Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE: Google is looking to one-up Apple’s budget phone with improved features, like battery life and screen size

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Google’s budget Pixel 6a stacked against Apple’s affordable iPhone SE.

The Google Pixel 6a and Apple iPhone SE 2022 are more affordable than their premium counterparts.
Both phones have excellent cameras and performance, and the major difference is screen size.
The Pixel 6a also has a larger battery than the iPhone SE that will likely last longer.

You have incredibly effective and reliable smartphone options if you don’t want to spend the money that premium phone models demand.

The two top options that immediately come to mind are Apple’s $429 iPhone SE 2022, and Google’s $449 Pixel 6a on the horizon. These phones cost hundreds less than their premium counterparts, like the iPhone 13 or the Pixel 6, and the compromises manage to maintain an excellent phone experience.

Google announced the Pixel 6a during its Google I/O event on May 11, and I haven’t had a chance to test it out yet. Still, you have time to decide, as the Pixel 6a isn’t going to be available for preorder until July 21, and it’ll become fully available on July 28. This breakdown should help you decide whether to hold off or just go for the iPhone SE, if you’re shopping for a new budget phone.

Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 2022

SpecificationGoogle Pixel 6aApple iPhone SE 2022Display6.1-inch OLED, 60Hz4.7-inch Retina LCD (1,334 x 750), 60HzProcessorGoogle TensorA15 BionicCameras12-megapixel (MP) main and ultrawide cameras12MP mainSelfie camera8MP7MP FaceTime cameraBattery and charging4,400mAh battery, 18W wired charging2,018mAh battery, 5 hours, 58 minutes in battery test. Up to 20W wired charging supported, Qi wireless chargingMemory (RAM) and storage8GB RAM/128GB storage4GB RAM (estimated) / 64GB, 128GB, 256GB storageBiometric authenticationIn-display fingerprint sensorTouch ID fingerprint sensorNetwork support5G (mmWave in select models), LTE, WiFi 6e, Bluetooth 5.25G, LTE, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0Price$449$429

Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 2022: Displays

The Pixel 6a has a much larger display at 6.1-inches — that’s the same size as the standard iPhone 13. The Pixel 6a’s display also uses an OLED panel that’s superior to the LCD panel on the iPhone SE, thanks to per-pixel backlighting. 

Basically, OLED panels can create amazing contrast to make things pop on the display, as they can turn off individual pixels to create a totally black color compared to the gray-ish black you see on LCD panels.

Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 2022: Cameras

The Pixel 6a has a dual-lens camera system compared to the iPhone SE’s single-lens camera. No doubt, the iPhone SE’s single camera takes beautiful photos, but single camera systems are outdated and limited compared to the multi-camera phones that have become the standard today. 

Plus, Google has made a name for its phone cameras, which are typically among the best, or best of all, you can find.

And Google has some of the most unique and useful camera features, like Magic Eraser that lets you remove an unwanted object or subject from a photo. Google is even introducing a new version of Magic Eraser that also lets you change the color of an object to make it blend into the background if it distracts from what you’re trying to capture.

Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 2022: Performance

The Pixel 6a runs on Google’s Tensor processor that’s also found in the premium Pixel 6 phones, so to an extent, I already know how well the Pixel 6a performs.

Right off the bat, it’s not as powerful as Apple’s A15 Bionic processor that’s also found in the iPhone 13 series. In fact, I’m not aware of any mobile processor that’s as powerful as Apple’s products. 

With that said, the Google Tensor processor is plenty powerful for the majority of people who run popular apps and games. Plus, it helps power some of Google’s unique, AI-based smart and camera features. 

Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 2022: Battery life

I’m also anticipating that the Pixel 6a will have significantly longer battery life than the iPhone SE. 

Last year’s Pixel 5a lasted 14 hours and 34 minutes in our battery test, and the iPhone SE 2022 lasted a mere five hours and 58 minutes.

I’d be very surprised if the Pixel 6a has a much shorter battery life than the Pixel 5a, but only testing will confirm that, which will be underway .  

Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 2022: Which should you buy?

I haven’t reviewed the Pixel 6a yet, let alone even checked it out in person, so I can’t make a definitive recommendation here.

With that said, the Pixel 6a certainly has a lot going for it compared to the iPhone SE based on specs and my experience with Google’s Pixel “a” models, particularly battery life. If you’re at all on the fence regarding your next phone purchase, it may be worth holding out for these reasons. 

At the end of the day, it might not even matter if the Pixel 6a has more to offer hardware-wise. If you own other Apple products, like the Apple Watch or a Mac, and you like the way they all seamlessly work together, the iPhone SE is going to be your best bet. 

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