Opinion: This has been another busy week in the tech world, with a number of great new devices popping up on the scene. These have ranged from Alienware’s new 480Hz gaming laptops, to a peek at Samsung’s next line of foldable devices.
But for me, the star of the show this week was Google’s Pixel 6a, which Trusted Reviews editor Max Parker reviewed this week. For me, there’s one big reason to be excited about this new, affordable device: It provided further evidence of my consistent 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 that this isn’t the first time I’ve said this. In fact, I’ve been arguing since the Galaxy Nexus – yes I’m that old.
But to me, that’s truer than ever for two reasons. First, no matter what Apple, Samsung, and any other company tell you, spending more than a large amount on a phone for most users is a complete overkill. The only reason I usually tell people to pay that much for something is longevity. Take GPUs as an example, here’s an easy reason to pay more. If you pay for a higher GPU, the card will usually be able to play games at high graphic settings for years to come, while cheaper and less powerful cards will start to suffer fairly quickly.
This is not the case for phones at the moment. That’s because, even if the phone gets 5 years of software support, the nature of our current battery technology, which is still essentially acid emitting electricity, means its endurance will wear off long before this point is reached. I can personally attest to that with my iPhone 8’s three-hour battery life, which is the main reason I’m always my Google Maps tour guide on holidays. This will not change no matter how much you spend.
Second, because nowadays you can get a really good phone for less than £500 / $500. The Pixel 6a is a prime example of this. While the launch didn’t have a wow factor with the original Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – the last one I’ve been using happily to this day – this version actually has most of the same selling points, despite being cheaper. Let’s move on to the checklist:
- Google made gaming-ready Tensor chip – check
- Reliable rear camera with advanced AI features, including Magic Eraser – check.
- Simultaneous translation of languages - check
- In the long run, according to Android standards, software support – check
Almost all of the things I love about the Pixel 6 are included in the Pixel 6a, which is why I wasn’t surprised at all when Max gave the phone a badge recommendation in our Pixel 6a review and concluded:
“Pixel 6a is another easy-to-recommend Android phone that doesn’t break the bank. You’ll get a lot of phones for your money with this one, especially if you’re looking for a more compact device that can pick up updates for years to come.”
This is also why I once again come to the conclusion that most current flagships are completely overkill for most people. The truth is that the majority of buyers should focus their attention instead on affordable phones, such as those detailed in our best mid-range phones and best cheap phone guides.