone tight on their pockets or those who just want a well-balanced phone as their daily driver, no questions asked.
As a reminder, Google released the Pixel 6a in 2022 for $449. However, the smartphone is often listed for less than $399. In October 2022, during the Black Friday sale, the Pixel 6a was available for just $299. hard to find the phone at that price again, it’s available on Amazon for $319.99, giving users the best bang for their buck. Here are six reasons why the Pixel 6a is the best budget Android phone.
The Pixel 6a shares the same design language as the Pixel 6, which gives it a flagship-like look, especially when compared to other phones in the segment. The smaller screen size and minimal side bezels create a compact form factor, making the phone ideal for one-handed use. Although the phone has a plastic back, it doesn’t feel any less premium. The aluminum frame and metal buttons on the side also enhance the feel in the hand.
Buyers can choose from three colors: Charcoal, Chalk and Sage. All variants have a two-tone look with a dark horizontal visor that houses the dual rear camera and flash. Another thing worth noting is that the Pixel 6a has an IP67 rating, which means it’s completely resistant to dust and can withstand water damage when submerged up to a meter for up to 30 minutes. This sets the phone apart from its competition as most other models do not offer this feature.
The Pixel 6a has a 6.1-inch OLED display, making it one of the most compact Android phones. While the screen has Gorilla Glass 3 protection and supports HDR content, it lacks a higher refresh rate, which may feel like a downgrade to some. Other offerings in the price range, such as the OnePlus Nord N20 5G, also lack a higher refresh rate display. Nevertheless, for a phone under $400, the Pixel 6a’s screen produces vibrant colors, excellent viewing angles, and enough peak brightness for indoor and outdoor use.
4 Battery life
Out of the box, the Pixel 6a has a 4,410mAh battery that supports 18W wired charging, which isn’t too slow or very fast. The phone offers less screen time than the Pixel 6 or the Pixel 6 Pro, but given its price, it packs quite a punch. With daily use, the Pixel 6a will last about a day with moderate use, with multiple apps installed and frequent internet access. This should be enough for most users looking for an Android phone on a budget. The phone also has features like Adaptive Charging and Extreme Battery Saver mode.
The Pixel 6a runs on Google’s Tensor G1 chipset and comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Although it is about a year old, the phone outperforms other models in the segment. To get a better idea, we compare the Geekbench scores of the Pixel 6a, the OnePlus Nord N20 5G and the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G. The Pixel 6a scores around 1,000 points in the single-core test and around 2,800 points in the multi-core performance test, while the Galaxy A23 5G scores around 522/1,600 points in both tests. The Nord N20 5G also gets around 650/1,950 points on Geekbench. On paper, this establishes that the Pixel 6a is the better phone. Buyers can even play video games at medium graphics settings.
Performance aside, there’s another aspect where the Pixel 6a excels: the phone’s camera. Google’s smartphones are known for excellent computational photography, and the Pixel 6a is no different. On paper, it might seem like the 12.2MP (f/1.7) primary and the 12MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide cameras are average, but the phone really can take some excellent shots. Whether in broad daylight or in a dimly lit indoor environment, the Pixel 6a’s cameras snap sharp images with balanced dynamic range and near-accurate colors.
Once users focus on a subject, the camera app offers brightness and color temperature controls. Tensor’s raw processing power allows the phone to shoot ultra-high resolution 4K videos at 60fps using the primary camera. Furthermore, videos have four stabilization modes: Standard, Locked, Active and Cinematic Pan. Other camera-related tricks include the Magic Eraser, Night Sight for clicking great images in a low-light environment, Face Unblur, and Real Tone. Overall, it’s hard to find a smartphone that can beat the Pixel 6a’s camera, especially in its price range.
1 Software experience
Pixel 6a is one of the few budget phones on the market that offers the cleanest Android OS experience. Users get a clean user interface that can be customized with the Material You design scheme, quick privacy controls for the camera/mic, nearby sharing with Android/Windows devices, and so on. More importantly, buyers don’t get bloatware, which is not the case with the other budget phones available in the market.
Furthermore, Google’s Pixel smartphones are at the forefront of software updates. Those concerned about the life of the phone should know that Google has promised Android version updates until at least July 2025 and security updates until July 2027. The Pixel 6a is also eligible for the feature drop coming every three months . Other features of the phone include 5G connectivity, Wi-Fi 6 for wireless connectivity, dual speakers and an in-display fingerprint scanner.