The Google Pixel 6a is officially our top budget phone of 2022. It’s the third iteration of Google’s budget series, with the first one being the Google Pixel 3a. The company has once again struck the right balance between features, price, and hardware design. At its starting price of $450, it may be one of the more expensive budget phones, but when you pick it, you’re sure to be good for up to five years without needing an upgrade.


The best part about the Pixel 6a is probably that it shares the most important features with its flagship sibling, 2021’s Google Pixel 6. It offers Google’s first homebrewed processor, the Google Tensor. The chip is filled with machine-learning optimizations and offers flagship-level performance at a fraction of the cost. Coupled with a 4,400mAh battery and 6GB of RAM, the Pixel 6a offers a fast and responsive experience.

On the software side, you also get almost everything the flagship Pixel 6 offers. As we noted in our review, it offers the same ambient convenience that makes it so hard for other companies to compete with the Pixel phones. Automatic call screening keeps spam calls in check, background music recognition lets you easily find the tunes you listened to in your favorite bar, the Recorder app is an invaluable tool for college students and journalists alike, and so much more—we’re only scratching the surface here.

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While the camera hasn’t received the same upgrade as the Pixel 6 back in 2021, it is still the same trusty and optimized 12MP primary shooter you know from previous flagship Pixels. Combined with computational photography, you get incredible shots without even having to think much about them—or spend much money.

All this doesn’t mean that we’re unanimously happy with the Google Pixel 6a, though. Google’s budget fighter has its fair share of issues. It’s sad that we finally had to say goodbye to the headphone jack on the third iteration of the a series. The Pixel 6a also stuck with a 60Hz screen, whereas the rest of the industry has moved on to faster displays, usually offering at least 90Hz at similar prices.

The Pixel 6a additionally doesn’t support wireless charging, which might be a deal breaker for you. Finally, the fingerprint scanner still isn’t as good as the Google Pixel 7’s—an issue the Pixel 6a inherited from the flagship Pixel 6 lineup, which was even worse than it in that regard. Depending on where you live, you might also experience connectivity issues, which was a weak spot of the first Google Tensor chip.


In our internal voting system, the Google Pixel 6a still managed to outperform the OnePlus Nord N20 5G, which you might like as a viable alternative if you want to save some dough—at $300, it offers a compelling and good looking package. Google’s 2022 budget phone also beat the Samsung Galaxy A53, which makes a few different decisions at the same price point. If you value a screen with a high refresh rate, multi-day battery life, and Samsung One UI more than what the Pixel offers, this is still a great choice.

Be sure to learn about all the awards we gave out for 2022’s best products to see what’s our favorite phone, smartwatch, tablet, and more.

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