The Pixel 6 has only recently hit the market, but since we regularly get a six-month lead time for smartphone leaks these days, it’s time to talk about its mid-sized cousin, the Pixel 6a. This weekend, OnLeaks and 91Mobiles graced the web with a rendering of what the phone is expected to look like, based on CAD files to be distributed to accessory makers.
Our closing thoughts in the Pixel 6 review expressed hope that Google would continue its Pixel 6 work and build something that ultimately felt like a cohesive product line, rather than the annual reboot crapshoot that the Pixel line has been since the beginning. . For the Pixel 6a, it looks like Google is following that path. The 6a looks just like the Pixel 6, with a large camera bar on the back, a two-tone design, a flat screen on the front with a centered hole punch camera and an on-screen fingerprint reader. This Pixel 6a render is barely distinguishable from the Pixel 6.
A big difference is the size. While the Pixel 6 Pro is 6.7 inches and the Pixel 6 is 6.4 inches, the 6a fits at 6.2 inches. CAD files should be pretty exacting dimensions for accessory makers, and OnLeaks says the phone is 152.2 × 71.8 × 8.7mm. Again, that’s a big step smaller than the 75.9mm wide Pixel 6 Pro and the 74.8mm wide Pixel 6. People asking for a smaller Google phone will have something closer to what they want in the Pixel 6a, and a smaller size is a good way to cut costs on this mid-range device.
The black camera bar that runs across the back of the Pixel 6 instantly made it one of the most recognizable phones on the market. While the Pixel 6a carries this design motif forward, the camera bar is noticeably smaller in width compared to the Pixel 6. The camera bump won’t be as big either, with the phone reported to measure 10.4mm including the bar, while the Pixel 6 looks more like 12mm with the bar. We don’t have any concrete specs on the Pixel 6a yet, but a camera downgrade is quite likely. Google uses the same primary camera sensor – a Sony IMX363 – in most Pixel phones, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the same sensor appear in the Pixel 6a.
The flagship-style design of the Pixel 6a means it comes with some design cues that people may or may not be happy with. According to the report, the phone has an on-screen fingerprint reader. These are usually not as fast as the rear capacitive readers that the Pixel A line has used before. It looks like this is also the first time the Pixel A line will ditch the headphone jack.
Without saying anything about the specs, we can only speculate about which SoC this phone will have. Google made a big deal about launching its first internal chip, the Google Tensor SoC, in the Pixel 6. It looks like the Pixel 6a wouldn’t have the budget to include a flagship SoC, so Google will should come up with something else. Since we’ve never heard of a mid-range variant of the Tensor, we’re assuming Google will return to Qualcomm on its mid-range phone.
As always, it is very difficult to pinpoint the release date of the latest Pixel A phone. The Pixel 5a launched in August 2021 and we’re now getting Pixel 6a leaks in November 2021. Since OnLeaks had rendered both Pixel 5a and Pixel 6 six months before launch, we suspect we’ll see a May-like release date.