This time around we’re comparing two really compelling mid-range smartphones, the Nothing Phone (1) vs Google Pixel 6a. The Nothing Phone (1) actually launched earlier today, while the Pixel 6a got announced in May. The thing is, the device still didn’t get released, that will happen later this month. So, we didn’t get a chance to review either of these smartphones up to this point, but we do have a lot of information about both thus far.
Why does comparing these two phones makes sense? Well, not only are they both compelling in general, but they’re also similar when it comes to price. They are quite different in terms of the design and everything else, pretty much. Still, if you’re looking for a sub $500 phone, these are the two you should consider getting. It’s a shame the Nothing Phone (1) won’t be officially available in the US, though.
|Nothing Phone (1)||Google Pixel 6a|
|Screen size||6.55-inch FullHD+ OLED display (60-120Hz adaptive refresh rate)||6.1-inch fullHD+ OLED HDR display (60Hz)|
|Screen resolution||2400 x 1080||2400 x 1080|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+||Google Tensor|
|RAM||8GB/12GB (LPDDR5)||6GB (LPDDR5)|
|Storage||128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1), non-expandable||128GB (UFS 3.1), non-expandable|
|Rear cameras||50MP (f/1.9 aperture, 24mm wide-angle lens, 1.0um pixel size, OIS, PDAF)|
50MP (f/2.2 aperture, 114-degree FoV, 0.64um pixel size)
|12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)|
12MP (f/2.2 aperture, 17mm lens, 114-degree FoV, 1.25um pixel size)
|Front cameras||16MP (f/2.5 aperture, wide-angle lens, 1.0um pixel size)||8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)|
|Battery||4,500mAh, non-removable, 33W wired charging, 15W Qi wireless charging, 5W reverse wireless charging||4,410mAh, non-removable, 18W wired charging|
|Dimensions||159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3mm||152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9mm|
|Weight||193.5 grams||178 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)||In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)|
Nothing Phone (1) vs Google Pixel 6a: Design
There are not many similarities between these two phones, well, at least design-wise. They go for entirely different styles. The Nothing Phone (1) is made out of metal and glass. It has a see-through backplate with LED notification lights below it. Its bezels are uniform, while a display camera hole is included in the top-left corner. Its corners are curved, and it has flat sides.
The Pixel 6a has a more boxy design, its corners are sharper. It has a centered display camera hole, and its bezels are thin, but not uniform. On the back, you’ll find a camera strip that goes from one side to the other. The Nothing Phone (1) has a more traditional-looking camera stack, where one is placed below the other. The sides on the Pixel 6a are not flat, not really. So, the in-hand feel is entirely different as well. Also, the Pixel 6a has plastic on the back, not glass.
The Nothing Phone (1) is noticeably taller and wider, while it’s also heavier than the Pixel 6a. That makes all the sense in the world as it includes a larger display, and a glass backplate instead of a plastic one. The Nothing Phone (1) has sharper edges, due to its flat sides, and with its heft and size included, it’s a bit more difficult to navigate than the Pixel 6a. It’s worth noting that the Nothing Phone (1) comes with IP53 certification, while the Pixel 6a offers IP67 certification for water and dust resistance.
Nothing Phone (1) vs Google Pixel 6a: Display
The Nothing Phone (1) features a 6.55-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) OLED display with 1 billion colors. It is a 120Hz panel with supports for HDR10+. This is a flat display, and it has a peak brightness of 1,200 nits. We’re looking at a 20:9 display aspect ratio here, while the display has 402 ppi. Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 protects the display, and it’s a good choice by Nothing. It has a good balance of scratch and impact protection.
The Pixel 6a, on the flip side, features a 6.1-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) OLED display with HDR support. This display is also flat, but it’s a 60Hz panel, it doesn’t offer a high refresh rate. It also has a 20:9 display aspect ratio, and this panel is protected by the Gorilla Glass 3. Unfortunately, Gorilla Glass 3 is known for being susceptible to microscratches, so you may want to install a screen protector on this handset.
