Compared: Google Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Announced on Monday, Google's Pixel 4a is an aggressively priced Android smartphone with a suite of competitive features. Here's how it stacks up against Apple's 2020 iPhone SE.

Credit: Apple and Google
Credit: Apple and Google


Apple's 2020 iPhone SE refresh, and the Google Pixel 4a both deliver a lot of features and capability for the price. In a one-on-one comparison, they're effectively on equal ground. There are, however, some considerations beyond the manufacturer and choice of operating system.

Here's a closer look at how the iPhone SE compares to the newly announced Google Pixel 4a.

iPhone SE (2020) versus Google Pixel 4a specifications

iPhone SE (2020)Google Pixel 4a
Price$399$349
Dimensions (inches)5.45 x 2.65 x 0.295.66 x 2.73 x 0.32
Weight (ounces)5.225.04
ProcessorA13 BionicQualcomm Snapdragon 730G
RAM3GB6GB
Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB
Display type4.7-inch Retina HD5.8-inch OLED display
Resolution1,334 x 750 at 326 ppi2,340 x 1,080 at 443 ppi
Rear Cameras12-megapixel wide angle12.2-megapixel wide angle
Front Cameras7-megapixel8-megapixel
BiometricsHome button Touch IDRear-mounted fingerprint sensor
PortsLightning
No headphone jack
USB-C
Headphone jack
Connectivity4G LTE
Wi-Fi 6
4G LTE
Battery SizeNot disclosed, up to 13 hours of video playback3,140mAh
Special featuresDualSIM, Qi wireless chargingGoogle Maps AR
Always-on display
ColorsBlack, White, RedJust Black

Design and display

Apple hasn't reinvented the wheel with its 2020 iPhone SE. The device looks the same as its iPhone 8 predecessor and most of the changes are internal.

It is an aging form factor with a 4.7-inch LCD display and prominent head and chin bezels. On the other hand, the design is time-tested and is sure to be familiar with slow iPhone upgraders.

The Google Pixel 4a, packing a 5.8-inch OLED display, features more modern design considerations than its iPhone counterpart. Although its plastic housing and overall design are familiar to the Pixel lineup, there are some notable changes here.

In lieu of large front bezels, Google has gone with a hole-punch design for its front-facing camera. Although the Pixel 4a doesn't have a dual-camera setup, it does adopt an iPhone-esque square camera bump on the rear. As with past Pixel devices, the fingerprint sensor remains on the rear of the device.

Performance and storage

Credit: Xleaks7 and Pigtou
Credit: Xleaks7 and Pigtou


The iPhone SE sports 3GB of RAM, which is objectively low compared to most mid-range Android devices. It does, however, sport one of the fastest smartphone processor currently on the market: the A13 Bionic.

Google's Pixel 4a is slated to pack a mid-range Snapdragon 730G -- a gaming-optimized variant of the Snapdragon 730. It's also equipped with 6GB of RAM, which is on-par for most mid-range Android devices and twice that of the iPhone.

However, Apple's iPhones have always delivered more performance with less RAM. Although the Pixel 4a may have more memory on paper, it's likely that it won't benchmark or perform as fast as the iPhone SE in real-world applications.

For internal storage, the iPhone SE comes in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB configurations. Per the latest rumors, the Google Pixel 4a will only come in a 128GB model.

Cameras

The iPhone SE has a single-camera setup with a 12.2-megapixel sensor. That lags behind other flagships, including iPhones, but Apple has included more computational photography and machine learning features in its latest entry-level handset.

That's a similar tune to the Pixel "a" lineup. The Google Pixel 4a is rumored to pack a single camera but will compensate with computational photography features.

On paper, both devices are fairly evenly matched. Google has long been ahead of the game when it comes to computer-assisted photography, though in recent years, Apple's devices have caught up.

When two devices have camera specifications and features this close, overall image quality is going to come down to subjective preference. We'll be looking more at this in the future.

Other considerations

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The iPhone SE retains Apple's signature Lightning port, but doesn't have a headphone jack. For users who hate wires, Apple's cheapest iPhone also supports Qi wireless charging.

