Should I buy the Pixel 6a? Here's my expert opinion

Google's small Pixel handset has its share of pros and cons – here's the argument for and against

Google Pixel 6A review
(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

The Pixel 6a is now available for pre-order, adding to Google's Pixel handset line-up with a smaller option for the series. As much of the world never saw its predecessor, the Pixel 5a, there's a lot more noise around the 6a's arrival. 

But should you buy one? As I've detailed in my full Pixel 6a review, there's a lot to love about this smaller-screen handset, but in the same breath there are some alternatives you may want to consider instead when looking for the best affordable phone.

So let's get to it: should you be on team Pixel 6a yay or team Pixel 6a nay? Here's my opinion on the 'baby Pixel' and who it will and won't best suit. 

Yes, buy the Pixel 6a!

1. It's small, some people like small

Google Pixel 6A review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

The main thing that stands the Pixel 6a apart from its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro cousins is its size: the baby Pixel, as I like to call it, has a 6.1-inch screen. 

In a world of ever-increasing screen size – the Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch, the 6 Pro a 6.7-inch panel – some people just want a smaller phone for easier one-handed use or to avoid that absurd pocket bulge. 

For me it's this size factor that will make the Pixel 6a an appealing Android handset for a specific group of buyers. 

2. There's no real power compromise

Google Pixel 6A review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Unlike the Pixel 5a, which featured a Qualcomm chipset and never launched worldwide, the Pixel 6a doesn't really compromise in terms of power. That's because the 6a features the same Google Tensor chip as you'll find in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. 

Sure, there's a little less RAM (at 6GB rather than 8GB) and I found day one commenced with some stutters that promptly cleared up, but as day-to-day use goes it's super fluid, great for AI and computational tasks (particularly when it comes to camera), and puts the smaller Pixel on a level with its peers. 

3. Get in early for free Pixel Buds A-Series deal

Google Pixel Buds

(Image credit: Google)

A little extra to sweeten the deal? If you pre-order the Pixel 6a ahead of its August release date (opens in new tab) then you'll get Google Pixel Buds A-Series earphones thrown into the mix for free. 

These in-ears usually cost £99, so that's a great additional product to bag and, if you're looking for some new 'buds, will effectively cut down the asking price of the phone. 

No, don't buy the 6a!

1. It'll be too small for some

Google Pixel 6A review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

When I first moved into the Pixel 6a, having come from the same-price Nothing Phone 1, I found the Google phone a little too small for me. I'm used to the 6.7-inch flagships of today, really, so 6.1-inch isn't my typical go to. 

I do like the ease of use that smaller can add, especially when it comes to reaching across the handset, but I find the default keyboard in a body of this width is too prone to errors for my fingers and thumbs. 

Furthermore, the Pixel 6a's panel has a 60Hz refresh rate only, not the faster 90Hz option for greater visual fluidity that you'll find elsewhere in the Pixel range. And, of course, plenty of the best Android phones offer 120Hz or more as standard now. 

2. The Pixel 6 is better overall value

Google Pixel 6 review

(Image credit: Google)

But the biggest reason to not buy the Pixel 6a is relative to price. It all boils down to money, eh? Well, I think the 6a's £399/$449/€459/AUD$749 asking price is quite reasonable in this space.

However, it's all about context. And, at the time of writing, you can buy the Pixel 6 proper for a couple of dozen more pounds/dollars as it's being sold for deal-level prices often. 

The Pixel 6 delivers a larger screen (6.4-inch), faster refresh rate (90Hz), higher-res cameras (50-megapixel), wireless charging and faster wired charging (21W, which still isn't that fast anyway). All of which is appealing, unless you don't want the larger screen size, of course. 

3. The Pixel 7 is coming, too

Google Pixel 7

(Image credit: Google)

Let's not forget: the king of the Pixel range is on its way, due for reveal in October. Google already teased the Pixel 7 at Google I/O back in May, so some details and other rumours are already known. 

The 2022 flagship will introduce next-gen Tensor to the Pixel series, while offering a higher-quality aluminium build than the plastic on offer in the Pixel 6a's construction. 

This, I suspect, will cause the whole Pixel 6 series to go on offer, reducing price across the board. That may be a sweetener in considering the 6a later down the line, but for the time being I'd personally wait a little – unless ultimate Android on a smaller screen is your must-have thing right now

Mike Lowe
Mike Lowe

Tech Editor at T3, Mike handles all things tech – from phones, tablets and laptops, to gaming and computing. He's been working as a consumer technology journalist for the best part of 15 years, previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, and has provided freelance work to publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more over the years. In addition to his tech expertise, Mike is also a bit of a travel fiend, having travelled the globe extensively for both personal and work-related pursuits. You'll always find him setting up a new mobile phone, or critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next get-away.