The Best Review of the Google Pixel 4a
Google Pixel 4a: is it worth your purchase?
It is possible that the Pixel 4a does not stand out especially in many sections that are key today, but that does not mean that it maintains its unique charm with which it will attract many buyers.
- Compact design
- Big cameras
- 3 years of Android updates
- No 5G connectivity
- Screen limited to 60 Hz
Retail price (RRP)
The Best Review of the Google Pixel 4a
To tell the truth, the latest mid-range Google Pixel 4a has been waiting, but finally it is here in another attempt to market the best Android smartphone you can find with the best quality and price ratio.
Overall, Google has done a fantastic job offering key features at a price even cheaper than the Pixel 3a. However, the most technologically geeks may miss certain key features that other competing brands do offer within this same price range.
When I say that the Pixel 4a is here, it means that the phone is finally official. However, in reality it is not yet possible to access your purchase until September 10, so your delivery will not start until the month of October. The Americans will be the first to obtain it on August 20.
Google argues that as has happened to many companies, its supply chain has been affected by COVID-19, which has had to adjust its launch plans to ensure the safety of its employees, partners and customers.
Let us discover then what are its strengths and if it is worth waiting for its final availability.
Design and build quality
Although it still closely resembles Google’s work, there are some substantial changes that make the 4a a little better than its predecessor, but also a little worse. What is not missing are its rounded lines at the edges, pleasant to the touch.
If we start from the back, the 4a still uses a polycarbonate body instead of the glass present in the flagship models. Although it doesn’t look that premium, it won’t break if dropped, plus it turns out to be lighter.
The phone still features 8.2mm thickness, but it’s slightly lighter at 143 grams. It is also a bit shorter despite the larger screen and, more importantly, it is one of the most compact phones on the market.
And there is a limited offer of terminals of small size, despite the fact that there is still a great demand, so it is great to see that the Pixel 4a will be able to fill this gap for all those Android users who yearn for it.
We like the smooth matte finish, but it’s a shame the shiny part of the top is gone. The fingerprint scanner is still on the back and is more subtle than other pixels.
The rear camera module has been moved to the corner in a square shape to match the Pixel 4, but you will actually only find one lens inside.
We have good news for the fact that Google has finally decided to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack, though fans of the Active Edge feature will be disappointed with its demise.
The sensors that Google placed in previous generations on the sides so that when we pressed the phone we could start the assistant, have disappeared in the Pixel 4a. We assume that it is something that is due to wanting to reduce the final price of the product.
There is also no waterproofing. Already up front, the Pixel 4a looks different and more modern compared to its predecessor, and even the Pixel 4. Let’s take a look at what this new display has to offer.
The frames of the new Pixel 4a continue to shrink from the previous ones, to which is added the fact that now the front selfie camera is in the form of a perforated hole, completely surrounded by the screen and moved to the left side.
This makes the Pixel 4a look more contemporary and is a huge improvement over previous Pixel bezels, as well as the Pixel 3 XL model’s notch. Speaking of models, there is no Pixel 4a XL, so this is your only size choice.
If you’re new to the drill notch, it may seem a bit strange at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to. Google even provides a set of wallpapers that use it as a focal point, hiding or partially hiding it.
We consider this 5.8-inch screen to offer a nice balance between usability and having enough space to enjoy content. It’s so rare to find a compact phone with a screen less than 6 inches today that is a good reason to buy the Pixel 4a.
Despite the rumors about the technology, the Pixel 4a has an OLED panel and still uses a Full HD + resolution at 443 dpi, so there are many pixels to offer a tremendously sharp image without this negatively impacting the battery.
Colors are vibrant, contrast is solid, and there’s HDR support, too. Likewise, you get always-on functionality complete with Google’s Now Playing feature that tells you what music is playing nearby and recognize it.
It is one of the most beautiful screens that you can get for this price, despite the fact that its refresh rate is only 60 Hz, so you have to fight with models like the OnePlus Nord or the Realme X50 5G with values of 90 and 120 Hz respectively.
Specifications and performance
5G connectivity is another factor that you do not get in the Pixel 4a and this is because Google has chosen to integrate a Snapdragon 730G processor, an option where many rivals already have the most powerful 765G model and with 5G support.
Based on the screen refresh rate, if 5G is a big deal on your priority list, then the Pixel 4a shouldn’t be your choice. However, you should know that Google will launch a Pixel 4a (5G) later this year if you like the rest of the aspects of the terminal.
The Snapdragon 730G chip provides seamless, day-to-day performance and Google has increased memory to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. A good update against the Pixel 3a, despite the price reduction.
However, you should know that you still can not have a microSD card slot to expand storage. Below, we show you our results in the benchmark performance tests.
Before going into details, you should know that there is a misperception with smartphone cameras, as many manufacturers try to add as many lenses as possible and promote an impressive number of megapixels when you won’t even use all the lenses.
Here you should know that Google does nothing to inflate the numbers, but don’t be fooled by the Pixel 4a’s apparent lack of photography specs. As before, the idea here is for you to get the same main camera found in the Pixel 4 flagship within a cheaper phone with incredible software capabilities .
Therefore, the Pixel 4a has a 12 MP rear camera with an f / 1.7 aperture, although you won’t have telephoto as a secondary option. It has dual pixel phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilization.
