Google Pixel 6a has been released in India and the phone will be available via Flipkart starting July 28 for Rs 43,999. Although the Pixel range has had a more affordable ‘a’ variant for a few years now, what makes the Pixel 6a special is that unlike most Pixel a-variants that came with relatively weaker processors (to keep that price down), the Pixel 6a actually has a processor that is very similar to the one on the Pixel 6 — Google’s own Tensor. All of this has made people speculate if the Pixel 6a could actually do for Google what the iPhone SE has done for Apple — provide users with a powerful chip and smooth performance at a relatively lower price.
But even though its Rs 43,999 price tag puts it well below the premium flagships in the Android zone, the Pixel 6a still faces a lot of competition in the Indian market. Its challengers vary from spec warriors to newcomers trying to score on design to those trying to provide something similar to one of Pixel’s core strengths — a clean, uncluttered interface. The following six smartphones, in particular, have what it takes to be a pain in the Pixel 6a’s neck.
ALSO SEE: Google Pixel 6a Could Well Be The Search Giant’s iPhone SE
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: One for the Samsung fans
Price: Rs 49,999
There are some who might feel that the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is far too expensive to lay siege to the Pixel 6a. However, for those who are willing to pay a little extra for Samsung’s blend of solid design, great cameras, vivid displays, and sheer brand value, it remains a worthy option.
The phone has the typical S-series design of recent times with an edgy, vertical camera unit, and comes with some funky colours on the back and a brilliant 6.4-inch AMOLED display at the front with Gorilla Glass Victus protection. It also packs in perhaps the best camera lineup of this list — a 12-megapixel main sensor, another 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor, and an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor. Stereo speakers deliver great sound and there’s a large 4,500mAh battery that keeps the phone going comfortably for more than a day.
Some might not like the cluttered OneUI interface on the phone and some others might frown at the Exynos 2100 chip powering it, but both are proven performers, and the Exynos even runs the Tensor close in many benchmarks.
The ‘fan edition’ tag is super apt for this device — it is the perfect device for those wanting a Samsung flagship experience without spending an insane amount of money. Those willing to shell out Rs 43,999 for the Pixel 6a might just feel tempted to spend a little more and get into the Samsung zone — the most popular Android smartphone zone of them all.
Motorola Edge 30 Pro: Hello Pixel, the name’s Moto
Price: Rs 44,999
On paper, this should be the biggest headache for the Pixel 6a. Not only does it come with a price that is very close to the price of the Pixel 6a, but it also brings a truckload of formidable specs to the table, and runs on a clean version of Android which is very similar to the one on the Pixel 6a.
The biggest USP of the Motorola Edge 30 Pro is the fact that it runs on arguably the most powerful Android flagship processor out there, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Generation 1. The Edge 30 Pro also comes with two 50-megapixel sensors and a depth sensor on the back, and a staggeringly good 60-megapixel selfie camera.
It even has a 6.7-inch OLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, stereo speakers, and comes with a large 4,800mAh battery with support for 68W fast charging and even 15W wireless charging.
Its design is nowhere as distinct as the Pixel 6a and some might point to Motorola’s less than impressive Android update record, but in sheer spec terms, this is a monster challenger.
Xiaomi 11T Pro: The budget flagship boss
Price: Rs 35,999
Perhaps the most plain-looking device on this list, the Xiaomi 11T Pro is nevertheless one of the best value-for-money flagship-level devices in the Indian market today.
Beneath that very routine and slightly heavy frame lies a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, which might be more than a year old, but is still considered a match for the Tensor chip in the Pixel 6a.
It also comes with a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a triple camera arrangement on the back spearheaded by a 108-megapixel main sensor.
And then come two of the most formidable features on the phone – high-quality stereo speakers tuned by Harman Kardon, and a large 5,000mAh battery that not only gets through a day and more of use but also charges at an amazing 120W speed.
Its MIUI interface will be too cluttered for those who love stock Android, and it is unlikely to match the OS update speed of the Pixel 6a, but in terms of sheer value for money, this is a contender.
