Friday, May 24, 2024

Which budget phone is best? – Hey, competition!


If you buy a new one Skilled Trying to stick to a budget, you’ll end up with two specific devices: Google Pixel 6a and the third generation Apple iPhone SE.

They are two of the two considered by many – including us. Best budget phones in the market. We’ve given both devices very positive reviews because they offer some of the best experiences you can get under $500, but both are different enough to appeal to completely different people.

We’ve taken the two devices apart to see if a phone made by Google or Apple’s latest “budget” offering is right for you.


6.1 inch OLED 2400 x 1080 (60 Hz)

4.7-inch LCD screen with 1334 x 750 (60 Hz) resolution


Tensor Google

Apple A15 Bionic

Storage and RAM

128 GB storage, 6 GB RAM

64 GB / 128 GB / 256 GB, 4 GB RAM


Primary camera 12.2 MP f / 1.7, 12 MP f / 2.2 ultra-wide, 8 MP f / 2.0 selfie

Primary Camera 12 MP f/1.8, Selfie 7 MP f/2.2


4,410 mAh (18W charging)

2,018 mAh (20W charging, 7.5W Qi wireless charging)


In-screen fingerprint reader

Touch ID (Home Button)

Electronic Identification Number status




178 grams (6.28 ounces)

144 grams (5.08 ounces)




Design and display

Max Bandono/CNN

In the design department, Google and Apple couldn’t be more different. The Pixel 6a inherits a familiar look from the pricier Pixel 6 series, with slim bezels around the display and a large camera strip on the back. Meanwhile, Apple is repurposing the 2017 design with thicker bezels and a home button.

Together, we think the 6a is much better. It’s very modern and feels like a phone released in 2022, whereas the SE could have come out in 2017 and you wouldn’t know the difference.

Of course, both the phones have some features in common. Both use glass and aluminum for their connections, and both offer IP67 certifications for water and dust resistance. They all have fingerprint readers, with the 6a opting for an in-display device and the SE Classic Touch ID. Ultimately, if looks are important to you, the 6a is the way to go.

By Jacob Kroll/CNN Underline

The same applies to screens. The Pixel 6a sports a 6.1-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080. On the other hand, the iPhone SE has a 4.7-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 1334 x 750. OLED panels provide individually lit pixels. It can be turned off when not in use, providing not only more vibrant colors but also more inky blacks. LCD panels have a single backlight behind the entire panel, which illuminates everything, resulting in smaller color washes and less impressive black levels.

So it’s no surprise that 6a takes the cake in the performance department. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and it’s perfect for consuming content like movies and YouTube videos. While the SE isn’t bad, the 4.7-inch screen gets bogged down pretty quickly, and you won’t even get HD video quality. Overall, the 6a is a winner in terms of display quality.

TL; DRThe Pixel 6a has a much better design and a much better screen than the iPhone SE, which continues to use recycled parts from previous iPhones.

By Jacob Kroll/CNN Underline

This is another area where the Pixel 6a and iPhone SE couldn’t be more different. The 6a also comes with Google’s Tensor system, which debuted on the flagship Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. However, with 6GB of RAM instead of 8 or 12GB on the higher-end models, the 6a suffers a bit when it comes to heavy operations. It generally seems as fast as the more expensive models, but you can be sure that Google hasn’t unleashed the Tensor’s full potential in this case.

Meanwhile, Apple is going to blow your socks off with the A15 Bionic chipset in the iPhone SE. In our review, we found the performance of the flagship to be almost identical iPhone 13 Note that the line shares the A15 chip, and in some cases the SE standard is higher than its more expensive counterparts. Despite only having 4GB of RAM to work with, multitasking is a breeze, reliably fast and smooth, and we couldn’t find anything slowing down the processor. So far, the SE is a mid-range phone that you can get if you care about performance.

In the storage department, the base model iPhone SE ships with 64GB, while the Pixel 6a doubles that at 128GB. If you want to match that amount with the SE, you’ll have to get the $479 model. While that’s not a huge difference, it’s still more than the $30 6A he gets by default.

TL; DRThe Pixel 6a delivers decent performance with its flagship Tensor processor, but Apple’s A15 Bionic inside the iPhone SE beats it every time.

