Google Pixel 6a pre-orders: where to buy Google's latest budget smartphone

Google Pixel 6a in chalk, sage and charcoal laying screen side down on a wooden table
(Image credit: Google)

Google Pixel 6a pre-orders are now live, so a number of retailers have the option to buy the brand's latest budget Android flagship ahead of its July 28 release.

So far, all retailers offer a pair of Google Pixel Buds A-Series for free with the new smartphone. Look out for trade-in offers as well that can save you up to $300 / £200 off the price of the smartphone.

The Google Pixel 6a was originally revealed at the Google I/O event back in May. It looks like it will pack in a ton of handy upgrades and features in a device that starts at a budget-friendly price of $449 / £399.

Is it likely to be one of the best phones for under $500? The jury is still out on this since we haven't had a chance to get our hands on it yet. However, it's safe to say that if we use the excellent Google Pixel 6 as a base it's likely to be a good option if you're looking for powerful specs at a reasonable price.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Google's new mid-range Pixel
  • When are pre-orders live? Now
  • When is it released? Wednesday, July 28
  • How much does it cost? $449 / £399 / AU$749

Google Pixel 6a pre-orders in the US

Google Pixel 6a: from $449 at the Google Store

Google Pixel 6a: <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">from $449 at the Google Store
Google itself has opened up Pixel 6a pre-orders with unlocked devices, carrier variants and options for its own Google Fi service. You get a free pair of Google Pixel Buds A-Series with your purchase, too, which are usually priced at $99.

Google Pixel 6a: from $449 at Amazon

Google Pixel 6a: <a href="" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">from $449 at Amazon
The pre-order page for the Google Pixel 6a is now live at Amazon and the device is available to buy. All three colors are listed for $449, so you will be able to choose your favorite. This retailer tends to be popular thanks to Prime delivery so there's potential for the device to sell out, especially with the option to get some Google Pixel Buds A-Series free with your order.

Google Pixel 6a: free with new unlimited line

Google Pixel 6a: <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">free with new unlimited line
Verizon is one of the big carriers offering Pixel 6a pre-orders at launch - as it did so on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro at release. Promotions-wise you can get the new device for free when you sign up for a new 5G Unlimited plan, but we aren't seeing the same Pixel Buds A-Series freebie that's available at other retailers just yet.

Google Pixel 6a pre-orders in the UK

Google Pixel 6a: £399 at Google Store
Free Pixel Buds A-Series

Google Pixel 6a: <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">£399 at Google Store
Free Pixel Buds A-Series
- Google Pixel 6a pre-orders are now available from the Google Store for £399 in either Charcoal, Chalk or Sage. As an added bonus for buying between now and August 1, you also get a free pair of Pixel Buds A-Series alongside Google's latest budget smartphone.

Google Pixel 6a: £399 at Amazon
Free Pixel Buds A-Series

Google Pixel 6a: <a href="" data-link-merchant="Amazon UK"">£399 at Amazon
Free Pixel Buds A-Series
– You can also go to Amazon and get the exact same Google Pixel 6a pre-order deal that's available from the official store. All three color versions are available with the Pixel Buds included for £399. You can also choose to buy without the earbuds for the same price, but there's no reason to avoid this freebie while you can get it.

Google Pixel 6a: £399 from Currys
Extra £50 trade-in credit

Google Pixel 6a: <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">£399 from Currys
Extra £50 trade-in credit
- If you buy the Google Pixel 6a from Currys and trade-in an old device
at the same time you get an extra £50 credit. The real bonus is that it can be a non-working phone, too, so if you fish out an old device from the back of the drawer this is an easy way to get the best price. Oh, and some Pixel Buds A-Series are included for free, too.

Google Pixel 6a: £399 at the Carphone Warehouse
Tariffs from £24.99 per month

Google Pixel 6a: <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">£399 at the Carphone Warehouse
Tariffs from £24.99 per month
- If you're looking to pick up your Google Pixel 6a pre-order with a tariff then you can find a myriad of options at Carphone Warehouse. The highlighted offer includes the Google Pixel 6a on Vodafone with 65GB of data for £26 per month and £29 upfront. A free pair of Google Pixel Buds A-Series is also included for free. You can also choose to pay £399 for the phone SIM-free and you still get the same freebie.

Google Pixel 6a specs

Google Pixel 6A specs

OS: Android 12
Display: 6.1-inch OLED (1080 x 2400, 60Hz)
CPU: Google Tensor
Storage: 128GB
Rear cameras: 12.2MP main (f/1.7), 12.2MP (f/2.2) ultrawide
Front camera: 8MP (f/2.0)
Battery: 4,410mAh
Size: 6 x 2.8 x 0.35 inches
Weight: 6.3 ounces
Colors: Chalk, Charcoal, Sage

The Google Pixel 6a features the same basic design as the Pixel 6 - with a unique crossbar camera housing on the back. It swaps out the metal case housing for a plastic one but keeps the glass back as well as the overall aesthetic. 

Internally, the Pixel 6a features the same Google Tensor chip, which is the standout feature of the device. It's not the fastest mobile chip on the market, but it's decent and up to five times speedier than the chip in the Pixel 5a Google claims.

Screen-wise, the Pixel 6a features a 6.1-inch OLED screen with the same punch-hole design as the other 6-series devices. It supports HDR and 1080 x 2400 resolution, par for the course, but only a 60Hz refresh rate, which is on the slow side in today's market. 

Its cameras are 12.2MP f/1.7 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, and 8MP on the front-facing camera - and support the same Real Tone and Magic Eraser trickery as the standard Pixel 6.

Should you pre-order the Google Pixel 6a?

The Google Pixel 6 facing away from the camera, stood up on a table.

(Image credit: Future)

We can't give definitive advice since we haven't thoroughly tested the Google Pixel 6a yet. However, just from the specs sheet alone, it's fairly easy to judge what this device is likely to offer for the price.

Firstly, the main selling point of this device is the chip. Having Google's own Tensor CPU inside this device gives it the same power (on paper) as last year's flagship Google Pixel 6 Pro. Having such a beefy chip in a budget device is an attractive proposition since it unlocks a lot of potential for nifty tricks like the Magic Eraser tool for the camera. As you'd imagine, it's more than enough to breeze through the vast majority of apps and offer great, zippy general performance.

Where the new Pixel 6a falls down, however, is with its 60Hz display. It's an OLED screen, which is fantastic for colors and picture quality, but it's not uncommon to find 120Hz displays on budget devices in 2022. If you're coming from a similar device with a 60Hz device, then you might not be bothered. If you're coming from a 90Hz or 120Hz device, however, then it's likely you'll notice the difference when you're scrolling through content. For context, higher refresh rates make content appear to move more smoothly when you're scrolling or minimizing apps.

So, in our eyes, whether you should pre-order the Google Pixel 6a comes down to what you value with your device. If you're looking for a clean software experience, power, and a great camera then the Pixel 6a is likely to be a real winner. If you prioritize a zippy display, then you'll likely find a better refresh rate screen elsewhere for the same price.

Alex Whitelock
Deals Editor

Alex is deals editor at TechRadar. With over three years of experience on-site and eight years working in e-commerce, Alex has made it his personal mission to share all his favorite tips, bargains, and deals with our readers here at TechRadar. At work, he specializes in computing, phones, and covering huge sales events like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. Outside of work, you'll find him indulging his keen love of photography and PC gaming, or down at the local climbing gym hanging off boulders far too difficult for his abilities. His editorial bylines also include contributions to T3 and GamesRadar.