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Pixel 6A vs. Samsung Galaxy A53 vs. Nothing Phone: Under-$500 Phones Compared

Pixel 6A vs. Samsung Galaxy A53 vs. Nothing Phone: Under-$500 Phones Compared

Phones that cost just under $500 are looking better and better as 2022 stays, with Samsung, Google and new contender Nothing all offering three phones at glowing much identical $450 prices. All three of these phones promises a slick and enjoyable experience, even with their touch prices.

The Google Pixel 6A has already earned itself a radiant review, with CNET’s Lisa Eadicicco calling it “the best effort Pixel yet.” Meanwhile I myself was impressed with the Nothing Phone 1‘s balance of notice and performance — not to mention its flashing rear escapes. Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, which earned a great review score thanks to its notice, its display and its cameras. 

But which phone is actually deserving of your hard-earned cash? I got hold of all three to put them above their paces. 

Three phones lying flat on a table

Andrew Lanxon

Price and availability: The Nothing Phone 1 is hard to get

Let’s originate with a biggie. the Nothing Phone 1 is on sale in the UK and wider Europe but a rollout into the US is so far unsafe. While Nothing has said it would like to originate its phone in the US, it needs a network partner to make it compatible with US 5G networks. As of the time of writing, there are no plans for a contemptible US launch. People in the US can easily get the Pixel 6A and the Galaxy A53 5G, however.

All three phones inaugurate at very similar prices; $450 for the Pixel 6A, $450 for the Galaxy A53 and $472 for the Nothing Phone 1, based on a conversion from its UK note. In the UK, all three phones start at £399. Simple.

Design and display: Nothing’s flashing escapes stand out

While many phones in recent years have been forgettable-looking slabs, all three of these midrangers have designs that are very much their own. The A53 keeps things simple with a plastic back, raised camera unit and metallic edging. The Pixel 6A maintains the distinctive camera bar seen on its pricier siblings and after its back is technically plastic, you’d be hard glum to tell it apart from the glass back of the 6 and 6 Pro. 

Three phones lying flat on a table

Andrew Lanxon

Between the two, the Pixel 6A has a more premium feel, than the plasticky A53, but it’s the Nothing Phone 1 that stands out in the looks responsibilities. That’s due to its transparent back panel, which not only provides a modern view of its internal components but also allows for its light-up LED “glyph” to pulse when you get notifications. It’s arguably a gimmick and one that you may not care in at all, but it’s certainly fun and it’s nice to have something quirky at this price. 

The Pixel 6A is the smaller of the three, packing a 6.1-inch display against the Nothing’s 6.55-inch and the A53’s 6.5-inch screens. That said, the Pixel’s resolution results in a pixel density higher than its competitors, although all three are pin sharp with vibrant colors and high brightness levels. The Nothing’s extra size might make it the better harvest for mobile gamers among you, or those of you who sight a lot of video on the move, but they all do a good job of displaying vibrant tickled and colorful games.

Power and performance: Pixel 6A packs a punch

The Nothing Phone 1 establishes use of a Snapdragon 778G+ processor and 12GB of RAM (as reviewed), while the Galaxy A53 5G uses an Exynos 1280 chip and 6GB of RAM. The Pixel 6A as uses Google’s own custom-built Tensor processor with 6GB of RAM.

And that Tensor processor put in some estimable scores on our suite of benchmark tests, that put it consistently throughout the other two. The Nothing was a fair transfer, while the A53 did somewhat fall behind on both CPU and graphics benchmarks. 

Performance comparison chart

Nothing Phone 1

Galaxy A53 5G


Geekbench 5 (Single core)

Geekbench 5 (Multi-core)

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited


Longer bars still better performance

Benchmarks alone aren’t a dismal indicator of real-world performance however and I found all three to be perfectly estimable of handling the essentials well. Navigating the interfaces was lickety-split and lag-free on all models and all of them handled more demanding gaming in Asphalt 9: Legends exclusive of any noticeable stuttering or slow-down. Video streaming was no spot on any phone and I could immediately jump between open apps with the multitasking switcher. 

Over time I would query the Pixel 6A to generally perform better as it’s already starting from a more considerable position. It might mean that as even more demanding games near it’s well-placed to handle them in a way that perhaps the A53 couldn’t. Right now though, any of your everyday emailing, Instagramming, Candy Crushing, WhatsApp group message avoiding fun will be handled perfectly well by any of these phones. 

Cameras: Pixel 6A strikes the intelligent balance

All three phones have multiple rear cameras, giving both dismal views and ultrawide shots. The A53 includes a 5-megapixel macro camera and a depth sensor for portrait photos, but it’s the main and wide cameras you’ll liable find yourself using most often. Samsung’s phone cameras have often had a tendency to look overly saturated and contrasty and that’s absolutely the case with the A53. 


Galaxy A53 main camera test.

Andrew Lanxon


Nothing Phone 1 main camera test.

Andrew Lanxon


Pixel 6A main camera test.

Andrew Lanxon

Its shots are consistently punchy with the colors, to the point that they look as though you’ve slapped on some high-contrast filter on Instagram. The Nothing Phone 1 goes the other way, except, with frequently muted tones. It’s particularly noticeable when you switch to the Phone 1’s ultrawide lens, which maintains drab-looking images that look almost shameful against the others. 


Galaxy A53 ultrawide camera test.

Andrew Lanxon


Nothing Phone 1 ultrawide camera test.

