Years ago, I wouldn’t consider a mid-range smartphone, because I knew the concessions I’d have to make. It used to be that you could only find one flagship-level feature on a smartphone under the $500 price point. Fortunately, things have grown exponentially in the past five years.
Apple started the trend off with the iPhone SE, effectively setting the stage for the “standard edition” of the marquee device launch. Google quickly followed with its Pixel A-series, providing it could package premium abilities into a device without charging too much. Samsung has always had its hand in the mid-range market, but it’s only recently that its respective Galaxy A-series contributed something meaningful to the under $500 price point.
Last week on Gadgets, we covered the ins and outs of Google’s latest, the Pixel 6a. We published a full review of the device earlier in the week, and we’re confident that Google’s Tensor chip should be a consideration when shopping for a smartphone at this price. Like Apple’s strategy to power its iPhone SE with the same processor as its flagship counterparts, Google’s proving that keeping things close to home is best when you’re also adapting your camera capabilities for a smaller budget and managing software updates.
The Pixel 6a’s battery life is also stellar, helped in part by that algorithmic tuning. It is quite a feat for the Pixel 6a, as it hails a smaller battery than some pricier models out there. And yes, that fingerprint scanner is also fast, and though it’s not leaps and bounds ahead of the Google Pixel 6’sit’s more responsive.
The Pixel 6a isn’t perfect. We cover that in the show and explain why 6GB of RAM might not be enough for the longevity promised by this particular device. The display’s 60Hz refresh rate It might also not be to your liking, especially if you’re downgrading from a 120Hz device. The Pixel 6a is smaller than other smartphones, though it’s also still bigger than the iPhone SE.
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