The Pixel 6A and Nothing Phone 1 both represent something special. While the latter was launched by Carl Pei to fill the gap left by OnePlus in the flagship killer category, the Pixel 6A series is a stock Android model bearing Google’s flagship Tensor chipsets at an affordable price.
Going into 2023, there aren’t many options in the premium mid-range category with a clean and simple UI. The rumored Pixel 7A may release in Q3 of 2023. The Nothing Phone 2 hasn’t seen anything in benchmark leaks or render leaks. It is expected, however, to be released sometime late in 2023.
Until then, the Pixel 6A and Nothing Phone 1 present good arguments for purchase in the upper mid-range tier, even in 2023. Naturally, selecting between them is tough. However, we can solve this dilemma.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links to the products mentioned, and the opinion expressed is of the writer.
Both the Nothing Phone 1 and Pixel 6A were released in July 2022. While the Pixel 6A provided an IP 67 rating, Nothing Phone 1 opted for an IP 53, making it merely splash-resistant. Moreover, the Nothing Phone uses Gorilla Glass 5 protection compared to version 3, present on the Pixel 6A.
The Pixel has a smaller display but a higher pixel density. This makes the text and images appear a tiny bit sharper than the Nothing Phone 1. Both phones use an AMOLED screen, but the Pixel’s refresh rate caps at a mere 60 Hz, while the Nothing Phone manages 120 Hz for more smoothness and feel.
The Pixel, with its Tensor Gen 1 chipset, is a faster device on paper and scores appropriately on single-core Geekbench and Antutu tests. However, this disparity in performance isn’t noticeable in day-to-day usage apart from gaming. It is worth noting that both phones have incorporated UFS 3.1, the latest and fastest storage technology.
Battery capacities are similar, measuring at 4500 mAh on the Nothing Phone 1 and 4410 mAh on the Pixel. However, the former provides a faster charging speed at 33 W.
Although both manufacturers have promised three years of OS updates and four years of security updates, Google can deliver the fastest features on their Pixel phones.
While the Pixel line-up is getting ready for Android 14 with its eventual release, the Nothing Phone’s Android 13 update is still in the beta phase. The latter is committed to fast updates, but it isn’t easy to provide day-one features like the Pixel devices.
Having a dedicated AI chip on Tensor allows the Pixel to be the smartest smartphone out there. Features like live caption call-screening, magic eraser in photos, smarter Google Assistant, and live translation make any other Android phone feel outdated.
The Nothing Phone 1 enjoys most of the features in stock Android, but these are exclusive to the Pixel.
It is a no-brainer that the cameras in the Pixel series are highly rated for reliability and performance, and quite rightly so. It’s capable of capturing amazing details even in low-light conditions.
The wide-angle photography of the Pixel is true to life in color temperature and saturation. This was demonstrated in MKBHD’s blind camera test, which the Pixel handsomely won while competing with the flagships.
While the Pixel relies on an adaptive battery to understand and adjust the battery output, this feature can’t cover how one needs their phone to charge fast on a whim. This is where Nothing Phone 1’s 33 W fast charging comes in handy.
Furthermore, the Gorilla Glass 5 screen protection will see the Nothing Phone 1 endure occasional drops and falls. The Gorilla Glass 5 offers superior shatter resistance to Gorilla Glass 3 at the expense of losing some protection against scratches.
Granted, the Pixel 6A tries to compensate for the 60 Hz screen with smooth animations and transitions, but a 120 Hz screen facilitates 120 fps in compatible games. Additionally, since the Nothing Phone 1 uses a stock Android skin, the animations feel far smoother compared to the Pixel.
Even though the Pixel 6A employs an e-sim as secondary, one cannot beat the convenience and hassle-free nature of using a physical nano sim. Changing and managing carrier support is a breeze on a physical sim phone.
With the Nothing Phone 1, users won’t have to worry about rogue software updates messing up the sim profile. The Pixel 6A has one e-sim slot, and admittedly, many will consider this a weakness.
Users who would prefer a faster SoC, day-one updates, and a better set of cameras should pick up the Pixel 6A in 2023. Those who aren’t bothered by the delayed updates and AI features offered by the Pixel should gravitate towards the Nothing Phone 1. It is difficult to go wrong with either.
Buy the Pixel 6A here and the Nothing Phone 1 here.
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