At the front, there is an 8 MP camera with an f / 2 aperture. The main difference here is positioning in the corner of the screen, rather than the center.
Having lots of cameras may sound appealing, but if you don’t know what aperture means and you really just want a phone that can take great photos doing all the hard work for you, then the Pixel 4a meets all the requirements.
Where rivals have overly complicated camera apps, Google presents things intuitively and easily, making it easy to access the features you’ll be using most of the time. That’s the normal camera mode along with ‘Portrait’ and ‘Night View’.
As we have found with previous Pixel phones, the level of photography offered here is excellent and is essentially a point-and-shoot method. The app will show useful functions like backing to improve focus.
Live HDR + means you are viewing the end result before pressing the shutter button, and you can also adjust things like brightness and shadows in the same way.
In the following captures it is possible to see how the low light shots look like normal photos and a night shot seems to have some lighting. In fact, the ‘Night View’ can also handle astrophotography, although this is not clarified in the application.
We haven’t been able to test it thoroughly due to weather conditions, but you should know that just aiming at the sky at night is enough to capture long exposures. You only need to help you with a tripod or a place to support the phone to avoid movement.
You are likely to shoot videos more often than with the astrophotography feature. While the Pixel 4a can shoot up to 4K resolution, keep in mind that you have a limit of 30 fps.
You can shoot 1080p at a value of 120 fps and the results are pretty solid, especially with smooth stabilization. Still, the most outstanding facet of its cameras is focused on offering good results in the area of photography.
The front camera takes great selfies, and a Pixel-exclusive feature called ‘Portrait Blur’ lets you add the bokeh effect of portrait mode to an image taken in normal camera mode, without the need for an additional lens.
Google has barely increased the battery capacity of the previous generation, as it jumps from 3000 mAh to 3140 mAh of the current one. It is not enough if we consider the competition, but curiously Google mentions being able to last up to 24 hours of use for the Pixel 4a.
We have observed that the battery life has been optimized by Google lasting an average of a day and a half of use in normal conditions and without using any dark mode and with the active screen function always activated.
Things should get better over time, as the ‘Battery Fit’ feature is there to reduce the usage of system apps and reduce the power of the apps you rarely use.
Fast charging has not been faster than before, plus we still don’t have the wireless charging option (not without a glass back). However, when the supplied 18W charger causes the Pixel 4a to charge 51% in less than 30 minutes, the experience is pretty decent.
Not surprisingly, the Pixel 4a comes with Android 10, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. What you get when you buy a Pixel device is Android in its purest form. This means that everything is clean and simple on the interface, with no unnecessary pre-installed apps.
Despite the fact that third-party Android terminal manufacturers have gradually brought these experiences closer, it is still refreshing to use a Pixel compared to other models.
One thing that may be new to you is gesture control, which is similar to using an iPhone. You must swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go to ‘Home’ or pause the same swipe to open recent applications.
It’s easy enough to get used to and also allows you to quickly jump between open apps by swiping your finger left and right at the bottom. If you are looking for how to go back, you must swipe from any side of the screen.
An additional advantage that we love and that is little talked about is that Google guarantees at least three years of Android updates. Also, as you may already know, future versions of Android arrive in advance for the Pixel family.
Price and where to buy
Google follows the same pattern for its new Pixel 4a as in previous versions, so you can buy it once it is available through the company’s official website, where you will currently find the Pixel 3a at a recommended price of € 349, compared to € 399 that it previously cost.
In this way, you can choose to join what Google calls ‘Waiting List’ to purchase the new model once it is available. The current price of the Pixel 4a is € 389 , with an already discussed configuration of 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage.
Take a look in the meantime at our special on the best cheap mid-range mobiles you can buy this year . If what you are interested in is being able to have 5G within this more affordable range, we also have a special on the best cheap 5G mobiles.
Although the Pixel 4a has tough competition this year, we still think it has a chance of succeeding due to its compact format and extras. Although it can’t compete in many ways, like 5G support, there are other charms and benefits.
Essentially, it will captivate less technical users who don’t care about going beyond the 60Hz screen and who prefer to have the Pixel 4a’s hard-to-find compact design paired with easy-to-use Android 10, plus OS updates .
At the end of the day, this mid-range is also about providing a smooth and accessible experience, which we think Google has done very well. If you want to play games on your mobile, then there are several rivals who can objectively overcome it.
In the United States, the phone has far less competition and is easily one of the best, arguably the best mid-range smartphone you can buy. However, in Europe and other continents, Chinese brands offer a lot within this range.
- 5.8-inch Full HD + screen
- 19.5: 9 OLED ratio and 443 dpi
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor
- 6 GB of RAM
- 128 GB of storage (without microSD)
- 12.2 MP and f / 1.7 rear camera with dual-pixel autofocus
- 8 MP and f / 2.0 front selfie camera
- Rear Pixel Imprint fingerprint sensor
- Stereo speakers and headphone jack
- Dual band 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1 LE with aptX HD
- GPS, NFC, Nano SIM
- USB-C type connector
- 3140 mAh 18W fast charge battery
- Android 10 operating system
- Dimensions 144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm
- Weight of 143 grams