Google Pixel 4a Review. How to Get Rid of Competitors
Google quite often pleases us with interesting devices that, at a reasonably low cost, can surprise a potential buyer with an advanced set of features and benefits. Now let’s talk about another new product -The Pixel 4A,that aims at conquering the middle class of devices. Many people will like it.
Naturally, as in the case of the previous models of this manufacturer, the engineers focus on the quality of the images. The smartphone takes excellent photos that are easily made by potential competitors. And it’s not even about special lenses or some kind of advanced image sensors, no, the point is in processing with the help of artificial intelligence.
The smartphone takes high-quality pictures and does not require any incredible content processing skills from the user. I would also like to note the large display with a high resolution, but this is no longer surprising to users since every second smartphone on the market can boast of this advantage. The advantages of this gadget lie precisely in the availability of high-quality photos.
I never tire of saying that Google stubbornly continues to follow its path in the smartphone industry. Perhaps, in stubbornness and unwillingness to cave into the market, the “iron” direction of the corporation even surpasses Apple. Another confirmation of this is the new Pixel 4a. But this is only at first glance. But upon closer examination, it becomes clear that Google made many concessions to its fans and took into account the criticism that last year’s 3a was subjected to, which became, if not a failure, then definitely the “first mistake” in the field of affordable Pixel smartphones. So, there won’t be any XL in this generation.
Google Pixel 4a Release Date
It is no longer worth mentioning that in 2020 a presentation, primarily offline, is a rarity for a smartphone. So, Pixel 4a was just presented on the company’s website, without much fanfare. The smartphone was expected back in the spring; they wanted to show it at the canceled Google I / O. In the US, the smartphone will go on sale soon, but the international release (for obvious reasons) will drag on until the end of 2020. By the way, at the same time, they promised to show the Pixel 4a version with 5G support. Most likely, the future smartphone will receive other hardware.
Google Pixel 4a Review
I shake Google’s hand ‒ the “good corporation” did not sharply increase the screen diagonal of the novelty. It is 5.81 inches at 1080 x 2340 pixels. Moreover, the OLED-matrix is made in a fashionable style with an embedded front-panel. That is, the huge screen frame, for which last year’s model was often criticized, is absent. There is support for Always-on mode here, so you have to live without a notification indicator. As well as without 90 Hz ‒ the gaining popularity of the 4a sweep was not received.
Corps and Display
The Pixel 4a looks a lot better than the Pixel 3a. Both devices are made of plastic, but the novelty has a matte texture, which makes the device much more pleasant to the touch, as well as less slippery. Moreover, Google decided to get rid of the two-tone design. Instead, it received a monophonic polycarbonate body. In general, the gadget looks and feels very good.
Google has changed the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The previous model had a slightly rough notch. The new item has a sensor that combines better with the body. The sensor has the same color as the back panel.
The main camera is located in the upper left corner of the rear panel. Its pad is very similar to the one used on the Pixel 4 ‒ it is a square with rounded corners. Unlike the expensive model, the more affordable one uses one module with a flash.
The rear panel of the novelty goes to its side edges and merges with them. The left side of the corps contains the SIM card tray, while the right side houses the volume rocker and turquoise power button. Funny that Google has been adding a similar color accent to all of its latest smartphones. On the bottom edge, there is a place for a USB-C port and a speaker, and on top is a 3.5 mm audio output.
The smartphone has a 5.81-inch OLED screen with Full HD resolution ‒ it looks fantastic. To be honest, this is one of the best displays you can see in a gadget in this price range. Its brightness in real tests reaches 719 nits, and its color contrast is highly accurate. This is one of the best displays in smartphones in 2020.
At the top left of the screen is a cutout for the front camera. Compared to the Pixel 3a, the bezels are minimal, which makes the gadget more compact. The novelty looks very modern, which is rare in this price segment.
This year, Google has made only one model of a low-cost smartphone: the XL variant is not available ‒ however, according to rumors, the Pixel 4a 5G could replace it. The gadget is smaller than most smartphones in 2020. Its total footprint is slightly larger than that of the iPhone SE.
All in all, the Pixel 4a is a compact portal to the world of pure Android. It has a simple design and a great screen that opens the door to the world of Google software. The company is not worried about bright colors and other design elements ‒ the gadget clearly shows this.