Google's Pixel 4a has a USB-C connector and, as with past Pixel devices, it still has a 3.5mm auxiliary headphone jack. But, there is no wireless charging capability.

Both devices have similar battery capacities, and will support 18W fast-charging with the appropriate hardware.

The iPhone SE has a water-resistance rating, carrying an ingress protection rating of IP67. Google Pixels "a" devices have never had an IP rating, and it's not likely that the Pixel 4a will change that.

The Pixel 4a 5G

Google on Monday announced two versions of its Pixel 4a model, including a 5G-compatible variant that's slated for a release later in 2020. Although the Pixel 4a is available to preorder, Google hasn't confirmed much about the 5G variant.

By the looks of it, it appears that the Pixel 4a 5G is going to be a different smartphone altogether. Rumors suggest that it'll sport a second camera lens and a larger display than the current Pixel 4a. It'll also cost more, with a $499 price tag.

Because of its higher cost and the fact that it's a 5G-equipped smartphone, it may not be as much of a direct comparison to the iPhone SE as the lower-priced Pixel 4a. There's also the fact that specifications aren't readily available for the 5G device. With all of that in mind, we've left the Google Pixel 4a 5G out of this comparison.

Apple's first 5G-equipped iPhones are expected later this year. And there may be mid-range or lower-priced devices among the so-called "iPhone 12" handsets that more accurately stack up versus the Pixel 4a 5G.

Our conclusions

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


The Google Pixel 4a is the cheaper device here, but still delivers a similar range of features. While the iPhone SE is a hit among consumers of every type, the Pixel 4a may just give it a run for its money.

Google has taken some cost-saving measures with its Pixel 4a, however. It doesn't support wireless charging, isn't water-resistant, and its overall construction isn't going to be as "premium" as the iPhone SE.

The iPhone SE actually packs flagship-level capabilities into a sub-$400 price point. That includes the A13 Bionic, which runs circles around the Snapdragon 730G -- and pretty much any Android processor.

It does come down to iOS versus Android in this case, and fans of the respective operating systems will undoubtedly choose the device in their camp. Beyond that, dollar-for-dollar, the iPhone SE still delivers more features and better performance.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    I'm sure this is a tough decision for those shopping for a new iPhone.





    /s
    wonkothesanewatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 26
    KITAKITA Posts: 392member
    The $349 Pixel 4a 128GB has a clean version of Android (latest updates and support), better battery life, a better display and a better camera. Despite the lower price, it also has double the storage of the entry iPhone SE. It really nails down the basics while offering an excellent camera experience. However, it's not a premium phone and that's the point.

    The iPhone SE does have an excellent SoC and I would assume many years of updates, but that's really its only redeeming feature. The dated camera, small battery and 4.7" display take away from the experience. Although an entry iPhone 12 will cost more (expected $649 for 128GB), from what we know, it will be a far better iPhone experience - much more in line with what we've come to expect since the iPhone X was released.
    edited August 2020 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 26
    KITAKITA Posts: 392member
    I'd also point out, the price in other markets makes the iPhone SE even less affordable compared to the PIxel 4a.

    Canada:

    Pixel 4a (128GB): C$479 before tax ($357 USD)
    iPhone SE (64GB): C$599 before tax ($447 USD)

    Australia:

    Pixel 4a (128GB): A$599 including GST ($426 USD)
    iPhone SE (64GB): A$749 including GST ($533 USD)

    United Kingdom:

    Pixel 4a (128GB): £349 including VAT ($456 USD)
    iPhone SE (64GB): £419 including VAT ($548 USD)

    Germany:

    Pixel 4a (128GB): €340.20 including VAT ($400 USD)
    iPhone SE (64GB): €466.90 including VAT ($549 USD)


  • Reply 4 of 26
    Pixel 4a is simply OK. Nothing really outstanding about it.

    SE is the better device.
    BeatsDogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 26
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    KITA said:
    The $349 Pixel 4a 128GB has a clean version of Android (latest updates and support), better battery life, a better display and a better camera. Despite the lower price, it also has double the storage of the entry iPhone SE. It really nails down the basics while offering an excellent camera experience. However, it's not a premium phone and that's the point.

