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Winners and Losers: The Pixel 6a wows while Xiaomi leaves fans in the lurch

OPINION: This week’s been a busy one over at Trusted Towers with our team of expert reviewers giving their definitive verdict on the hotly hyped Nothing Phone and big name brands unveiling a host of new devices – including a flashy 480Hz laptop from Alienware.

But for us there has been one very clear winner and one very clear loser in the world of tech. Here’s who they are.

The back of the Pixel 6a in Sage

Winner: Mid-range phone buyers

For years we’ve told buyers that you don’t have to spend flagship money to get a decent phone and this week that fact was once again proven with not one, but two awesome £400/$400 handsets earning recommended badges from our reviews team.

First we had the hotly anticipated Nothing Phone 1, a device that’s been generating hype since former OnePlus bigwig Carl Pei first teased it many moons ago. While we found it wasn’t quite as “revolutionary” as hoped, as mid-range phones go it’s pretty awesome. The handset has an atypical design featuring a transparent back and custom LED lights that offer users incoming notification alerts. The look reminded reviewer Max Parker of the classic Nintendo Gameboy, which also had a similar chassis option.

The unique design and solid internals, which let it offer reasonable performance, decent battery life and competitive camera quality earned a 4/5 recommended score and badge.

Two days later we published our Google Pixel 6a review. Costing the same as the Nothing Phone 1 and featuring many of the same perks as the full fat Pixel 6 the phone also earned a 4/5 recommended score and badge. Key highlights include the use of Google’s AI focussed Tensor chip, a wonderfully compact design and all the benefits of unskinned Android.

The dynamic duo made phone buyers on a budget this weeks’ clear winner.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra-Green 3

Loser: Xiaomi fans

Sadly, while Pixel and Nothing fans had a lot to celebrate, the opposite was true for Xiaomi followers. This week, after weeks of hints, Xiaomi confirmed its next phone, the 12S Ultra, will not be launching in the US or UK. This is a real shame for a couple of reasons. Based on our experience reviewing Xiaomi phones over the past few years, the 12S Ultra’s absence will be felt by many flagship fans.

Xiaomi’s effectively taken Huawei’s place recently as one of the best value phone makers, with its handsets earning a reputation as strong performers with lower prices than you’d expect for the hardware you get. This was recently demonstrated when we reviewed the Xiaomi 12 Pro.

Then there’s the fact that the Ultra’s actually quite a neat-looking phone with it featuring a custom Leica-branded camera with a huge 1-inch image sensor, as well as the latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor.

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