Google Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE (2022): Key Differences to Expect

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Google’s upcoming Pixel 6a is going to be a decent improvement over the previous one Pixel 5a generation already in many ways. Announced at the Google I/O ’22 developer conference earlier this year, the Pixel 6a is set to release on July 28, with pre-orders starting on July 21. Google’s upcoming phone starts at $449, with 128GB of storage, making it one of the bestsellers this holiday season.
In the same price range is another interesting device – the third generation iPhone SE, which starts at $429 for the 64 GB version and $479 for 128 GB.
Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE (2022) in a nutshell:

  • Google Tensor (5nm) vs Apple A15 Bionic (5nm)
  • 6 GB RAM vs. 4 GB RAM
  • 128 GB basic storage vs. 64 GB basic storage
  • Dual 12.2 vs 12MP single camera
  • 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED vs. 4.7-inch HD+ IPS LCD
  • 4,410mAh vs 2,018mAh batteries


Design and display quality

From a design standpoint, the Pixel 6a and the iPhone SE (2022) couldn’t be more different from each other.

On the one hand, we have the Pixel 6a, a phone that fully embodies Google’s newfound enthusiasm for building a coherent ecosystem with a fresh new design language in tow. Unveiled with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Google achieved some sort of unique design with a very distinct camera strip on the back that doubles as a separator for the two-tone paint job. Fortunately for anyone who has enjoyed the new Pixel look (me included), the Pixel 6a will be another iteration of a mostly successful design that stands out. Like the Pixel 6, the Pixel 6a will, as expected, have a flat screen.

On the other hand, the iPhone SE (2022) is yet another (hopefully the ultimate) iteration of the iPhone 8 design, which is sure to be a bit long in the tooth in 2022. While compact, the iPhone SE (2022) doesn’t have anything special in its design language that makes it.

We have large bezels on the top and bottom, accompanied by a capacitive home button with Touch ID embedded in it. At least the phone has its compact size as a definite plus, making it possibly the most capable compact phone in 2022. Still, the iPhone SE may be the last truly thin phone to stand out among fat giants — even the iPhone 13 mini is noticeably thicker.

In terms of colors, we have the Pixel 6a, Charcoal, Chalk and Sage, which correspond to black, white and green. Meanwhile, the iPhone SE (2022) itself is available in three colors: Midnight (black), Starlight (white) and Product RED (red).

And what about the displays of the two phones? As ordered by the vastly different designs of the two phones, the Pixel 6a and iPhone SE (2022) certainly fall into very different categories. The Pixel 6a’s 6.1-inch screen is an FHD+ and, unlike its bigger brothers, doesn’t have a high-refresh display. As before, 60 Hz is all you get, but this shouldn’t be an issue given the affordable price tag. At the same time, the iPhone SE (2022) has a 4.7-inch HD+ display with far less real estate in tow, and no other notable “goodies” of its own either.

From a quality standpoint, it will be hard to choose the iPhone’s LCD screen over the more contrasting and vibrant look OLEDs give off, so the Pixel 6a would definitely have the upper hand here.

Both phones will use fingerprint sensors for unlocking, but the Pixel 6a is much more modern in this regard as it comes with a new-generation fingerprint sensor under the display. The iPhone SE (2022), on the other hand, relies on the reliable but old-fashioned Touch ID biometric sensor that was common just a few years ago.

Performance and software

A15 vs Tensor: not a fair fight

Google’s first custom chip, the Tensor, has trickled down to the Pixel 6a. While it’s not a benchmark-crunching powerhouse, it’s a pretty decent chipset with no immediately noticeable drawbacks. Its core strength lies in AI-assisted operations and machine learning right on the device, without having to process data on Google’s servers, making it a very different beast in several areas than the Apple A15, which is the Apple iPhone SE (2022). drives ).

The latter is a real powerhouse, also responsible for the Excellent performance of the iPhone 13 series. The A15 is barely matched by the Tensor in most of the synthetic benchmarks we run, including Geekbench 5 and 3DMark. While the A15 certainly mops the floor with the Tensor, the latter for normal day-to-day use doesn’t lag behind at all. We expect the same to happen with the Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE (2022) situation we have here.

While the iPhone SE comes with 64GB in the base version and has 4GB of RAM on board, the Pixel 6a comes with 128GB of non-expandable storage right out of the box, but it’s worth noting that you can outfit the iPhone with 128GB. or 256GB of storage if you want, for one price. The 6GB of RAM is a good point for the Pixel 6a, but because of the different ways iOS and Android use RAM, you don’t necessarily need to do much more on the Pixel than you do on the iPhone.


