Google Pixel 4a 5G review: A smarter choice than the Pixel 5?

The largest Pixel model for 2021 may well be the best - offering some bonus points over even the Pixel 5. Here's why it's the one to buy.
Google Pixel 4a 5G review: A smarter choice than the Pixel 5
Google Pixel 4a 5G review: A smarter choice than the Pixel 5
  • This phone makes probably the most sense in Google’s 2021 Pixel series line-up. It is cheaper than the Pixel 5, has a bigger Display, and the same nice camera, making it a win in our books.

For

  • Great display – larger than Pixel 5
  • Super camera experience
  • Includes 3.5mm headphone socket
  • Speaker offers great quality
  • Sensible price – less than the Pixel 5

Against

  • No waterproofing
  • No optical zoom camera – and there’s a 2x digital zoom bug

You may ask why the Pixel 4a 5G basically has the same feature set because the Pixel 5, rather than Just being a bigger model of the Pixel 4a that was announced earlier in 2021.

That may be a well-placed query too, as a result of Google’s 2021 line-up of Pixel devices is not as easy because it has been prior to now.

The Pixel 4a 5G is the most important gadget of the lot, with the same core energy and same camera because the Pixel 5, but at a fair lower cost level. So how does that work?

Design

  • Dimensions: 153.9 x 74 x 8.2mm / Weight: 168g
  • Stereo speakers and 3.5mm socket
  • Polycarbonate body
  • Finish: Just Black

Whereas there’s a lot in regards to the Pixel 4a 5G that bears a resemblance to the Pixel 4a, with its polycarbonate again and black colouring – that is the one choice we’ll be getting in the UK – each these phones share a design with the Pixel 5 too.

The benefit that the Pixel 5 holds is that it makes use of an aluminium enclosure, so it is a extra premium materials, nevertheless it’s coated and painted, so doesn’t really feel too completely different to the Pixel 4a fashions. There’s the delicate heat of plastic here, but with a matte Finish, so it stays free from fingerprints. It is not fairly as grippy as the feel of the Pixel 5, not fairly as fancy because the ‘Glasstic’ of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, nevertheless it doesn’t really feel low-cost.

There is no flex to it and a good heft to the phone, which brings it nearer to the premium finish of the mid-range during which this phone actually sits. There is no IP score on this phone – so it is not as properly weather-protected because the Pixel 5 – but that is not unusual in phones on this worth bracket – the Sony Xperia being about the one exception.

There is a rear mounted fingerprint scanner that is quick, depFinishable, and on reflection, quite a bit simpler to make use of than under-display scanners which have adorned many current devices. So whereas it doesn’t make for such a seamless look to the again of the phone, we will not assist feeling a way of reduction with the convenience of use it brings.

There’s one other main distinction that the Pixel 4a 5G exhibits over the Pixel 5 in the audio division. The Pixel 4a 5G, as a less expensive gadget, has been adorned with a 3.5mm headphone socket. That is helpful for these with legacy devices – or wanting the comfort – nevertheless it’s not an important factor.

Whereas the Pixel 5 hides the ear speaker on the high of the Display, the Pixel 4a 5G has a grille in the bezel, just like the smaller Pixel 4a, which lets the sound out. That, mixed with the principle loud speaker on the underside of the phone, makes for a significantly smarter audio skills than the costlier Pixel 5.

Calls sound higher, the stereo impact is healthier, and the skills when watching video or enjoying video games is healthier. It is a greater resolution general, and that performs to this phone’s positioning with a bigger Display for these extra all for watching video or gaming.

Display

  • 6.24-inch Full HD+ OLED panel
  • 2340 x 1080 pixels (413ppi)
  • Punch-hole camera
  • 60Hz refresh fee

The massive promote of the Pixel 4a 5G is that it has a much bigger Display – it is the most important of the 2020 Pixel devices, at 6.24-inches. Google has caught to a Full HD Display and that is been fairly frequent on devices in 2020, particularly round this worth stage.

It is a good Display too, utilizing an OLED panel, so it has the color and vibrancy that you just’d anticipate, which means good deep blacks. It helps excessive dynamic vary (HDR), so that may swing in on suitable providers like Netflix to provide you even higher visuals.

The factor that separates this Display from that on the Pixel 5 is that it solely has a 60Hz refresh fee. That signifies that the Pixel 5 can look smoother when scrolling round some content material, because of its 90Hz panel, but you may solely actually discover when you’ve got the 2 devices side-by-side.

Arguably, a sooner refresh fee on this bigger gadget can be good to help concerns like video games, but there are lots of situations when a sooner refresh fee makes no distinction to the skills, like when watching motion pictures, so it is hardly a deal-breaker.

There is a punch-hole in the Display for the camera – which is not the smallest instance of punch holes, nevertheless it is not obtrusive both.

{Hardware} and performance

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage
  • 3,800mAh battery capability
  • 5G connectivity

The Pixel 4a 5G owes that next-gen connectivity to the {hardware} inside, the wonderful Qualcomm Snapdragon 765, here with 6GB RAM. It is the same core {hardware} that you’re going to discover in the Pixel 5, a slight step-up from the Pixel 4a – which has Snapdragon 730 and solely affords 4G connectivity.

The Snapdragon 765 has been all the craze in 2020, powering lots of the most fun devices of the 12 months and behind the expansion of a extra succesful and affordable center vary of devices. The performance we have skilled from the Pixel 4a 5G in our testing is strictly as we might anticipate – it is very quick, easy, and highly effective. This {hardware} has no hassle enjoying the most recent video games and the skills is healthier than it’s on the Pixel 5 – because of the bigger Display and the higher sound high quality – whereas the bodywork also doesn’t get as scorching.

