Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

Analysis and opinion about Google Pixel 4a: design, screen, performance, battery, camera, multimedia, sound, competitors, and price.

Google introduced the Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL at the end of 2019 and, this past summer, the company introduced the Google Pixel 4a, a more affordable version with cuts in hardware but maintaining Google’s great software experience and an excellent camera.

The Google Pixel 4a is a compact smartphone with a 5.8 ″ OLED screen with FullHD + resolution, Snapdragon 730G processor, 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, 3,140 mAh battery, 12MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, and, of course, Android 11. It is on sale for 349.99 dollars.

Google Pixel 4a Review

The Pixel 4a has a more modern design than its higher-end Pixel 4/4 XL siblings, as it has rather narrow bezels and, instead of a notch, a hole in the screen for the front camera.

The camera hole is not as small as in other high-end smartphones, but being located in a corner, it is not very annoying.

Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, which is not the latest coating but should offer protection against bumps and scratches.

The Google Pixel 4a has a polycarbonate (plastic) body with a matte finish.

I would have liked to see a glass finish with a more sophisticated look since the plastic gives the false impression that we are dealing with a cheap smartphone.

An advantage of the matte finish of the rear plastic is that the fingerprints are not marked on its surface, although there is some shine from the grease of the fingers.

Google only sells the Pixel 4a in black, so you won’t have to decide which finish you like best. As explained by Google, opting for a single color has reduced costs.

On the side, we find the power button and the volume button. Both buttons offer more resistance than usual when pressed, and they are also quite loud.

Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

At the back, we find a square module where the camera resides. This module is quite large to house only a camera and a flash, but this type of module is a trend this year and, at least in the case of the Pixel 4a, it stands out little from its surface.

The Pixel 4a is a fairly compact smartphone, with a thickness of 8.2 mm and a weight of just 143 grams. Therefore, it is a very suitable smartphone for those looking for a compact device that does not bulge too much in the pocket.

Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors
Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

The Pixel 4a comes with a 5.8 ″ OLED panel with a 19: 9 ratio, Full HD + resolution, and support for HDR playback. Unlike Pixel 4, it does not have an improved refresh rate but stays at 60 Hz.

The display offers good color fidelity, with a mode that reflects the sRGB gamut almost perfectly, in case you want to see content as it was created.

The maximum screen brightness is also high (718 nits), even when compared to high-end smartphones with a much higher price. However, the viewing angles are more limited, as you notice a color shift and multi-color flashes when rotating the screen.

Google offers the Always On Display functionalities that permanently display useful information on the screen, Screen Attention that prevents the screen from turning off if you are looking at it, and Night Light that reduces the emission of blue light.

Focusing on performance, the Pixel 4a comes with a Snapdragon 730G mid-range chip, which is not as powerful as other mid-range rivals that incorporate the Snapdragon 765G. This chip is accompanied by 6 GB of LPDDR4x RAM.

On a day-to-day basis, the Pixel 4a moves smoothly. Applications open fast and the interface moves with smooth animations, although some complex 3D games such as Call of Duty Mobile suffer from quite steep FPS drops.

The Pixel 4a comes with 128GB of UFS 2.1 internal storage, which has been formatted as F2FS (instead of EXT4) and offers fast read/write times.

Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

Google has not included the ability to expand storage using a micro-SD card and there are no multiple storage options to choose from either.

Google has incorporated a traditional fingerprint reader on the back. Since the reading area is not slightly recessed, it is sometimes not easy to get your finger right on the reader.

Although the recognition works well, it is not as comfortable as the fingerprint readers that many manufacturers already integrate under the screen, and that allows the phone to be unlocked even when it is resting on a table.

Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

Unfortunately, the Google Pixel 4a does not have a facial recognition system, not even a 2D one, so we cannot unlock the phone with our face.

The Pixel 4a has a 3,140 mAh battery, which offers good autonomy, although it does not stand out especially against other smartphones with larger batteries. On a day-to-day basis, you will be able to reach the end of the day with a remaining battery as long as you don’t use it very intensively.

