For some time it felt like Google’s new mid-range telephone would by no means arrive however the Pixel 4a is lastly right here in one other try to supply the perfect value-for-money Android smartphone round.
On the entire, Google has accomplished one other unbelievable job of getting the important thing issues proper right here and at a less expensive value than the Pixel 3a. Nevertheless, tech nerds are more likely to be tempted by some rivals attributable to a few lacking options.
After I say the Pixel 4a is right here, which means the telephone is official in the end. Nevertheless, you possibly can’t truly pre-order it till 10 September, then it received’t begin delivery till 1 October. Within the UK anyway, these within the US can get it on 20 August.
Google instructed me “Like many firms our provide chain was impacted by COVID-19 and we needed to alter our launch plans accordingly to make sure the security of our staff, companions and prospects.”
The query is whether or not the Pixel 4a is value ready for, so let’s discover out.
Design & Construct
It’s a case of the identical, however totally different in terms of the Pixel 4a’s design.
Whereas it nonetheless very a lot appears like Google’s handiwork, there are a couple of adjustments that make the 4a a bit higher than its predecessor but additionally slightly worse.
Beginning on the again, the 4a nonetheless makes use of a polycarbonate unibody as an alternative of the glass used on the flagship fashions. Whereas it may not really feel fairly as premium, it received’t smash if dropped and is lighter.
The telephone remains to be 8.2mm thick however is a tad lighter at 143g. It’s additionally slightly shorter regardless of the bigger display screen and importantly is without doubt one of the most compact handsets available on the market.
I used to be excited in regards to the OnePlus Nord, hoping it might be a smaller model of the OnePlus Eight nearer to the OnePlus X design nevertheless it’s nonetheless enormous. There’s an actual lack of smaller telephones on the market so it’s nice to see the Pixel 4a fill this want for those who crave it.
I just like the delicate matt end nevertheless it’s a disgrace that the distinctive shiny part on the high has gone. The fingerprint scanner remains to be on the again and is extra delicate than different Pixels
The digicam module within the nook is perhaps sq. to match the Pixel 4, however there’s truly just one lens there.
As you possibly can see, I’ve been testing the Simply Black color and by no means has a colourway title been extra acceptable. The Pixel 4a is barely accessible on this choice for now because of the provide chain points.
There’s excellent news as a result of Google has stored the three.5mm headphone jack however followers of the Lively Edge characteristic might be disenchanted. The sensors Google has beforehand put within the sides so you possibly can squeeze the telephone to launch the Assistant are gone on the Pixel 4a.
I assume that is partly to attain a cheaper price level and give attention to different options. To that finish, it’s no shock that there isn’t any waterproofing right here.
On the entrance, the Pixel 4a appears dramatically totally different and extra trendy in comparison with its predecessor, and even a good bit when in comparison with the Pixel 4. So let’s check out that new display screen.
Bezels are boundaries and as such, slimming them down considerably on the Pixel 4a means the show is midway to the Pixel 3a XL regardless of the chassis getting smaller.
That is truly the primary Pixel telephone with a ‘transmissive gap’, aka a punch-hole the place the display screen fully surrounds the front-facing digicam.
It makes the 4a look up to date and is a giant enchancment on the bezels of earlier Pixels in addition to the notoriously disliked notch of the three XL. Talking of XL fashions, there isn’t any Pixel 4a XL so that is your solely selection this yr.
Should you’re new to the punch-hole notch then it might really feel slightly bizarre at first nevertheless it doesn’t take lengthy to get used to. Google even features a set of wallpapers which use it as a focus, which additionally kind of hides it on the similar time.
I discover this 5.8in display screen to be a very nice candy spot between usability and having sufficient actual property to take pleasure in content material. It’s so uncommon to discover a compact telephone with a sub-6in display screen nowadays that it’s a giant cause to get the Pixel 4a if these don’t swimsuit you.
Regardless of rumours of dropping the tech, the Pixel 4a has an OLED panel and nonetheless makes use of a Full HD+ decision. At 443ppi, that’s loads of pixels for a pointy picture with out unnecessarily draining the battery.
Colors are vibrant, distinction is strong and there’s HDR assist, too. You additionally get always-on performance full with Google’s Now Taking part in characteristic which tells you what music is enjoying close by if it might recognise it.