Max Bandono/CNN

On the back of the Pixel 6a, Google has a 12.2MP f/1.7 main camera. It is paired with a 12MP f/2.2 sensor with a 114-degree ultra-wide lens. Meanwhile, Apple ships the iPhone SE with a single 12MP f/1.8 camera on the back.

Photos taken by the main cameras on both the devices are basically equal to each other. While Apple and Google like to add their own tweaks to the aesthetics of the images their cameras capture, some things are certain. Both sensors deliver excellent image quality in well-lit scenes and dim environments, while offering good color reproduction and detail. Video quality is also comparable, with both phones capable of capturing 4K at 60fps with good stability and clarity.

This is where phones start to appear. You can’t do much with the single rear camera, which makes the iPhone SE one of the most limited camera systems on the market right now. The Pixel 6a takes the cake in this area thanks to its built-in ultra-wide lens, which makes snapping photos more fun and versatile.

By Jacob Kroll/CNN Underline

You get all the Google Photo tricks like Magic Eraser (ability to remove objects and other people from images with AI), amazing Portrait Mode, SE, Real Tone (better representation of skin tone) and Face Unblur. , overhead shot , repeated faces, double exposure controls and cinema column.

On top of that, the 6a also gets Night Sight, which greatly improves night photos, a feature the iPhone SE lacks as an alternative. No matter how you look at it, anyone interested in photography will want to pick up the Pixel 6a over the iPhone SE — there’s a lot more you can do with it compared to Apple’s device.

TL; DR: While the iPhone SE and Pixel 6a take similar photos in daylight and dim environments, the 6a takes the cake when it comes to versatility, night photography, and artificial intelligence.

Battery life and recharge speed

Max Bandono/CNN

The iPhone SE lineup has never been known for its battery life, and that hasn’t changed with the 2022 model. As you can imagine, the Pixel 6a takes the crown again.

The SE comes with a 2018 mAh cell, which Apple claims lasts 15% longer than the previous model. We found the battery to last a full day in our testing, but we got a low battery warning when we went to bed. On the other hand, the Pixel 6a’s 4,410mAh cell lasts at least a full day, with about 30% to 35% left in the tank. If you use it lightly, you can go to 50% sleep, which is enough for the second day. In our battery test where we looped a 4K video at 50% brightness, the iPhone SE lasted 11 hours and 20 minutes, while the Pixel 6a managed to stay awake for more than 14 hours.

Although the Pixel can take longer to charge than the iPhone, Apple has the edge over Google in the recharging department. The SE supports 20W fast charging, which is significantly faster than the Pixel 6a’s 18W charging, especially since the SE’s battery is much smaller. Apple also offers wireless charging for the iPhone, something the Pixel completely lacks.

TL; DR: If you need a phone that can last you all day and need some, get the Pixel 6a. If you value wireless charging, you should check out the iPhone SE.

iOS vs Android

By Jacob Kroll/CNN Underline

We’ll be upfront with you: We can’t tell you to get any of these phones based on their platform. Some prefer to integrate iOS with the rest of the Apple ecosystem, while others prefer Android and its flexibility to work with additional products and services from other companies. This is a subjective decision that you have to make.

We can tell you that both iOS 15 and Android 12 are great releases. They both work well on the iPhone SE and Pixel 6a, and each has impressive features. If one phone has an advantage over the other, it’s that the iPhone SE will be supported longer than the Pixel 6a. Google only guarantees software updates for three years, while Apple offers updates for its phones for four or five years. Whether it’s worth it depends on how long you plan to keep the phone.

TL; DR: We can’t tell you to choose iOS or Android as your phone’s operating system, but both are great on the iPhone SE and Pixel 6a.

Max Bandono/CNN

At the end of the day, the best phone is easily here Pixel 6a phone. For $20 more than the $429 iPhone SE, you get a gorgeous design with a much better OLED display, a more versatile camera array (and capability), and longer battery life. It’s kind of a no-brainer.

That is unless you’re in the Apple ecosystem. If you’re browsing Messages, iCloud Photos, or Apple Arcade — you probably have an Apple Card — you’re good to go iPhone SE. It will integrate better with your digital lifestyle than the Pixel 6a, and you’ll get better performance and wireless charging. You should be fine with the limited battery life, compact design and single rear camera.

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Stuart Wagner
Stuart Wagner
"Professional coffee fan. Total beer nerd. Hardcore reader. Alcohol fanatic. Evil twitter buff. Friendly tv scholar."

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