The Google Pixel 6 and 6a are the latest and greatest offerings Google has to offer. That being said, not everyone is ready to part with that much cash, nor does everyone need a flagship phone. Therefore, some of you are probably considering getting the Pixel 5a. In this article, we’ll compare the Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 5a. We’ll hopefully be able to provide you with some information that will help you make a decision.
Both of these phones are compelling in their own regard, but they’re also quite different. The Pixel 6 is a more powerful handset, for sure, but it may not be for everyone. We’ll kick things off by listing their specifications, and will then move to the design, display, performance, battery, camera, and audio categories. That being said, let’s kick off the Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 5a comparison.
|Google Pixel 6||Google Pixel 5a|
|Screen size||6.4-inch fullHD+ AMOLED flat display (90Hz)||6.34-inch fullHD+ OLED display (60Hz)|
|Screen resolution||2400 x 1080||2400 x 1080|
|SoC||Google Tensor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G|
|RAM||8GB (LPDDR5)||6GB (LPDDR4X)|
|Storage||128GB/256GB, non-expandable||128GB, non-expandable|
|Rear cameras||50MP (f/1.9 aperture, 1.2um pixel size, 26mm lens, omnidirectional PDAF, OIS, Laser AF)
12MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.25um pixel size, 114-degree FoV)
|12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)
16MP (ultra-wide, f/2.2 aperture, 1.0um pixel size, 119-degree FoV)
|Front cameras||8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)||8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)|
|Battery||4,614mAh, non-removable, 30W wired charging, 21W wireless charging||4,680mAh, non-removable, 18W fast battery charging|
|Dimensions||158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm||154.9 x 73.7 x 7.6mm|
|Weight||207 grams||183 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)||Rear-facing fingerprint scanner|
|OS||Android 12||Android 11 (upgradeable to Android 12)|
Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 5a: Design
When it comes to the design, these two phones differ a lot. The Pixel 6 is made out of metal and glass, while the Pixel 5a is built out of metal, but its metal shell is coated with resin, making it a lot less slippery. The two phones also look entirely different. The Pixel 6 has a centered display camera hole, and a huge camera strip on the back, which goes from the right side of the phone all the way to the left.
The Pixel 5a, on the other hand, has a much smaller camera island on the back, in the top-left corner. Its display camera hole is located in the top-left corner. Both phones have fairly thin bezels, though the Pixel 5a may even have an upper hand in that regard. The difference is minimal, though. The size difference between these two phones is not huge, but the Pixel 5a is the smaller of the two.
It is shorter, narrower, and thinner, while it’s also noticeably lighter, by 24 grams. It has a slightly smaller display as well. The Pixel 5a is definitely easier to use with one hand, as it’s more compact, and it’s also considerably less slippery. The Pixel 6 does look a lot flashier, though, it looks more modern. You also get a lot more color options with the Pixel 6, while the Pixel 5a comes in a single color only.
Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 5a: Display
The difference between their displays is also quite noticeable. The Pixel 6 comes with a 6.4-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) AMOLED display that is flat. That display offers a 90Hz refresh rate, and HDR10+ support. It is protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus, by the way, and it includes a centered display camera hole. The Pixel 5a’s panel, on the other hand, measures 6.34 inches, and it’s also flat. It’s an OLED display. It offers fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) resolution. This panel has a 60Hz refresh rate, though, and it’s protected by the Gorilla Glass 3.
The Pixel 6’s display is not only better protected, but it’s smoother to use as well. You’ll notice that difference especially when scrolling. The Gorilla Glass 3 is not the best when it comes to scratch protection, so you can expect some micro scratches on it soon, if you opt against a screen protector. The Gorilla Glass Victus handles all that much better, which is not surprising considering it’s much newer.
Both displays are bright enough outdoors, though they’re not the brightest out there. Only direct sunlight could present a small issue, though, otherwise they’re more than bright enough. The viewing angles are great, and both displays are quite responsive. They’re punchy, and the blacks are deep, as you’d expect. Google’s Material You design does make these displays a bit more yellowish than they should be, when you’re navigating the UI, but other than that, they’re both good, and more than sharp enough.
Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 5a: Performance
The Pixel 6 is, without a doubt, the more powerful handset here. It is fueled by the Google Tensor SoC, the very first mobile SoC Google came up with. In addition to that, it packs LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 flash storage. The Pixel 5a, on the flip side, is fueled by the Snapdragon 765G, and it includes LPDDR4X RAM, along with UFS 2.1 flash storage. In regular, day-to-day performance, they’re more than compelling, though.
The Pixel 6 will be a bit faster in such tasks. It will open apps faster, process images and videos faster, and so on. The difference is not big, though, as the Pixel 5a can handle all that like a champ as well. That goes for pretty much everything else you may be doing. The Pixel 6 will do better with graphically-demanding games, though, but that is to be expected considering how much more powerful it is.
The Pixel 6 does get a bit warm during gaming, so does the Pixel 5a, but not as much. Neither phone gets uncomfortable to use, though, so that’s not something that should worry you. All in all, if you’re not a demanding user, both phones will serve you just fine. If you tend to play games quite a bit, and you want something a bit more powerful, the Pixel 6 is the way to go. It’s simply more powerful.
Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 5a: Battery
The Google Pixel 6 comes with a 4,614mAh battery, while the Pixel 5a includes a 4,680mAh battery. You’ll be glad to know that both phones offer really good battery life. It may take about a week or two before they settle in into their ways, but once they do, they do offer really compelling battery life. In our testing, the Pixel 5a did do better over a period of time, easily hitting really high numbers, such as 7 hours of screen-on-time.
The Pixel 6 was able to cross that mark as well, but it was a bit behind the Pixel 5a. Don’t take these numbers for granted, as your mileage may differ quite a bit. We’ve seen a lot of different results from other users, so it’ll all depend on your usage, your location, and so on. There are simply too many factors included here, and the battery life will always differ quite a bit from one person to the next.
Now, when it comes to charging, the Pixel 6 does have an advantage. Google is selling a 30W charger for the device, but it cannot charge at 30W. The phone will charge at max 21-22W, and it will decrease the charging speed significantly after it crosses 50% charge. It does support 21W charging via the official Pixel Stand charger, and slower wireless charging via other Qi chargers. The Pixel 5a offers 18W wired charging, no wireless charging.
Google Pixel 6 vs Google Pixel 5a: Cameras
After four years, Google finally changed the main camera sensor it’s using in its smartphones. The Pixel 6 comes with a 50-megapixel main camera from Samsung. The Pixel 5a, however, still uses a rather old 12.2-megapixel Sony sensor. The Pixel 5a can still provide compelling pictures, but it cannot compete with its more powerful sibling. The Pixel 6 beats the Pixel 5a across the board.
Daytime pictures from both phones are excellent, filled with details, with great dynamic range, and sharpness. The colors are also quite punchy. The Pixel 6 does provide a bit more detail in such conditions. When the light goes away, the Pixel 6 truly shines. It has noticeably less noise compared to the Pixel 5a, while it can light up dark scenes considerably more than its sibling. That results in more compelling nighttime shots.
The video recording aspect is not even a competition. The Pixel 6 simply wins in this category, with ease. It offers better stabilization, and the footage itself is more natural, and detailed. The Pixel 5a is completely outclassed in the video department. Both phones can shoot good selfies, though neither is the best in that category.
Both of these smartphones come with stereo speakers. Only the Pixel 5a has a 3.5mm headphone jack, though. Neither of the two devices has the best speakers out there, but they’re far from the worst stereo speakers we’ve heard. Both iterations are actually really good. The vocals come out sharp, there’s some bass included, and they’re more than loud enough. They’re not tiny, and distortion is not noticeable.
You always need to manage your expectations when it comes to audio from smartphones, well, almost always, but as long as you’re not too demanding, you won’t have much to complain about here. They do offer good sound, and that goes for both their speakers, and the audio output when you connect a pair of headphones. Such audio will depend on the quality of your headphones as well, though, of course.