Skip to main content

Google’s Affordable Pixel 6a and $199 Pixel Buds Pro Land in July

With the Pixel 7, 7 Pro, Watch, and Tablet arriving in the future.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Ever since the launch of Pixel in 2016, Google has been refocusing efforts on hardware and making some great smartphones. Namely, with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro last Fall -- offering very competitive pricing for a flagship experience.

And now, Google I/O 2022 is underway. The annual developer conference is the technology giant’s chance to show off features, predict the future of software, and showcase the Pixel family of devices. Like Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung, Google sees its hardware ambitions as more than just one or two phones each year.

So with that in mind, Google just announced the Pixel 6a and Pixel Buds Pro. Both ship this July, and we’re unpacking them below. They also pre-announced the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, which will run on the second-gen of the Google-made Tensor processor, along with a Pixel Watch that will arrive this Fall.

Oh, and if that’s not enough, there’s a Pixel Tablet coming in 2023. This introduction was a mouthful to write, so let’s dive into all these products.

The Arena Media Brands, LLC and respective content providers to this website may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Google Pixel 6a: What You Need To Know

The Pixel-A series is quite simple -- it’s a more affordable smartphone geared for the masses that doesn’t undercut the experience of a more premium device from Google. The Pixel 6a will start at $449 -- the same price as the previous Pixel 5a with 5G -- and will be up for preorder on July 21, with availability on July 28.

Like the $599 Pixel 66 and $899 6 Pro, the 6a has a unique design with a horizontal camera bar on the back. It will all be held together with a metal frame and an aluminum design in Chalk, Charcoal, and Sage. It’s a more boxy smartphone that feels modern, just like the 6 and 6 Pro.

And for anyone with smaller hands or who wants a more manageable device, the 6a is more petite with a 6.1-inch Full HD gOLED display. It’s tall like other Android phones with a 20:9 aspect ratio and comes with a standard 60Hz motion refresh rate. A pinhole up top also hides the 8-megapixel wide-angle selfie camera. Google’s also opting for the same under-display fingerprint sensor as the 6 and 6 Pro here.

The Pixel 6a will be running Android 12 out of the box with full support for the Material You interface. Essentially, Android will adapt to your wallpaper, pulling the general color scheme from that image. You can also further customize it in Settings for a pretty cohesive experience. The real kicker here is that the Pixel 6a is powered by the Google-made Tensor processor, which should deliver fast performance and a smooth experience. That chip is paired with 6GB of RAM and the Titan M2 security chip.

In our testing, Google’s Tensor chip is speedy and efficient with the keen ability to stretch the battery life super far. They promise all-day battery life at over 24 hours on the 6a, and with the “Extreme Battery Saver” function, Google says it will stretch to 72-hours. You’ll need to plug in via USB-C to recharge the 4,400mAh battery, though. Additionally, the Pixel 6a will support three standards of 5G — Sub-6, mmWave (in select countries), and C-Band.

As this is a Pixel, you’ll also get many exclusive features like the ability to have the Google Assistant wait on hold and screen calls. The 6a will be capable of live transcriptions for content and everyday speech. Google will also support it with three years of general Android updates and five years of security updates.

Lastly, let’s talk about the main cameras on the back. The Pixel 6a features a 12-megapixel wide and a 12-megapixel ultra wide lens. These aren’t the same lenses as the 6 or 6 Pro but are more likely similar to the 5a with 5G. We’ll need to see how these perform, but Google promises fast capture times and support for Magic Eraser, which will let you easily remove annoying objects or people from images. The 6a will also support “Real Tone” for accurate photos and Portrait Mode.

The Pixel 6a is shaping up to be an excellent smartphone that also happens to be affordable. At $449.99 in July, it will go head to head against the $429.99 iPhone SE (third-generation) and countless other Android smartphones.

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

Pixel Buds Pro: What You Need To Know

We just named the $99 Pixel Buds A the best true wireless earbuds for Android smartphones, but they’ll be getting a bigger brother this July. Google has announced the $199 Pixel Buds Pro which features a similar compact design but sports a custom-made chip (much like Apple’s AirPods family) and offers features like Active Noise Cancellation, a Transparency mode, and Spatial Audio.

Google promises up to 11 hours of playback without ANC, seven hours with ANC enabled, and 31 hours when you factor in recharges with the case. That companion case can also be recharged wirelessly or via the USB-C port.

