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Google has finally released the Pixel 6a: the 'budget' version of its flagship smartphone and Android's answer to Apple's new iPhone SE.
With a souped-up Tensor processor, stunning OLED screen, and significantly bigger storage space, owners of the new phone have been raving about it.
It's also been released alongside the new Pixel Buds Pro, another product showing how serious Google is about taking on Apple.
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Google have already been releasing new updates for the phone and said it will be supported for years to come. But is it actually any good?
The Google Pixel 6a comes in a sleek, minimal box and takes minutes to set up.
The speed of the Google Tensor processor is immediately apparent, with apps opening and closing with ease—and a pleasant sound effect. It also switches on quickly with very little fuss.
Because this is Google, however, they're very keen to get people using their 'OK Google' voice assistant. In fact, this is built into what is usually the power button, meaning every time you go to switch it on and off, the voice control will be activated.
This is a little bit annoying if you're used to long-pressing a power buttons to, well, power the phone on and off. If you want to switch off the phone, you have to swipe down from the top of the screen, which takes some getting used to.
However, it is useful, as Google has packed its voice assistant with tons of new features this time around, including voice typing, live translate, and a nifty feature that lets your phone sit on hold so you don't have to.
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Some users have also pointed out issues with the 6a's fingerprint scanner, which is built into the device's screen. No word from Google whether it plans to patch this yet.
The 6a does have a decent quality camera which uses some of the Tensor's AI features to enhance photography. It has a 12.2-megapixel main camera, a 12MP ultrawide lens for those Instagram landscape shots, and an 8MP selfie camera.
It's not quite as good as something you'd get on a phone twice the price, but then, why would it be?
The best thing about the Pixel 6a is undoubtedly its physical design. It's really slim and light, and probably small enough for any pocket, but it also feels like it's made of some strong materials and has a quality feel to it.
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Apple iPhone SE vs Google Pixel 6a comparison
If you're choosing between an iPhone SE and the Pixel 6a, it's worth noting a few things. Firstly, the 6a comes with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM as standard.
Meanwhile, the iPhone SE offers a choice between 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB of storage, but only packs 4GB of RAM. The iPhone SE also has only one rear camera lens, while the 6a has two. The 6a has almost double the battery life of the SE as well as a 6.1 inch OLED display at full HD, compared to the iPhone SE's diminutive 4.7 inch LCD.
So, if you're after a decent budget handset that's going to last a while, the Pixel 6a undoubtedly beats the iPhone SE when it comes to specs, and for cheaper. (The Pixel 6a costs £399 on Amazon currently, versus the 128GB iPhone SE's £460).
If you're torn between the two, it really just comes down to preference and whether you like the Android operating system more than iOS. But if you've never used Android, the Pixel 6a could be a really great place to start.
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