Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE 2022: Who can crack the midrange game?

Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE 2022

With the Pixel 6a, Google is all set to give tough competition to the iPhone SE 2022, Apple’s offering to the midrange segment. On the surface, it seems like the Pixel can easily overthrow the iPhone and be the midrange king, but does it? That’s what we will see in this comparison between Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE 2022.

Disclaimer: Since the Pixel 6a has not been released yet, I have decided to base this comparison prominently on specs from an unbiased perspective.

Display: 6.1inch vs. 4.7inch

Display of Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE 2022

I think a smartphone’s display acts as a gateway to that virtual world we all live on the internet. So won’t it be fair to expect that gateway to be great? Both Google and Apple have different perspectives on it, and that’s evident from the specs below.

Pixel 6aiPhone SE 2022
TypeOLEDLCD
Size6.1 inches4.7 inches
Resolution2,400 by 1,080 pixels
(~429 PPI density)
1,334 by 750 pixels
(~326 PPI density)
Refresh rate60Hz60Hz

The only similarity between SE 2022 and 6a is the lack of a high refresh rate panel. As for the rest, the Pixel easily takes its first lead with the big, near full-screen Full-HD OLED 6.1inch display, with a punch hole cut-out on the top. Meanwhile, the iPhone SE has a small 4.7inch LCD display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, and the worst part is that it’s not even a 1080p panel.

If you are a person looking for a device to watch or read content, you know Pixel is the right choice, thanks to its rich pixel-dense screen. So, iPhone SE 3rd gen has no other choice but to accept defeat!

Winner: Pixel

Build and dimensions: Small or small?

Whether you hold the iPhone SE or Pixel 6a, you will realize how compact they are. Look at the dimensions, and you will know why I said so:

Pixel 6aiPhone SE 2022
Size152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9mm
(6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35 inches)
138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm
(5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches)
Weight178 grams144 grams

While comparing the dimensions, iPhone SE 5G is compact and lighter than the Pixel, but it still has an aluminum frame with glass on both front and back. Meanwhile, the Pixel has a plastic back with an aluminum frame and a glass front.

So if you prefer a compact and lightweight device, SE 2022 should be your first preference.

Winner: iPhone SE 2022

Design

After the display, design is something we always look for. Despite using it with a case or skin, we would still prefer our phone look good. The iPhone SE 2022 takes the same chassis as the 5-year-old iPhone 8, which looks good from the back but feels ancient when you look at the front.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 6a takes the same design as the flagship Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Its back has a huge camera island and is a head-turner in the crowd. It also has a nearly full-screen display with a modern-looking punch hole on the front.

Apart from the inclusion of Touch ID, the SE 3 doesn’t have any reason to justify it’s half a decade-old design. Instead of using the iPhone 8 chassis, it would have been an easy recommendation if they had used the iPhone X or XR chassis.

Currently, many users are hesitant to consider the device just because of its old design. Thus, instead of aging like fine wine, the iPhone SE 5g aged like milk, giving away this round for Pixel.

Winner: Pixel 6a

Camera: Which has better pixels?

While the SE uses the same 5-year-old camera hardware from iPhone 8, the Pixel uses a 6-year-old system from the first Pixel. Even though the hardware is old, both devices perform great even by today’s standards.

Pixel 6aiPhone SE 2022
Rear camera12.2MP Wide
12MP Ultra Wide
12mp Wide
videoUp to 4K 60fps,
1080p 240fps Slo-mo
Up to 4K 60fps,
1080p 240fps Slo-mo
Front camera8MP7MP
Video1080p 30fps1080p 30fps

You can rely on either the Pixel 6a or iPhone SE3 to take pictures under good lighting conditions. But that’s only until the sunsets. At night, Pixel crushes iPhone with its low light performance, thanks to its features such as Night sight and Astro mode. I don’t want to sound harsh, but it’s pathetic not to have a night mode for a $400+ device.

Camera of Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE 2022

Rubbing salt in the wound, the Pixel comes with a dual-camera setup with an Ultra-Wide camera. But that doesn’t mean we should write down iPhone is defeated. While both the devices have OIS, iPhone SE’s video capabilities are still unmatched.

Since both iPhone and Pixel perform well in good lighting, and iPhone does well in videography, I think it settles the poor performance in low light. Hence, I think it’s better to call this round a tie.

Winner: Tie

Battery

The main reason for iPhone SE 3’s light weight is because of its battery size, which is even less than half the size of the battery pack inside the Pixel 6a. Other features are as follows:

Pixel 6aiPhone SE 2022
Capacity4410 mAh2018 mAh
Maximum charging power18 W20 W
Wireless chargingNoYes

Despite having a small battery, the iPhone SE still performs as well as Android phones that have twice the battery pack as the SE, all thanks to the A15 bionic and deep-level iOS optimizations from Apple. Despite that, you will have to charge it by the end of the day.

As for charging, SE 5G has support for 20W wired charging that can charge the device up to 50% in just half an hour. It also has support for wireless charging at 5W.

