By | November 22, 2023
Mint Mobile US

This Black Friday you have a choice between two attractively priced phones that are an even better deal, thanks to discounts. The Samsung Galaxy A54 and Google Pixel 6a are both mid-range devices that cost even less than usual right now, so if you’re trying to choose one as your own next phone, or someone else’s in your life, we can help you decide which model is the best for your needs.

Both the Galaxy A54 and Pixel 6a have a place on our list of best cheap phones, which is a good start. Samsung’s phone is the newer phone of the two, and is also larger, which helps its display and battery specs. The Pixel 6a is a 2022 phone that you can still buy fresh, which means it’s cheaper to begin with. Also factor in all of Google’s well-considered software and photography features, and you can see why this Pixel is still a contender more than a year after its debut.

Check out our Black Friday phone deals page if you want to see what’s on offer in other corners of the smartphone market, but otherwise brace yourself for a Galaxy vs Pixel showdown.

Samsung Galaxy A54 vs. Google Pixel 6a: Specifications

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Row 0 – Cell 0 Samsung Galaxy A54 Google Pixel 6a
Show 6.4-inch AMOLED (2340 x 1080) 6.1-inch OLED (2400 x 1080)
Update frequency 120 Hz 60 Hz
The chipset Exynos 1380 Tensor G1
Ram 6GB, 8GB 6GB
Storage 128 GB, 256 GB 128 GB
Expandable? Yes, up to 1TB via microSD No
Rear cameras 50 MP main (f/1.8), 12 MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 5 MP macro (f/2.4) 12.2 MP main (f/1.7), 12 MP ultrawide (f/2.2)
Front camera 32MP (f/2.2) 8MP (f/2.0)
Battery 5000 mAh 4,410 mAh
Loading 25W wired 18W wired
Size 6.2 x 3.0 x 0.32 inches (158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2 mm) 6 x 2.8 x 0.35 inches (152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm)
Weight 7.1 ounces (202 grams) 6.3 ounces (178 grams)
Colors Awesome Graphite, Awesome White, Awesome Lime, Awesome Violet Sage, charcoal, chalk

Samsung Galaxy A54: Why you should get it

Although the Galaxy A54 is slightly cheaper than Samsung’s top-tier Galaxy S23 models, it actually has the same high-resolution 50MP main camera. As a result, the Galaxy A54 shares the S23’s strong low-light performance, visible in this comparison of a plate of tacos with the Pixel 6a.

There’s also a 12MP ultrawide and 5MP macro camera on the back of the Galaxy A54, plus a 32MP selfie camera on the front.

Galaxy A54 smartphone

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Surrounding the front camera is another of the Galaxy A54’s best features – a 6.4-inch, 120Hz OLED display that can get surprisingly bright and offers richer, more accurate colors compared to the Pixel 6a. You can buy bigger phones for less, but the A54 is a good size for most people, balancing the benefits of a large screen while keeping pocket-friendliness in mind.

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Samsung Galaxy A54 Pixel 6a
Screen size 6.4-inch AMOLED 6.1-inch OLED
sRGB (%) 127.1% (natural) 111.1% (natural)
DCI-P3(%) 90% (natural) 78.7% (natural)
Delta-E 0.06 0.20
Maximum brightness 854 nits 778 nits

In our tests, we found that the 5,000mAh battery inside the A54 offers impressive performance, lasting 11 hours and 46 minutes at 60Hz screen refresh mode in our custom battery test. That’s more than five hours longer than the Pixel 6a’s 6 hours and 29 minutes. With its 25W charging system, the Galaxy A54 charges faster too, although you have to buy the charger separately.

An additional feature of Samsung’s lid is that it offers expandable storage via a microSD card slot. This is a rare feature on any phone these days, and a possibly invaluable one, as it allows you to move files to and from your phone much more easily. You can also specify up to 256GB of built-in storage as standard, which should be plenty of room for most users on its own.

Galaxy A54: Why you should skip it

Let’s talk about the most obvious downside of the Galaxy A54: it costs more than the Pixel 6a. While overall it’s a well-priced device, and there are some good deals going on, you’ll still be paying more if you choose the Galaxy A54 over the Pixel.

We also don’t always find macro cameras like the one on the Galaxy A54 that useful. While taking extreme close-ups is an appealing idea, for it to work you have to get your phone so close to the subject that you block out most of the light, leading to some uncomfortably grainy shots.

Pixel 6a: Why you should get it

Photography is always a strong point of the Google Pixel, and this also applies to budget models like the Pixel 6a. Even with its 12.2MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide and 8MP selfie camera offering fewer megapixels than rival phones, Google’s excellent software processing and editing tools make it very easy to get great photos from the Pixel 6a.

Google Pixel 6a review

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

At 6.1 inches, the Pixel 6a is quite small for a smartphone in this day and age, which may be welcome news for people who struggle to use or store larger phones. The OLED screen is still pretty bright too, and offers a slightly higher resolution than the Galaxy A54 despite its smaller overall size.

The Galaxy A54 runs on Android just like the Pixel 6a but the Pixel version of Android brings with it a host of features that you won’t get anywhere else. It includes the photo-related ones we mentioned earlier like Magic Eraser, but also an interpreter mode to translate a conversation in real time, plus the smorgasbord of new abilities added by Android 14, the latest update.

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Row 0 – Cell 0 Galaxy A54 Google Pixel 6a
Geekbench 5 (single-core/multi-core score) 781/2,664 1,057 / 2,918
3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (score/fps) 2,828 / 16.9 6,972 / 41.7
Adobe Premiere Rush Time to Encode (min:seconds) 1:12 0:49

Google uses the same Tensor chip from its flagship Pixels in the Pixel A series, and while it’s not super powerful compared to other premium phones’ chips, it outperforms the Exynos 1380 found in the Galaxy A54. Whether you’re looking at CPU or GPU benchmark results, or our Adobe Premiere Rush video transcoding test, the Pixel comes out on top.

Pixel 6a: Why you should skip it

Not everyone wants a smaller screen on their phone, and perhaps some users will find the Pixel 6a too small to drink in every detail of streaming content. What’s also less encouraging is the 60Hz screen refresh rate, which is outdated technology that makes scrolling through menus less pleasant and the screen less power efficient.

Speaking of energy efficiency, the Pixel 6a is a major disappointment when it comes to battery life. Power users may need a power bank and USB-C cable to keep the Pixel 6a charged, but if you don’t use your phone too intensively, you can still get a full day’s use out of the Pixel 6a.

Then there’s the fact that the Pixel 6a is over a year old. Google’s latest cheaper Pixel is the Pixel 7a, which is more expensive but offers upgraded cameras, a better chipset, wireless charging and a 90Hz display. Plus, it’s on sale for Black Friday too, with Amazon selling the Pixel 7a for $374, a $125 discount.

Samsung Galaxy A54 vs. Google Pixel 6a: Verdict

The good news is that you can’t really go wrong with either the Samsung Galaxy A54 or the Google Pixel 6a, especially with the Black Friday phone deals currently available. The Pixel 6a is the cheaper of the two, which is certainly an advantage during the current deal fest, and its Google-enhanced software gives your phone capabilities that will make other Android users jealous.

However, you get more for your money with the Galaxy A54, thanks to its extra higher-resolution cameras, bigger and brighter screen and amazing battery life. It would certainly be my pick if choosing between these two phones, although I’d certainly look at the Pixel 7a as an option as well at this price point.

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