Google’s latest mid-range phone has arrived. The Pixel 6a succeeds the Pixel 5a, and it’s now the smallest member of the Pixel 6 family. It brings the camera bar and Tensor SoC from the flagship Pixel 6 series to a more affordable price, but is it the right phone for you? Whether you want a new Android device or are considering iOS, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at the best Pixel 6a alternatives.
The best Google Pixel 6a alternatives
1.Google Pixel 6
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No doubt, the Pixel 6 is one of the best alternatives for Google’s budget phone. The two share much of the same DNA, while the $150 extra cost of the flagship gets you a few key upgrades.
For starters, the Pixel 6 offers 8GB of RAM to the Pixel 6a’s 6GB, a 90Hz display instead of 60Hz, and faster wired charging, as well as wireless charging support. You can also upgrade to 256GB of built-in storage.
However, whichever way you lean, you’ll find the high-end Tensor SoC under the hood. The camera bar is right at home on Google’s recent launches, and it sports a powerful pair of lenses. You’ll get a sharp 50MP main camera on the Pixel 6, while the Pixel 6a returns to the 12.2MP shooter seen on previous Pixels. Both phones also share a 12MP ultrawide lens.
Learn more: Google Pixel 6 review
Although the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a have similarities, the flagship model sports an all-Gorilla Glass Victus design compared to the Pixel 6a’s 3D composite rear and Gorilla Glass 3 display panel. The Pixel 6 also offers a slightly better IP68 rating instead of an IP67 option. In any case, Google offers five years of security updates, which should be supported until 2026 or 2027, depending on the phone you buy.
2. Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
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The Galaxy A53 5G is one of the best Pixel 6a alternatives for the same pile of cash. Both devices will set you back $449, and they’re some of the best affordable phones on the market right now.
Samsung plays its own internal chipset game, bringing the Exynos 1280 to its Galaxy A53 5G. This is the first time we’ve seen an Exynos chipset in the US in quite some time, and while it’s not likely to crash with Google’s Tensor chip, it still delivers solid results. Although both mid-range offer smooth OLED panels, Samsung’s 120Hz refresh rate easily beats its Pixel rival’s 60Hz option.
Our thoughts: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
The Galaxy A53 5G also pushes its camera bump further than the Pixel 6a. You have four lenses to work with, topped off by a 64MP primary shooter. The 5MP macro may look like a gimmick, but the 12MP ultrawide has many uses. Samsung is giving Google a run for its money with software updates – the Galaxy A53 5G is configured for four full versions of Android with five years of security patches.
3. Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Ryan Haines/Android Authority
If you’re considering the Pixel 6a, chances are you’ve settled on the Android operating system. However, it’s important to remember that Apple has a few tricks up its sleeve.
Apple’s iPhone SE (2022) has not physically changed since the very first version. It’s still an iPhone 8 on the outside, with chunky top and bottom bezels and a round home button. Once you take a look under the hood, you’ll understand why it’s worth a look. The powerful A15 Bionic processor is the same one you’ll find on the flagship iPhone 13 series, and it delivers outstanding benchmark results. It takes 4GB of RAM and its small battery further than comparable Android devices, though the small form factor is disappointing.
The verdict: Apple iPhone SE (2022) review
The iPhone SE (2022) has its fair share of compromises, including its single rear camera, a cramped, low-resolution display, and its pitiful 64GB of storage on the base model. On the bright side, you should see software support for years to come, and it’s an easy way to dip your toe into iOS.
4.Motorola Moto G 5G (2022)
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The Moto G series has followed a reliable formula since what seems like the beginning of time. You usually know exactly what you’re going to get, and Motorola always keeps its prices reasonable. The Moto G 5G (2022) may not outperform the Pixel 6a in many categories, but it looks like a reliable choice that can save you some cash.
Motorola has been leaning towards a Mediatek future for much of 2022, and its Dimensity 700 chipset should deliver stable performance. The Moto G 5G also offers improved RAM and storage configurations, which now reach 6GB and 256GB respectively.
See also: The best Motorola phones you can get
That said, Motorola’s camera decisions often leave us scratching our heads. The 50MP main sensor should hold its own, but Motorola ditched the ultra-wide camera from the latest Moto G 5G and kept the underpowered macro lens. We’ll be putting the Moto G 5G through its paces in a full review soon, but for now it’s a good option if you don’t like Google’s budget phone.
5. Poco F4 GT
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The latest of our Pixel 6a alternatives may cost you a bit more (and isn’t officially available in the US), but it’s definitely a good choice for mobile gamers. Poco decided to double down on the gaming features, adding retractable shoulder keys, blazing 120W charging, and a powerful flagship processor. Does that seem exaggerated to you? It is, but in the best way.
The flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor means the Poco F4 GT runs with the best of them, and the big screen keeps you in the thick of the action. It features a 6.67-inch OLED panel, 120Hz refresh rate, and crisp Full HD+ resolution. The battery is larger than the Pixel 6a at 4,700mAh, although the insane charging speed means you can fill it up in around 17 minutes.
Enter the game: The best gaming phones to buy
While the Poco F4 GT is probably the best bet for gamers, it skips a few everyday comforts. You won’t find the most powerful camera system out there – the ultra-wide sensor particularly disappointed us during our review. Poco also doesn’t offer a reliable update commitment, which leaves the device with an uncertain future.
The best Google Pixel 6a alternatives: honorable mentions
- Google Pixel 5a ($449): If you’re not just waiting for the official launch of the Pixel 6a, the Pixel 5a could be a great way to fill the void. It’s not as widely available – still limited to Japan and the US – but it offers a heavy battery and an aluminum design that can withstand some wear and tear. The Pixel 5a also sports the same Snapdragon 765G chipset found in Google’s popular Pixel 5.
- OnePlus Nord N20 ($282): The OnePlus Nord N20 is the most affordable option among our Pixel 6a alternatives. It offers a clean and simple design with a great display for under $300. You also get solid battery life and charging, but low update commitment limits long-term prospects, and bloatware weighs down the generally popular Oxygen OS experience.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE ($549): The Galaxy S21 FE launched in early 2022 after a long delay, but it’s still a great alternative to the Pixel 6a, especially after a price drop from its original MSRP of $699. It follows a similar formula, offering the best features of the Galaxy S at a lower price. For your money, you can get a Snapdragon 888 SoC, a 120Hz OLED display, and a durable IP68 rating. The Galaxy S21 FE is also slated for three years of OS updates with four years of security patches.
That’s it for our look at the best Google Pixel 6a alternatives. Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know below.