Powering ANC and Transparency modes on Pixel Buds Pro will be the custom processor, three microphones, a visible wind-blocking mesh, and a voice accelerometer. All of this will work to block noise out, let environmental sounds in and ensure clean voice pick up when you’re on calls or using the Google Assistant.

Each Pixel Buds Pro features an 11-millimeter dynamic driver designed in-house at Google in terms of audio. The tech giant promises a step-up experience over the standard Pixel Buds A, and they’ll be doing some real-time mixing with Volume EQ. Pixel Buds Pro will also support Spatial Audio, though unclear in what capacity. Apple’s AirPods 3, Pro, and Max all support Spatial Audio for music, tv shows, movies, and FaceTime calls.

Pixel Buds Pro have a nearly identical design to Pixel Buds A; they’re just packed to the brim with more hardware inside. They sport an IPX4 resistance against water or sweat, come in four fun colors (Charcoal, Lemongrass, Coral, and Fog) and have touch controls on each earbud. They’ll feature Bluetooth 5.0 for fast connectivity, and they -- finally! -- support multiple connections at once.

If you don’t need ANC or Transparency, we’d recommend the cheaper Pixel Buds A -- they’re $99 and available right now. If you’re after ANC, Transparency, and better sound, we’d look at Beats Studio Buds or Fit Pro, both of which currently undercut the $199 price tag of Pixel Buds Pro.

Pixel 7 and 7 Pro: What You Need To Know

In a highly similar vein to the 6 and 6 Pro last summer, Google pre-announced the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. They will be Pixel’s premium smartphones arriving this Fall with a pretty similar design to the current 6 and 6 Pro.

Google is being pretty tight-lipped on details, though. Both phones will ship with Android 13, sport a higher-end design with a silver aluminum camera bar on the back, and be powered by the second-generation Tensor processor. The Pixel 7 will still feature wide and ultrawide lenses on the back. The Pixel 7 Pro will also feature a circular telescoping lens for zoom shots.

Not much else is known here, though, and if you’re in the market for a phone now, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend waiting. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are readily available and offer many of the same features. They’re $599 and $899, respectively, with fast-performance, five years of security updates, Pixel-exclusive features, and support for 5G. You can also wait until July and score a 6a for less at $449.

Pixel Watch: What You Need To Know

The long rumored Pixel Watch is finally official, and it’s arriving this Fall alongside the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. This circular smartwatch will be complete with an aluminum crown and a touchscreen. It will be running the latest version of WearOS, which we first saw debuted on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4, and be deeply integrated with Pixel smartphones. Unlike other WearOS devices, this will support other Android phones but not iPhones.

This will be Google’s first entry into the smartwatch world with hardware, and this will likely be the biggest competition against the Apple Watch in the Android space. From photos, the Pixel Watch looks well designed and is being built by the Fitbit team. You might recall that Google acquired Fitbit in 2021. Google didn’t give a whole lot of specifics, but the Pixel Watch will come in Bluetooth and Cellular versions, while all models will sport various health tracking features.

If you’re currently in the market for a smartwatch, we’d consider the Galaxy Watch 4 if on Android and an Apple Watch if you’re an iPhone user.

Pixel Tablet: What You Need To Know

Lastly, Google announced the Pixel Tablet, which will arrive in 2023. Yep, a cool many, many months from now. It will be a premium larger screen device, and Google says it’s something that current Pixel owners have asked for. We expect that Android 13 will be updated with some new features purpose-built for tablets.

Given that we don’t know much about the Pixel Tablet and that it’s well over a year out, we’d recommend a Galaxy Tab S8 from Samsung, a Fire HD 8 if you’re looking for something basic, or even an iPad.

Let’s Recap Google I/O 2022

That was a lot for us to write, and Google unpacked a lot on stage at its annual developer conference. For 2022, it’s clear there’s a big focus on hardware, and Pixel is being viewed as an ecosystem of devices.

The $449 Pixel 6a and $199 Pixel Buds Pro will be entering pretty package markets in July, but we’re eager to see how both perform. We’re especially bullish on the Pixel 6a, given past affordable Pixel phones and the hardware here. And for later this year and beyond, we can look forward to the Pixel 7, 7 Pro, Watch, and Tablet. 

Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.