OPINION: This week has been another busy one in the world of tech, with a number of cool new devices hitting the scene. These have ranged from new 480Hz gaming laptops from Alienware, to a sneak peek at Samsung’s next line of foldables.
But for me the star of the show this week has been Google’s Pixel 6a, which Trusted Reviews’ editor, Max Parker reviewed this week. For me, there’s one big reason for my excitement around this new affordable device: it’s lent further proof to my ongoing belief that 99% of people don’t need to spend thousands on a flagship phone.
Those who follow Fast Charge on a weekly basis will know this isn’t the first time I’ve said this. In fact, I’ve been making the argument since the Galaxy Nexus – yes I’m that old.
But for me, it’s truer than ever before for two reasons. First, no matter what Apple, Samsung and any other company tell you, spending over a grand on a phone for most users is complete overkill. The only reason I normally tell people to pay that much for something is longevity. Take GPUs as an example, here there’s an easy reason to pay more. If you pay for a higher end GPU the card will usually be able to play games in high graphical settings for years to come, while cheaper less powerful cards will usually start to struggle fairly quickly.
This isn’t the case for phones at the moment. This is because, even if a phone gets software support for 5 years, the nature of our current battery technology, which is still in essence the process of shooting electricity at acid, means its stamina will fade long before you get to that point. I can personally attest to this with my other half’s aged iPhone 8’s three hour battery life being a key reason I always end up being the Google Maps tour guide on holidays. This won’t change regardless of how much you spend.
Second, because nowadays you can actually get a really good phone for less than £500/$500. The Pixel 6a is a prime example of that. Though the launch didn’t have the wow factor of the original Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – the latter of which I’m happily using to this day – this version actually has most of the same selling points, despite being cheaper. Let’s go through a checklist:
- Gaming ready, Google-made Tensor chip – check
- Reliable rear camera with advanced AI features, including Magic Eraser – check.
- Real time language translation – check
- Long-term, by Android standards, software support – check
Nearly all the things I love about the Pixel 6 are included on the Pixel 6a, which is why I was not at all surprised when Max gave the phone a recommendation badged in his Pixel 6a review and concluded:
“The Pixel 6a is another easy-to-recommend Android phone that doesn’t break the bank. You’re getting plenty of phone for the money with this device, especially if you’re after a more compact device that will pick up updates for years to come.”
It’s also why I’ve once again come to the conclusion most current flagships are complete overkill for most people. The fact is, the majority of buyers should instead focus their attention on more affordable handsets, like the ones detailed in our best mid-range phones and best cheap phones guides.