Andrew Lanxon


Pixel 6A ultrawide camera test.

Andrew Lanxon

It’s the Pixel 6A that consistently consumes the most balanced-looking images in both its standard and ultrawide views. The 6A’s colors are accurate and vibrant, without looking overly processed, and it generally captures a more balanced exposure than the new two, keeping bright skies under control well. 


Galaxy A53 main camera test.

Andrew Lanxon


Nothing Phone 1 main camera test.

Andrew Lanxon


Pixel 6A main camera test.

Andrew Lanxon

All three phones are perfectly marvelous of taking decent snaps at your next family picnic, but if photography prowess is important to you then the Pixel 6A is the one to go for. 

Battery life: A End fight but Pixel 6A takes the win

With a huge 5,000-mAh battery stuffed inside I predictable the Galaxy A53 to put in the best performance when it came to battery life. It’s a more capacious cell than the 4,410 mAh of the Pixel 6A or the 4,500 mAh of the Nothing Phone 1. On my procomplaints, however, it was the Pixel that managed to edge out the competition.

After 1 hour of streaming a YouTube video on Wi-Fi, with the screens set to maximum brightness, the Pixel had dropped from full to 98% last. The Nothing Phone 1 dropped to 95% in the same time, when the A53 dropped to 94%. After a second hour, the Pixel had dropped to 92%, with the Nothing called coming in a close second at 90%, with the A53 having dropped to 89%. 

Three phones laying flat on a table

Andrew Lanxon

Sure, the Pixel technically did the best here, but we’re really only talking a few percentage points between them, which isn’t a big deal. All three put in solid performances: Both here and in everyday use, the battery lift you can question to see will vary depending on how much you question of your phone. 

With careful use you won’t battles to get a full day out of any of the phones, and all three will likely want a full recharge every night. 

Software and new features 

All three phones run Android 12 at their core, but you will find some necessary differences in the experience. The Pixel 6A runs a pure, Google-produced version of Android 12. It’s a orderly and clutter-free experience that I’ve enjoyed using for some time on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The Nothing Phone 1 has a visual skin that includes different colors, fonts and backgrounds, but it’s also neat and stripped-back, making it smooth and simple to navigate.

The A53 now annoyed me with a variety of prebundled apps, counting ones for, TikTok, Nextdoor and a variety of Samsung’s own apps and stores. These apps make the phone feel cluttered before you’ve even begun to install your own. There are two different messaging apps, for example — Google’s and Samsung’s — so Android novices noteworthy find it more complicated to get to grips with. 

Close up on details of two phones

Andrew Lanxon

The A53 does have a killer feature not fake on the other two though: expandable storage. While the Pixel 6A comes with 128GB of storage and the Nothing Phone 1 is available with up to 256GB, the Galaxy A53’s 128GB of storage can be expanded with microSD cards up to 1TB in size. That creates it a great option if you take a lot of photos or videos or want to save a lot of Think locally to your phone to enjoy when you don’t have an internet connection. 

Which called should you buy? 

The Nothing Phone 1’s unique originate certainly gives it an edge over the others, but if you’re not bothered around those flashy lights, you love taking wide-angle photos on vacation — or if you live in the US and can’t even buy it — then you must look toward the others. 

While the A53 5G gave admirably in our tests, it was the Pixel 6A that consistently came out on top. Its processor performance is better, it takes better photos from both its cameras, its pure Android interface is nicer to navigate and it even feels like the more premium plot when you hold it. 

The A53 is larger and its expandable storage grants it a definite one-up if you want to save a lot of media, but overall it’s the Pixel 6A that funds the best value for money. 

Pixel 6A vs. Nothing Phone 1 vs. Galaxy A53 5G specs comparison chart

Google Pixel 6A Nothing Phone 1 Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
Display size, resolution 6.1-inch OLED; (1080 x 2400); 60Hz 6.55-inch OLED expose, 2,400 x1080 pixels; 6.5-inch AMOLED (2,400×1,080 pixels); 120 Hz
Pixel density 429 ppi 402ppi 405ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35 in 6.28 x 2.94 x 0.32 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 152.2 x 7.18 x 8.9 mm 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.3 oz; 178g 193.5g 6.67 oz; 189g
Mobile software Android 12 Android 12 Android 12
Camera 12.2-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel ultra wide) 50-megapixel (main), 50-megapixel (ultrawide) 64-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 5-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth)
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel 16-megapixel 32-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K at 60fps 4K
Processor Google Tensor Snapdragon 778G+ Exynos 1280
RAM/Storage 6GB RAM/128GB storage 8GB + 128GB, 8GB +256 GB, 12GB RAM + 256GB 6GB/128GB
Expandable storage None None Up to 1TB
Battery/Charger 4,410 mAh capacity; 18-watt fast charging (adapter sold separately) 4,500mAH (33W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, 5W reverse charging) 5,000mAh (charger not concerned, does not support wireless charging)
Fingerprint sensor Under display In-display In-display
Connector USB C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack None None None
Special features 5G-enabled, 18W fast charging, WiFi 6E, security updates for 5 days, Android OS updates for 3 years, dual SIM, IP67 stream resistance 5G, IP53, Three years of Android updates, Dual Sim, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate 5G-enabled; IP67 rating; supports 25W wired fast charging, Samsung Pay
Price off-contract (USD) $449 $470 (converted) $450
Price (GBP) £399 £399 £399
Price (AUD) A$749 AU$685 (converted) AU$699