iPhone SE vs. Pixel 4A: Which budget smartphone is better?

    This has been an ample 12 months for wallet-friendly telephones with spectacular efficiency and specs. Apple and Google, for instance, launched smaller variations of their marquee handsets and the iPhone SE and the Pixel 4A are reasonably priced options to the iPhone 11 and Pixel 4, respectively. Both telephones are $400 or below. The iPhone begins at $399 (£419, AU$749) whereas the Pixel 4A prices $349 (£349, AU$599). Their single 12-megapixel cameras additionally take good pictures and with iOS 14 and Android 11 coming down the pipeline, their software program guarantees to stay recent and up-to-date.To see which cellphone is the higher match for you, I evaluate them when it comes to digicam, design, software program, efficiency and battery. In quick, the iPhone SE is the sooner, extra polished cellphone. But the Pixel 4A’s cheaper price ticket, longer-lasting battery and nimble digicam make it the higher worth purchase.

    Angela Lang/CNET

    Though it is the most affordable iPhone you will get new, the iPhone SE presents a variety of what the premium iPhones even have. That contains the highly effective and quick A13 Bionic processor, a waterproof design, wi-fi charging and Wi-Fi 6. Its very good digicam additionally information wonderful video. At $400 it is a bit costlier than the Pixel 4A, however it’s nonetheless comparatively reasonably priced so far as telephones go, and particularly so far as iPhones go.

    Read our Apple iPhone SE (2020) overview.

    Angela Lang/CNET

    This makes extra compromises than the iPhone SE and it has fewer options than its greater brother, the Pixel 4. It would not have wi-fi charging or water-resistance, for example, and it has the much less highly effective Snapdragon 730G processor. But its enduring battery life outlasts the iPhone SE and its distinctive digicam is identical as the principle digicam on the Pixel 4. Lastly, when you think about storage and evaluate the Pixel 4A to the 128GB mannequin of the iPhone SE, the $50 worth distinction jumps to $100.

    Read our Google Pixel 4A overview.

    iPhone SE’s digicam has superior video, however Pixel 4A is incredible in low mildFor a whole rundown on how these two telephones fare when it comes to digicam and video, head over to CNET editor Lexy Savvides’ iPhone SE vs. Pixel 4A digicam comparability and watch the video under.

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    In quick, the digicam you want finest is dependent upon what sort of pictures you usually take and how much conditions you end up in. If you like to seize moments with your mates whereas out and about always of the day, the Pixel 4A and its very good Night Mode would be the more sensible choice. If you’re taking tons of video and selfies, go for the iPhone SE. I’ll give Savvides the final phrase: “The Pixel 4A is clearly better for low-light photography and as a result is stronger overall for still images. It also has more options than the iPhone SE in its default camera app. The iPhone SE has the edge for video and selfies.”
    iPhone SE’s elegant construct outshines Pixel 4A’s design and sharper show As they’re making funds variations of their flagship counterparts, it will sense if Apple and Google skimped on just a few design particulars to chop down prices. But the standard of the iPhone SE’s design is just like present iPhones. While it does have thicker bezels than new iPhones to accommodate the front-facing digicam and bodily residence button, the iPhone SE retains the shiny glass encasing and waterproof physique. It additionally is available in three colours: black, white and pink. The Pixel 4A, then again, would not look as elegant. It solely is available in one shade (black), and apart from its baby-blue energy button, its matte polycarbonate physique seems to be drab. Its total construct feels cheaper, it is not waterproof and its single digicam bump on the again is way bigger than the iPhone’s rear digicam. One factor I do like concerning the Pixel 4A’s design, nevertheless, is its OLED display. Though each telephones have tremendous shows which are good for viewing movies and taking part in video games, the Pixel 4A’s show is a tad sharper; it has a 1080p decision (in comparison with the iPhone SE’s 750p decision) and a better pixel density. Its thinner bezels and hole-punch front-facing digicam additionally look extra trendy in comparison with the iPhone SE’s “throwback” look to 2017.

    Comparison of iOS and Android smartphone UIWhen evaluating Apple and Google telephones operating iOS and Android, respectively, solely you’ll be able to determine which OS works finest for you and what ecosystem you are already snug with. Both telephones have built-in digital search assistants (Siri and Google Assistant), digital cost methods (Apple Pay and Google Pay) and smaller goodies like darkish mode and digital wellbeing instruments to curb screen-viewing time. And extra lately, Android telephones have added their very own model of Apple’s AirDrop, which suggests each telephones can switch recordsdata to different telephones (which are on their respective OS platforms) inside a brief distance. The Pixel 4A has just a few software program options that the iPhone would not have. One is native transcribing capabilities. In addition to transcribing audio recordings and captioning movies in actual time, the Pixel 4A can transcribe cellphone calls, together with ones made through third-party apps similar to Facebook Messenger. The cellphone additionally has Call Screen, which screens robocalls and telemarketers in addition to crash detection, which robotically calls preprogrammed emergency contacts when the cellphone senses a automotive crash. The upcoming Android 11 replace, which is in public beta now, presents built-in display recording, chat bubbles for the Message app and fast controls. The iPhone SE has just a few distinctive software program and UX issues of its personal too. One is a bodily residence button, which suggests you need not use swiping gestures to navigate across the cellphone. Apple’s upcoming iOS 14, which shall be suitable with the iPhone SE, guarantees an App Library to prepare apps on the homescreen and a handful of options already acquainted to Android customers together with a built-in translation app, widgets and picture-in-picture.

