Nothing Phone 1 and Google Pixel 6a are perhaps the most unusual non-foldable phones released this year. Their designs make them stick out from the crowd and so does their interface. And while they were launched at very different prices, Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale will see them come within touching distance of each other. For those unaware, Nothing Phone 1 is the first phone to be released by OnePlus’ co-founder Carl Pei’s new venture, Nothing, and the Pixel 6a is the first Pixel phone to be released in India by Google since 2020.
The Flipkart Big Billion Days sale will kick off on September 23 and will last until September 30.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Flipkart Big Billion Days sale price
Both phones were released in July 2022, but at that time, they were not seen as competitors. And with good reason. The Nothing Phone 1 was launched at Rs 32,999 while the Pixel 6a was launched at a significantly higher Rs 43,999. However, the forthcoming Big Billion Days from Flipkart will see the Pixel 6a being available at Rs 34,199, while the Nothing Phone 1 will be available at Rs 31,999. In fact, with further bank discounts, you might even be able to get the Nothing Phone 1 for Rs 28,999 and the Pixel 6a for Rs 27,999.
And that pits these two unusual phones against each other for the duration of the sale. We know that there are other devices out there that can claim to offer more in terms of specs and design, but in terms of uniqueness, these two are in a league of their own. So if you are one of those looking for a “different” phone, which of these two should you go for? Let us try and work that out for you.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: What appeals to you more — a bar on the back or a ‘lit’ back?
Both phones are very distinct from the regular phone crowd in terms of appearance. And in both cases, this stems from their back panels. While Pixel 6a has its dual rear cameras and flash placed on a bar that sticks from the back, the Nothing Phone 1 has literally the most flashy back in tech history — the phone not only has a semi-transparent rear cover but also comes with 900 LEDs on the back that light up in different patterns, depending on events and notifications (Nothing calls it the Glyph interface).
Although both phones come with metal frames, we think the Nothing Phone 1 has a more premium feel to it with its glass front and that transparent glass back, while the Pixel 6a has a plastic back. Some might also prefer the more symmetrical slim bezels and straight sides of the Nothing Phone 1 as compared to the relatively straight but still slightly curved sides of the Pixel 6a. Both phones feel pretty solid though, and the Pixel 6a has IP67-rated dust and water resistance, while the Nothing Phone 1 has a splashproof IP53 rating.
Those looking for a more compact phone will prefer the Pixel 6a which is significantly less tall and wide than the Nothing Phone 1, although the latter is slimmer.
We vote for: The Nothing Phone 1. That back is lit, literally.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Who’s got the better (more refreshing) display?
Both phones have full-HD+ OLED displays, which are reasonably bright and colourful, although neither is likely to give Samsung sleepless nights. But the similarity ends there.
Nothing Phone 1 has a larger 6.55-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 6a has a 6.1-inch display with a normal 60Hz refresh rate.
To be honest, the refresh rate difference becomes evident only when you are scrolling endlessly in an app (generally Instagram or Twitter in our case), but the difference in display real estate is striking whether you are reading an article online or watching a video, or playing a game.
Once again, those who want a phone they can use easily with one hand might be right at home with the smaller display of the Pixel 6a, but we prefer the larger display of the Nothing Phone 1 as it simply gives us more viewing, typing, and playing space.
We vote for: The Nothing Phone 1. A higher refresh rate and more real estate matter.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Which chip has more byte —Tensor or Snapdragon 778G+?
There is a simple and clear winner here. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ is a decent processor, but it is still mainly a mid-segment chip. It will handle most tasks and even run high-end games as long as you keep an eye on the settings.
The Pixel 6a. on the other hand, runs on Google’s own Tensor chip, which is a flagship-level chip, with performance levels that fall between the Snapdragon 870 and Snapdragon 888. It is a chip made for hefty gaming and multi-tasking and is a level up from the Snapdragon 778G+ on the Phone 1.
We vote for: The Google Pixel 6a.The Tensor chips in with far more.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Which is better for gaming?
The Tensor chip and better stereo speakers give the Pixel 6a a clear edge in the gaming department over Nothing Phone 1.
The bigger display of Nothing Phone 1 does give you more viewing and playing space, but at the end of the day, you will be able to play games comfortably at higher settings on the Pixel 6a.
