Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Which Mid-range Android Is Better?
What mid-range Android is better, the Nothing Phone 1 or the Google Pixel 6a?
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When it comes to mid-range smartphones there is no shortage of devices in the Android marketplace. While flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus or the Google Pixel 7 Pro are among the most coveted phones, the fact of the matter is that many people don’t need their performance, specs, or power.
Most people just need a mid-range Android smartphone. In this article, we’ll take a look at two popular ones – the Nothing Phone 1 and the Google Pixel 6a – and see how they compare. Let’s dive in…
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Specs
First, here’s a look at the specs of the Nothing Phone 1 and Google Pixel 6a:
Nothing Phone 1 Specs
- Display: 6.55” flexible OLED display, 2400×1080 pixel resolution
- Storage: 128GB or 256GB
- RAM: 8GB or 12GB
- Front Camera: 16 MP selfie camera
- Rear Camera: 50 MP main, 50 MP ultra wide
- Battery: 4500 mAh. 18 hours
- CPU: Snapdragon 778G+
- Connectivity: 5G
Google Pixel 6a Specs
- Display: 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED display, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution
- Storage: 128GB
- RAM: 6GB
- Front Camera: 8MP selfie camera
- Rear Camera: 12.2 MP wide, 12 MP ultra wide
- Battery: 4410 mAh. Over 24 hours
- CPU: Google Tensor
- Connectivity: 5G
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Design
OK, when it comes to design, it’s hard for these phones to look any different from one another – at least when it comes to the rear of the device. For all intents and purposes, the Google Pixel 6a looks like most other Android smartphones: full-screen front, back with a dual camera bump.
But the Nothing Phone 1 – without a doubt – looks different. From the front, it looks nearly identical to the Google Pixel 6a, except its selfie camera hole is in the corner of the display. But flip the Nothing Phone 1 over and let’s just say you know what phone you are looking at. This is because the Nothing Phone 1 uses a clear back panel that reveals interior lights.
Nothing calls this the Glyph Interface and essentially it’s a light-based feedback system. The varying light patterns can signal who’s calling you or what type of notification you have. Here’s how Nothing describes it:
It’s functionality, made fun again.
Lights are synced to flash in unique patterns to every custom sound. Letting you know who’s calling, notifications, charging status and more. Without checking your screen all day.
Pair individual contacts to ringtones, each with a Glyph pattern. So you never miss the most important calls.
For deeper focus, flip phone (1) with the Glyph Interface facing up to trigger silent mode with lights-only notifications.
And when it’s time to rest, set a daily schedule for the Glyphs to automatically turn off.Nothing
And look – it’s hard to make a judgment call on this Glyph Interface. One has to wonder how easy it is to tell whose calling or what type of notification you have by varying light patterns. What can be said is the Glyph Interface makes the Nothing Phone 1 unique. But it’s sure to turn as many people off as it is to attract to the phone.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Display
So what about those displays? Interestingly, both the Google Pixel 6a and the Nothing Phone 1 have the same resolution display: 2400 x 1080. However, the display sizes differ. The Google Pixel 6a is the smaller screen, with a 6.1-inch display, and the Nothing Phone 1 has the larger screen with the 6.55-inch display.
But while the Nothing Phone 1 has the larger display, because both phones have the same resolution, it actually means the Google Pixel 6a packs more pixels into the display, making it just a bit sharper. Whether you can tell this, however, is debatable. As for the contrast ratio, both phones have a 1 million to one contrast.
The Google Pixel 6a also offers an always-on display, which is something many Androids offer nowadays. The Nothing Phone 1 also sports this feature. However, the Phone 1 sports a refresh rate up to 120 Hz. The Google Pixel 6a tops out at 60Hz. That means that if you are into gaming, you are going to see much better frame rates on the Phone 1. That could be a deal-maker for some.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: CPU & Storage + RAM
When it comes to RAM and storage, the Nothing Phone 1 handily beats the Google Pixel 6a. The Nothing Phone 1 comes in a 128GB storage option with 8GB of RAM or a 128GB or 256GB storage option with 12GB of RAM. The Google Pixel 6a only comes in one configuration: 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM.
Today 128GB of storage in any phone is the bare minimum anyone should get. Truth be told, I wouldn’t buy a phone without at least 256GB of storage – especially if I was planning to keep it for 3-4 years before upgrading again. The Pixel 6a’s lack of a 256GB option is disappointing. As for the RAM differences, the Nothing Phone 1 handily beats the Pixel 6a thanks to its entry-level 8GB of RAM, which is boosted to 12GB in select models. The Pixel 6a only offers 6GB – again, a bare minimum in this day and age.
But when it comes to the CPU, the Google Pixel 6a is the winner. Its Google Tensor chip is built on a 5nm process whereas the Nothing Phone 1’s Snapdragon 778G+ is a 6nm chip. In short, the Google Tensor chip is going to be speedier. However, it’s always debatable if you’ll see a noticeable difference between the two chips – it really depends on what you are using the phone for. But most people probably won’t be able to tell that much of a difference.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Battery Life
No question about it: the Google Pixel 6a destroys the Nothing Phone 1 when it comes to battery life. Though the Google Pixel 6a actually has the smaller battery, the phone boasts over 24 hours of battery life. Despite having the larger battery, the Nothing Phone 1 just squeaks out 18 hours of battery life. That low battery life is probably impacted heavily by the light so the Glyph Interface.
And remember, battery life will drain faster based on what actions you are carrying out on your smartphone. So lets say that you choose the Phone 1 because its got the superior 120Hz display and you are a big mobile gamer – great choice based on those specs. But because the Phone 1 only boasts 18 hours of battery life in normal usage, you won’t achieve even 18 hours if you are using your Phone 1 to game a lot.
As good as the Phone 1 is in certain areas, the lack of all-day battery life is a letdown.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Camera
But the Nothing Phone 1 makes a comeback when you get to the camera department. On the front, it features a 16MP selfie camera – double that of the 8MP found in the Google Pixel 6a.
And in the rear, the Nothing Phone 1 destroys the Google Pixel 6a. The Nothing Phone 1 features a dual lens camera system with 50MP main and 50MP ultra wide lenses. The Google Pixel 6a, on the other hand, has a dual lens system too, but it features just a 12.2MP wide and 12MP ultra wide lens.
We’ve said it before, but there is much more to taking quality pictures than just the size of the megapixels. Most people who are just viewing photos on their phone won’t be able to really see the benefits of 50MP images – you only start to notice that resolution when photos are printed out in very large sizes.
However, when you get to lower megapixels, the human eye is much better as seeing improvements. In other words, you will notice the difference between the superior 16MP selfie camera found in the Phone 1 versus the 8MP selfie found in the Pixel 6a.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Cost
Finally – cost. The Google Pixel 6a costs just $299. That’s a really good deal for such a solid mid-range Android Phone.
The Nothing Phone 1 isn’t actually available in the United States yet, but in Europe the Nothing Phone 1 costs €469 for the 128GB/8GB option, €499 for the 128GB/12GB option, and €549 for the 256GB/12GB option. That about $495, $528, and $580, respectively.
Michael GrothausApple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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Mega pixels dont count, pixel cameras are much better
Not sure about the basis of your battery test comparison but being a Nothing Phone 1 user, the battery backup on an average usage is definitely more than 24 hours.
The nothing phone 1 has always on display, as you mentioned it doesn’t.