Google last week launched the Pixel 6a, a $449 budget smartphone designed to compete with more affordable smartphones like Apple’s iPhone SE. We chose a Pixel 6a to see how it compares to the iPhone SE in terms of design, performance and camera technology.
The Pixel 6a has a 6.1-inch 1080p OLED display, which means it’s a bit larger than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE. The Pixel 6a’s display is also better as the iPhone SE still uses the years-old LCD technology.
Compared to the Pixel 6a, the iPhone SE looks dated. It has thick bezels at the top and bottom, while the Pixel 6a uses a much more modern hole-punch design for the camera, with minimal bezels. The iPhone SE has a Touch ID Home button that’s superior to the 6a’s under-display fingerprint sensor, which was slow and inaccurate in our testing.
With its glass back panel, the iPhone SE supports Qi-based wireless charging, but it lacks the MagSafe technology found in more modern iPhones. The Pixel 6a has a plastic back that isn’t quite as premium, and it doesn’t support wireless charging, but the smartphone has a much higher battery capacity at 4,500mAh.
Apple put its latest A15 chip in the iPhone SE, while the Pixel 6a uses a Google-designed Tensor chip. It’s hard to make an individual comparison due to the software differences between the two devices, but both felt fast with no performance issues or hiccups.
When it comes to camera setups, the iPhone SE has a single wide lens, while the Pixel 6a has both a standard wide-angle lens and an ultra-wide-angle lens. We did a photo shoot with both smartphones, and as we often see with modern devices, both cameras performed admirably with only a few differences between them.
In low-light situations indoors, the Pixel 6a produces more true-to-life images, while the iPhone SE will light things up a bit more. The iPhone SE tends to be warmer, with photos of the Pixel 6a coming out more neutral.
With vivid color images, the iPhone SE tends to have more vibrancy and sharpness, but ultimately both are high quality and picking one is a matter of preference.
As for Portrait mode, the Pixel 6a just does a better job. There’s strong bokeh with sharp edges, better color accuracy, and no blurring of parts of the photo that aren’t meant to be blurred. Both smartphones also have selfie cameras which offer similar performance.
If you’re not locked into Apple’s ecosystem and are looking for an affordable smartphone with a modern feature set, the Pixel 6a trumps the iPhone SE hands down, with the possible exception of the processor . The Pixel 6a does run Android though, so it’s not ideal for those with an Apple device, nor is it the best choice for those who prefer smaller smartphones due to its size of 6. 1 inch.
What do you think of the Pixel 6a? Let us know in the comments.