Now, the Nothing Phone (1)’s display is noticeably better, on paper. It’s simply newer, and has more going for it. If you’re used to high refresh rate displays, it will seem more fluid while you’re scrolling, etc. It may also seem a bit more vivid, even though the Pixel 6a’s display is no slouch in that department either. Both displays offer good touch sensitivity, and are more than sharp enough, while the viewing angles are also really good. The Nothing Phone (1)’s panel does get a bit brighter outdoors, though.
Nothing Phone (1) vs Google Pixel 6a: Performance
We haven’t really reviewed either of these phones yet. The Nothing Phone (1) launched just recently, and the Pixel 6a will start to ship to consumers soon. That being said, we’re hearing good things about the Nothing Phone (1) performance. That device includes the Snapdragon 778G+ SoC, partnered with either 8GB or 12GB of LPPDR5 RAM. That may be a mid-range SoC, but it seems like Nothing did a good job with optimizations.
In the case of the Pixel 6a, well, that device is using a combo we’ve already seen in a Pixel phone. The Google Tensor SoC is coupled with 6GB of LPDDR5 RAM. Truth be said, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro had more RAM, but we expect similar performance to be on offer. In fact, the Pixel 6a should be even less strained due to a 60Hz display. Having that in mind, the Pixel 6a will likely offer excellent performance regardless of what you throw at the phone. Only bugs can come in the way, as they did on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but let’s hope that won’t be the case this time around.
Nothing Phone (1) vs Google Pixel 6a: Battery
The Nothing Phone (1) includes a 4,500mAh battery, while the Pixel 6a has a 4,410mAh unit. The Pixel 6a’s unit is slightly smaller, but do keep in mind its display is considerably smaller, while it’s also half the refresh rate the Nothing Phone (1)’s is. These are not final findings, as we didn’t get to review either phone, but initial reports on the Nothing Phone (1) seem promising. Its SoC is not particularly power-hungry, and the phone seems to offer good battery life.
The Pixel 6a, based on how its siblings and its predecessor behaved, we’d say will have excellent battery life. Unless Google really manages to mess something up, the device will be able to handle power user demands without a problem. That 60Hz refresh rate and the display size are expected to help greatly in that regard. 4,410mAh is definitely a good battery capacity for this phone.
When it comes to charging, well, the Nothing Phone (1) has more to offer. It offers 33W wired, 15W wireless, and 5W reverse wireless charging. The Google Pixel 6a, on the flip side, supports 18W wired charging only. It does not offer wireless charging of any kind. Also, neither of these two phones comes with a charger, so you’ll have to get one on your own, if you don’t have it already.
Nothing Phone (1) vs Google Pixel 6a: Cameras
What about the cameras? Well, based on the initial pictures from the Nothing Phone (1) we’ve seen, the device does a really good job. It handles high dynamic range situations really well, while the images end up being sharp during the day. Nighttime shots are also not bad at all, even though it takes its sweet time to capture them (night mode). The ultrawide camera is not nearly as good as the main one, though, the dip in image quality is noticeable.
The Pixel 6a did not launch yet, and we didn’t get a chance to see images from that device. However, it’s expected to offer similar pictures to the Pixel 5a 5G. It may feature some improvements considering Google’s SoC is on the inside, but for the most part, it will likely offer similar images to the Pixel 5a 5G. In other words, those pictures will likely be good across the board. Slight issues with light reflections may be present, though, as they are on the Nothing Phone (1). The ultrawide camera on the Pixel 5a 5G was also quite good, so the same is expected out of the Pixel 6a.
Neither of these phones will be the very best on the market in terms of image quality, but they’re both good enough. As a reminder, the Nothing Phone (1) includes two 50-megapixel cameras on the back, while the Pixel 6a combines a 12.2-megapixel main camera, with a 12-megapixel ultrawide unit.
When it comes to audio, it’s important to note that both phones include stereo speakers. The speakers on the Nothing Phone (1) are really good, though not the best around. Something similar is expected out of the Pixel 6a. Both phones will likely offer really well-balanced speakers, and we can’t really ask for much more at their price tags.
An audio jack is not included on either phone, by the way. You’ll need to use a Type-C connection if you’d like to connect your wired headphones to this device. Either Type-C headphones, or a dongle.