We’re about to get the Google Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE 2022 battle we’ve been anticipating since rumors suggested that both Apple and Google are planning low-cost phone releases for the first half of 2022. When that happens, we’ll see which phone can conquer the Number one in our list of the best cheap phones.
Apple has already held off the end of the deal, launching the iPhone SE (2022) in March. Known as the iPhone SE 3 when it was just a rumor, this phone replaces the old iPhone SE with a 5G-ready model that features a much more powerful processor than before.
The Pixel 6a is a bit more mysterious, although that may be about to change. It looks like Google is gearing up for a spring launch after introducing the Pixel 5a late last summer. And the Pixel 6a could get its own processor support, as Google may switch to the same chipset that powers its flagship Pixel 6 phones.
It was the battle of iPhone SE 2022 vs. Here’s how we see the showdown fall back, based on our iPhone SE tests and the rumors we’ve heard so far about the Pixel 6a.
Comparison between Google Pixel 6a and iPhone SE 2022: Specifications
|iPhone SE 3||Google Pixel 6a (rumoured)|
|Screen Size||4.7 inches||6.2 inches|
|refresh rate||60 Hz||90 Hz|
|CPU||A15 Bionic||Google Tensor|
|rear cameras||12 mega pixel||12MP 12MP Ultrafast|
|front camera||7 mega pixel||8 mega pixel|
|Battery size||2,018 mA (based on rips)||4800 mAh|
|Programming||iOS 15||Android 12|
Google Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE 2022: Price and Availability
Apple and Google both offer high-end flagships at affordable prices, but the iPhone SE and Pixel A Series phones give the two companies a chance to compete for budget shoppers. It certainly continued with the 2022 iPhone SE, which trims the current Pixel 5a by $20 — Apple sells its phone for $429 versus $449 for the current Pixel.
Can Google match or even beat that price with the Pixel 6a? It’s going to be tough, especially considering features like 5G connectivity and the new Tensor chipset that the upcoming phone is rumored to have. But we expect Google to keep the Pixel 5a’s price below $500 so it can compete with both the iPhone SE (2022) and the Samsung Galaxy A53, which shares the Pixel 5a’s $449 cost.
Equally important will be where you can get these phones. Google was limited to releasing the Pixel 5a in the US and Japan, and Google Fi was the only carrier offering the discounted phone. The pressure will be on Google to make the Pixel 6a more widely available, especially with the launch of the iPhone SE in several countries. In the United States, you can pick up an Apple phone from the best mobile phone companies.
We’ll soon find out how much the Pixel 6a will cost, if the rumors about the phone’s release date are true. Since the beginning of the year, rumors have pointed to the launch of the Pixel 6a in May, something that Google’s Sundar Pichai confirmed when he said that Google will showcase new devices at the Google I/O Developer Conference. Google I/O 2022 will kick off on May 11.
Google Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE 2022 Comparison: Design and Display
If you’ve seen the iPhone SE 2020, you know exactly what the iPhone SE (2022) looks like. You get a Touch ID sensor on the lower bezel and a large bezel on the top to house the selfie camera — the same look as the 2017 iPhone 8.
In contrast, Google could turn things around with the Pixel 6a. For the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro series last fall, Google introduced a distinctive new look in which a horizontal camera bar runs across the back of that phone. This design could find its way into the Pixel 6a if Google wants to keep things consistent.
The familiar design of the iPhone SE 2022 means that it retains the 4.7-inch LCD panel of its predecessor. And like the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 mini, it’s got a stable 60Hz refresh rate — a feature Apple keeps for its iPhone 13 Pro models.
The fast refresh rates have yet to find their way to Google’s A-series phones, and early rumors suggest that it may continue with the Pixel 6a. Recently, though, at least one leaker claimed that the Pixel 6a could have a 90Hz refresh rate. We might say this feature is still up in the air, but if it did, the Google phone would have an edge over the iPhone SE.
Rumors say the Pixel 6a’s display will come in at 6.2 inches – larger than the iPhone SE’s 4.7-inch screen, but smaller than what Google offered with the Pixel 5a.
Comparison between Google Pixel 6a and iPhone SE 2022: Cameras
After adding a second lens, the Pixel 5a has established itself as one of the best camera phones on a budget. While Google’s Smart Photo features still persist all day, the 16MP, 117-degree ultra-wide camera on the Pixel 5a gives this device even more flexibility. We certainly saw it when we compared the camera output of the iPhone SE with the Pixel 5a..
You have to assume that the dual cameras will return to the Pixel 6a and the only question is whether Google boosts the resolution of the main sensor beyond 12MP. Right now, the only camera rumor we have to go on about the Pixel 6a predicts a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and an 8MP selfie camera.