Interestingly, the Pixel 6a is available in a single 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant, while the Nothing Phone 1 has more RAM and storage variants — 8GB + 128GB, 8GB + 256GB, and 12GB + 256GB. But even with that difference, the gaming force is pretty much with the Pixel 6a.
We vote for: The Google Pixel 6a. The Tensor delivers tension-free gaming.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Who has the better snappers?
A month ago, the Pixel 6a would have won this round by a mile, with its dual 12-megapixel cameras delivering far more detail and colour in best Pixel tradition than the two 50-megapixel shooters on the back of Nothing Phone 1, which were often inconsistent.
However, a number of updates have seen the Phone 1 close the gap on the Pixel 6a, to the extent that it can almost match it at times. Yes, the Pixel 6a still wins this round, but it is a very close finish. The Pixel 6a’s 8-megapixel selfie snapper also beats the 16-megapixel one on the Phone 1.
We vote for: The Google Pixel 6a. It is a Pixel, duh.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Which pure Android do we go for?
Both the Phone 1 and the Pixel 6a come with uncluttered, clean Android, with no malware. Choosing between the two can therefore be quite a task.
We think the Pixel 6a, however, wins because it gets updates directly from Google and actually is already on Android 13.
To its credit, Nothing has been updating the Phone 1 often too, adding features and removing bugs, but it is not expected to get Android 13 this year.
We vote for: The Google Pixel 6a. It is THE phone for those who want clean Android.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Yep, no chargers, but whose battery works better?
Both phones come with almost similar-sized batteries — Google Pixel 6a has a 4,410mAh battery while the Phone 1 has a 4,500mAh battery. And initially, the Pixel 6a seemed to have a clear edge over the Phone 1 in the battery department, but after a few updates, the Phone 1 has got back into contention.
Both phones will easily see off a day of normal-to-heavy usage, and that is considerably more impressive for the Nothing Phone 1 as it has a larger display with a higher refresh rate and also those LEDs on the back.
The Phone 1 also supports 33W charging, which is much faster than the 18W charging on the Pixel 6a, although neither phone comes with a charger in the box. The Phone 1 also supports wireless charging up to 15W and can even charge devices wirelessly. This is a clear will for the Nothing offering.
We vote for: The Nothing Phone 1. It lasts as long, charges faster, and also charges without wires.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Which is more fun to use? Yes, that DOES matter
In terms of general usage, we must confess we had much more fun using the Nothing Phone 1. Those LEDs on the back added a whole new dimension to the smartphone experience. We actually could put our phone face down and get an idea of what was happening on it, with different light patterns on the back letting us know who was calling and about notifications.
The LEDs also blink in sync (not too well, though) with music being played on the phone.
The Pixel 6a, on the other hand, offered a classic smooth experience, although its fingerprint scanner was very inconsistent (the Phone 1 had no such issues).
Both phones are great at handling everyday tasks and have a clean bloat-free interface. The Pixel 6a is easier to handle because of its smaller form factor, but the Nothing Phone 1 is just more fun. Yes, that is now a thing while using a smartphone.
We vote for: The Nothing Phone. It is just so different and still so much fun.
Nothing Phone 1 vs Google Pixel 6a: Which one should you buy?
As we said at the very outset, both phones were launched at vastly different price tags but have been brought closer together by the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale. So which of these two should you go for during this discount-friendly week?
Well, it depends on what you want. In terms of performance, the Pixel 6a is definitely a step ahead of the Phone 1, thanks to its more powerful processor and better cameras. Add assured and timely Android updates to the mix, and you would wonder why anyone would even consider the Nothing Phone 1.
A look at the Nothing Phone 1, and its flashing LED back, will answer that question. Without its transparent face and LED-driven interface, the Phone 1 would have been just another efficient, mid-segment smartphone. But those two features give the Phone 1 a different dimension. It is a phone that works well and looks stunningly different — more different than even the Pixel 6a.
Which works better for you depends on how different a phone you want. If you want a compact phone with a different design that comes with flagship-level performance and the latest Android, the Pixel 6a is a no-brainer.
But if you are looking for a whole new smartphone experience in terms of usage and a phone that does not merely turn heads, but twists them a full 180 degrees, then what you need is Nothing Phone 1.