Never bring a single camera to a two-camera fight

The Pixel 6a, like the Pixel 6, will have a dual camera setup consisting of a 12.2MP Sony IMX363 1/2.55″ image sensor, with a pixel size of 1.4μm, an aperture of ƒ/1 .7 and a field of view of 77°.

Sounds familiar? Well, it’s the same camera that was found on the Pixel 5a. It’s still a very, very solid camera that does a lot more than its hardware specs imply thanks to Google’s image algorithms and certainly has that signature Pixel look that has become legendary on the Android scene. There’s also an ultra-wide camera on the back, but it’s a 12MP Sony IMX386 sensor with an ƒ/2.2 aperture and a 114° field of view.

The Tensor’s machine learning capabilities allow the Pixel 6a to use the Enhanced Magic Eraser feature, which can erase and change the colors of objects and people in images. The 6a also includes Night Sight for shooting photos in low light, as well as Google’s own Real Tone feature, which helps the camera capture skin tones as accurately as possible.

At the same time, the iPhone SE (2022) comes with a single 12 MP camera with an F18 aperture. In terms of hardware, it’s the same that graced the previous iPhone SE (2020), but thanks to the А15 Bionic and the fresh new ISP on deck, you can take advantage of computational photography, with images optimized for color and detail. At the same time, the Smart HDR 4 engine that comes with the A15 Bionic improves color, contrast and noise. You also have photographic style support to adjust the color of your photos and essentially create custom photo filters that apply by default to the stock camera app.

In terms of quality, the photos taken with the iPhone SE correspond to what you can expect from an iPhone.

One big missing feature is the night mode. Yes, the iPhone SE (2022) doesn’t have a dedicated night mode, which makes low-light images blurry, with gloomy colors and details. The Pixel 6a will definitely have a dedicated night mode, so the difference between the two phones in this rather important aspect of mobile photography is only going to get bigger.

Battery life and charging

The difference in battery capacity between the Pixel 6a and the iPhone SE (2022) is staggering. Actually, Google’s upcoming phone has more than twice the capacity of the iPhone SE: 4,410 mAh versus 2,018 mAh. That’s a pretty big spread no matter which angle you look at it from.

Does that mean the Pixel 6a has a much better battery life than the iPhone SE? Very sure, yes. Despite the efficiency of the A15 Bionic and its smaller, less power-hungry display, we expect the Pixel 6a to outperform the iPhone SE in terms of battery life.

In our tests, the The battery life of the iPhone SE has proved somewhat disappointing. The phone scored 4 hours and 28 minutes in the video streaming test, 11 hours and 53 minutes in web browsing and 4 hours and 29 minutes in 3D gaming. Slightly disappointing results overall, but that’s probably the most you can squeeze out of the tiny 2108mAh battery.

In terms of charging, the Pixel 6a comes with 18W charging support and no charger in the box, similar to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. We don’t expect miracles with such a large battery and relatively slow charging speed, so the expected charging time is certainly above one hour.

Meanwhile, the iPhone SE supports charging speeds of up to 20W, and according to our testing, a 15-minute top-up restores 30 percent of your battery life with an authorized Apple charger, a 30-minute top-up restores about 55 percent, and a full charge of 0 to 100 takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

It’s also worth noting that you get Qi wireless charging with the iPhone SE (but not MagSafe), and no wireless charging on the Pixel 6a.

Specifications comparison:

Summary and final verdict

Overall, the Pixel 6a seems to outperform the iPhone SE (2022) in almost every aspect. With a more versatile camera setup, modern design, bigger battery, and a slightly more affordable price for the same amount of storage, the Pixel 6a makes getting an iPhone SE (2022) a tougher case. Nevertheless, the A15 Bionic is much more mature than Google’s fledgling Tensor ecosystem, and overall the iPhone SE (2022) could be a much safer bet than the Pixel 6a.

As for availability, you’re definitely going to be much more likely to encounter an iPhone SE (2022) in a location near you than on Google’s Pixel 6a, especially on a more global scale. Its fairly limited availability has been one of the oft-cited drawbacks to the Pixel family, and Apple’s wider delivery network means that even if you want to choose the Pixel 6a over the iPhone SE, you might not be able to for the most mundane reason of all. – one may not be available in your area or in a store near you.

So, which one should you take?

If you’ve been thinking about getting into the Apple ecosystem, the iPhone SE (2022) would be the safest and most affordable way to do it. On the other hand, if you just want to get the better value for money, it would be hard to beat the Pixel 6a.

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