Following the Google I/O 2022 keynote, everyone who has considered buying a Pixel 6 phone, including the newly announced Pixel 6a, was left with a conundrum: is it really worth it now? I’ve been running through this exact question in my head and I keep coming back to the same answer: no.
Let me explain what I mean.
The Pixel 6a announcement should have been the star of the show but was pushed aside because Google was teasing the Pixel 7 for later this year. It has to be assumed that this is an attempt to take the sting out of subsequent leaks and will likely be seen as a great way to build anticipation. But by telling us the Pixel 7 will arrive in the fall – probably September or October – the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 have become Pro officially old.
There’s nothing wrong with either phone, but we now absolutely know that they’ll be replaced in about four months. When you’re thinking of paying $900 for a flagship phone, you want to get the best bang for your buck. Google confirmed that the Pixel 7 will feature a new Tensor 2 chip, a refined and even better-looking design, Android 13, and presumably an improved camera. The newer your phone, the longer software support will take.
Spending your hard-earned cash on a top-of-the-line full-price smartphone that’s only going to be the latest and greatest for such a short time isn’t the wisest financial decision, whether you’re worried about the specs or not. Google may have made all Pixel 7 rumors (slightly) less recent, but in doing so it has made its current flagship phone one for the discounter.
Waiting for the Pixel 7 Pro is the smartest decision if you’ve been contemplating buying the Pixel 6 Pro, but what about the Pixel 6 or the new Pixel 6a? That’s a little more complicated. The Pixel 6a won’t be available for pre-order until late July and will cost $450 (or $499 at Verizon, thanks to mmWave). The specs are good enough that it would be worth recommending the Pixel 6 for the $150 savings, but that’s really only true if that were the case comes out today.
Assuming the Pixel 6a starts shipping in late July or early August, the sensible decision at this point is to wait a few months and see what the Pixel 7 brings. When it’s $599 again and comes with the Tensor 2 and an upgraded camera, it’ll still be a very tempting deal, even if that’s a $150 premium over the Pixel 6a (with 2021 tech) is.
Best of all, you as a buyer have nothing to lose. If none of that works and the Pixel 7 is a lot more expensive or not that big of an upgrade, you can still buy the Pixel 6a. There’s no reason to rush into it unless you absolutely have to have a new phone and it has to be the Pixel 6a.
Almost regardless of how you picture it in your head, all roads currently lead to the Pixel 7. Google’s decision to now tease the next flagship phone, coupled with the need to hold the Pixel 6a for weeks, has every Pixel 6 -Phone really made quite undesirable. The not-so-cheap price of the Pixel 6a didn’t help much either. During the keynote, Google boasted that the Pixel 6 outperformed the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5 combined, but its actions could see those sales numbers falling off a cliff from that point forward.
This isn’t a new problem that phone buyers are just beginning to face. Everyone knows that manufacturers update their products annually, and if we kept waiting for the next version to come out, we would never buy anything. However, that is not the problem here. It’s the knowledge time frame involved and not just by rumors, but by the actual company cementing the Pixel 6’s fate.
It’s not me saying: “Wait and see what the next one brings”, but Google says so.
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