The Pixel 4a has 18W fast charging through the USB-PD 2.0 standard, capable of recharging 50% in half an hour, and Google has not included wireless charging.

At the time of writing this review, the Pixel 4a already runs Android 11, the latest version of Google’s operating system. An advantage of being a Pixel phone is that it will receive major version updates of Android for at least three years.

Android 11 incorporates some interesting improvements such as the grouping of all chat notifications in the same section, floating bubbles for chat conversations, a new screen recording function, a new menu of smart devices by holding down the power button, improvements in multimedia playback controls, and more advanced permission control.

Google has also added some exclusive features of the Pixel, such as the suggestion of apps in the application dock based on our usage habits and the time of day.

Compared to other layers of personalization, I miss some useful functionalities such as application cloning, password protection of apps and albums, creating a private space or desktop mode.

In the multimedia aspect, it is worth noting the presence of two stereo speakers, although the second speaker is not on the front next to the USB-C connector.

Google has included a 3.5mm headphone jack, so if you don’t normally use Bluetooth headphones, it’s a very interesting and unusual addition.

Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

In the connectivity aspect , the Google Pixel 4a is compatible with Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac at 2.4 and 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, 3G / HSPA +, 4G / LTE, NFC and GPS.

Unfortunately, it does not have Dual SIM through two physical cards, but it does support eSIM.

One of the aspects that Google takes care of the most in the Pixel is the camera. The Pixel 4a has a single rear camera with a 12MP sensor with f / 1.7 aperture and optical stabilization.

Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

I can’t deny that I would have liked to see some additional cameras. Other rivals also incorporate an ultra-wide-angle and/or telephoto camera, which offers greater versatility when taking captures.

The rear camera is capable of taking excellent photos, especially when compared to other similarly priced smartphones.

Pictures taken during the day offer high clarity, faithful color, and accurate exposure. At night, images retain detail and preserve original coloring, while keeping noise contained.

Despite having only one camera, Portrait mode works well and allows you to modify the degree of blur afterward. However, Google does not offer studio lighting modes.

Google offers a Better Shot mode that captures photos before and after pressing the shutter button, and suggests a better shot if the one you’ve captured has a problem (for example, eyes closed). He can identify the people who appear the most in our photos to choose the shot in which he appears smiling, for example.

It also includes a Night Vision mode that takes pictures in low-light conditions with higher exposure without the need for a tripod. The result is good although, on occasions, the higher exposure can cause captures whose lighting looks somewhat artificial.

The front camera of the Pixel 4a has an 8 MP sensor with f / 2.0 aperture. This camera also features a synthetic flash that illuminates the screen to add extra light and take better low-light selfies. The results obtained with this camera are good.

Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

When it comes to recording video, the Pixel 4a can record stereo sound and offers excellent stabilization results with both the rear camera and the front camera. Video can be recorded up to 4K @ 30fps with the rear camera and up to 1080p @ 30fps with the front camera.

The Pixel 4a is on sale for 389 euros for the only 128GB version. It is a fairly tight price, especially if we compare it with Pixel 4, which starts at 759 euros.

Ultimately, the Pixel 4a is an excellent option if you are looking for a compact smartphone that offers a great Android experience with quick updates and a good (albeit lonely) rear camera.

Google Pixel 4a Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

Google Pixel 4a Full Specifications

DisplayFull-screen 5.8-inch (147.6 mm) display with transmissive hole
FHD+ (1080 x 2340) OLED at 443 ppi
19.5:9 aspect ratio
Always-on display
Now Playing
Touchscreen
100,000:1 super contrast ratio
True black level
HDR support
Full 24-bit depth for 16 million colors
Dimensions and Weight5.7 height x 2.7 width x 0.3 depth (inches)
144 height x 69.4 width x 8.2 depth (mm)
143 g
Battery3140 mAh
Memory and Storage6 GB LPDDR4x RAM
128 GB storage
ProcessorsQualcomm® Snapdragon™ 730G4
2.2 GHz + 1.8 GHz, 64-bit Octa-Core
Rear camera12.2 MP dual-pixel
1.4 μm pixel width
Autofocus with dual pixel phase detection
Optical + electronic image stabilization
ƒ/1.7 aperture
Front Camera8 MP
1.12 μm pixel size
ƒ/2.0 aperture
Fixed focus
SensorsProximity / Ambient light sensor
Accelerometer / Gyrometer
Magnetometer
Pixel Imprint™ – back-mounted fingerprint sensor for fast unlocking
Barometer
Android Sensor Hub
ChargingUSB-C® 18W adapter with USB-PD 2.0
18W fast charging
SIMsSingle Nano SIM
eSIM
ColorsJust Black
What’s in the box18W USB-C® power adapter
1 m USB-C to USB-C cable (USB 2.0)
Quick Start Guide
Quick Switch Adapter
SIM tool

