which one to choose for less than 500 euros?

In the left corner, Google’s Pixel 6a. Affordable variation of Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, it promises a photographic and software experience with small onions.

In the right corner, the Phone (1) of Nothing. New brand created by the former OnePlus, Nothing focuses above all on design and a balanced general experience.

These two smartphones launched in the summer of 2022 have undeniable assets to impose themselves on the segment of smartphones under 500 euros. But which one to choose between the two models. Answer in our comparison.

Google Pixel 6a 6+128 GB at the best price Base price: €459

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Nothing Phone (1) 8+128 GB at the best price Base price: €469

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Design: two originals

The least we can say is that these two are originals. Google had inaugurated an unusual design with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro marked by the integration of a large black band to camouflage the photo sensors. The Pixel 6a inherits it.

Nevertheless, Google’s smartphone has found it stronger than him in the field of originality. The Phone (1) is distinguished by its transparent back revealing the contours of the components, with neat trim.

Always to stand out, Nothing has added Glyph, an LED system on the back of the smartphone. They light up in different ways according to the contacts who call, according to the notifications received, etc.

Finally, the Phone (1) is made of more noble materials than those of the Pixel 6a. All clad in glass (protected by Gorilla Glass 5), it is also clad in recycled aluminum and the edges of its screen, extremely thin, make it a design reference.

Verdict: Nothing Phone victory (1)

Screen: a question of fluidity (and size)

If Google opts for a screen smaller than Nothing (6.1 ” for the Pixel 6a against 6.5 ” for the Phone 1), the difference between the two OLED panels lies mainly in their refresh rate.

While the newcomer adopts a high-end panel with an adaptive refresh rate of 120 Hz, Google is content with a 60 Hz screen which, in 2022, is no match for the competition. Between 400 and 500 euros, almost all of the smartphones on the market have 90 or 120 Hz panels.

It should also be noted that the OLED screen of the Phone (1) is better calibrated than that of the Pixel 6a, even if the latter remains very correct. Finally, the integration of the panel into the entire design at Nothing is similar to what Apple does with its latest iPhones. The flexible screen dips into the chassis which reduces the black edges of the screen.

Verdict: victory Nothing Phone (1).

Correct performance

On the one hand Nothing equips its Phone (1) with a mid-range Snapdragon 778G chip, on the other Google integrates an in-house chip called Google Tensor propelling its high-end models.

You would think the Pixel 6a would outperform its competitor. That’s not so much the case. If it is very fluid, the Pixel 6a does not use its high-end chip for everyday use. In reality, it mainly boosts performance when it comes to digitally processing photos.

As a result, the Phone (1), although a bit slower, does not detract from its competitor. Nevertheless, it remains a notch below, the fault in particular of too many bugs, crashes and other freezes.

Verdict: Google Pixel 6a victory

Lightweight interfaces

Nothing has chosen not to be cluttered with frills. The Phone interface (1) is therefore a pure version of Android 12, developed by… Google. Nothing just added a Glyph function to manage light patterns on the back of the smartphone.

At Google, we chose to add the Pixel Launcher, a little extra to make the experience even closer to the brand’s state of mind. As Google is master of Android, it has necessarily designed the interface so that it best exploits the potential of the OS.

Thus, it is more pleasant to use the Pixel 6a on a daily basis, especially since the Phone software (1) has some youthful bugs. Above all, Google ensures the best follow-up of updates to the Android universe, which ensures a longer lifespan for the Pixel 6a.

Verdict: Google Pixel 6a win.

Autonomy and recharging: no debate

With its 4500 mAh battery for a 6.5” screen, the Phone (1) does not have a proportionally more advantageous battery than the Pixel 6a and its 4410 mAh battery (for a 6.1” screen ). And we are not talking about the other components.

In the past, Google has not been particularly good at optimizing energy consumption. If this Pixel 6a does better than previous generations, it remains far behind its competitor. The Nothing Phone (1) lasts almost two days before giving up the ghost when the Pixel 6a turns off after a long day.

Both smartphones come without a charger. That of Google is compatible with an 18 W charger, that of Nothing up to 33 W. In this field the Pixel 6a is not the weight either. Allow two hours for a full charge when the Phone (1) takes a little over an hour to recover all its energy.

Finally, Nothing’s smartphone is compatible with wireless charging, not Google’s. So there is no possible debate here.

Verdict: Nothing Phone victory (1)

There is no photo

From a purely hardware point of view, the two smartphones have substantially comparable optics. Both make do with a wide-angle lens and an ultra-wide-angle lens. And if Google opts for sensors of only 12 and 12.2 Mpxl (compared to two of 50 Mpxl for Nothing), the magic of the algorithms makes the Pixel 6a the best cameraphone.

Google has in fact based all its know-how on digital image processing. This is also the hallmark of all Pixels. When the Phone (1) was launched, Nothing told us that it was not trying to impose itself on the photo field but to provide a balanced experience in this price range. All is well then.

Verdict: Google Pixel 6a win.

Google Pixel 6a 6+128 GB at the best price Base price: €459

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Nothing Phone (1) 8+128 GB at the best price Base price: €469

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Google Pixel 6a vs Nothing Phone (1): which one to buy?

The Pixel 6a and the Phone (1) are two different philosophies. It is therefore difficult to separate them. As proof, on the different criteria, they display perfect equality.

We will therefore conclude that the two models are aimed at a different audience. More compact, the Pixel 6a will delight photography enthusiasts for whom the software experience comes first. To top it all off, the screen is of good quality, the performance very correct and the design attractive.

The Nothing Phone (1) is distinguished by its unusual design. This touch of freshness is not its only asset. Its magnificent screen, its light interface and its excellent autonomy also make it a safe bet. Provided that Nothing fixes the few youthful bugs in its software.


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