Google’s leading budget device is about more than just saving money. It also offers great cameras, some Pixel-only software features, and great battery life. The mid-range processor is plenty capable, but you won’t want to use this as your dedicated mobile gaming device.

+ Excellent camera
+ Pixel exclusive features
+ Dual rear cameras
+ Good performance
+ Solid battery life

– Medium processor
– Only comes in one color
– No wireless charging
– Only guaranteed software support until August 2024

Apple’s latest iPhone SE has the same design as the iPhone 8 from 2017, but has powerful hardware to rival other smartphones from 2022. The A15 Bionic processor offers truly impressive performance and brings long-term software support for iOS. The biggest disappointment, aside from the old design, is the single rear camera and the lack of a night mode.

+ Premium processor
+ Long-term software support
+ Solid cameras
+ Good battery life
+ Wireless charging

– Very dated design
– Only a 4.7 inch screen
– No night mode for the camera
– Single rear camera

The Google Pixel 5a and the Apple iPhone SE represent the budget device for each brand. Each phone has as many features and specs as possible, but with a few compromises to keep the price down. When we compare two phones, both phones usually run on Android. In this case, one is Android and the other iOS, which means there are two completely different ecosystems to consider. So let’s see what we can do to help you find the device that’s best for you.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) vs Google Pixel 5a: Beyond Basic Designs

Google Pixel 5a

Credit: Ara Wagoner/Android Central

When a company designs a high-end device, it can go wild with the aesthetics, internal processors and software features, because price isn’t really a limiting factor. None of these phones have that luxury. Both are aimed at the budget conscious and are made to offer the best value for money.

The Google Pixel 5a came out in August 2021 and stays true to previous generations in the budget range. You get a simple design and mediocre processor, coupled with great software and excellent cameras, all for a reasonable price. Pixel phones rarely compete well in performance categories, but they are great for everyday use and can even handle casual gaming.

The Pixel 5a continues in the tradition of its predecessors by offering some of the best software and cameras that can outperform much more expensive devices.

That said, Google doesn’t just toss the phones together in hopes of making a quick buck and offer little in return. The 6.34-inch OLED display looks great in almost any environment and is smooth even at the traditional 60Hz refresh rate. Although it is only available in the Mostly Black colorway, it has a stylish look and feels very comfortable in the hand.

Apple’s iPhone SE (2022) sticks to the same design as the 2020 model, which was based on the iPhone 8 from 2017. Here you get a slim phone with hefty bezels at the top and bottom and a 4.7-inch LCD -screen. While the design is a little dated, some will say it’s retro. However, Apple offers three colors: Midnight, Starlight and (PRODUCT)RED.

Google Pixel 5aApple iPhone SE (2022)Operating SystemAndroid 12iOS 15.4Dimensions156.2 x 73.1 x 8.8mm138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mmWeight183g144gDisplay6.34-inch 60Hz OLED
2400 x 1080px (20:9)
HDR, Gorilla Glass 3,508 nits4.7″ 60Hz LCD
750 x 1334px (16:9)
Retna True-tone, 625 nitsColorsMostly blackMidnight, Starlights, (PRODUCT)REDProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Adreno 620Apple A15 Bionic
Apple GPUMemory6GB4GBStorage128GB64, 128, 256GBBattery4680mAh
18W wired chargingUnknown
Fast charging 18W
Qi wireless chargingReversing camera 112.2MP, f/1.7
Optical and electronic image stabilization
Dual Pixel Phase Autofocus
4K at 30 and 60 fps
1080p HD video recording at 30, 60, 120, 240 fps12 MP, f/1.8
Optical Image Stabilization
Autofocus with focus pixels
4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps
1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps Rear camera 216 MP, f/2.2
Ultra wide angle lens
117 degree field of view🚫Front Camera8MP, f/2.0
Automatic HDR
Fixed focus lens
83 degrees field of view7 MP, f/2.2
Deep FusionSoftware SupportUp to August 2024Up to 2027SecurityRear Pixel Imprint Fingerprint Reader
Titan M Security ModuleFingerprint Reader (Front Mounted)ProtectionIP67 Waterproof and DustproofIP67Water and DustproofAudioStereo SpeakersStereo SpeakersConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
NFC, A-GPSWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
mmWave: ❌Sub-6
mmWave: ❌Ports 3.5mm jack, USB-CLightning

Apple iPhone SE (2022) vs Google Pixel 5a: Software, Battery and Cameras

Google Pixel 5a Back 2

Credit: Ara Wagoner/Android Central

The Pixel 5a is powered by the Snapdragon 765G, an efficient chip that works wonders for extending battery life and can handle a ton of different tasks. Although it is a mid-range processor, it offers enough power for normal use and light gaming. Support for the processor is 6 GB of RAM and the single storage option of 128 GB.