    The iPhone SE does have an excellent SoC and I would assume many years of updates, but that's really its only redeeming feature. The dated camera, small battery and 4.7" display take away from the experience. Although an entry iPhone 12 will cost more (expected $649 for 128GB), from what we know, it will be a far better iPhone experience - much more in line with what we've come to expect since the iPhone X was released.

    What about the fact Apple isn't selling you a Trojan horse? The fact it's a genuine Apple iPhone and you get app support from developers.
    qwerty52Dogpersonericthehalfbeewatto_cobraWavelan_312
  • Reply 6 of 26
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 367member
    Google can sell at low price. The rest from the money, they are going to get afterwards, when they start to sell your privacy further
    Dogpersonchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 26
    qwerty52 said:
    Google can sell at low price. The rest from the money, they are going to get afterwards, when they start to sell your privacy further
    Ummm ... Motorola and Nokia offer better phones for the same amount of money or less so I have no idea what you are talking about. And if you are using third party apps - not just Google apps but nearly all third party ones - on your iPhone then your privacy is still getting sold so quit deluding yourself there.
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 8 of 26
    Beats said:
    KITA said:
    The $349 Pixel 4a 128GB has a clean version of Android (latest updates and support), better battery life, a better display and a better camera. Despite the lower price, it also has double the storage of the entry iPhone SE. It really nails down the basics while offering an excellent camera experience. However, it's not a premium phone and that's the point.

    The iPhone SE does have an excellent SoC and I would assume many years of updates, but that's really its only redeeming feature. The dated camera, small battery and 4.7" display take away from the experience. Although an entry iPhone 12 will cost more (expected $649 for 128GB), from what we know, it will be a far better iPhone experience - much more in line with what we've come to expect since the iPhone X was released.

    What about the fact Apple isn't selling you a Trojan horse? The fact it's a genuine Apple iPhone and you get app support from developers.
    If you are using third party apps on your iPhone then it is a Trojan horse also. It is amazing that so many people feel otherwise. Also it is Android tablets that suffer from a relative paucity of apps from developers. Android phones are a different story.
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 9 of 26
    Pixel 4a is simply OK. Nothing really outstanding about it.

    SE is the better device.
    Well of course if you are an iOS user you would feel that way. But for people who regularly buy and use Android phones, the Pixel 4A is a compelling device. Or at least it would have been had it been released 3-4 months ago. Instead, Google made the absolutely insane virtual-signaling decision to delay it to show solidarity with the protests (and then had to push it back a couple more times for more legitimate reasons). But now that very good midrange phones that have similar specs to the 4A but will have the Qualcomm 690 chip - which is almost as fast as the 730 but has 5G - are on the way in a few weeks it will soon be nowhere near as compelling. 

    Had Google put the much faster non-5G variant of the Qualcomm 765 in it and still managed to hit a similar price point, then maybe it would have been compelling for the sake of pure performance. As it is, I would really suggest Android mid-range Android device fans wait on the Nokia 7.3 or a similar phone on the way from Motorola.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Beats said:
    KITA said:
    The $349 Pixel 4a 128GB has a clean version of Android (latest updates and support), better battery life, a better display and a better camera. Despite the lower price, it also has double the storage of the entry iPhone SE. It really nails down the basics while offering an excellent camera experience. However, it's not a premium phone and that's the point.

    The iPhone SE does have an excellent SoC and I would assume many years of updates, but that's really its only redeeming feature. The dated camera, small battery and 4.7" display take away from the experience. Although an entry iPhone 12 will cost more (expected $649 for 128GB), from what we know, it will be a far better iPhone experience - much more in line with what we've come to expect since the iPhone X was released.

    What about the fact Apple isn't selling you a Trojan horse? The fact it's a genuine Apple iPhone and you get app support from developers.
    If you are using third party apps on your iPhone then it is a Trojan horse also. It is amazing that so many people feel otherwise. Also it is Android tablets that suffer from a relative paucity of apps from developers. Android phones are a different story.

