In a bit of a surprise move, it looks like Google has officially replaced the fingerprint scanner in the Pixel 6a, opting not to repeat the past mistake it made with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. According to a report from Android Central, Rick Osterloh – Google’s SVP of Devices and Services – confirmed that the under-display biometric scanner is not the same as the one that shipped on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
The question now becomes: is it better? From a factual point of view, we have no idea at this point. All we know is that Google chose to go with a different sensor, and I’d hope that means a faster, more-accurate one. It may not, however, and if Google chose to further cut costs by cheaping out on this different sensor for the Pixel 6a, I’d be very disappointed. And I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone.
One of the chief complaints leveraged against the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro is the inaccuracy and slowness of the fingerprint scanner. With no real backup to speak of like face unlock, users are forced to unlock their phones with a method that has some pretty serious drawbacks. I’ve become used to a missed readings a few times a day, but there’s really no reason for this. As I talked about when I was using the Samsung Galaxy S22+, better under-display fingerprint scanning tech is out there, and it makes the Pixel 6’s variation look a bit silly by comparison.
While we won’t know until it launches, I fully expect the fingerprint experience on the Pixel 6a to be better than the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Surely Google wouldn’t ignore so much backlash and further degrade the unlocking process on this upcoming phone, right? While I’d love to say I know that won’t be the case, Google has made some pretty big goofs over the years in the hardware department, so I just can’t rule it out until we have our hands on a review unit. For now, put me down as conservatively optimistic that at least in the biometric department, the Pixel 6a should actually be an upgrade.