Although ahead of time, there were rumors that the first Nothing device would launch as an out-and-out flagship, it has come to market with modest specifications and some unique lighting tricks. The sub-$500 pricing pulls the $449 Pixel 6a into orbit by virtue of the software similarities and release timeframes. Which is the better buy? Here’s everything you need to know.
The Pixel 6a faces fierce competition in certain locations from gadgets like the Nothing Phone (1). How does Google’s most recent mid-range device compare? Here’s how it stands in comparison. The global market is flooded with high-quality, reasonably priced Android phones, but depending on where you live, your options may be more constrained. On July 21, the Pixel 6a was formally introduced, and since then, pre-orders have become available. The Nothing Phone (1) is Carl Pei’s first smartphone to be released after OnePlus, in the meantime.
Side-by-side, and it’s very easy to shift your focus or attention towards Nothing’s only smartphone release to date. It’s certainly a striking device that borrows selected design traits from Apple but adds a little bit of intrigue, courtesy of the clear backplate and the eye-searing Glyph lighting. The materials are certainly what we’d consider “premium” given it’s an inexpensive Android.
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The Pixel 6a is intriguing in its own way courtesy of the black camera bar and dual-tone colors, but it’s smaller and lighter thanks to a polycarbonate build. Of course, the screen size is quite a lot smaller at 6.1inches. That’s not all, as there is a substantial difference in the refresh rates and display quality. Phone (1) has a 6.55-inch OLED display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. It also has uniform bezels on all sides – something that the Pixel 6a lacks – even with slim bezels on all sides of its own screen. Google’s usage of Gorilla Glass 3 is somewhat of a disappointment given the screen is scratch-prone, while the Phone (1) utilizes Gorilla Glass 6 for protection. You’ll be pleased to hear that both phones come with flat panels, which is great for a gesture-based interface.
There’s a lot to like about the Pixel 6a and the Nothing Phone (1). For most, the clean Android software will be a key component that elevates the duo above even many other more specification-heavy devices. It is worth noting that you can get more for your money if you care about raw specifications over design and daily experience. A prime example is the Poco F4, but you’ll need to live in a region where the Xiaomi phone is sold. That is the crux of the problem when talking about affordable Android smartphones, if you live in an area where you can access the multitude of great cheap phones from the likes of Oppo, Xiaomi, OnePlus, and many more, then the Nothing Phone (1) and Pixel 6a could seem particularly underwhelming.
However, there is more to a smartphone than just the internals. If you like Android as Google intends, then this duo represents a great way to get a clean flavor without the associated price tag. Alternatively, we’d suggest just looking that the Google Pixel 6. At $599, it’s a better overall buy in almost all areas.
You can pick up the Pixel 6a from the Google Store, Amazon, Best Buy, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T for $449 off contract. The Nothing Phone (1) is available from limited European retailers but can be bought from Amazon UK at £399 if you are desperate to import to the US — something we’d advise against.