Facet-by-side, we might choose the Pixel 4a 5G over the Pixel 5 any day of the week on the subject of enjoying video games and watching motion pictures for this very cause – which is nice for a phone that is extra affordable. The boosted {hardware} also signifies that it is a greater skills than the smaller Pixel 4a too; extra on par with devices just like the OnePlus Nord.

The battery has a 3,800mAh capability – which sounds just a little on the small aspect for a tool of this dimension – and there are some competitor devices, such because the Moto G 5G Plus, which have a way more capacious battery. but, regardless, Google’s energy administration is much more efficient on its 2020 devices and we’ve no concerns in regards to the Finishurnace of this phone.

Having bought by way of the day with over 6 hours of display screen time, together with over and hour and a half of Name of Obligation Cell (with the display screen a full brightness), it made it to the night with out a downside, so there aren’t any concerns here.

There is no wireless charging here – as discovered in the Pixel 5 – but you do get 18W charging, with that quick charger included in the field.

Cameras are a lower above

  • Twin rear cameras:
  • Main: 12.2-megapixel, 1.4µm pixel dimension, f/1.7 aperture, optical picture stabilisation (OIS)
  • Ultra-wide: 16MP, 1.0µm, f/2.2, 107 levels angle of view
  • Front: 8MP, 1.12µm, f/2.0

The cameras on the Pixel 4a 5G are, surprisingly, precisely the same because the Pixel 5, leaving the smaller Pixel 4a because the odd mannequin out. It is also one other minor level of confusion across the naming of those devices. The excellent news is that you just’re getting the same skills in the Pixel 4a 5G as you do in the Pixel 5 – and that is an incredible performing camera.

We took a lot of the same check shots on the Pixel 4a 5G that we used for our Pixel 5 review – and there is no distinction between them, as a result of it is the same core camera system. There is perhaps a minor distinction in the ISO or shutter pace due to metering a few seconds later, but for all intents and functions, the outcomes are the same. The one distinction is that the Pixel 5 affords audio zoom on video which the Pixel 4a 5G doesn’t.

The principle camera in the Pixel 4a 5G is the star. It is just a little outdated now, but Google continues to get good outcomes from it, as a result of a lot of smartphone images is computational rather than optical. That is evident by way of a number of the Alternatives that come to those new phones, like, for instance, the flexibility to use background blur to current pictures, no matter whether or not they have been taken on this phone or not.

The principle camera performs persistently properly in all circumstances: it is joyful in brilliant sunshine, in HDR situations, and nonetheless excels at the hours of darkness. Portrait mode continues to be efficient and all these skills work properly throughout the back and front cameras.

The brand new addition to the get together is the ultra-wide camera. It is a standard choice as a result of it is really easy to take impactful images, opening up inventive opportuntities. It is not the widest of wide-angles you may discover on phones – at 107 levels – nevertheless it avoids a number of the worst downsides too, in that pictures are principally sharp throughout the body with out the blurring that may plague a lot wider lenses.

There is no optical zoom, it is all digital, and just like the Pixel 5 it also seems to have the same camera bug, the place it can typically course of a 2x digital zoom image again to being a 1x zoom picture (you’ll be able to learn extra about that in our Pixel 5 review). The digital zoom runs out to 7x, but it will possibly’t compete with these flagship phones that provide periscope zoom lenses out at this vary.

Total, the Pixel 4a 5G is among the most constant and reliable cameras on this worth bracket and certainly challenges some phones that price twice the value. What’s most essential is that Google has prevented gimmicks – many cheaper fashions go for a smarter decision and a set of low-cost junk cameras to say they’ve a quad camera. In actuality, easier is healthier – remembering that Google is piling in its computational images skills into these devices, popping out with nice outcomes.

A clean software skills

  • Android 11
  • Pixel extras

One of many benefits in choosing a Pixel gadget, after all, is that you just get to be Front of the road at any time when there’s something new coming to Android. Which means the Pixel 4a 5G comes with Android 11 out of the field – and whereas there aren’t big modifications on the floor in comparison with Android 10, there are a few goodies, such because the native display screen recording.

It also signifies that you escape the bloat or pre-installs that you just get from many different producers. Whereas there are cheaper devices that provide this stage of {hardware} and comparable specs, there aren’t many, besides maybe Nokia and Motorola, that provide you with a bloat-free software skills.

Once more, it is primarily the same skills because the Pixel 5 and it’s slick and quick in operation, including in new features in locations just like the Images app that enable a variety of modifying choices, together with concerns like portrait lighting and the background blurring of any picture as we beforehand talked about.

Verdict

The Pixel 4a 5G makes much more sense to us than the Pixel 5. Given that it has primarily the same core energy, higher audio, a bigger Display, and the same camera performance, all for a less expensive worth, it is the phone to select from the 2.

For these looking for an much more affordable gadget there’s also the Pixel 4a, but on the subject of bang to your buck we might take the Pixel 4a 5G – and never due to the sooner connectivity potential.

The Pixel 5’s benefits come in the type of some extra superior Alternatives – 90Hz Display, wireless charging and the IP68 water safety – but seeing as you get extra display screen area on the Pixel 4a 5G, with out sacrificing an excessive amount of battery life, we might say that this phone is the one to choose for any Pixel fan.

Alternatives to consider

OnePlus Nord

The OnePlus Nord is a bit more affordable and has a sooner refresh fee on the Display, but lacks the camera skills you get from the Pixel.

Moto G 5G Plus

Moto affords nice performance with a clean set up of Android, but once more cannot match the camera of the Pixel. It is quite a bit cheaper, nonetheless, with a a lot larger battery.