If it is not a budget smartphone, then an affordable one. Therefore, Google had to save on something. So, the screen here is covered by not the newest Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The frame and back panel are plastic. But there is no reason to doubt the quality of the materials. By the way, thanks to the use of plastic and relatively compact dimensions, the smartphone weighs only 143 g. There is only one color available ‒ black. But if you’re not a fan of the classics, then Google has already presented corps for the 4a in a variety of colors.
Processor, Memory, Communications
You need to understand that the Google Pixel 4a smartphone is not a flagship device, so the manufacturer did not plan to put some incredibly powerful hardware here, preferring simpler processors that are only slightly inferior in performance, but are cheaper.
The choice fell on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 processor, which has eight processing cores with relatively high clock speed, but at the same time costs significantly less than the flagship model, allowing the manufacturer to reduce the cost of the smartphone. In terms of synthetic tests, this processor also showed itself excellently in the real use of corps. In this regard, there is also nothing surprising ‒ the manufacturer deliberately focuses on accessibility.
The solution of adding not the most powerful hardware, but in everyday tasks and with optimization from Google, it will show itself well. Of course, you can remember that Chinese manufacturers of smartphones with such a “stone” sell much cheaper, but you shouldn’t compare Pixel 4a with another Redmi ‒ these are devices of different levels.
You won’t be able to choose memory here, but it’s enough for a smartphone in 2020 ‒ 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. There is no memory card here, as well as the second SIM card, but it is possible to work with eSIM.
And again, praise Google! In its affordable smartphone, the company continues to keep the 3.5mm audio jack. There is a lot to learn from other manufacturers. The set of interfaces and communications is exhaustive here ‒ Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC. And the Type-C port here has USB 3.1 compatibility.
The Pixel 4a has the best software Android to offer. Pixel Launcher is one of the simplest and smoothest skins for this operating system. Of course, the new Google has a ton of exclusive features that are only available to Pixel.
The gadget has an exclusive camera application, an updated assistant, a special menu for active playback, and more ‒ all this is extremely difficult to get on other gadgets, especially without jailbreak or third-party APKs. Many of the tricks are AI-based, and they are beneficial. On other devices, all this is sorely lacking.
Google gadgets have been updating for three years ‒ this means that the Pixel 4a will be able to run Android 13 and possibly even Android 14. Very few smartphones have anything like this. If you want to have access to the latest version of Android, there is no better Pixel smartphone right now. Moreover, Google smartphones are one of the few that can test versions of Android.
The Pixel 4a uses the same 12.2MP primary sensor found in the Pixel 4, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3a ‒ the Sony IMX 363. It has not changed in hardware, but it has been upgraded in software ‒ it uses interesting features of its older brother, including the astrophotography mode and double exposure.
Photos on the Pixel 4a match those on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 3a. The frames have great color and dynamic range, as well as better contrast than other gadgets on the market. Many other smartphones strongly lighten dark areas, which makes the picture flat ‒ the new product does not have this problem: it retains the detail of shadows and highlights.
It seems that today the world is approaching the point where the 12-megapixel sensor is becoming scarce. This is especially evident when the physical dimensions are close to one inch ‒ in this case, the additional resolution does not hurt. Pixel 4a shots look great without zooming in or cropping, but they get nasty texture when zoomed in 2x. Of course, it would be foolish to expect a breakthrough from an inexpensive gadget in this regard, but Google must surprise with movement in this direction in the future.
The Pixel 4a is slightly different from the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4, with better white balance, warmer tones, and balanced shadows. On the Pixel 3a, dark areas have a magenta tint that pushes the actual green in our test photos towards blue.
The iPhone SE shots are very similar to the Pixel 3a, in blue in the shade. Yes, an inexpensive Apple gadget has a higher dynamic range, but that’s not always a good thing. Due to this fact, the frames on the iPhone have less depth ‒ they seem more blurry.
As with other Google devices, the Pixel 4a has an excellent portrait mode. However, it can have blunders ‒ they usually happen on the hair. What’s more important, when using this feature, the resolution is cut in half, so further cropping the picture is unlikely to be a good idea.
Interestingly, despite the modest 8-megapixel sensor, the gadget takes excellent selfies ‒ they have almost no glare and very detailed shadows.
The Pixel 4a, like its big brother, has a night mode and a mode for taking pictures of the starry sky. The latter could not be thoroughly tested. But the former did an excellent job with the task assigned to it, revealing enough details in dark scenes. Of course, evening shots are not always clear enough, but in this case, the movement of the device at a long exposure is to blame.
