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Pixel 6a: Google confirms new mid-range smartphone has a different fingerprint sensor from those in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

Google has not carried over the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro's fingerprint scanner to the new Pixel 6a. (Image source: Google)
Google has not carried over the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro's fingerprint scanner to the new Pixel 6a. (Image source: Google)
The Pixel 6a may not contain all the glamorous features of the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro, but Google claims it has a hidden benefit up its sleeve. According to Rick Osterloh, Google has equipped the Pixel 6a with a new under-display fingerprint scanner, presumably off the back of criticism about the accuracy of the one in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Google came in for plenty of criticism for the under-display fingerprint scanners in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the first that the company had used in the Pixel series. Previously, Pixel smartphones had relied on capacitive fingerprint scanners for the most part, most recently with the Pixel 5a. The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are the only exceptions here, arguably the best replication of Face ID in an Android smartphone.

To Google's credit, it has improved the speed and reliability of the Pixel 6 series' fingerprint scanners with various updates. Also, the issues do not affect all devices; we noticed no issues when reviewing the Pixel 6, for example. Still, Google has equipped the Pixel 6a with a different fingerprint sensor than those found in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Confirmed by Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Devices and Services, Android Central was unable to provide any specifics about the new sensor.

Presumably, websites likes iFixit will determine what changes Google has made when the Pixel 6a starts shipping in late July. Incidentally, it seems unlikely that Google will bring face unlock capabilities to the Pixel 6a. While the Pixel 6a appears to utilise the same Sony IMX386 ultra-wide-angle camera as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, it is also believed to use the IMX355 as its front-facing camera, matching the Pixel 5. Currently, the company claims that face unlock will only be available on the Pixel 6 Pro, on account of its improved front-facing camera.

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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 5721 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 05 > Pixel 6a: Google confirms new mid-range smartphone has a different fingerprint sensor from those in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
Alex Alderson, 2022-05-13 (Update: 2022-05-13)