Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs Google Pixel 6: Battle of the affordable Android phones

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs Google Pixel 6: Battle of the affordable Android phones

We here at XDA usually compare smartphones that are in the same tier — flagship vs flagship, budget vs budget — but it’s worth exploring the idea of an older base model flagship vs a new mid-tier phone, because both are more affordable than the standard top flagship fare, and it’s a good gauge to see whether flagship phones hold their status a year on. Today we’re taking look at the Samsung Galaxy A53, a mid-tier 2022 phone, against Google’s base model 2021 flagship, the Pixel 6.

We must note there is a $250 price gap between the two — the Galaxy A53 retails for $350, and there are constant deals to be found, while the Pixel 6 can be had for $600, albeit you could get it for cheaper during sales season. So for some on a tighter budget, this may have already eliminated the Pixel 6 from contention. But if you are okay with potentially paying $600, then we hope this guide can help you decide on your next smartphone purchase.

XDA VIDEO OF THE DAY
    The Galaxy A53 is Samsung's newest mid-tier offering and it offers a great screen and solid main camera at a low price.
    The Google Pixel 6 is a flagship phone with an excellent camera and unique design, plus Google's first ever SoC -- Tensor.
pixel 6 and a53 for versus basic

Galaxy A53 and Pixel 6

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Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs Apple iPhone 11: Specifications

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Google Pixel 6
Build
  • Plastic body
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front panel
  • IP67 water/dust resistance
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front panel
  • Standard glass back
  • Aluminum chassis
  • IP68 water/dust resistance
Dimensions and Weight
  • 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1mm
  • 189 g
  • 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9 mm
  • 207 g
Display
  • 6.5-inch Super AMOLED
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 1080 x 2400 pixels
  • 6.4-inch OLED
  • 90Hz refresh rate
  • 1080 x 2400 pixels resolution
SoC
  • Samsung Exynos 1280
  • Google Tensor
RAM and Storage
  • 6GB/8GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB internal storage
  • microSD card slot (up to 1TB)
  • 8GB
  • 128GB/256GB internal storage
  • no microSD card slot
Battery and Charging
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • 25W Super Fast Charging
  • No charger in the box
  • No wireless charging
  • 4,614 mAh battery
  • 30W Fast charging
  • Charger in the box
  • Qi wireless charging
Security
  • Optical in-display fingerprint sensor
  • Optical in-display fingerprint sensor
Rear Camera(s)
  • 64MP ƒ/1.8 Main (with OIS)
  • 12MP ƒ/2.2 Ultra-wide
  • 5MP ƒ/2.4 Depth sensor
  • 5MP ƒ/2.4 Macro
  • 50MP, ƒ/1.8 Main (with OIS)
  • 12MP ƒ/2.4 Ultra-Wide
Front Camera(s)
  • 32MP ƒ/2.2
  • 8MP camera ƒ/2.2
Ports
  • USB Type-C
  • No headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • No headphone jack
Connectivity
  • 5G
  • LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4G+5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • 5G
  • LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6
  • (2.4G+5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
Software
  • One UI 4.1 (Android 12)
  • Android 12
Price
  • $349
  • $599

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs Google Pixel 6: Design and Hardware

Design aesthetics is subjective, but I personally think the Google Pixel 6 is a significantly better looking and more unique handset, with a different-looking camera strip that looks like a visor, and, in some colorways, a two-tone finish. The Galaxy A53 doesn’t look bad to me, but it looks a bit boring, a bit like Samsung was playing it safe — trying not to offend or stand out from the pack too much.

pixel 6

Both phones are roughly the same size, with a 6.5-inch screen for the Galaxy A53 and 6.4-inches for the Pixel 6. The Pixel 6 is a tad heavier and thicker, but I honestly couldn’t feel it when handling either phone. In terms of construction, the Galaxy A53 is a mid-ranger, so it’s very plasticky all around, while the Pixel 6 is a glass and aluminum sandwich. The latter is more premium and feels better in the hand, but the former is more likely to survive drops. Still, if you want to get a case for the Galaxy A53 or Google Pixel 6, there are options.

Galaxy A53

Display

The Galaxy A53 sports a 6.5-inch 120Hz Samsung AMOLED panel and it’s a bit superior to the 90Hz OLED used in the Pixel 6, sourced from an unknown supplier. Not only does Samsung’s panel refresh faster, but it also gets noticeably brighter.

Galaxy A53's all screen design.

Galaxy A53 display.

Underneath both screens are optical in-display scanners, and both are honestly below par in that they take a beat longer than usual to unlock. It’s one thing for pricier, higher-end devices to have a noticeably better in-display scanner, but many Chinese brands such as OPPO or Xiaomi also offer superior scanners in their mid-range devices.

pixel 6 screen

Pixel 6 display.