All images and specifications credits for “pixel_4a“.

The Best and Worst about Google Pixel 4a

The best:

  • Smartphone with a compact and light body, and better use of the front than other Pixels.
  • OLED display with excellent color fidelity, high clarity, high brightness, and always-on display.
  • Smooth use of the phone thanks to competent hardware and a light customization layer.
  • The latest version of Android and three-year major version update guarantee.
  • New Android 11 features (improvements in notifications, chat bubbles, screen recording) and some exclusive features of the Pixel (like app suggestions)
  • Rear camera with excellent image quality and interesting software functionalities (better shot, night vision, portrait mode, dual exposure controls, RAW shooting, etc.).
  • Front camera with good image quality, Beauty mode, and Portrait effect
  • Very competent video recording with stereo sound and stabilization.
  • Stereo speakers and 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Fast cable charging (18W)

The Worst:

  • Plastic body with a less premium construction than other rivals
  • The performance of the Snapdragon 730G somewhat limited compared to other mid-range chips
  • The single rear camera, no ultra-wide-angle or telephoto lens
  • No slot for micro-SD or second SIM (although it supports eSIM).
  • No fingerprint reader under the screen or facial recognition
  • No FM radio
  • No wireless charging
  • No water resistance IP68.

Google Pixel 4a Price and Competitors

The Google Pixel 4a is on sale for 349.99 dollars in a single version with 128GB of storage. A few days ago, Google announced the Pixel 4a (5G). The same goes for Pixel 5 that it announced at the same event.

If you look at other phones, we have several interesting options in the mid-range that can compete against the Pixel 4a.

Recently, OnePlus has announced the OnePlus Nord ( $ 599.00 at Amazon) with a 6.44 ″ 90 Hz FullHD AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 765G processor, 8 / 12GB of RAM, 128 / 256GB of storage, 48MP rear cameras (wide angle) + 8MP (ultra wide angle) + 5MP (depth) + 2MP (macro), 32MP (wide angle) + 8MP (ultra wide angle) front camera and 4,115 mAh battery with 30W charge.

The POCO F2 Pro ( $ 409.98 at Amazon) has a 6.7 ″ Super AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 865 processor, 6/8 GB of RAM, 128/256 GB of storage, 64MP (wide angle) + 5MP (telephoto) rear camera + 13MP (ultra wide angle) + 2MP (depth), 20MP pop-up front camera and 4,700 mAh battery.

The Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite ( $ 343.85 at Amazon) has a 6.6 ″ Super AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 765G processor, 6GB of RAM, 64/128 GB of storage, 48MP (wide angle) + 8MP (ultra wide angle) rear camera + 2MP (depth) + 2MP (macro), 16MP front camera and 4,160 mAh battery with fast charging at 20W.

Another option is the OPPO Find X2 Lite ( $ 550.40 at Amazon) with 6.4 AMOLED FullHD + screen, Snapdragon 765G, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 48MP rear camera (wide angle) + 8MP (ultra wide angle) + 2MP ( depth) + 2MP (black and white), 32MP front camera, 4,025 mAh battery with 30W charge.

We cannot fail to mention the iPhone SE ( $ 573.87 ) with a 4.7 ″ LCD screen, A13 Bionic processor, 12MP f / 1.8 rear camera, 7MP f / 2.2 front camera, 64/128/256 GB of RAM, reader of Touch ID fingerprint, 1,821 mAh battery and water resistance.

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