Overall, the Pixel 4a shots are classic Google smartphones. They look great in almost any situation. Yes, the gadget does not have a super wide-angle camera or telephoto lens. Still, for $ 350 in US retail, the results are more than reasonable.
The Pixel 4a can shoot 4K video at up to 30fps and 1080p at 60fps. The videos look very good with good stabilization. On a bright day, they may be a little overexposed, but under normal conditions, there are no problems with light.
The 4a battery has grown compared to its predecessor, but only slightly ‒ up to 3140 mAh.
The average battery life of the Pixel 4a with a 3140 mAh battery is at 6.4 hours of screen activity. Most often, it survives without problems until the end of the day. That’s nice considering the Pixel 4, with its smaller battery and more powerful processor, was not at all happy about it.
It takes 87 minutes to fully charge the Pixel 4a with the included 18W power supply ‒ is the average for smartphones in 2020. OPPO Find X2 Pro charges from zero to 100% with a 65W power supply in 43 minutes. Google’s new product is much more modest. It’s a pity that wireless charging is not provided here.
Last year’s Google Pixel 3a turned out to be the most affordable of Google’s current smartphones. With it, fans of the brand were able to try out the concept of the Android operating system without third-party add-ons, without spending too much money. It is the company’s first mid-budget gadget since 2016 ‒ that’s when it ditched the Nexus line and switched to the Pixel series.
The Google Pixel 4a marks the next milestone in affordable Google gadgets, bringing all the strengths of the Nexus and Pixel smartphones into one device. It has a minimalistic design and a simple set of features, each of which emphasizes the software characteristics of the device. The new gadget could become the king of low-cost devices in 2020. For this, it has excellent build quality, a fantastic screen, proprietary cameras, and the best software suite on the market.
- display: 5.81-inch OLED, resolution 2340 × 1080 pixels, aspect ratio 19.5 to 9.
- chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G with GPU Adreno 618.
- memory: 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of permanent.
- cameras: main 12.2 megapixel with f / 1.8 aperture and 76-degree view, front 8 megapixel with f / 2.0 aperture and 84-degree view.
- communication and interfaces: LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, NFC, 3.5 mm audio jack.
- battery: 3140 mAh.
- moisture protection: no.
- 3.5 mm audio output: yes.
- Unlock Fingerprint scanner, face recognition.
- operating system: Android 10.
- dimensions and weight: 151.3 × 70.1 × 8.2 mm, 147 g.
Price and Rivals
For $ 350, the Pixel 4a has a lot of advantages: the main one is pure Android in a compact body. Small smartphones are made exceptionally rarely, and for a third of the flagship cost, this is just a godsend. In the same price range, there are only a few decent alternatives: iPhone SE, OnePlus Nord, and Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro.
The $ 399 iPhone SE in US retail offers a better glass and metal chassis, wireless charging, and a flagship processor. It’s a shame it lacks the vibrant OLED screen and a headphone jack that the Pixel 4a boasts. However, the choice between the iPhone SE and the Pixel 4a has more to do with the ecosystem you use: Apple or Google.
The most affordable international version of OnePlus Nord is priced at $500. For the money, it has a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, a 90 Hz display, more RAM and persistent memory, and 30W charging. All this is good, but the difference in price is already critical.
For $500, you can also buy the Poco F2 Pro on the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor with a large battery and fast charging. Yes, he has specific software that will make getting used to it, but it is possible.
Should You Buy the Google Pixel 4a
The Pixel 4a is Google’s most affordable gadget. It is a compact smartphone that is easy to use. It has a good screen and one of the best cameras in this price range. The Pixel 4a doesn’t have many competitors in this regard.
The Pixel 4a lacks a 120Hz display, the latest Snapdragon processor, and multiple main cameras. But all this does not matter, because the device provides access to one of the best versions of Android with support for the latest developments in Google. This alone is worth far more than the sum of the rest of it. If you take into account the optimization and speed of work, you get the iPhone SE in Google’s vision.
The Pixel 4a should be bought for those who are tired of big, expensive smartphones and want to upgrade to something more compact, which works and does it well. At $350, this is one of the best gadgets in 2020.
- fantastic screen;
- excellent performance;
- wonderful cameras;
- “true” Android;
- 3 years of software update;
- headphone jack;
- no wireless charging;
- there is no moisture protection;
- one main camera;
- one color.