Now, if it’s the processing power you want, the iPhone SE here owns the Pixel 5a. In fact, the A15 Bionic in the iPhone SE beats what many of the best Android phones have today. Apple has tuned its custom chips to provide excellent daily tasks and gaming performance. While the phone only has 4GB of RAM, Apple has proven over the years that it can still get great performance from its phones with less memory than other Android devices. You also get 64, 128 and 258 GB storage options.

The iPhone SE (2022) isn’t out in the wild yet, so it’s hard to say how the battery will fare in the real world. However, if we look at the previous iPhone SE, you can expect about a day of use before you need to charge the device. The Pixel 5a offers excellent battery life. Even with heavy use, you can easily expect a day of battery life, and up to two days with light use.

Both phones can charge relatively quickly at 18W. You connect to the Pixel 5a via the standard USB-C connector and Apple’s Lightning connector on the iPhone SE. However, you also charge wirelessly on the iPhone, not with the Pixel 5a.

If you want to make sure you have the most powerful budget smartphone, the only choice is the iPhone SE.

Apart from communication devices, smartphones are often the only cameras people own. That means it must be good, and both have excellent cameras. iPhones have long had great cameras, and the SE continues that. However, the single sensor on the back is less flexible than the system available on the Pixel 5a and also lacks a night mode.

Just as Apple’s smartphones have a reputation for good photography, so do Pixel’s. The 5a brings in Google’s computational photography magic to deliver some of the best photos of any smartphone – budget or not. The device also offers a secondary sensor on the back to enable ultra-wide shooting. You also get Google’s excellent night photography mode in Night Sight.

Apple iPhone SE 2022

(Image credit: Apple)

Both smartphones will take solid photos in well-lit areas. But even then, it can be subjective which phone takes better photos. Google’s Auto HDR tends to produce sharper and brighter photos, while iPhones traditionally aim for more natural-looking images with muted color palettes.

Finally, there is the software. As we mentioned before, the Pixel 5a runs Android 12 with Google’s new design language called Material You. While Google makes and sells the Pixel 5a, most of the phone’s internals don’t come from Google’s design labs. This means that while the software gets some features that are exclusive to the phone, such as Now Playing and the exceptional Call Screen, its ability to provide long-term software support is limited.

Three years of software support is nice for the Pixel 5a, but not nearly as good as the five or more the iPhone SE will get.

Apple gets a lot of credit for this kind of support, and it can do it because it owns and designs almost every facet of its phones. The Pixel 5a will receive software support until August 2024. This isn’t terrible, but it may not last long enough for the 5+ years the iPhone SE will get.

In a recent poll, we asked how old users’ phones were and the results were relatively similar between those with phones up to three years old and those with older devices. So the Pixel 5a lives up to the typical longevity for most owners, but it doesn’t get much more than that. That said, the iPhone SE starts with a five-year-old design, and in five years it may look very dated and the 4.7-inch screen may seem small.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) vs Google Pixel 5a: Which One Should You Buy?

Google Pixel 5a

Credit: Ara Wagoner/Android Central

Ultimately, when you spend less than $500, these are both excellent little phones. The Pixel 5a usually costs $450 and can sometimes be had for less. When shopping for the iPhone SE, it starts at $429 with 64GB of storage. While that price is great, the storage is very low and can cause problems in the long run. To move up to the same 128GB as the Pixel 5a, you’ll need to add $50 for a total of $479. This is still a good price for a phone with the potential of the iPhone SE, but it’s almost out of the budget range. .

If you’re in the market for a first phone or are willing to switch operating systems, you should consider which features interest you most and which ecosystem you spend the most time in. If you already use an iPad or Mac, the iPhone SE will integrate wonderfully. You’ll end up with a smaller screen, probably shorter battery life and a dated design, but you’ll have longer software support, a good camera, and one of the most powerful phones on the market.

The Pixel 5a offers solid performance, great battery life, and some of the best cameras out there. You also get a smartphone with some of the most impressive AI features thanks to the Pixel exclusives that Google builds into the Google Assistant. But you don’t get extensive software support for almost as long, there is no wireless charging and you have a less powerful processor. Both phones are excellent options for the price, but it depends on what you value most before you spend your money.

Low price, high Google

The Pixel 5a represents Google’s excellent software and great cameras, but at an accessible price.

beastly budget

The 2022 iPhone SE keeps the theme of its predecessor to use an older design with the latest and most powerful processor Apple has: the A15 Bionic.

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