As for Pixel, Google claims to have a day’s worth of battery, and if you run out of juice, I think it will take much longer to recharge it than the iPhone, but this is something we only know once the reviews come out. For context, the vanilla 6 takes 30 minutes to reach 50% with its 33W charger.

Since the iPhone has a battery life on par with phones twice its size, better-charging speeds, and support for wireless charging, we can declare SE the winner.

Winner: iPhone SE 2022

Software

No, I don’t want to start any war here; both iOS and Android have pros and cons. In the end, it all boils down to personal preference. The concept of one OS being more privacy-focused than the other also needs to end since both have taken the necessary measures to protect user data.

Where iPhone takes the lead is in terms of software support. Apple gave the iPhone 6 the latest iOS 15 update the same day as its latest flagships received. Just remember that the iPhone 6 was released in 2015! Meanwhile, Google promises 5 years of security updates, but the android version update is limited to 3 years.

Both iOS 15 and Android 12 had some issues initially, but most have been addressed and solved now. However, I must say that Apple has the upper hand, thanks to the deep-level hardware and software optimizations.

So, it’s all up to you! If you plan to use your device for a long time, iPhone is the go-to choice. Else Pixel still gives you support.

Winner: iPhone SE 2022

Ecosystem

The ecosystem is another aspect differentiating Pixel and entire Android devices from iPhones or Apple products. While Apple products form a closed ecosystem by connecting with only Apple products, Android went the opposite direction and made an open ecosystem where it can easily connect.

While not as fluid or efficient, Android is trying to develop a seamless ecosystem as Apple; meanwhile, Apple already has that. If you have a Mac or Apple Watch, or any other Apple product, buying an Apple product makes much more sense as an Android device will have a hard time communicating with the Apple products.

Winner: iPhone SE 2022

Performance

Performance of Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE 2022

When I hold the iPhone SE 2022 in my hand, it reminds me of what Doctor Otto Octavius said in the movie Spiderman 2; “The power of the sun, in the palm of my hand.” The SE 3 may not have the sun’s power, but it has the best processor available for a smartphone; the A15 bionic.

Pixel 6aiPhone SE 2022
Ram6GB4GB
Processor Google TensorApple A15 Bionic
Storage 128GB64, 128, 256GB

There is no need to compare Google’s Tensor chip on the Pixel 6a since the processor is still trying to keep up with last gen’s A14 Bionic. Also, Apple is known to bring the best out of its devices, thanks to the deep-level hardware and software optimizations.

But then again, it will be hard to get the full power of A15 bionic, be it gaming or video editing. Thanks to that small screen of SE 3. Still, for long-term usage, it’s hood to have that horsepower.

The Tensor is still unoptimized for many apps and was highly criticized for its throttling and heating issues. As a final nail to the coffin, it has been noticed to drain the battery quickly. It’s a no-brainer to declare iPhone SE as the winner in this round.

Winner: iPhone SE 2022

Price 

The iPhone SE 2022 was launched for $429 for the base 64GB variant, and the Pixel 6a is priced at $449 for the base 128GB variant. But I’m sure both will be available a bit cheaper during sales. You can buy the SE now but need to wait until the Pixel pre-orders and then wait for shipping.

Apple vs. Google: Who has the perfect Midranger formula?

Now that we have gone through all the sections, it’s time to land on a conclusion. Before preparing this comparison, I believed Pixel would easily crush the iPhone SE 3, given that Pixel 6a seems to provide great value on paper.

Apart from the old design and low-resolution small LCD display (which is not that bad for day-to-day usage), I think iPhone SE 3 is a good device despite its flaws.

Both Pixel 6a and SE 2022 showcase their powers as well as weakness. Let’s look at a quick summary of both devices.

Pixel 6a

Pros

  • Ultra-wide camera
  • Night mode support
  • Open ecosystem
  • Modern design
  • OLED display

Cons

  • Tensor chip has throttling issues before
  • No wireless charging
  • Plastic back panel
  • Battery drain

Apple iPhone SE 2022

Pros

  • Great integration with Apple products
  • Long term software support
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Wireless charging
  • Fast wired charging
  • Great video capabilities
  • Flagship performance

Cons

  • Old design with big bezels
  • No Ultra-wide camera
  • Lack of Night mode
  • LCD display

I think you are as shocked as I am by looking at the pros and cons. If Apple had given a Notch design with an OLED panel, at even $499, the SE 2022 would have been an easy recommendation. Still, the SE 5g can give a good competition against iPhone 13 mini with its current flaws.

If you ask me, I will go for Pixel 6a (sorry, SE 2022) for its new design because the human insecurity in me wants to show off a modern-looking device for the price I pay. But if you are considering a budget iPhone, we have covered a detailed comparison.

Signing off…

I have only compared the specs of Pixel 6a against the already released SE 2022. This means the opinions may change once the device is released. What do you think is the best? Share your thoughts.

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