REVIEW: The Google Pixel 4a, should you consider it? 1 month ago

REVIEW: The Google Pixel 4a, should you consider it?

The device became available to preorder last week and will ship from 1 October.

If I was recommending a mid-range phone to someone at the moment, my pick would probably be the Google Pixel 4a.

There's a lot of good options out there for customers with the OnePlus Nord and the iPhone SE, although I would probably consider the latter to be at the very highest scale in terms of mid-range price.

Google released one of the best bang for buck phones of the year last year with the Pixel 3a, and they've done it again with the Pixel 4a once again coming in at €382.67.

Sure look, if you want a fantastic camera, good performance, a lovely display and guaranteed software updates for three plus years, all for about a third of the price of a modern flagship, then the Pixel 4a is a bit of a no-brainer.

The Good and the Other Stuff

Camera

It wouldn't be a Pixel phone without an outstanding camera and while Google has kept the same 12.2MP Sony IMX363 rear sensor as the Pixel 4, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3a, it's typical software wizardry makes it the best camera at this price point and a genuine competitor with some of the top flagships.

It's true to form for Google over the last few years, in the sense that, the photos will look good on the device no matter what you do. But don't expect any wide angle lenses or a bucket load of fancy features, aside from night sense - which is a nice addition- and portrait mode, but I'm just fine with that.

Performance

A big reason the price of the Pixel 4a can keep its price down is through the use of the less expensive Snapdragon 730G chipset. When combined with 6GB of RAM, it's great for daily use and provided no issues changing between apps.

If you're thinking of gaming, you may want to consider something with a little more oomph though.

128GB of storage is a positive, but there's no expandable memory.

Design

Give me a nice plastic phone over a glass one any day of the week. The Pixel 4a goes for black polycarbonate which doesn't feel cheap, quite the opposite in fact.

The result is a more durable, less slippery phone and at just 144mm length by 69.4mm width, it's compact in your hand.

There's a small circular notch on the Gorilla Glass 3 display for the front-facing camera, but that's barely a factor when you're using it.

This phone looks and feels every inch as premium its older brother.

Display

The screen is a 5.81-inch AMOLED panel and is hands down one of the best displays out there on a mid-range device.

They did good.

Battery

It's alright. It's not going to blow you away or anything but you'll comfortably manage a full day with medium usage.

Google took the hint after the Pixel 4 battery issues and bumped the 4a up to a larger 3,140mAh battery.

Other Tidbits

The fingerprint sensor! Just when you thought they were gone, they pull you back in. The Pixel 4a has brought over the rear fingerprint sensor from the 3a and streamlined it, making it more accurate and blended to the phone body.

It's ideally placed so you don't even have to think about it, your finger is right on it when you hold it in your hand. Nice and handy compared to a lot of face unlocks in the mask wearing 2020 we're now in.

This current version lacks any 5G support, although a 5G-enabled model will be launching later in the year alongside the Pixel 5.

The 4a is not dust or water resistant unfortunately which would be nice to have, but not a dealbreaker for me.

It's got a headphone jack as well.

Overall

This phone doesn't have a top of the line chipset, it doesn't have the best of everything, but it's an affordable way for you to get your hands on one of the cleanest operating Androids around.

While the market for smartphones is saturated, Google offers support and features that a lot of other brands can't.

The €382.67 price tag on the Google Store makes this an attractive proposition for anyone who doesn't hate money.

It's worth being in the conversation for your new phone if you're upgrading.