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Pixel 6A vs. Pixel 5A With 5G: What Specs Are Changing in the 2022 Update

Google is making some tweaks to its more-affordable Pixel.

screenshot from Google I/O May 2022 presentation
The Pixel 6A
Google

Google's Pixel 6A is officially official. But even though Google has revealed the phone, that doesn't mean it's coming out right away. In fact, those interested in the $449 budget Pixel will need to wait until July 21 to preorder or July 28 for its actual release. 

Since we have some time, let's break down some of the differences between this year's Pixel 6A and last year's Pixel 5A with 5G. Specifically, the big changes coming to the design, processor and camera. 

Screen and design

As expected, Google is once again having its A-series borrow the design of its latest flagship Pixels. The Pixel 6A is smaller than not just the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but also more compact than the 5A with 5G. Compared to last year's device, the Pixel 6A sports a 6.1-inch screen versus the 5A with 5G's 5.34-inch display. 

Both displays are OLED and have Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 cover glass. The 6A does sport an improved contrast ratio of over 1 million-to-1 as well as a "high brightness mode." The latter two features seem to be brought over directly from the Pixel 6 line. 

The front camera on the 6A is now centered, a departure from the upper-left corner placement of the 5A. Also in line with the 6-series is a rear design that features a camera bar. Though after looking closely, this camera bar seems to be a hybrid between the Pixel 6 line and what seems to be coming in the fall with the Pixel 7 that Google also teased at its IO developer conference

Both the Pixel 5A with 5G and 6A are IP67-certified for water and dust resistance. The 6A drops the 3.5mm headphone jack that was present on the 5A with 5G but does move its fingerprint sensor beneath the display. Neither device supports wireless charging, however. 

Processor, 5G and storage

screenshot from Google I/O May 2022 presentation

The Pixel 6A runs on Google's Tensor processor.

Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

As one might expect, Google's newest Pixel runs on its Tensor silicon, the same chip that powers the 6 and 6 Pro. Last year's Pixel 5A with 5G used Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765G processor. 

Both phones have 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, though the Pixel 6A's LPDDR5 RAM should be more power-efficient, and its storage is UFS 3.1, which could have some performance improvements. 

Both phones support 5G. We should add that it appears that only Verizon's Pixel 6A will support millimeter-wave 5G (which is only available in parts of certain cities, stadiums and airports around the country). If you want that device it will run you $500 from the carrier, a $50 premium compared to the regular Pixel 6A that is sold unlocked directly by Google. 

Camera

screenshot from Google I/O May 2022 presentation
Google

On paper, the Pixel 5A and 6A share largely similar camera setups. Both main shooters are 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel main lenses with f/1.7 aperture and 77-degrees field of view. Google touts the main sensor on the 6A as being a wide lens. 

The ultrawide on the 6A is also 12 megapixels, a change from the 16-megapixel ultrawide on the 5A with 5G. As for the front shooters, both are 8 megapixels, though the 6A has an ever-so-slightly larger field of view (84 degrees versus 83 degrees on 5A with 5G). 

The biggest changes, however, seem to be in software. Google is giving the 6A a number of the big camera upgrades it bestowed on the 6 line last year, including the "Magic Eraser" for removing people or objects from photos, "face unblur" which should help keep faces visible even when people are moving, and "Real Tone" for accurately capturing skin tones. 

Stay tuned to CNET for more Pixel 6A coverage as we near the device's release at the end of July. 

Specs

Pixel 6A vs. Pixel 5A With 5G


Google Pixel 6A Google Pixel 5A With 5G
Display size, resolution 6.1-inch OLED; (1,080 x 2,400 pixels); 60Hz 6.34-inch OLED; (1,080 x 2,400 pixels)
Pixel density 429 ppi 413 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35 in. 6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 in.
Dimensions (Millimeters) 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm 156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.3 oz.; 178g 6.45 oz.; 183g
Mobile software (at launch) Android 12 Android 11
Camera 12.2-megapixel (dual-pixel, wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 12.2-megapixel (dual pixel), 16-megapixel (ultrawide),
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K
Processor Google Tensor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
RAM/Storage 6GB RAM/128GB storage 6GB RAM/128GB storage
Expandable storage None None
Battery/Charger 4,410-mAh capacity; 18-watt fast charging (adapter sold separately) 4,620-mAh capacity; 18-watt fast charging (included)
Fingerprint sensor Under display On back
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack None Yes
Special features 5G-enabled, Wi-Fi 6E, security updates for 5 years, Android OS updates for 3 years, dual SIM, IP67 water resistance 5G-enabled, Android OS and security updates for 3 years, dual SIM, IP67 water resistance, power adapter included in box
Price off-contract (USD) $449 $449
Price (GBP) £399 £399
Price (AUD) AU$749 AU$749