It’s one of the crucial lovely screens you may get for this value. The one factor lacking is a excessive refresh charge, however I don’t suppose the 4a is de facto aimed toward customers who will care about this.
In case you are on the lookout for 90- and even 120Hz you then’ll must look elsewhere, in all probability to the OnePlus Nord or Realme X50 5G.
Specs & Efficiency
5G is one other factor you don’t get on the Pixel 4a and it’s because Google has gone for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor, the place many rivals have the extra highly effective 765G.
As per the show refresh charge, if 5G is one thing excessive up your precedence listing then the Pixel 4a doesn’t lower the mustard. Nevertheless, Google might be launching a Pixel 4a (5G) later this yr in the event you should have the newest tech.
If not, then the Snapdragon 730G offers completely clean operation day-to-day and Google has bumped the reminiscence to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of space for storing. A pleasant improve on the 3a regardless of the worth drop.
There’s nonetheless no microSD card slot, although.
You possibly can see our benchmark outcomes beneath in comparison with the primary competitors. Be aware that we haven’t examined the Realme X50 5G but so the Realme 6 Professional is an alternative choice, though with a Snapdragon 720G and no 5G assist.
There’s one thing of a false financial system occurring with smartphone cameras, with many producers including as many lenses as doable – usually for the sake of selling a powerful quantity while you received’t even use all of them.
Google does nothing of the type right here, however don’t be fooled by the Pixel 4a’s obvious lack of images specs. As beforehand, the thought right here is that you just get the identical principal digicam discovered on the flagship Pixel Four inside a less expensive telephone and Google’s unbelievable software program.
So the Pixel 4a has 12Mp rear digicam with an f/1.7 aperture, though not the telephoto lens as a secondary choice. It’s received dual-pixel section detection autofocus and optical picture stabilisation.
On the entrance, there’s an 8Mp digicam with an f/2 aperture. The principle distinction right here is the positioning within the nook of the display screen.
Having numerous cameras may sound interesting however in the event you don’t know what aperture means and you actually simply need a telephone that may take nice pictures by doing all of the arduous be just right for you then the Pixel 4a suits the invoice.
The place rivals have overly sophisticated digicam apps, Google lays issues out in an intuitive method making it easy to entry the options you’ll use on a regular basis. That’s specifically the common digicam mode together with Portrait and Evening Sight.
As we’ve discovered with the earlier Pixel telephones, the extent of images on supply right here is great and in an primarily level and click on methodology. The app will convey up helpful pointers like transferring barely again to enhance focus and letting you recognize while you’re holding the telephone completely degree.
Reside HDR+ means you’re wanting on the last consequence earlier than hitting the shutter button and you may alter issues just like the brightness and shadows in the identical method too.
You possibly can see the check pictures within the gallery beneath with low mild pictures wanting like common pictures and an evening time shot showing to have some lighting rigged up. Evening Sight may deal with astrophotography, though this isn’t made clear within the app.
I haven’t been in a position to check it attributable to climate circumstances however level it on the sky and it might take lengthy exposures of the evening sky. You’ll simply want a tripod or someplace to relaxation the telephone as a result of holding it is going to trigger an excessive amount of motion.
You’re more likely to shoot video extra usually than use the astrophotography characteristic. Whereas the Pixel 4a can shoot as much as 4K decision, observe that it’s capped at 30fps. You possibly can shoot 1080p at as much as 120fps and outcomes are fairly strong, particularly with some clean stabilisation. Nonetheless, the first characteristic right here is images.
The entrance digicam takes glorious selfies and an unique Pixel characteristic known as ‘Portrait Blur’ that means you possibly can add the bokeh impact of portrait mode on a picture taken with the common digicam mode.
Google has bumped the dimensions of the battery a litter right here from 3000- to 3140mAh. Not sufficient to make an enormous distinction however, oddly, Google quotes a battery lifetime of 24 hours for the Pixel 4a when the 3a is touted at 30 on the official retailer.
Nonetheless, I’ve discovered battery life to be excellent with the 4a lasting me a day and a half on common with out utilizing any darkish modes and with the at all times on-screen characteristic switched on. Issues ought to get higher over time because the Adaptive Battery characteristic works its magic – specifically decreasing energy to apps you not often use, in accordance with Google.
