Given Google has made an ‘a-series’ phone for every phone since the Pixel 3, it should come as no surprise that the company is planning a Pixel 6a. Especially when it cites this officially non-existent handset in a colouring book of all things.
But while the Pixel 3a and 4a* both featured weaker processors than the original, the word from those in the know has been that the Pixel 6a will match the 6 with the same Tensor chipset, developed exclusively for Google handsets.
It looks like that rumour and hearsay was correct, as the first benchmarks of the still-technically-theoretical handset have popped up on Geekbench. Both handsets are listed as featuring a 1.8GHz ARM processor with eight cores, and even though the Pixel 6a appears to have 6GB RAM rather than the 8GB seen in the original Pixel 6, it still manages to slightly outperform its predecessor.
Not by much, admittedly: those kinds of differences are very much ‘rounding error’ material — but it does show that there’s little chance of the Pixel 6a scrimping on performance, which is great news. While Google will have to make savings somewhere (probably with a plastic shell, a weaker camera and maybe a lesser screen), in terms of raw power it looks like there will be nothing between them.
In that respect, it looks like Google is following the example of Apple with the iPhone SE — a phone that outperforms every Android handset out there, despite its low NZ$799 cost of entry, thanks to its use of the Apple A15 chipset.
We’re not sure when you’ll be able to buy the Pixel 6a — of indeed “if”, in the case of New Zealand where you still need to import the Pixel 6 if you want one — but the fact that packaging is already being produced suggests we may see it sooner rather than later. It may well be worth tuning into Google I/O, when it kick offs on May 11 2022.
* The Pixel 5a actually had the same processor as the 5, but given the Pixel 5 was a non flagship phone in the first place, it’s not entirely comparable.