There is no change to the camera hardware in the iPhone SE 2022. You get a 12MP lens as before, with no ultrawide shooter to expand the types of shots an Apple phone can take out. Fortunately, the better processor than that found in the 2020 version of the phone – more on that below – supports more camera features like Smart HDR 4 to handle challenging lighting and Deep Fusion to summon more detail. iPhone SE also supports Photography Modes, which allows you to change the look of your photos on the go.
What you don’t get with the iPhone SE (2022) is any dedicated night mode. It’s a baffling omission, as there don’t seem to be any technical limitations to including it. As a result, the iPhone SE is struggling to keep up with phones that can take low-light photos, like the Pixel 5a. (The image comparison above shows how the iPhone SE is behind the curve.) We imagine this is one area where the Pixel 6a will defeat the iPhone SE (2022).
Google Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE 2022 Comparison: Performance and 5G
Any performance encounter between an Apple phone and an Android device is usually just a formality, given Apple’s success in building the fastest mobile processors we’ve tested. But the confrontation between Google Pixel 6a and iPhone SE (2022) presents an interesting new development.
Apple is certainly up for a change, equipping the new SE with the A15 Bionic, the same chipset that powers the iPhone 13 family. This means the same processing power found in Apple’s most expensive phones is also available in the $429 phone.
The iPhone SE (2022) benchmarks show just how powerful this phone is, thanks to the A15 Bionic. It can keep up with the iPhone 13, which means it easily beats the best Android phones – even the Pixel 6 and its Tensor chip.
But there’s more to Google’s Tensor chips than performance. Google designed the chipset with a focus on machine learning. This, in turn, has triggered some useful new experiences on the Pixel 6 phones such as direct voice dictation for text messages and advanced call screening features. This is very relevant to the Pixel 6a because rumors suggest that silicon Tensor is heading to Google’s less expensive phone.
While the iPhone SE (2022) and its A15 chip should outperform the Pixel 6a at timed tasks and multitasking, Google’s low-cost phone could rely on its Tensor engine to pull off tricks that Apple’s can’t. We are looking forward to see how this fight will end.
Regardless of which SIM the phones in question are using, both will support 5G connectivity, although there is a caveat in the case of the iPhone SE. It doesn’t support mmWave-based 5G, so it can’t take advantage of Verizon’s ultra-fast 5G connections. The phone works with C-Band 5G, which Verizon is increasingly using to deliver faster 5G, and there is no problem with the 5G sub-6GHz networks built by AT&T and T-Mobile.
Google Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE 2022 comparison: battery life and charging
The iPhone SE (2022) didn’t do much to improve the battery life of its predecessor, which resulted in a worse time in our battery test. We have phones browsing the web via cell phone until they run out of power, and the iPhone SE (2022) ran in a time of 9 hours 5 minutes. Not only is that about an hour worse than the average smartphone, it’s 13 minutes less than the last iPhone SE that lasted.
So here’s a chance for the Pixel 6a, especially since the Pixel 5a is slightly better than the iPhone SE, with a time of 9 hours and 45 minutes in our test. Leaked specifications suggest that the Pixel 6a will have a 4,800mAh battery, slightly up from the 4,680mAh cell in the Pixel 5a.
The iPhone SE (2022) still charges at 20W, which is better than the Pixel 5a’s 18W fast. Rumor has it that the Pixel 6a is charging 30W. However, the Pixel 5a lacked wireless charging, which is a feature you get on the iPhone SE (2022), so that’s another area the Pixel 6a could tackle.
Comparison between Google Pixel 6a and iPhone SE 2022: Programs and special features
One of the safest bets about any phone is that they will be running their latest software versions. The iPhone SE (2022) comes with iOS 15, and you can bet Android 12 is coming on the Pixel 6a. Upgrading to Android 13 when the full version comes out later this year will be easy on the Pixel 6a, although you can say the same about the iPhone SE and iOS 16.
Google offers three years of software support for its phones, so the Pixel 6a should be fine with Android 15. Of course, the original iPhone SE released six years ago can still run the latest iOS, so that’s an area Apple is still Google excels.
Where the Pixel 6a could stand out is if it gets the Tensor chip that Google introduced last fall. This will likely give it access to some of the AI-powered capabilities that help the Pixel 6 phones stand out. The question is whether all of these AI features will be enabled on the Pixel 6a or whether Google will hold back from some of them to differentiate its budget phone from its flagship devices.
Google Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE 2022: Outlook
Previous iPhone vs Pixel battles have determined which phone takes better photos, but the Google Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE (2022) faceoff adds some additional factors. We’ll be interested to know what Tensor brings into the mix. And price will still be an important factor, especially if Google can’t find a way to bring down the Pixel 6a’s cost to match the iPhone.
We won’t have to wait any longer to see which phone will end up on top, should the Pixel 6a ship in May. And we can’t wait to see how these two phones compare.