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(Pocket-lint) - Google's Pixel 6a takes plenty of influence from the Pixel 6 devices, not only in terms of design, but chipset too. It also takes from the Pixel 5 and 5a 5G though. In essence, we guess it's a blend of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5.

We've analysed how the Pixel 6a compares to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro in a separate feature, but here we are focusing on how it stacks up against the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 5a 5G.

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Design

  • Pixel 6a: 152.2 x 71.8. x 8.7mm (tbc), IP67
  • Pixel 5a 5G: 154.9 x 73.7 x 7.6mm, 185g, IP67
  • Pixel 5: 144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm, 151g, IP68

While the Google Pixel 5 and 5a 5G are very similar in design, the Pixel 6a is dramatically different. Following in the footsteps of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the Pixel 6a has a two-tone design with a camera housing on the rear that spans the width of the device. It's cool and striking, making for a unique look compared to most mid-range devices out there.

On the front, you'll find a flat display that has a punch hole camera centralised at the top. The body is composite on the rear, though it offers an alloy core, and it's IP67 rated for water and dust resistance.

The Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 5a 5G both have a square camera housing in the top left corner of the rear. It's a much more understated design than the Pixel 6a - which some might appreciate - and while there aren't many thrills, the 5a 5G has a metal unibody. Colour options are also more serious than the Pixel 6a with black only for the 5a and black and grey for the Pixel 5. The Pixel 6a meanwhile has dual tone as we mentioned and there is a lovely green colour.

On the front of the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5a 5G, you'll find a punch hole camera in the top left corner.

The Pixel 6a has an in-display fingerprint sensor, while the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5a 5G have a physical fingerprint sensor on the rear. The 5a 5G is IP67 rated like the Pixel 6a, while the Pixel 5 is IP68 rated.

Display 

  • Pixel 6a: 6.1-inch, OLED, Full HD+, 60Hz
  • Pixel 5a 5G: 6.34-inch, OLED, Full HD+, 60Hz
  • Pixel 5: 6-inch, Flexible OLED, 90Hz

The Google Pixel 6a comes with a 6.1-inch OLED display with a Full HD+ resolution at 2400 x 1080. This results in a pixel density of 429ppi. It has a standard 60Hz refresh rate and a 20:9 aspect ratio.  

The Pixel 5 has a 6-inch Flexible OLED display, which also offers a Full HD+ resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 432ppi. It has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio but it offers a 90Hz refresh rate, making it a little smoother than the Pixel 6a, though you might not notice this unless you had the devices side-by-side.

The Pixel 5a 5G has the largest display of the devices being compared here, offering a 6.34-inch screen, also OLED and also offering a Full HD+ resolution. It has a 413ppi and a 20:9 aspect ratio. Like the Pixel 6a, it too has a standard 60Hz refresh rate.

All three devices offer HDR support, and they all have an always on display. You'll find extra features on the Pixel 6a though, including At a glance, a high brightness mode and Now Playing. The 5a 5G has the Now Playing feature but neither of the others and the Pixel 5 offers none.

Hardware and specs

  • Pixel 6a: Tensor, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, 4410mAh, 5G
  • Pixel 5a 5G: Snapdragon 765G, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, 4680mAh, 5G
  • Pixel 5: Snapdragon 765G, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, 4080mAh, 5G, wireless charging

The Google Pixel 6a runs on Google's in-house built Tensor chip with M2 security coprocessor. It's the same chipset that powers the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro so you're getting plenty of power here. There's 6GB of RAM support and 128GB of storage on board too.

The Pixel 5a 5G and Pixel 5 both run on the Snapdragon 765G processor with Adreno 620 graphics. They both have a Titan M security module on board. The 5a 5G has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage like the Pixel 6a, while the Pixel 5 has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

All three models are 5G capable. 

In terms of battery capacities, the Google Pixel 6a has a 4410mAh battery, while the Pixel 5a 5G has a 4680mAh battery and the Pixel 5 has a 4080mAh battery. The Pixel 5a 5G offers up to 48 hours with Extreme Battery Saver, while the Pixel 6a doubles this to 72 hours. 

The Pixel 5a 5G and Pixel 5 both support Fast Charge though, and the Pixel 5 also has wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. The Pixel 6a supports fast charging but it's not clear what speed, and there is no wireless charging support.

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Cameras

  • Pixel 6a: Dual rear (12.2MP + 12MP), 8MP
  • Pixel 5a 5G: Dual rear (12MP + 16MP), 8MP
  • Pixel 5: Dual rear (12MP + 16MP), 8MP

All three devices being compared here have a dual rear camera and they all have the same 12.2-megapixel main sensor with a f/1.7 aperture and 1.4µm pixels. The main sensor has auto-focus with dual pixel phase detection and there's optical image stabilisation and electrical image stabilisation on board too.

There's also an ultra wide angle sensor on board all three models too, though it differs in resolution. The Pixel 5 and 5a 5G have a 16-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture, 117-degree field of view and 1.0µm pixels. The Pixel 6a meanwhile, has a 12-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture, 114-degree field of view and 1.25µm pixels. It also offers lens correction, which the Pixel 5 and 5a 5G don't.

In terms of other features, the Pixel 6a adds a couple on the Pixel 5 and 5a 5G. All models have Night Sight, Top Shot, Portrait Mode, Super Res Zoom, Cinematic Pan and Portrait Light, to name but a few. The 6a has Magic Eraser though - which is very cool - and there is also Face Unblur, Manual white balancing and Real Tone, as well as Panorama, so you get some extra fun with the 6a.

On the front, all three models have an 8-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture, fixed focus and a 1.1µm pixel size.

Conclusion

The Google Pixel 6a offers a more exciting design than the Pixel 5 and 5a 5G devices, as well as a newer processor and some extra features when it comes to display and camera.

You'll likely struggle to find the Pixel 5 now, and the Pixel 5a 5G is only available in the US and Japan so it's limited. The Pixel 6a might not be out yet but it looks like it will be the best option out of these devices.

There are a few compromises compared to the Pixel 5, like wireless charging, and the Pixel 6a has a smaller screen and smaller battery compared to the Pixel 5a 5G, but overall, it's the solid winner.

More about this story

This versus has been written not only taking into account the spec sheets, but also our experience and our knowledge of the market.

In this case, we haven't seen the Pixel 5a 5G or the Pixel 6a in the flesh but we have reviewed the Pixel 5 in full so we are drawing from our experience on that device, as well as information available in the public domain about the other two.

The idea is to highlight the differences between the models and explain why they matter to help you make an informed decision, whether you are upgrading, choosing between the models, or just interested.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.