    Apple doesn't data mine users. Stop moving the goal posts.
    Dogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 26
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Pixel 4a is simply OK. Nothing really outstanding about it.

    SE is the better device.
    Well of course if you are an iOS user you would feel that way. But for people who regularly buy and use Android phones, the Pixel 4A is a compelling device. Or at least it would have been had it been released 3-4 months ago. Instead, Google made the absolutely insane virtual-signaling decision to delay it to show solidarity with the protests (and then had to push it back a couple more times for more legitimate reasons). But now that very good midrange phones that have similar specs to the 4A but will have the Qualcomm 690 chip - which is almost as fast as the 730 but has 5G - are on the way in a few weeks it will soon be nowhere near as compelling. 

    Had Google put the much faster non-5G variant of the Qualcomm 765 in it and still managed to hit a similar price point, then maybe it would have been compelling for the sake of pure performance. As it is, I would really suggest Android mid-range Android device fans wait on the Nokia 7.3 or a similar phone on the way from Motorola.

    Even iKnockoff users have shown their true colors as they blew their stimulus checks on Apple products!

    Apple reported record users and switchers after the stimulus check! LOL
    Dogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 26
    Beats said:
    KITA said:
    The $349 Pixel 4a 128GB has a clean version of Android (latest updates and support), better battery life, a better display and a better camera. Despite the lower price, it also has double the storage of the entry iPhone SE. It really nails down the basics while offering an excellent camera experience. However, it's not a premium phone and that's the point.

    The iPhone SE does have an excellent SoC and I would assume many years of updates, but that's really its only redeeming feature. The dated camera, small battery and 4.7" display take away from the experience. Although an entry iPhone 12 will cost more (expected $649 for 128GB), from what we know, it will be a far better iPhone experience - much more in line with what we've come to expect since the iPhone X was released.

    What about the fact Apple isn't selling you a Trojan horse? The fact it's a genuine Apple iPhone and you get app support from developers.
    If you are using third party apps on your iPhone then it is a Trojan horse also. It is amazing that so many people feel otherwise. Also it is Android tablets that suffer from a relative paucity of apps from developers. Android phones are a different story.

    Apple puts far more restrictions on what Apps can do vs Android. Your implication that using third party Apps on iOS means you're selling out your privacy the same as if you were using Android is complete bullshit.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 26
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 367member
    qwerty52 said:
    Google can sell at low price. The rest from the money, they are going to get afterwards, when they start to sell your privacy further
    Ummm ... Motorola and Nokia offer better phones for the same amount of money or less so I have no idea what you are talking about. And if you are using third party apps - not just Google apps but nearly all third party ones - on your iPhone then your privacy is still getting sold so quit deluding yourself there.
    It is just what I am saying. I know that the third party apps from Google & Co. are selling my privacy, but the money goes not to Apple as compensation for eventually a lower price of the Apple’s device, what by Google the case is.
    Manu Android users are pretending with the “freedom” they have with their OS. There's nothing less true.
    With iOS I can choose to install apps that sell my privacy or apps that don’t. I am the boss. But with the “freedom” of Android you have NO CHOICE. Such apps, that don’t sell your privacy does not exist in Android OS
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 26
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,232member
    If I were looking at the iPhone SE and the Pixel 4a as a platform-agnostic person, I'd pick the SE for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one is that I expect Apple will support it for five years -- something I don't think can be said about any Pixel phone. There's also the speed, which doesn't beat "pretty much" any Android phone's processor -- it literally beats EVERY currently-available Android phone at any price point, and lays waste to any $400ish Android phone.

    Outside of those two factors (and ignoring OS bias), I'd say the two are more or less a wash. The USB-C port on the 4a is nice -- but does it include USB-C headphones (or at least a dongle) in the box? Haven't seen any mention of that so far.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 26
    cescocesco Posts: 49member
    Budget Pixel buyers better have a robust or unlimited cell plan as, oddly, the phone doesn’t have wifi. If not, no more watching HD Youtube, porn, and Netflix for long periods.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,104member
    cesco said:
    Budget Pixel buyers better have a robust or unlimited cell plan as, oddly, the phone doesn’t have wifi. If not, no more watching HD Youtube, porn, and Netflix for long periods.