    iPhone SE performs higher, however Pixel 4A has an extended lasting battery In common, the Pixel 4A and its Snapdragon 730G chipset are quick and dependable. However, there have been just a few occasions after I bumped into some small snags. After I downloaded Call of Duty and PUBG, for instance, I needed to restart the cellphone as a result of each apps stalled whereas loading. And each infrequently after I was reviewing the cellphone, an app would unexpectedly give up or I needed to relaunch the digicam as a result of the on-screen shutter button would not register. I by no means seen such hiccups throughout my time with the iPhone SE. In addition, the iPhone SE’s proprietary A13 Bionic comfortably beat the Pixel 4A on all our normal benchmark exams, which embrace 3DMark and Geekbench 5.0.  3DMark Slingshot Unlimited

    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    Geekbench v.5.0 single-core

    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    Geekbench v.5.0 multicore

    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    When it involves battery exams for steady video playback on Airplane mode, nevertheless, the Pixel 4A gained that spherical. Even with Google’s Adaptive Battery characteristic turned off, the Pixel 4A outlasted the iPhone SE and averaged 18 hours, 45 minutes, which is a superb time. In flip, the iPhone SE clocked in about 15 hours, 45 minutes. That’s nonetheless a good time however it’s nonetheless three hours shorter than the Pixel 4A. We’re nonetheless present process extra battery exams with streaming video for each telephones and I’ll replace this piece when these numbers are available.
    Other funds smartphone options to contemplateBoth telephones have dual-SIM. In addition to your common nano-SIM, each telephones use e-SIM expertise that helps a number of cellphone numbers. This is helpful if you happen to journey usually, or wish to maintain two numbers (say your private and work) on the identical system. The iPhone SE has Wi-Fi 6. Though Wi-Fi 6 was solely licensed in September 2019 and routers that includes the next-gen community stay costly, the truth that the iPhone SE has Wi-Fi 6 means it is prepared for the longer term. Devices with Wi-Fi 6 converse that very same Wi-Fi language to speak to one another. Compared to Wi-Fi 5, it is sooner and extra battery environment friendly.  The iPhone SE (left) and the Pixel 4A.
    Angela Lang/CNET
    Neither cellphone has expandable storage. The Pixel 4A has one reminiscence choice: 128GB with 6GB of RAM. This is double the quantity of storage in comparison with final 12 months when the Pixel 4 began with solely 64GB. The iPhone SE, in distinction, has three: 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. When strictly evaluating 128GB fashions of each telephones then, the iPhone SE’s worth distinction is even larger: The 128GB mannequin of the iPhone SE prices $449 (£469, AU$829) in contrast with the $349 (£349, AU$599) Pixel 4A.If you need extra storage, Apple’s iCloud offers you 5GB without spending a dime and it prices $10 a month for 2TB. Google, then again, permits Pixel customers to add limitless pictures and video at “high” high quality, which is of decrease decision and fewer element than “original” high quality. If you need the latter, you will want to join Google’s One service. Google One is free for the primary 15GB, but additionally prices $10 a month for 2TB. Comparison of iPhone SE vs. Pixel 4A

    Apple iPhone SE (2020)

    Google Pixel 4A

    Display dimension, decision

    4.7-inch LCD; 1,334×750 pixels

    5.81-inch OLED; 2,340×1,080 pixels

    Pixel density



    Dimensions (Inches)

    5.45×2.65×0.29 in

    5.7×2.7×0.3 in

    Dimensions (Millimeters)

    138.4×67.3×7.3 mm

    144×69.4×8.2 mm

    Weight (Ounces, Grams)

    5.22 oz; 148g

    5.04 oz; 143g

    Mobile software program

    iOS 13

    Android 10




    Front-facing digicam



    Video seize




    Apple A13 Bionic

    Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G


    64GB, 128GB, 256GB



    Not disclosed


    Expandable storage




    Not disclosed, however Apple claims it has the identical battery life as iPhone 8

    3,140 mAh

    Fingerprint sensor

    Home button





    Headphone jack



    Special options

    Water-resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging

    Dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)

    Price off-contract (USD)

    $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)


    Price (GBP)

    £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)


    Price (AUD)

    AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)


    Apple iPhone SE (2020)The ‘mini’ flagship expertise

    Google Pixel 4AThe cash saver

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