While you can spend a thousand bucks or more on a phone if you want, you don’t actually need to anymore. In the past few months, Apple and Google have both released impressive midrange phones that cost less than $400 and bring many of the features usually reserved for premium handsets, including wireless charging, all-screen designs, and impressive battery life.
But as with all things Apple and Google, the iPhone SE (go.pcworld.com/ip20) and Pixel 4a (see page 35) are not created equal. But I wanted to see just how different they are.
I had been using the iPhone SE since receiving it in early June, so when the Pixel 4a arrived on my doorstep, I popped out the SIM and jumped back into the world of Android. Here’s what I learned:
SPEED ISN’T ALL THAT IMPORTANT
The biggest selling point of the iPhone SE is its processor. Apple gave its low-cost SE the same A13 chip that’s inside the flagship iPhone 11 Pro, and you can definitely feel the power when launching apps and multitasking. It’s a whole lot faster than the Snapdragon 730G inside the Pixel 4a. But while using both, the Pixel 4a didn’t really feel that much slower during day-to-day use thanks to Android 10. Frankly, the people buying these phones aren’t going to be looking for flagship-level speeds anyway. It’s nice for sure, but not necessary.
64GB OF STORAGE ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH
The iPhone SE might start at $399, but most people should opt for the $449 model with 128GB of storage. System files and formatting take up 5GB-10GB or more, and when you factor in photos, videos, and apps, 64GB can fill up very fast.
I didn’t really notice how conservative I was being with my space until I started using the Pixel 4a, which comes with 128GB of storage, twice as much as the $899 Pixel 4 XL. Where I was judicious about photos and apps on my iPhone SE, I didn’t hesitate to install or download anything on the Pixel 4a.
APPLE IS WASTING SHAZAM
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