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Google Pixel 6a vs. Samsung Galaxy A53: Which budget phone could win?

Google Pixel 6a vs Samsung Galaxy A53
(Image credit: Google/Future)

In this Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53 face-off preview, we're taking a look at how these two budget Android phones compare. The Pixel 6a is the new kid on the block, due to come out in July, while the Galaxy A53 currently holds the crown for the best cheap Android phone. 

But now that we know basically all we need to know about the Pixel 6a, we wanted to take a look at how these two phones stack up. Both will vie for your $449 later this summer, and it looks like it's going to be a heated match.

We'll break down everything you need to know in this Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53 comparison. 

Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53: Specs

Pixel 6aGalaxy A53
Price$449$449
Display6.1-inch OLED6.5-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080)
Refresh rate60Hz120Hz
CPUTensorExynos 1280
RAM6GB6GB
Storage / Expandable128GB / No128GB / Yes
Rear cameras12.2MP main, 12MP ultrawide64MP (f/1.8) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 5MP (f/2.4) macro, 5MP (f/2.4) depth
Front camera8MP32MP (f/2.2)
Battery4,410 mAh5,000 mAh
Charging18W25W

Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53: Price and availability

Google Pixel 6a reveal at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google )

The Galaxy A53 comes in at $449 for the model with sub-6GHz 5G. If you want a mmWave variant, you'll need to fork over an additional $50 over at Verizon. You can grab the Galaxy A53 from a lot of carriers and retailers. 

Google's latest budget phone keeps the same $449 price as last year and it'll enjoy much wider availability this time around. Yes, the Pixel 6a will be available in 12 countries, unlike the Pixel 5a's mere two. You'll be able to pick it up from the Google Store, Google Fi, Verizon (with a $50 premium for mmWave) and AT&T. We imagine that other retailers and MVNOs will join in, too.

Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53: Design

Google Pixel 6a reveal at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google )

The Pixel 6a adopts the Pixel 6's design with the camera bar that spans the back of the phone. It's a bit of a polarizing look, but all of Google's phones now share a common theme. The front is a flat screen with a hole-punch cutout for the front camera. The phone is made of plastic just like the Pixel 5a.

Samsung Galaxy A53 cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Galaxy A53 is also a plastic device, though it doesn't share much in common with the Galaxy S22 series in terms of design. It actually looks more like the Galaxy S20 from 2020. The quad-camera array juts out from the back of the handset while the flat screen has a hole-punch cutout.

The Pixel 6a looks remarkably different, which budget-conscious buyers might like. It certainly doesn't carry the typical cheap phone design. The Galaxy A53 looks admittedly boring in comparison.

Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53: Display

Google Pixel 6a reveal at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google )

Both the Pixel 6 and Galaxy A53 differ greatly in display size. The former uses a 6.1-inch OLED panel with a static 60Hz refresh rate. That's a step down from the Pixel 5a's 6.34-inch display, though that hopefully means that the 6a will be more pocketable.

Samsung Galaxy A53 display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Galaxy A53, meanwhile, has a 6.5-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It's not adaptive like the Galaxy S22, so you have either 120Hz or 60Hz. So on paper, it looks like the A53 has the advantage when it comes to displays.

We have no doubt that the Pixel 6a's OLED panel will be a good one, but Samsung might win out here.

Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53: Cameras

The Pixel 6a and Galaxy A53 also differ when it comes to cameras. Google's latest handset uses a dual rear camera system, while the A53 enjoys quad cameras — that said, two of them, the macro and depth sensors, are functionally useless.

Google Pixel 6a reveal at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google )

The Pixel 6a uses a 12.2MP main camera with a 12MP ultrawide partner. That's a resolution downgrade from the Pixel 5a, which has a 16MP ultrawide sensor, but the 6a's should have a larger pixel size. This means that the ultrawide camera on the new phone should allow in more light, making for even better ultrawide shots.

The Pixel 6a will also have access to Google's True Tone, Night Sight, and Magic Eraser technologies.

Samsung Galaxy A53 cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Galaxy A53 enjoys a 64MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide, and 5MP macro and depth sensors. In our Galaxy A53 vs. Pixel 5a face-off, we thought the Pixel 5a won out when it came to cameras. We expect the same to happen with the Pixel 6a, but we'll need to wait for the full photo comparison.

For front cameras, the Pixel 6a uses an 8MP sensor while the Galaxy A53 has a 32MP one.

Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53: Performance and 5G

Google Pixel 6a reveal at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google)

We can't wait to get our hands on the Pixel 6a. That's because it uses the same Tensor chip that you'll find in the Pixel 6. That means powerful AI smarts and flagship-level performance. You can look at our Pixel 6 benchmark results to get an idea of what the Pixel 6a will be able to do.

The Galaxy A53 uses a mid-range Exynos 1280 chipset. This chip is fine, but it won't be able to hold a candle to the Pixel 6a's Tensor. In fact, we think that the only phone under $500 that'll be able to beat the 6a is the iPhone SE (2022)

For 5G, the Pixel 6a has support for sub-6GHz 5G and mmWave if you pay extra via Verizon. The same holds true for the Galaxy A53.

Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53: Battery and charging

Samsung Galaxy A53 camera

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

One area that has us concerned is battery life. The Pixel 6a uses a 4,410 mAh battery, down from the Pixel 5a's 4,680 mAh. But the 6a is smaller than its predecessor, so we're hoping that'll equal similar or better battery life. However, considering the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro's disappointing results in our testing, this could be trouble.

The Galaxy A53 has a 5,000 mAh power pack, and it performed fine in the Tom's Guide battery life test. In its 120Hz mode, it lasted for 9 hours, 49 minutes and 10 hours, 39 minutes in the 60Hz mode. 

Pixels don't have a reputation for good battery life, but we'll have to reserve judgment on this until we get the Pixel 6a in for testing.

Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53: Software

Google Pixel 6a reveal at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google )

Google and Samsung lead the pack on software for Android phones. The latter has really upped its game in recent years, providing quick updates for most of its phones. However, it still doesn't compare to the Pixel devices, which get their updates as soon as Google releases the new versions.

The Galaxy A53 runs Android 12 under One UI 4.1. The Pixel 6a will also run Android 12. Both have different presentations, with the Pixel having a much stronger focus on the Material You design language.

Samsung Galaxy A53 display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Google has promised five years of security patches for the Pixel 6a, though we don't know how many years of platform updates the phone will get. Samsung, meanwhile, has committed to four years of Android updates and five years of security patches.

It'll come down to which UI you prefer, and how long Google will offer platform updates for the Pixel 6a.

Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53: Outlook

Google Pixel 6a reveal at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google)

This Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53 face-off will certainly be interesting to revisit once we have both phones in hand. The Pixel 6a looks like it'll be one heck of a phone to beat, perhaps more than the Galaxy A53 is ready to handle.

However, from what we know, the Galaxy A53 might have the better display. And it might also have stronger battery life, unless Google managed to figure out how to better manage power on Tensor. 

Be sure to check back on this face-off once we have our full Pixel 6a review.

Jordan Palmer
Jordan Palmer

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over five years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.