Nothing Phone 1: The LED-lit alternative
Price: Rs 32,999
The Pixel 6a has a distinct design and stock Android as one of its biggest highlights. And there is a newly launched device in the tech hood that offers similar USPs. The Nothing Phone 1 has been hogging headlines thanks to its extremely distinct design.
The semi-transparent back studded with 900 tiny LEDs has been the talk of the town for some time now. These LEDs flash in what the brand calls a Glyph Pattern.
Apart from being an absolute looker, the Phone 1’s LEDs also bring some functionality to the table. They basically act as notification lights that flash when users get a notification. They also light up in unique patterns when synced with different ringtones. They can also highlight the charging status.
Apart from the eye-catching look, Nothing also comes with an ultra-clean and stock Android-like UI. The company’s founder Carl Pei believes stock Android is pretty close to being perfect which is why the NothingOS is a very light skin on top of Android 12 and offers a UI experience that is very close to stock Android.
Apart from that, the phone brings two 50-megapixel camera sensors on the back with the main sensor equipped with optical image stabilisation (OIS) and electronic image stabilisation (EIS), which is megapixel-wise quite ahead of the Pixel 6a, although the Pixel series is famous for delivering smashing cameras.
It also sports a slightly bigger 6.55-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a slightly bigger 4,500mAH battery, and with slightly faster-charging support of 33W (although this too has no charger in the box).
Yes, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ chip is unlikely to match up to the Tensor processor on the Pixel 6a, but you are getting a near-stock Android-like interface and a distinct design at a much lower price. And those make the Nothing Phone (1) a formidable opponent of the Pixel 6a.
OnePlus 10R: The Never Settler as Pixel Unsettler
Price: Rs 34,999
It is the most recently launched OnePlus 10 and while it may be not as specs-forward as the OnePlus 10 Pro, it still packs some really powerful specs and a distinct design.
The fact that it has got a price cut recently as well makes it quite a headache for the Pixel 6a.
The OnePlus 10R comes with a dual-textured back which helps it stand out amongst the usual Android crowd in the price band.
It sports a big 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and very good stereo speakers. Its camera setup led by a 50-megapixel Sony IMX 766 sensor with OIS is impressive too, although it might not be as good as those on the Pixel 6a, notwithstanding the extra megapixels.
Running the show is a powerful MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Max processor, which could give the Tensor in the Pixel 6a a run for its money. The phone also has a big 5,000mAh battery and comes with fast charging support of 80W (and even 150W in a special edition), which can get completely charged within 35 minutes.
The OnePlus 10R also comes with one of the cleanest and most minimal Android interfaces around — OnePlus’ famous OxygenOS. With a striking design, clean UI, terrifically fast charging, a good display, and a powerful processor, the OnePlus 10R offers them all, and now comes at a price that could unsettle the Pixel 6a.
iPhone SE: The Pixel a of the iPhone series
Price: Rs. 43,900
Many believe that the Google Pixel 6a is to the Pixel series what the iPhone SE is to the iPhone lineup, And now that the Pixel 6a comes with a powerful processor, the fine line of difference between the two in conceptual terms has almost blurred out. The two phones are the most affordable versions of their respective series and are basically the doorway into high-end iOS and stock Android performance.
Its old-school design and seemingly ancient specs (HD LCD display with a 60Hz refresh rate and thick bezels, single rear camera, and a huge home button below the display), might make the iPhone SE look a little out of its comfort zone in this list but the phone still packs quite a punch. That is because inside that seemingly ancient body lies one of the most powerful processors around. The iPhone SE comes with Apple’s A15 Bionic chipset.
It also is part of the rich and secure iOS app ecosystem and comes with high-end features like stereo speakers, wireless charging, and dust and water resistance. It might look old and give ground on camera (although it shoots superb videos) and display, but the iPhone SE would still sail smoothly even through the roughest and toughest of task waves, making it the perfect option for those looking for a powerhouse of a smartphone in a compact frame.
It is also the perfect entry for anyone wanting to be a part of the iOS world. It is priced only Rs 99 more than the Pixel 6a, and is a viable alternative, especially for those looking for a compact-yet-powerful phone.