Review of the Pixel 4a: Excellent smartphone for the money, and a recipe Google should keep in mind

Next week, Google’s eagerly anticipated Pixel 4a will begin to reach consumers, and you’ve probably heard the story by this point. Anyone can use this phone for everything, plus it has the best camera. But beyond that, Pixel 4a has a more significant task. This mid-range smartphone can offer guidance to Google, whose high-end smartphone collection is struggling.

BORING HARDWARE IN THE BEST WAYS Cheap cellphones, at least in the majority of cases, are all about the plastic. The high-end flagships’ glass and metal components are no longer used. In general, plastic can feel unpleasant despite having a great appearance, but the Pixel 4a does the opposite.

Sincerely, the hardware on the Pixel 4a is dull. The single color option for the plastic unibody shell is black, and its most intriguing design feature is a type of green power button. Although we are aware that a different color was intended, they evidently failed to do so and left us with this. Is that a mistake? Actually, no! The soft-touch back has exactly the right amount of traction and resists scuffing. Over time, you’ll undoubtedly see some of the oil from your hands accumulating on the device’s back, but throughout the many days I used it, it was hardly noticeable. If the light doesn’t hit it quite perfectly, you won’t even notice. Most people’s devices will already have a case on them. The hardware has also been nicely upgraded over the Pixel 3a. In comparison to previous year’s phone, it is less shiny and generally feels nicer.

Despite the low price, this device has some clever design choices in addition to the soft-touch plastic. The side buttons have a strong click. Even though it’s a small element, it elevates the phone’s perceived premiumness. On this handset, Google decided to keep the rear-facing fingerprint sensor. That undoubtedly contributed to maintaining reliability while lowering expenses. Furthermore, the importance of a fingerprint sensor in the COVID age cannot be overstated.

The Pixel 4a is hardly thrilling. I believe Google found a decent balance with this design, as opposed to Samsung using an eye-catching design on the Galaxy A51 and Apple using an expensive, but older design on the iPhone SE.

ALL THE SOFTWARE YOU NEED, NOT MUCH MORE The gear itself doesn’t really matter in the end. On a Google Pixel smartphone, and the Pixel 4a is no exception, software is everything.

The Pixel 4a ships with Android 10 and will be updated to Android 11 when it becomes available in a few weeks. The phone is expected to receive three significant Android updates, but given the skewed release date, I’d wager that it will really receive four. One of the main benefits of purchasing this phone is the updates. It has often been demonstrated that Google releases updates for Pixel devices the quickest, whereas other low-cost phones only receive upgrades after a year or two, at best.

The software is a fresh build of Android as well. It has a lot of Google apps pre-installed, but nothing else. You will have plenty of room for all the apps you want to use thanks to the 128GB of storage that is built inside the device. But in terms of features, Google occasionally falls short of the opposition. This phone will have additional nice capabilities like screen recording, easy smart home controls, and more once it has been updated to Android 11. It still lacks a few features found on rival devices, though. Software skins like Samsung’s OneUI do provide some very useful functions, whether or not you find them invasive.

However, I’d choose the Android experience offered by a Pixel smartphone over anything else. It provides me with everything I need to do my tasks without getting in the way or causing any problems. People who suggest the OnePlus Nord as a Pixel 4a substitute should know that OnePlus frequently messes up notifications, which is a good feature. How about Samsung’s inexpensive lineup? For an plethora of reasons , OneUI can be really annoying at times. ads dont bombard the Pixels program is another.

The new Google Assistant is also pre-installed on the Pixel 4a in terms of software. It is extremely quick and works on-device, outperforming other device assistants and even feeling slower than the default Google Assistant seen on other Android phones.

Expectedly poor performance The Snapdragon 730 is a mid-range Qualcomm chipset that drives the Pixel 4as operating system. This isn’t a powerful chip by design, but it’s more than adequate for a phone in this price bracket.

In my experience, this phone leverages that chip in conjunction with 6GB of RAM to effortlessly process any task I give it. There are occasional stutters and lockups, but overall I have very few problems. The Galaxy A51, which will sell in droves at almost the same price range, performs much worse than the 4a and significantly worse than the 3a from last year.

Its success during debut is also a promising indication of its long-term stability. Pixel 3a didn’t really hold up over time. I believe the 4a will perform much better.

NOT ACTUALLY A HIGHLIGHT ON DISPLAY Because it’s the only size offered, the Pixel 4a’s 5.8-inch display has generated some debate. I consider this to be a perfect medium ground. It’s not so big that some people feel overwhelmed, but it’s also not so little that the keypad is difficult to use or the apps feel crowded.

