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The best Google Pixel 5a alternatives: 5 phones you should consider

Plus a few honorable mentions worth considering.

Published onMarch 28, 2022

The Google Pixel 5a display with app icons on the pixel launcher home screen.

The Google Pixel 5a serves as a sequel to the Pixel 4a 5G (not the Pixel 4a, confusingly). The phone brings a few sensible upgrades over 2020’s device, such as an IP67 rating, a bigger battery, and a $50 price cut.

Do you like the idea of this phone but find yourself curious about what else is on the market? Maybe Google’s mid-ranger isn’t quite what you want to begin with? Or maybe you live outside the two launch markets — the US and Japan — and want to see what other great budget phones are out there? Either way, we’ve got you covered with some of the best Google Pixel 5a alternatives around.

Our verdict: Google Pixel 5a review

Google Pixel 5a

The best Google Pixel 5a alternatives

1. Google Pixel 6

The Google Pixel 6 in Sorta Seafoam color resting on a bridge
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Pixel 6

The flagship Pixel 6 is one of the best Pixel 5a alternatives around if you value the Google phone experience. The only major downside is that it costs $600 and stock was scarce at launch, but your $150 extra gives you a decent amount of additional features.

Our thoughts: Google Pixel 6 review — Worth every penny

Google’s standard Pixel 6 brings extra features like a powerful in-house Tensor chipset, high refresh rate screen, wireless charging, and marginally faster wired charging. But you’re also getting a long-overdue main camera upgrade to a 50MP sensor, along with a host of cool camera features (e.g. Motion Mode, Magic Eraser).

Additional features like water resistance, on-device voice typing, and five years of security updates mean you’ve got a pretty compelling proposition for the price.

Google Pixel 6

2. Samsung Galaxy A53

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Black

It used to be the case that Samsung’s mid-range phones lagged far behind the competition, but the last few generations have been good devices in their own right. The Galaxy A53 is arguably the company’s most important mid-ranger of the year, and it certainly looks like it continues the trend.

More Samsung coverage: The best cheap Samsung phones worth buying

The A53 brings a mid-range Exynos 1280 chipset that should handle everyday tasks and many advanced games just fine. It also matches the Pixel 5a’s IP67 rating, while the 120Hz OLED screen should make for a smoother experience than the Pixel phone’s 60Hz OLED display.

Samsung’s phone also brings a quad-camera system (64MP main with OIS, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 5MP depth), a 5,000mAh battery with 25W charging, and a 32MP camera on the front for selfies. The addition of four years of OS updates also makes it one of the best Pixel 5a alternatives you can get anywhere, actually besting Google’s phone in this regard.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

3. OnePlus Nord 2

OnePlus Nord 2 close up on camera module.
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The OnePlus Nord 2 isn’t available in the US, but it’s a great alternative for consumers who can’t get their hands on the Pixel 5a in the first place. After all, the new Pixel is only available in two markets. In any case, OnePlus brought a number of welcome additions and changes to its second mainline Nord phone.

Our verdict: OnePlus Nord 2 review

Probably the biggest upgrade is the switch to a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chipset, with our own Speed Test G comparison showing a major improvement over the Snapdragon 765G in the Pixel 5a. So those looking for more horsepower should consider this device. Other notable Nord 2 features include a 6.43-inch 90Hz OLED panel, a 4,500mAh battery, and 65W wired charging.

OnePlus also went for a less is more approach with the cameras, offering a 50MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide lens, and a 2MP monochrome sensor. But our own reviewers found that results weren’t exactly amazing from these snappers. So you should either get a Gcam port or consider the Pixel 5a if you absolutely must have a great camera experience.

OnePlus Nord 2

4. POCO F3

POCO F3 back of phone in hand.
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Redmi K40 launched in China in early 2021, but the device came to global markets as the POCO F3. True to the Redmi and POCO ethos, this offers plenty of bang for your mid-range buck, making it one of the better Pixel 5a alternatives in global markets.

Check out: POCO F3 review

Some of the more notable POCO F3 specs include a Snapdragon 870 chipset, a 120Hz OLED screen, IP53 splash resistance, and a 4,520mAh battery with 33W charging. As for photography, you’ve got a 48MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide snapper, and a 5MP telemacro shooter.

Poco’s phone isn’t perfect though, as we thought the software was extremely buggy and unpolished in our review. Nevertheless, those who can’t get their hands on the Pixel 5a should add this device to their watchlist.

5. Apple iPhone SE 2022

Don’t mind leaving the Android ecosystem? Then one device worth looking at is the third-generation iPhone SE. Apple’s SE model comes in at $430, lining up well with the Pixel 5a in this regard. The iPhone SE 2022 also shares a few other features in common with the Google device, such as IP67 water resistance, good image quality, and a great commitment to updates. Apple’s phone does however best the Pixel by offering wireless charging and superior horsepower.

More reading: Apple refreshes iPhone SE with 5G, bumps up price by $30

Unfortunately, the iPhone SE 2022 does make a few compromises though. That design has aged a lot, there’s only one rear camera, there’s no OLED panel, and it offers a much smaller battery than the Pixel 5a. Nevertheless, this is still worth a peek if you’re curious about Apple’s ecosystem.

Apple iPhone SE (2022)

Honorable mentions

  • Google Pixel 4a 5G ($499): Can’t get your hands on the Pixel 5a? Then the 2020 Pixel 4a 5G is worth a look if you can actually find one in the first place (and at a discount). It has the same chipset and rear camera system as the Pixel 5a, but a much smaller battery and no water resistance. It lacks wireless charging and a high refresh rate screen too, but you still get unlimited high-quality Google Photos backups and three years of OS updates.
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE ($549.99): The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE launched earlier this year after a lengthy delay, and it’s currently available for just $550 from the likes of Amazon. You’re getting a boatload of extras for the money compared to the Pixel 5a, such as a flagship-level Snapdragon 888 SoC, 120Hz OLED screen, and a flexible triple rear camera system (including a 3x tele lens). An IP68 rating and three years of OS updates means you’ve got a well-rounded device for the price.
  • Moto G100 ($499): The US doesn’t have the likes of realme and Xiaomi on offer, but Motorola is one of the more notable alternatives in the market. And the G100 is a pretty solid Pixel 5a alternative at $499. For the cash, you get a more powerful Snapdragon 870 chipset, a 90Hz display, a 5,000mAh battery, solid triple camera setup (64MP main, 16MP ultra-wide, 2MP depth, 3D ToF), and a nifty dual selfie camera system. There are downsides to the device compared to the Pixel 5a though, such as the lack of an OLED panel and an extremely questionable commitment to updates. But those who value horsepower should keep an eye on this one.

That’s it for our look at the best Google Pixel 5a alternatives. If you want, you can also check out our list of the best Pixel 6a alternatives. Are there any notable devices that you think should be on the list? Let us know via the comments below!

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