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The best Google Pixel 6a alternatives: 5 phones to consider before you buy

The Pixel 6a is Google's most feature-packed budget phone to date, but what else is out there?

Published onAugust 14, 2023

Google Pixel 6a in Sage color, seen from the back, next to a Pixel 5 and Pixel Buds Pro, on a navy background
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Google’s latest mid-range phone has arrived. The Pixel 6a sits as a successor to the Pixel 5a, and it’s now the smallest member of the Pixel 6 family. It brings the camera bar and Tensor SoC of the flagship Pixel 6 series to a more affordable price point, but is it the right phone for you? Whether you want a new Android device or you’re considering iOS, we have you covered. Let’s take a look at the best Pixel 6a alternatives.

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Google Pixel 6a
Powerful Tensor chip • Excellent cameras • Great software
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The best Google Pixel 6a alternatives

1. Google Pixel 7

Google Pixel 7 close on green wall
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

No question, the Pixel 7 is one of the best alternatives for Google’s budget phone. It picks up right where the Pixel 6a left off, bringing just a little bit more punch for your extra $150

For starters, the Pixel 7 offers 8GB of RAM to the Pixel 6a’s 6GB, a 90Hz display instead of 60Hz, and faster wired charging, as well as wireless charging support. You can also upgrade to 256GB of onboard storage.

However, no matter which way you lean, you’ll find the premium Tensor SoC under the hood. The camera bar is right at home on Google’s recent launches, and it carries a powerful pair of lenses. You’ll get a crisp 50MP primary camera on the Pixel 7, while the Pixel 6a returns to the 12.2MP shooter seen on previous Pixels. Both phones share a 12MP ultrawide lens, too.

While the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6a have similarities, the flagship model sports a fully Gorilla Glass Victus design compared to the 3D composite rear and Gorilla Glass 3 display panel of the Pixel 6a. The Pixel 7 also offers a slightly better IP68 rating instead of an IP67 option. Either way, Google offers five years of security updates, which should carry support through 2027 or 2028, depending on which phone you buy.

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Google Pixel 7
Tensor G2 processor • Upgraded camera • Low price
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2. Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

samsung galaxy a54 hero
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Galaxy A54 5G is one of the best Pixel 6a alternatives for the same stack of cash. Samsung managed to keep its mid-ranger right at $449 for another year, making it one of the best affordable phones on the market right now.

Samsung is happy to stick with its in-house chipset, bringing an updated Exynos 1380 to its Galaxy A54 5G. It’s a slight upgrade over the previous Exynos 1280, but not enough to bump up the asking price. Although it doesn’t hang with the Tensor chip’s AI performance, it’s not a bad powerhouse. Although both mid-rangers offer smooth OLED panels, Samsung’s 120Hz refresh rate easily tops the 60Hz option of its Pixel rival.

The Galaxy A54 5G also makes the rare move of dropping a rear camera. It drops to a 50MP primary sensor, partnered with a 5MP macro that still feels like a bit of a gimmick, but the 12MP ultrawide has plenty of uses. Samsung gives Google a run for its money with software updates — the Galaxy A54 5G is set for four full Android versions with five years of security patches.

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Samsung Galaxy A54 5G
Galaxy S23-inspired design • Color-rich, fluid display • Excellent update commitment
MSRP: $449.99
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3. Apple iPhone SE (2022)

Apple iPhone SE (2022) Pixel 6a alternatives
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

If you’re eyeing the Pixel 6a, there’s a good chance you’ve settled on the Android operating system. However, it’s important to remember that Apple has some tricks up its sleeve.

Apple’s iPhone SE (2022) hasn’t physically changed since the very first version. It’s still an iPhone 8 on the outside, complete with hefty top and bottom bezels and a round home button. Once you take a peek under the hood, you’ll see why it’s worth a look. The powerful A15 Bionic processor is the same as you’d find on the flagship iPhone 13 series, and it delivers benchmark results that are off the charts. It takes 4GB of RAM and its tiny battery further than they’d go on comparable Android devices, even if the tiny form factor underwhelms.

The iPhone SE (2022) has its fair share of compromises, including its single rear camera, a cramped, low-res display, and its pitiful 64GB of storage on the base model. On the bright side, you should see software support for years to come, and it’s an easy way to dip your toe into iOS.

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Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Guaranteed long-term software updates • Improved battery life • Powerful A15 Bionic chipset
MSRP: $429.00
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4. Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)

motorola moto g 5g 2023 hero
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Moto G series has followed a reliable formula since what feels like the beginning of time. You mostly know exactly what you’re going to get, and Motorola always keeps its prices reasonable. The Moto G 5G (2023) might not top the Pixel 6a in many categories, but it looks like a reliable pick that can save you some money.

Despite shifting toward a MediaTek-powered future for much of 2022, the latest Moto G 5G hops back to Qualcomm with a Snapdragon 480 Plus chipset. It also offers streamlined RAM and storage options, coming in a single 4GB and 128GB configuration.

That said, Motorola’s camera decisions often leave us scratching our heads. The 48MP primary sensor should hold its own, but Motorola ditched the ultrawide camera from the last Moto G 5G and kept the underpowered macro lens. Unfortunately, the Moto G 5G (2023) doesn’t have many software updates to write home about, either.

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Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
Crisp 120Hz refresh rate • Great battery life • Significant price drop
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5. POCO X5 Pro

POCO X5 Pro face down on ledge resized
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The last of our Pixel 6a alternatives is perhaps the most affordable (but isn’t officially available in the US), and it’s definitely a good pick for mobile gamers. POCO decided to double down on great gaming features, adding retractable shoulder keys, blistering 120W charging, and a powerful flagship processor. Sound like overkill? It is, but in the best way.

The flagship-grade Snapdragon 778G processor means that the POCO X5 Pro performs well for its price, and the large display keeps you right in the action. It features a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel, complete with a 120Hz refresh rate and a sharp Full HD+ resolution. The battery is bigger than the Pixel 6a’s at 4,700mAh, though the 67W charging means you can blaze to a full cell in a few minutes.

While the POCO X5 Pro is probably the best bet for gamers, it does skip a few everyday comforts. You won’t find the strongest camera system — the ultrawide sensor particularly underwhelmed. POCO also decided that an IP53 rating is good enough for the X5 Pro.

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Poco X5 Pro
Great main camera • Long battery life • Powerful for the price
MSRP: €299.00
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The best Google Pixel 6a alternatives: Honorable mentions

  • OnePlus Nord N30 ($299 at Amazon): The OnePlus Nord N30 is among the most affordable of our Pixel 6a alternatives. It offers a clean and simple design with an excellent display for under $300. You also get solid battery life and charging, but the weak update commitment limits the long-term prospects, and bloatware weighs down the usually popular Oxygen OS experience.
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE ($699.99 at Amazon): The Galaxy S21 FE launched in early 2022 after a long delay, but it remains a great Pixel 6a alternative, especially after a price cut from its original $699 MSRP. It follows a similar formula, offering the best Galaxy S features at a lower price. For your money, you can pick up a Snapdragon 888 SoC, 120Hz OLED display, and a durable IP68 rating. The Galaxy S21 FE is also set for three years of OS updates with four years of security patches.

That’s it for our look at the best Google Pixel 6a alternatives. Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know down below.

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