Quick charging hasn’t received any quicker and there’s no wi-fi charging in fact (not with no glass rear cowl). Nevertheless, when the provided 18W charger will get the Pixel 4a from useless to 51% in 30 minutes, that’s a fairly respectable consequence.
It’s no shock that the Pixel 4a comes with Android 10, the newest model of Google’s cell working system.
What you get by shopping for a Pixel machine is Android in its purest type. This implies every part is clear and easy, with no bunch of tweaks in an effort to make it distinctive and add worth. It additionally means no bloatware within the type of pre-installed apps.
Though third-party Android makers have steadily made their Android skins nearer to inventory, it’s nonetheless refreshing to make use of a Pixel compared.
One factor that is perhaps new to you is the gesture management, which is analogous to utilizing an iPhone. You have to swipe up from the underside of the display screen to go dwelling or pause that very same swipe to convey up current apps.
It’s fairly straightforward to get used to and you may rapidly swap between open apps by swiping left and proper alongside the underside, too. The principle situation is the dearth of a again button so you must swipe in from both aspect of the show.
In a method, it’s a intelligent answer nevertheless it’s straightforward for it to go incorrect, particularly if the keyboard is on-screen so it sometimes will get registered as typing a phrase. Or it’s straightforward to do while you don’t wish to, reminiscent of swiping via your digicam roll.
If it will get an excessive amount of then you possibly can, luckily, change again to the older type navigation buttons.
I don’t suppose it’s talked about sufficient, however an additional benefit is that Google ensures at the least three years of Android updates. And people future variations of Android will arrive on Pixel telephones earlier than others.
This provides the Pixel 4a a kind of hidden worth that you just may not have considered.
Worth & Options
Coming in at simply £349/US$349, the Pixel 4a is £50/$50 cheaper than the Pixel 3a when it first launched (Google then later diminished it to £329). That is regardless of varied upgrades so this represents good worth.
That stated there’s sturdy competitors this yr, partly as a result of OnePlus has gone again to its roots with the £379 OnePlus Nord. As talked about earlier, this has 5G and a 90Hz display screen if these sound tempting.
Then there’s the spectacular Moto G 5G Plus, which additionally has these options the Pixel lacks as is similar value for the equal 6/128GB mannequin. Or you possibly can drop right down to £299 if 4/64GB is sufficient.
Yet another spanner within the works is Realme’s X50 5G at £299 – once more with 5G assist because the title suggests and, one way or the other, a 120Hz display screen.
Try all the perfect mid-range telephones in our ranked chart.
If the Pixel 4a does float your boat then the marginally dangerous information is you can’t even pre-order one till 10 September. It’ll then arrive on 1 October.
Issues are higher within the US the place the telephone is accessible to pre-order at present and can begin delivery from 20 August by way of Google Retailer, BestBuy, Amazon, in addition to networks reminiscent of Google Fi, U.S. Mobile and Verizon.
Be aware that the Pixel 4a (5G) will arrive at US$499 ‘this fall’, together with the Pixel 5.
Though the Pixel 4a has robust competitors this yr, I nonetheless suppose it has quite a bit going for it.
Though it may not tick packing containers that rivals do, reminiscent of assist for 5G and a excessive refresh charge show, there’s loads of appeal and advantages right here that may woo many patrons.
Basically, it is going to enchantment to much less techy customers who don’t care about going past 60Hz and who would relatively have the hard-to-find compact design of the Pixel 4a together with easy-to-use inventory Android 10 and the promise of at the least three years of OS updates.
This isn’t about enjoying smartphone High Trumps, it’s about offering a clean and accessible expertise, which I feel Google has accomplished very effectively. Should you do wish to play High Trumps then varied rivals objectively outpace the 4a.
Be aware that I’ve scored the Pixel 4a partly on rivals accessible within the UK. Within the US, the telephone has a lot much less competitors and is definitely among the finest, arguably the perfect, mid-range smartphone you should buy.
Google Pixel 4a: Specs
5.8in Full HD+ (1080×2340) 19.5:9 OLED, 443ppi
Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor
128GB storage, no microSD assist
12.2Mp f/1.7 rear digicam with twin pixel autofocus
8Mp f/2.zero selfie digicam
Pixel Imprint rear fingerprint sensor
Stereo audio system
Twin-band 11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.1 LE with aptX HD
18W Quick charging
144 x 69.Four x 8.2mm
Accessible in Simply Black