Despite having only a single rear sensor, there’s no denying that the Pixel 4a’s main shooter takes the best photos of any mid-ranger, let alone just the OnePlus Nord. The most striking part of the design of the model I’ve been using is the Blue Marble colorway, which really pops in certain lighting conditions. It looks even more dramatic in person, though there’s also a far more muted Gray Onyx option too. The phone feels premium in the hand and a lot like a flagship thanks to its tapered glass back and large size. If the battery life and camera are more important to you, then choose the OnePlus Nord N10. But if the display and connectivity are more of a priority – go for the Google Pixel 4a.

The N10’s photo is arguably the most “realistic,” given it was late at night when the photo was taken, but that doesn’t make it desirable. OnePlus has dropped its most recognizable design feature from the N10 — the notification slider. This handy little switch changes between silent, vibrate, and ring modes without digging into the software, and ensures it’s quickly reversible too. It’s present on the Nord, the OnePlus 8 Pro, and the OnePlus 8T, yet not on the N10. It makes it less like a OnePlus phone, and rather more generic.

As for software, picking between the Nord’s OxygenOS and Google’s Pixel Experience will come down to personal preference. Similarly, both companies support have impressive track records with updates and version upgrades. You would expect this from Google, of course, but OnePlus is one of the best out there for long-term software support. OxygenOS is the more feature-rich of the two with a wide variety of customization options that look set to expand further when OxygenOS 11 rolls out. The budget smartphone market has become incredibly competitive over the past year or so thanks to ever-climbing flagship prices.

All three have a 90Hz refresh rate, but the Nord N10 5G’s screen is not as visibly smooth as the OLED-equipped phones. The device’s haptics are also more impressive than the Nord’s. The rear capacitive fingerprint scanner is faster and more accurate than the Nord’s in-display reader and can be used to pull project procurement management mainly involves down the notification shade. Its single punch hole is also smaller than the Nord’s double punch hole as it’s only housing a single camera. However, the bezels are ever so slightly thicker on the Pixel 4a. The OnePlus Nord has Gorilla Glass 5 on both front and back with a plastic rail around the outside.

The Nord’s images pop more, but the Pixel 4a’s images are the most lifelike. Comparatively, the Pixel 4a feels “cheaper” with its full polycarbonate build. However, its buttons — which are all on the right-hand side — feel crisper and more tactile. The single black color is a bit boring but isn’t offensive to look at by any means. The Pixel 4a’s USB-C port is rated at 3.1 speeds and there’s even a headphone jack at the top.