The Showdown: Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 5G

Which Is Better Google Pixel 6a or the Apple iPhone SE 5G?

Think of great phones and the iPhone and Pixel will likely come to mind. But they also come with a top-tier price tag to match their respective top-tier specs. Luckily, Apple and Google both make more budget-friendly versions of their flagship phones. But which is better, the Google Pixel 6a or the Apple iPhone SE 5G? We’ve pinned them against each other in battle of the budget-friendly phones: Google Pixel vs Apple iPhone.

Apple’s budget-friendly device was released in March and Google’s will be available from July 28.

Which is better Google Pixel 6a or Apple iPhone SE 5G?

Which phone is better? Let’s break everything down.

Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE 5G: Price

A little bit of context of the cost of the latest range from each brand is important here.

Manzana:

  • iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at RRP $1,849
  • iPhone 13 Pro starts at RRP $1,699
  • iPhone 13 starts at RRP $1,349
  • iPhone 13 mini starts at RRP $1,199
  • iPhone SE 5G is RRP $719

Google:

  • Google Pixel 6 Pro starts at RRP $1,299
  • Google Pixel 6 starts at RRP $999
  • Google Pixel 6a RRP $749

As soon as you get over the $500 mark for a phone, does $30 make a difference to your decision? If so, the iPhone SE 5G is cheapest.

Apple iPhone SE 5G vs Google Pixel 6a: the SE is cheaper.

Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE 5G: Look & feel

The SE 5G is pretty much the size of a (now potentially discontinued) iPhone mini. The iPhone SE 5G is 138.4 mm x 67.3 mm (the mini is 131.5 mm x 64.2 mm and the standard iPhone 13 is 146.7 mm x 71.5 mm). It weighs 144 grams.

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The 6a is noticeably smaller than its siblings, measuring 152.2 mm x 71.8 mm. It weighs 178 grams.

google pixel 6a vs apple iphone se 5g
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The iPhone SE 5G is smaller and lighter.

The iPhone SE 5G looks like an iPhone, but it doesn’t look like its latest siblings due to the fingerprint reader – it swaps Face ID for Touch ID. Given it runs the latest software from Apple, it feels almost like you’re using a 2022 phone trapped in the body of a 2016 iPhone.

The Google Pixel 6a also looks like a Google phone. It’s thicker than its 6 siblings, swapping the curved edges for a more flat and ‘block’-like body. The software is still Google’s latest, which means it possesses a lot of the power you get with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but it does lag with refresh rate in comparison.

The Pixel 6a looks more like a 2022 phone.

The iPhone SE 5G and the Pixel 6a both score a point here.

Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE 5G: The guts

The easiest way to determine which is better out of the Pixel 6a and iPhone SE 5G is to list the specs. Head over to Google’s website and Apple’s website to drill into these a little more, but here’s the top-line:

Google Pixel 6a specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED with 60Hz refresh rate
  • processor: Google Tensor (same brains as the Pixel 6 Pro)
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Rear Camera: 12.2MP (wide) 12.2MP (ultrawide)
  • Front Camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,410 mAh (all day battery)
  • connectivity: 5G
  • Colours: Sage, Chalk, Charcoal

Apple iPhone SE 5G specs:

  • Display: 4.7-inch LCD with 60Hz refresh rate
  • processor: A15 Bionic chip (same brains as the iPhone 13)
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB & 256GB
  • Rear Camera: 12MP (wide)
  • Front Camera: 7MP
  • Battery: 2,018mAh battery (up to 10 hours of video playback)
  • connectivity: 5G
  • Colours: midnight (black), starlight (white) and (PRODUCT)RED (um, red)

The battery life of the Pixel 6a is a hell of a lot better than the iPhone SE 5G, but the storage in the iPhone is bigger. Determining the winner of the guts truly comes down to whether you’re an Android or iOS fan – both are great in their respective lanes.

Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE 5G: The camera

The comparison you’ve been waiting for. Which camera is better Google Pixel 6a or iPhone SE 5G? The Google Pixel 6a shots are on the left and those taken with the iPhone SE 5G are on the right.

Rear camera with absolutely no zoom:

The Showdown: Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 5G
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Rear camera closeup, no zoom:

google pixel 6a vs apple iphone se 5g
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Rear camera closeup, no zoom again, but this time with no natural light (night time):

google pixel 6a vs apple iphone se 5g
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Rear camera, zoomed in (7x zoom Pixel and 5x iPhone):

The Showdown: Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 5G
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Night time shots clearly show just how much Google software intervenes with capturing pics when it’s dark:

night
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Portrait mode on each, thanks to my model Boston (please excuse the state of his favorite chair):

cat
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Selfie cam (sorry for my head):

The Showdown: Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 5G
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Which camera is better Google Pixel 6a or iPhone SE 5G? It has to be the Pixel 6a. The evidence speaks for itself.

The verdict

The iPhone SE 5G wins when you’re talking about price, weight and size, but lags when you look at the camera. Both phones pack great software and great assistant capabilities. The iPhone SE 5G looks like a 6-year-old phone, whereas the Pixel 6a looks perhaps a year or two behind the curve.

The Showdown: Google Pixel 6a vs Apple iPhone SE 5G
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Google Pixel vs Apple iPhone: which one should you buy? I’m not your real dad, and it really comes down to whether you’re familiar with iOS or Android.

Check out our Google Pixel 6a review over here and our review of the Apple iPhone SE 5G over here.

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