Processor

Bespoke chips power each device — Samsung’s own Exynos 1280 in the Galaxy A53, and the Google Tensor in the Pixel 6 Pro. Let’s not beat around the bush — Tensor is just a better SoC here. It’s significantly smarter (at things like machine learning and image processing) and generally moves around faster than the Exynos 1280 too. But again, considering the $250 price difference, this is acceptable. The Exynos 1280 is a perfectly decent chip — you won’t have any problems running Instagram or Gmail or most Android games on it — the Tensor is just a technically more advanced chip.

Cameras

This area is another landslide win for the Pixel 6 too. Google’s phone basically has a main camera that’s premium flagship level, able to go toe to toe against the highest tier iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. As such, it’s quite hard for the Galaxy A53’s very clearly mid-tier camera to keep up.

Pixel 6 performance

This isn’t to say the Galaxy A53’s cameras are bad. They’re good — particularly the main camera, a 64MP f/1.8 shooter that can capture lively pixel binned images during the day. At night, the sensor will have to rely a lot on night mode to produce noise-free images, and the results can be hit and miss.

Galaxy A53

The Pixel 6, meanwhile, uses a GN1 sensor (ironically manufactured by Samsung) with a much larger image sensor. Throw in Google’s best-in-class digital image processing and the Pixel 6 main camera just churns out perfectly balanced, detailed, noise-free shots day or night. We particularly are fans of the Pixel’s color reproduction, which is a bit dramatized from real life, but still keeps the original integrity of the scene. These Pixel 6 shots below are just about as good as smartphone photography can get right now — the Galaxy A53 just can’t match this level of dynamic range, details, and balance.

Memory, battery, and other components

The Galaxy A53 starts at just 4GB of RAM (remember, it’s a mid-tier phone) but can get up to 8GB, the Pixel 6, meanwhile, only comes with 8GB of RAM. Storage options are identical for both — 128GB or 256GB. But one advantage for Samsung is the A53 supports an SD card for additional memory, while the Pixel cannot.

Pixel 6

Pixel 6

While both phones have stereo speakers that sound about even and IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating, the Pixel 6 has much better haptics, and its 4,614 mAh battery can be charged wirelessly. The Galaxy A53’s haptics are mushy, and the 5,000 mAh battery can only be charged the conventional method. Neither phone comes with a charger, by the way.

a53

The Galaxy A53 does not come with a charger — neither does the Pixel 6.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs Google Pixel 6: Software

The Galaxy A53 runs Samsung’s OneUI Android skin over Android 12, while the Pixel 6 runs Android 12, with a distinct Pixel flavor that’s heavy on whimsical touches and lively animations. Google redesigned the Pixel software for the Pixel 6 and it is more customizable than before, with color schemes that can automatically adapt to your wallpaper of choice, as well as other personalized touches like the ability for the phone to identify songs playing near you and save the track listings (you can turn this off if find it creepy).

The OneUI running in the Galaxy A53 is a bit bare-bones. Samsung DeX, which is a major feature in Samsung’s flagship phones, is not available here. The floating windows feature also doesn’t work as smoothly as in other higher-priced Samsung phones. And OneUI is also prone to the occasional animation stutter.

The Galaxy A53 is still more than usable for most people, but the Pixel 6’s software is more thoughtful, and in this particular case of Pixel 6 vs Galaxy A53, moves around faster and smoother too.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs Google Pixel 6: Performance

I already touched on this earlier, but the Google Pixel 6 is a better performer — it’s a bit faster at smartphone tasks, and it’s got a much better camera. The Pixel 6 is also more intelligent, with superior voice dictation ability due to Tensor being custom built to handle machine learning tasks for the Pixel 6.

Battery life is one area where the Galaxy A53 takes a win, as its larger battery results in a phone that can go all day on a single charge, while the Pixel 6 may need a top-up before your night’s over if you’ve been really pushing it.

As a media consumption machine, both phones are great, with large screens and stereo speakers, but the Galaxy A53’s wider, flatter sides make the phone a bit easier to hold with one hand while reclining on a sofa.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs Google Pixel 6: Which one should you get?

As mentioned at the beginning, there’s a not small $250 price difference between the two, so this decision comes down to how much you value saving $250? If you’re on a tight budget, the Galaxy A53 is still a very capable phone with a fair price. But if you can splurge a bit and pay the $600 price of the Pixel 6, it’s worth getting Google’s flagship instead as it’s just a better phone. If the difference is even smaller, we would prefer the Pixel 6 over the Galaxy A53 as it is a flagship device that can do a whole lot more than what the Samsung mid-ranger can accomplish.

    The Galaxy A53 is Samsung's newest mid-tier offering and it offers a great screen and solid main camera at a low price.
    The Google Pixel 6 is a flagship phone with an excellent camera and unique design, plus Google's first ever SoC -- Tensor.

About author

Ben Sin
Ben Sin

I'm a senior editor at XDA Developers. I have been a journalist for a decade, the last five years covering the mobile tech scene closely, reviewing just about every phone and attending trade shows and launches. I also run a gadget review channel on YouTube.

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