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Budget-friendly devices with cool cameras and good performance are always welcome to the smartphone market, where big flagships for more than $1k fight fiercely for attention. Affordable smartphones, however, are necessary, especially in current challenging economic times. These days, you can get a pretty capable smartphone for around $300-$400 and still be quite happy with it.
But as affordable phones get better and better, we are bound to ask ourselves which phone might satisfy our needs the best for a given budget. GooglePixel 4a, a very cool smartphone with a gorgeous camera is on the top of the list of possible candidates for the best budget-friendly smartphone.
On the other hand, we have Motorola which seems to release a new budget-friendly or mid-range smartphone every month… with the Moto G Stylus, a good smartphone with a built-in Stylus.
We are bound to compare those two quite popular options and determine which smartphone is $300 best spent. Let’s dive in, shall we?
First off, we start with inspecting the looks of both smartphones. After all, a good-looking device is a must given the fact that people judge a book by its cover.
The Pixel 4a is a 5.8-inch phone with an OLED display, surrounded by thin bezels and a with a tiny punch-hole for the selfie camera. The Moto G Stylus, on the other hand, has a slightly bigger screen at 6.4-inches diagonally, but its LCD.
Turning both phones around, we are greeted with a plastic back on both devices, which is hardly a surprise given the affordability of both. There is a slight difference in that the Pixel 4a’s frame is also made of plastic, while the Moto G Stylus rocks an aluminum frame.
As for the colors, both devices have a pretty limited array of color options: the Pixel 4a is available in Just Black, while the Moto G Stylus in a dark blue color dubbed Mystic Indigo, that we can find on a lot of Motorola affordable phones.
So, the truth of the matter is that neither the Pixel 4a, nor the Moto G Stylus offers a crazy amount of color options to pick from, but they both look pretty classical and unintrusive, and you can always snap on a crazy case if you so desire.
Moto G Stylus
Pixel 4a vs Moto G Stylus: specs and performance comparison
Now, one of the important things about smartphones is specifications and performance. After all, these are made to serve our demanding schedules at school, work, or play and have to be able to provide some good performance.
The Moto G Stylus comes with a Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB of RAM, while on the other hand, the Pixel 4a features a Snapdragon 730G chipset and 6GB of RAM. Spec-wise, the Pixel 4a is slightly superior to the Moto G Stylus, but our testing on both phones shows that both are quite capable of offering good and stable performance.
The Moto G Stylus comes with a built-in Stylus
One point that the Pixel 4a wins over the Moto G Stylus is for multitasking, where the 6GB of RAM offers snappy and responsive multitasking, while the Moto’s 4GB of RAM could be felt in some multitasking situations. Some apps would close in the background and you will have to wait for them a couple of seconds to restart.
Overall, both phones offer pretty stable and reliable performance, and to pronounce a winner in this category is challenging. If we have to pick one winner, though, the Pixel 4a will be the one in this category, with a slightly better and snappier performance.
Pixel 4a vs Moto G Stylus: camera comparison
The camera is really important on smartphones these days, as part of the appeal of a good smartphone is a good camera. The Pixel series of phones come with stunning cameras and some crazy-good image processing that puts them among the best camera phones on the market. And the Pixel 4a definitely doesn’t disappoint in this regard.
The Pixel 4a’s camera delivers sharp detail, natural colors, and excellent dynamic range. Additionally, the Pixel 4a takes challenging shots without any worry and maintains good contrast and exposure. Pictures taken with the Pixel 4a look great, no matter how you look at them, despite the fact that the phone comes with only one camera equipped with a 12MP sensor.
Pixel 4a camera samples
On the other hand, the Moto G Stylus features a triple-camera system with a main sensor of 48MP but lacks the image-processing capabilities that Google has engrained in the Pixel. The Moto does a good job in good lighting conditions, with enough detail and a realistic dynamic range. However, the Moto performs slightly worse than the Pixel 4a on indoor photos and low-light situations.
Moto G Stylus camera samples
Both phones have support for Night mode, Google calls it Night Sight while Motorola, Night Vision. In both cases, photos turn out good, however, the Moto G Stylus struggles in some situations to give an adequate amount of detail to a night photo.
Pixel 4a Nightsight mode
For selfies, the Moto G Stylus has a 16MP sensor, while the Pixel 4a an 8MP one. The Moto delivers a good job with color accuracy, giving us warm and vibrant colors. The Pixel 4a’s selfies have the same great image processing and, despite the 8MP sensor, manage to look almost as good as shots from the main camera. Overall, we will give this one to the Pixel 4a, which with fewer sensors rivals the Moto G Stylus’ three cameras and gives impressive results in all lighting conditions.
For more camera samples and a full review of the phones, check out:
Pixel 4a vs Moto G Stylus: battery life comparison
3140mAh vs 4000mAh
Here, the winner between the two affordable handsets is clear with a distinguishable 1 hour of superiority for the Moto G Stylus’ 4,000mAh battery cell. In our browsing test, the Moto surprises us with a stunning performance of 13h and 5 minutes, while the Pixel 4a, despite being with a smaller screen, only lasted 9h 27 minutes with its 3140mAh battery.
On YouTube video streaming and 3D gaming, the Pixel 4a again scored lower than the Moto G Stylus, so if you really need a big battery that can last up to two days of light usage, the Moto G Stylus is the better option to go for.
As for charging, the Pixel 4a supports 18W fast charging, while the Moto G Stylus supports up to 15W of fast charge. Although both are not crazy 60W fast chargers, both smartphones battery cells could be topped off for about an hour and a half from empty to full.
If you really want a camera phone, you will not be disappointed by the Pixel 4a, which has one of the best cameras for this price range. If you need more battery power though, and you enjoy working with a stylus on your phone, the Moto G Stylus is a pretty good candidate for you. In the end, it all boils down to personal preference and the specific needs that you have for your daily driver. Tell us in the comments which phone would you go for and why!