However, this display’s quality may be better. On this unit, I haven’t experienced the auto-brightness problems that some other reviewers have noted have, but the viewing angles have been quite poor. Any deviation from the axis causes a little blue tinge. It’s not quite as horrible as the Pixel 2 XL from a few years back, and everyone can definitely live with it, but it’s still something to be mindful of.

The oleophobic coating, a protective layer that prevents oil buildup on your screen, is another drawback I discovered. It hardly exists. Since my finger continuously leaves stains on the screen, I feel like I need to clean it frequently. Although the Pixel 3a didn’t have this issue, it had a lower overall display, thus this is a reasonable trade-off.

The quantity of the display, given its diminutive size, is superb. This Pixel has the highest screen-to-body ratio ever, and it looks good. Although I’ve never been a big admirer of hole-punch designs, Google does a good job with this one. Even though the bezels aren’t exactly symmetrical, it’s entirely acceptable and still looks great.

Without a doubt, the best camera in its price range. Okay, let’s go to the camera’s main resistance. The camera on Google’s Pixel devices has always been their strong point, and the Pixel 4a camera is no exception.

The 4a only has a single 12MP camera on the back, yet it produces some pretty excellent images. The pictures are trustworthy once you push the shutter button, crisp, and have Google’s distinctive contrasty appearance. When taking a picture, you may rely on this camera. I haven’t been dissatisfied with my Pixel 4a photos very often, and when I have, it’s usually just because a Pixel can’t keep up with a puppy’s enthusiasm.

Google’s Motion Photos function has recently proven to be actually helpful on that last point as well.






Not to mention that the Pixel 4a supports the gorgeous astronomy of the Pixel 4, which I wasn’t able to test because to the local conditions during my testing session. As you can see above, Super Res Zoom also produces remarkably good pictures even at 7x zoom.

You can make fun of the single back camera, the lack of an ultrawide or telephoto lens, or the inferior quality of the video, but at the end of the day, you’re getting the greatest camera for still images for a fraction of the price of flagships that don’t match the same standards. There are, in my opinion, not many legitimate concerns about the camera on the Pixel 4a.


BATTERY LIFE FIXING OLD ERRORS Many aspects about Google Pixel devices are well-known, but battery life isn’t one of them. Although XL models can occasionally last for a long time, the battery life of the Pixel 4 in particular left a bad taste.

Although the physical battery of the Pixel 4a is still somewhat small, the phone’s battery life is still quite good because to its processor, display, and easy optimization. With at least 20% of the battery left, I can comfortably use the Pixel 4a for a full day. In fact, I usually have a lot more money when I go to bed.


4A watched television for around 4 hours throughout the course of 19 hours on one very busy day; it was early in the morning. Social networking, web browsing, and navigation were all prevalent during that day. I had 17% available when I decided to call it a night at around 10 p.m. Although the battery life is not exceptional, most people will find it adequate. It also differs greatly from the worries that Pixel 4 raised. It is essentially on par with the smaller Pixel 3a from a year ago, showing no meaningful progress but also showing no real degradation either. The absence of an XL model to increase endurance is the only real disappointment.

SMALL THINGS HEADPHONES AND SPEAKERS The primary speaker and earpiece of the Pixel 4a are both connected to a stereo speaker array. Although unimpressive, it is still good. There is a headphone jack as well! Woo!

HAPTICS Over the past few years, Google has developed a fresh interest in haptics, and the Pixel 4a is a definite step forward from the 3a in terms of affordability. While the haptics on the Pixel 3 and 4 are among the greatest on an Android device, they are also better than those on most entry-level phones. Well, besides the top-tier iPhone SE.

FASTENER SENSOR I already brought up the rear-facing capacitive fingerprint sensor, but I must do so once more. Using this has been a welcome change. Although I would have preferred a slightly deeper recess to make the sensor easier to feel out, the sensor is quick, dependable, and conveniently situated. I’m relieved Google is not implementing in-display fingerprint sensors on this phone even if they are getting better. They simply aren’t as excellent yet.


PERHAPS THE BEST PIXEL TO DATE AS FINAL THOUGHTS It’s very difficult to argue against what you receive with the Pixel 4a. Although it is not a flawless smartphone, it would be difficult to find a better option for as many people as this one at $349. The iPhone SE is the only real rival, at least in my opinion, but even with a matching model that costs $100 more, it falls behind in terms of size and camera performance.

I contend that the Pixel 4a is Google’s best smartphone to date. It accomplishes so much well without really having any significant flaws.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t say the same about Google’s flagships the previous year. After such flops, I believe Google can get some insight from the Pixel 4a. Google has created a phone that is simply plain good, no asterisk required, by keeping costs down, not attempting to be unduly ambitious, and sticking to what it is very good at. I sincerely hope that this holds true for upcoming models.

FTC: We employ automatically earning affiliate connections. More.
Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:


Related Posts