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Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5a: preliminary comparison
This is a preliminary comparison to paint the picture of what to expect from the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 5a. The information here is based on leaks. Renders of Pixel 6 are from Jon Prosser and 91Mobiles, while Pixel 5a renders from Steve Hemmerstoffer.

Well, we are now eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 5a, reportedly coming this fall. There are a lot of unanswered questions yet; however, reputable leakers have started to paint the picture of what we can expect from Google’s next phone release.

This article will compare our expectations for both these phones, to set the picture of what you might expect when the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 5a hit the market in a few months. So, if you’re curious about these two upcoming phones, read on!

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Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5a: Design

Currently, we have loads of leaked renders of both phones, so a lot is pretty much already known about the design of the two Google phones. This time, unlike the previous year, we observe major differences in Google’s approach to design.

On one hand, we have the expected Pixel 6 flagship with an interesting new three-color design. We see from the leaked renders that the camera bump of the phone stretches alongside the rear panel in a new, unorthodox look. The lower part of the rear panel is painted in one color; and the top part in another. Keep in mind the colors in these renders may differ from real-life ones. We also heard that a green variant may be in the works as well.

On the other hand, the Pixel 5a will reportedly sport a more simple and minimalistic look, quite similar to the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, and the Pixel 5. According to leaked images, the phone has a unibody design with the fingerprint sensor on the back, and a rectangular camera bump.

Turning both phones, we again see some differences in the design. First off, the selfie camera on the Pixel 6 is centered, while the Pixel 5a has a left-hand corner punch-hole. Renders show both phones sporting relatively thin bezels. One thing the Pixel 6 will reportedly have here is an under-display fingerprint sensor.

Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5a: Display

The Pixel 5a is expected to sport a 6.2-inch OLED panel, while we believe the Pixel 6’s size will be around 6-inches or a bit bigger (based on the fact that Google has reportedly planned a Pixel 6 Pro as well, which will most certainly be a bigger phone), so in terms of display sizes, these two phones might end up being really close to each other.

Of course, the Pixel 6 will have some features that make it stand out from the more affordable Pixel 5a. For example, a 120Hz refresh rate should be present on the phone (if Google really wants to go all-in with this one), for reference, the Pixel 5 sports a 90Hz refresh rate. Of course, the difference between 120Hz and 90Hz is hardly visible to the naked eye; however, flagship phones are expected to rock a 120Hz displays at this point.

Talking about refresh rate, leakers have not mentioned a higher refresh rate for the Pixel 5a at the moment; however, we do expect Google will upgrade it to a 90Hz refresh rate. An unpopular move will be to retain the 60Hz refresh rate of the Pixel 4a 5G, although we hear the 5a display itself will be inherited from the 4a 5G.

Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5a: Hardware and performance

Well, the hardware and performance department is where things get interesting, mainly because of the new Google-made chip that’s reportedly going to power the Pixel 6. It’s being referred to as the Whitechapel chip in leaks and rumors, and it is manufactured by Samsung on a 5nm process. This means the chip should be quite fast and power-efficient.

Unfortunately, though, reputable industry insider Max Weinbach stated in a recent podcast this new chip won’t be as fast as the flagship Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100. In the podcast, he stated it would fall somewhere between the Snapdragon 865 and the 888 in terms of performance.

Of course, there’s another aspect of performance that we need to address. The chip’s raw speed is not the only thing that matters for a great experience with the phone. The software optimization is also key, and we are inclined to believe that Google may have something in store there, given the fact it decided to ditch the flagship Snapdragon for a custom-made silicon.

The situation with the Pixel 5a is a bit different. We hear the phone will be powered by the slightly older now, Snapdragon 765. We find the same chip in the Pixel 5, and it is not a flagship chip, but an upper-midrange one. In our Pixel 5 review, we came to the conclusion that a midrange chip is quite good for your everyday tasks.

For reference, look at these benchmarks: we have here the Exynos 2100 in the Galaxy S21 and the Pixel 5’s Snapdragon 765 in terms of performance. We expect the Pixel 5a to perform similarly to the Pixel 5, while the Pixel 6 might be a bit slower than the Galaxy S21:

Performance Benchmarks (for reference):
Geekbench 5 single-core Higher is better
Google Pixel 5 588
Samsung Galaxy S21 1043
Geekbench 5 multi-core Higher is better
Google Pixel 5 1597
Samsung Galaxy S21 3090
GFXBench Car Chase on-screen Higher is better
Google Pixel 5 14
Samsung Galaxy S21 50

*Please note that we have the Exynos version of the Galaxy S21.

Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5a: Cameras

Well, well, two Pixel phones against each other in the camera department: we might expect surprises, of course, but right off the bat, even without photo samples taken, we can say that we expect both phones to deliver great photo quality. After all, Google does some miracles with its image-processing capabilities, and there’s no reason to doubt the company on that.

Leaks have disclosed the Pixel 5a will have a dual-camera setup; however, the exact MPs of these two cameras are undisclosed at the moment. It is believed that they will be a 12.2MP main camera, accompanied by a 16MP ultra-wide camera, like the Pixel 4a 5G.

While leaks about the Pixel 6 Pro are suggesting it will have an upgraded sensor, such info for the vanilla Pixel 6 is yet to appear. We only know the phone will have a dual camera on its back. For reference, its predecessor had a 12.2MP main and a 16MP ultra-wide camera, and photos generally turned out well detailed, with good dynamic range and lifelike colors.

You can look at some Pixel 5 image samples here, we expect the Pixel 6 to bring improvements (maybe not in the hardware department, but definitely in the image-processing), while the Pixel 5a’s image quality may be quite similar to those here:

Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5a: Price

If Google is aiming at the flagship market scene, we expect the Pixel 6 to be priced at around $799, while the Pixel 5a is an affordable phone, and generally, its pricing should be around $400-$500. Recently, leaker Max Weinbach suggested the Pixel 5a’s price will be higher than the 4a, which retails at $349.
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