    WTF??! Yesterday it was posters getting the price wrong, and the RAM wrong, and the storage wrong. Now today there's more silly stuff that obviously a poster didn't bother verifying, claiming the Pixel 4a doesn't have wifi?? Again wrong.

    Where do people get this stuff? Obviously from a totally unreliable source. 
    The Pixel 4a has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
    edited August 2020 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 26
    gatorguy said:
    cesco said:
    Budget Pixel buyers better have a robust or unlimited cell plan as, oddly, the phone doesn’t have wifi. If not, no more watching HD Youtube, porn, and Netflix for long periods.

    WTF??! Yesterday it was posters getting the price wrong, and the RAM wrong, and the storage wrong. Now today there's more silly stuff that obviously a poster didn't bother verifying, claiming the Pixel 4a doesn't have wifi?? Again wrong.

    Where do people get this stuff? Obviously from a totally unreliable source. 
    The Pixel 4a has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot

    It was only me, who got the price, RAM and storage wrong and I mentioned that in the same thread. I don't think anyone else got it wrong (or bothered about this phone). Yeah, this misinformation is beyond silly. A smartphone without wifi chip is unimaginable in 2010, let alone 2020.
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 18 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,104member
    gatorguy said:
    cesco said:
    Budget Pixel buyers better have a robust or unlimited cell plan as, oddly, the phone doesn’t have wifi. If not, no more watching HD Youtube, porn, and Netflix for long periods.

    WTF??! Yesterday it was posters getting the price wrong, and the RAM wrong, and the storage wrong. Now today there's more silly stuff that obviously a poster didn't bother verifying, claiming the Pixel 4a doesn't have wifi?? Again wrong.

    Where do people get this stuff? Obviously from a totally unreliable source. 
    The Pixel 4a has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot

    It was only me, who got the price, RAM and storage wrong. I don't think anyone else got it wrong (or bothered about this phone). Yeah, this misinformation is beyond silly. A smartphone without wifi chip is unimaginable in 2010, let alone 2020.
    I recalled two different people in one thread posting the wrong specs but perhaps I'm mixing things up with another site. Sorry about that, I wasn't trying to call you out  ;)
  • Reply 19 of 26
    cescocesco Posts: 49member
    gatorguy said:
    cesco said:
    Budget Pixel buyers better have a robust or unlimited cell plan as, oddly, the phone doesn’t have wifi. If not, no more watching HD Youtube, porn, and Netflix for long periods.

    WTF??! Yesterday it was posters getting the price wrong, and the RAM wrong, and the storage wrong. Now today there's more silly stuff that obviously a poster didn't bother verifying, claiming the Pixel 4a doesn't have wifi?? Again wrong.

    Where do people get this stuff? Obviously from a totally unreliable source. 
    The Pixel 4a has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 26
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,529member
    gatorguy said:
    cesco said:
    Budget Pixel buyers better have a robust or unlimited cell plan as, oddly, the phone doesn’t have wifi. If not, no more watching HD Youtube, porn, and Netflix for long periods.

    WTF??! Yesterday it was posters getting the price wrong, and the RAM wrong, and the storage wrong. Now today there's more silly stuff that obviously a poster didn't bother verifying, claiming the Pixel 4a doesn't have wifi?? Again wrong.

    Where do people get this stuff? Obviously from a totally unreliable source. 
    The Pixel 4a has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot

    Duplicate post. This forum software is really a challenge to deal with.
    Not sure if this will help but you could give it a go. 

    This is based on Android/Chrome. 

    When you hit the 'post comment' button it will grey out while sending the comment. 

    If you suspect it didn't post correctly, click inside the body of your message. 

    If the 'post comment' button stays grey it is very likely posted or about to go through. Just sit it out. 

    If the 'post comment' button goes back to its black state, then it did not post correctly and you can hit it again without the risk of a duplicate post occuring. 


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