Google Pixel 6a vs. Apple iPhone SE 2022: Which Budget Phone to Buy?

Both iPhone SE 2022 and Google Pixel 6a are great smartphones for those who do not want to spend too much on their premium siblings. The Pixel 6a is the latest budget-oriented addition to the Pixel family, with Google cutting down on some features to keep the phone’s price down. Apple did the same thing with the iPhone SE 2022, offering a small-sized device that delivers best-in-class performance and great cameras.

The reveal of the Google Pixel 6a has led to an immediate comparison with the Apple iPhone SE 2022. With that in mind, we will put the two devices in an ultimate showdown to see which one is right for you.

Note that the Google Pixel 6a will not be available worldwide until July 28. So we have not had a chance to test it out yet. Still, this comparison helps you decide if you can wait for the Pixel 6a or just grab the SE 2022.


Apple iPhone SE (2022)Google Pixel 6a
Screen size4.7 inches6.1 inches
Refresh rate60Hz60Hz
CPUA15 BionicGoogle Tensor
Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB
Rear cameras12MP12MP wide; 12MP ultrawide
Front cameras7MP8MP
Battery2,018 mAh4,410 mAh

First, let’s talk about the specs. Both devices feature flagship-class specifications at a reduced cost. It’s impossible to buy an iPhone that does everything well at this price point of $429.


The SE has never been a low-cost iPhone, but it still has not, after all. But the $429 price point makes it the cheapest iPhone you can buy right now. In fact, the SE 2022 is $30 more expensive than the 2020 model, which started at $399. The $30 difference is acceptable given that the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed global trade and disrupted supply chains for the last two years.

The Google Pixel 6a, on the other hand, starts at $449 in the US. That’s the same price as the Pixel 5a. Google’s move to stick with the under $500 price range is good considering the Tensor chip upgrade under the hood.

The Pixel 6a is slightly pricier than the SE 2022. By paying an extra $20, you will be getting a much bigger screen, longer-lasting battery life, and an in-display fingerprint scanner. However, there’s only $150 between the Pixel 6a and Pixel 6, which offers extra specs such as a 90Hz refresh rate, bigger RAM, and battery.

Design & Display

Picking up the iPhone SE 2022 for the first is like travelling back in time when the 4.7 inch iPhones with physical buttons dominated the smartphone market. The SE 2022 looks exactly like its 2020 predecessor. A Touch ID and thick bezels are still there. The SE 2022 is a step up from the iPhone 8 with the same 4.7-inch display and many design similarities.

Apple iPhone SE 3

With the Pixel 6a, Google has taken a lot of design hints from the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. There’s a camera bar design at the rear, a centred punch-hole camera on the front, and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The Pixel 6a does not come with a headphone jack, meaning that you may need to pick up a pair of wireless headphones, like Google Pixel Buds Pro. The SE 2022 is another iPhone without a 3.5mm headphone jack. But, you can use a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter or an Apple AirPods for listing to music and podcasts.

The Pixel 6a features a 6.1-inch display – that’s the same size as the standard iPhone 13. The 6a’s display uses an OLED panel that’s far better than the 4.7 inch LCD panel on the iPhone SE 2022. The adoption of the OLED panels allows for better contrast and brightness.

Both devices are stuck at a 60Hz refresh rate. That’s disappointing as most modern Android phones have moved to smoother 90Hz or 120Hz rates.

In short, the Google Pixel 6a has its upper hand in terms of the display. It offers more screen real estate than the SE 2022, which is ideal for watching movies and playing games. Plus, the OLED panel is much brighter and creates amazing contrast.

The iPhone SE 2022, on the other hand, features a tiny, cramped 4.7-inch display with a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels. It’s not a bad display, but you won’t get the same pop and punchiness of OLED. If you upgrade from the iPhone 8, you can live well with the SE’s display.


The Pixel 6a features a dual-lens camera system on the back, while the SE 3 has a single camera. The Pixel 6a uses the same main lens as the Pixel 4, and the SE 3 takes its lens from the iPhone 8. However, the single-camera system on the SE 3 is outdated in 2022.

The SE 3 can produce good photos, but the single-camera system starts to reach its limit in some motion, low-light, or bright situations. This is due to the Night Mode missing from the device. Also, you will notice noise in your photos when you perform a 2.5x zoom.

Google Pixel 6a

The ultrawide camera on the Pixel 6a features a cut-down resolution compared to the Pixel 5a’s 16MP ultrawide shooter. But, the 6a’s camera has a larger sensor, allowing for greater brightness in low-light conditions.

One of the biggest features of the 6a’s camera is Magic Eraser, which allows you to remove unwanted objects or subjects from your photo. Google has recently updated the feature to include the ability to change the color of an object to make it blend into the background.


The iPhone SE 3 is powered by Apple’s A15 chip, making it one of the most powerful smartphones on the market. Indeed, the A15 chip is overkill for most tasks and we did not notice any lags during our tests.

Google Pixel 6a features the Tensor chip under the hood. The new chip enables amazing features such as Magic Eraser and real-time translation. Google is expected to add more in the future.

Which One to Buy?

Pixel 6a vs IPhone SE 202

The Pixel 6a is not out yet, so we need to wait until we lay our hands on the device for a full review. So far, the Pixel 6a has a lot of potentials to be the best budget smartphone in 2022. If you plan to buy a budget phone this year, we suggest waiting for the Pixel 6a.

If you already own an Apple product like the Apple Watch, an iPad, or a Mac machine, the SE 2022 may be a perfect start to the iPhone era.

Read next: iPhone SE 2022 vs iPhone 13 Mini

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