Phone Comparisons: Google Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE (2020)

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We don’t usually compare Apple’s iPhone device to Android phones, but this is the perfect match for a comparison. In this article, we’ll compare the Google Pixel 4a vs Apple iPhone SE (2020). These two are amongst the best device to get under $400, which is the main reason we’re comparing them.

Each of these two phones has its advantages, of course, as they are quite a bit different. These two phones are not only different when it comes to their design, but their internals are considerably different as well, and, of course their software builds. These two phones could hardly be any different, and yet, they’re both really great offerings at under $400.

First, we’ll list the spec sheets of these two devices, and then move to the rest of the comparison categories. We’ll compare the designs of the two phones, and move to display, performance, battery, camera, and audio sections after that. That being said, let’s kick off the Google Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE comparison, shall we.

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Specs

Google Pixel 4aiPhone SE (2020)
Screen size5.81-inch fullHD+ OLED display4.7-inch HD+ Retina IPS LCD display
Screen resolution2340 x 10801334 x 750
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 730Apple A13 Bionic
RAM6GB (LPDDR4X)3GB
Storage128GB, non-expandable64GB/128GB/256GB; non-expandable
Rear cameras12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)12MP (f/1.8 aperture, PDAF, OIS)
Front cameras8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)7MP (f/2.2 aperture)
Battery3,140mAh, non-removable, 18W fast battery charging1,821mAh, non-removable, 18W fast wired charging, wireless charging
Dimensions144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm
Weight143 grams148 grams
ConnectivityLTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi, USB Type-CLTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi
SecurityRear-facing fingerprint scannerFront-facing fingerprint scanner
OSAndroid 10iOS 13
Price$349$400
BuyAmazonApple

Google Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE: Design

When it comes to the design, these two phones are different in pretty much every way. The Google Pixel 4a is made out of polycarbonate (plastic), while the iPhone SE offers glass build. The bezels on the Pixel 4a are a lot thinner than they are on the iPhone SE, it’s not even close. The Pixel 4a does have a display camera hole, though, in the top-left corner, while the iPhone SE does not.

Both phones offer flat displays, though those displays are a lot different, we’ll talk more about that in the next section. The iPhone SE has a home button on the front, which doubles as a fingerprint scanner. The Pixel 4a takes advantage of on-screen buttons, while its fingerprint scanner is located on the back.

Both devices include a single camera on the front, and on the back. Their camera modules do look quite different in comparison, though. The Pixel 4a is taller, wider, and thicker than the iPhone SE, but not by much. Both of these devices are quite compact, especially for today’s standards. The Pixel 4a is considerably less slippery, but it also feels a lot cheaper in the hand.

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Out of the two, the Google Pixel 4a definitely offers a more modern design. Its thin bezels alone make it look years newer than the iPhone SE. If you don’t mind the thick bezels, and the home button, the iPhone SE offers great build quality. The phone definitely feels premium in the hand.

Google Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE: Display

Not only are displays on these two phones considerably different in terms of size, but the technology used here is also different. The Google Pixel 4a uses a 5.81-inch fullHD+ OLED panel. The iPhone SE, on the other hand, features a 4.7-inch HD+ IPS LCD display. Both of these displays are flat, by the way.

As you can see, the Google Pixel 4a’s display is over 1 inch larger than the iPhone SE’s, in diagonal. It also supports HDR content, which is not something the iPhone SE can say for itself. Both displays offer a 60Hz refresh rate, so neither offers a high refresh rate. The Google Pixel 4a’s panel also looks a lot better in comparison, to be quite honest. This is not a high-end panel, but it does offer better output.

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Google Pixel 4a Review AM AH 5

Colors are more vibrant on that display, while blacks are deep. That is not surprising considering this is an OLED display. To the iPhone SE’s credit, the IPS LCD panel that it uses is really good, for an LCD display. Do note that you will notice its lower resolution compared to the Pixel 4a’s display, though.

Google Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE: Performance

So, what about performance? Well, the iPhone SE has the Pixel 4a outmatched in this regard, at least on paper. Both phones feel pretty snappy in real life, but truth be said, the iPhone SE feels snappier. Apple’s handset comes with the company’s most powerful processor, which is a lot more powerful than the Snapdragon 730 that is included in the Pixel 4a.

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The iPhone SE can do pretty much everything faster, but the Pixel 4a will be more than powerful enough for most people. The phone does not feel laggy at all, it feels quite snappy. That may change over time, as the iPhone SE will almost certainly keep its speed for longer. For right now, however, both phones perform really well.

The iPhone SE will do a noticeably better job with graphically intensive games, but the question is do you even want to game on a 4.7-inch display. In any case, the iPhone SE is a winner when it comes to performance, but the Pixel 4a is no slouch, that’s for sure.

Google Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE: Battery

The iPhone SE’s battery is a lot smaller than the one included in the Pixel 4a. Apple’s pocket-friendly handset’s battery life was far from admirable when it came out. That improved, though, as it’s actually good now. The Pixel 4a is no slouch in that regard as well, the phone can provide you with over 5 hours of screen on time.

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You may be able to get to 5 and a half, 6, depending on what you do with the device, your brightness, and so on. When it comes to battery longevity, I’d say that the two phones are almost on the same playing field now. It’s always difficult to compare battery life, as usage varies from one user to the other vastly.

Now, as far as charging is concerned, both offer 18W fast wired charging. Do note that you won’t get a fast charger with the iPhone SE, though, so you’ll have to but it separately in order to take advantage of that charging. Luckily, the iPhone SE also offers wireless charging, unlike the Google Pixel 4a.

Google Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE: Cameras

Each of these two phones has a single camera on the back. That is a rarity to see in mid-range phones in 2020, but there you have it. Just because they have a single camera on the back, doesn’t mean those cameras are bad, quite the contrary. Both of these phones are extremely capable camera smartphones, and each of them excels in a particular task.

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Google Pixel 4a Review AM AH 12

The Google Pixel 4a is definitely a better camera smartphone for pictures. Its 12.2-megapixel camera is backed by Google’s software, and it basically takes the same shots as the Pixel 4 (XL). In other words, I can say that this is one of the best phones on the market for still shots, no doubt about that. That goes for low light as well, as its Night Sight mode for low light does wonders.

The iPhone SE is not that great in low light, but it can take great-looking pictures in good lighting. Where the iPhone SE truly excels is video, though. The iPhone SE can take some gorgeous video using its single camera, with great stabilization as well. The Pixel 4a is not bad in this regard, but the iPhone SE takes the cake in the video department. Selfies are, however, better on the Google Pixel 4a, noticeably better.

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Audio

First and foremost, it is worth noting that only the Google Pixel 4a has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The iPhone SE does not. Both devices offer stereo speakers, however. In terms of sound through those speakers, the iPhone SE’s offering does sound a bit better, at least that’s our experience. The sound is a bit clearer, though the Pixel 4a does get louder in that regard.

Sound via a solid pair of headphones is not anything to write home about, on either of these two phones. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not great. Pretty much every other major flagship this year will deliver better sound quality in that regard. If you’re not nitpicking, however, both of these will serve you just fine in the audio department.