Do you need a better camera, or could you use an extra $200 in your pocket?

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I recently spent time with Google’s new Pixel 6a, and my main takeaway is that it’s a great way to save $200 on a Pixel 6.

Here’s the thing: the mid-range Pixel 6a is basically the same phone as Google’s more expensive flagship Pixel 6, but it only costs $599 (compared to $799 for the Pixel 6). There are a few differences, however, but they aren’t significant. The Pixel 6a is smaller — which might be a positive for some — and has a smaller screen and battery. Speaking of the screen, it’s the same resolution as the Pixel 6, but only runs at 60Hz instead of the smoother 90Hz. The Pixel 6a doesn’t have wireless charging either.

Oh, and then there’s the camera.

The camera is the one significant difference between the two phones, and it all comes down to the primary rear sensor: 50-megapixel on the Pixel 6, and 12.2-megapixel on the Pixel 6a. So I set out to test the two cameras and show off the differences (see the video above)

Ultimately it comes down to the extremes. Both the Pixel 6a and Pixel 6 perform well in favourable conditions, like on a sunny beach. But it’s the extremes, like low-light performance or situations where you want to preserve detail, where the modern 50-megapixel Pixel 6 camera pulls ahead.

What that means, however, is the average person who just wants a reliable camera in their phone can save a good chunk of change with the Pixel 6a, while still getting almost all the helpful smart features and performance available on the Pixel 6. Avid photographers will likely appreciate the modern Pixel 6 sensor, but outside of that niche, the Pixel 6a is more than capable for most people.

If you want to know more about the Pixel 6a, check out my review here.

The Pixel 6a is now available in Canada for $599 and comes in three colours: ‘Sage,’ ‘Chalk,’ and ‘Charcoal.’

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