Google Pixel 4a 5G Assessment: If I May, I'd Take Away the "5G" Half

Google Pixel 4a 5G Assessment: If I May, I'd Take Away the "5G" Half


Ranking:
9/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Scorching Rubbish
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Rubbish
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Execs, Heaps Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Sufficient to Purchase On Sale
  • 7 – Nice, However Not Finest-In-Class
  • 8 – Improbable, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Cash
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Value: $500
Pixel 4a 5G on brick background
Justin Duino

Three months in the past I reviewed the Pixel 4a, and gave it a perfect score. I believe it’s ideally suited for a finances Android telephone immediately. The Pixel 4a 5G is that, simply greater and with 5G. Does that make it good, too? Not fairly. That is nonetheless a improbable telephone, I simply want Google had made some completely different decisions.

Here is What We Like

  • Excellent display screen dimension
  • Improbable Android software program
  • Nice battery life
  • Unbeatable cameras

And What We Do not

  • 5G is questionably helpful
  • No water resistance
  • No wi-fi charging

For $150 above the 4a, the 4a 5G gives a bigger and extra mainstream display screen dimension, an additional wide-angle digital camera sensor (additionally seen on the Pixel 5), and that much-ballyhooed 5G connection (ditto). There are a few smaller adjustments, however that’s the massive crux of the variations right here. And don’t get me improper, these adjustments are sufficient to justify the 4a 5G’s price ticket: That is nearly as good a $500 telephone as you’re going to seek out proper now, and probably for a very long time.

However I query the knowledge of prioritizing that 5G connection when most individuals (or a minimum of, most individuals that I’ve talked to) don’t appear to need or want it. Had Google swapped out 5G and a second rear digital camera for the Pixel 5’s different variations, water resistance and wi-fi charging, I wouldn’t have been stingy with that final level.

Pixel 4a 5G rear camera module.
Justin Duino

That mentioned, the Pixel 4a 5G is a good telephone. If you’d like a big-screen model of the 4a, or should you actually could make use of that 5G radio, it’s price each penny of the improve.

{Hardware}

The {hardware} of the Pixel 4a 5G is sort of similar to that of the 4a, with some small however essential variations. Right here’s the total breakdown, should you want it, and on this case, I’m itemizing the completely different values from the 4a in daring.

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128 GB (no microSD)
  • Show: 6.2-inch 2340×1080 AMOLED, hole-punch entrance digital camera
  • Cameras: 12.2 MP foremost digital camera, 12.2 MP wide-angle digital camera, 8MP front-facing digital camera
  • Ports and charging: USB-C
  • Headphone Jack: Sure
  • Battery: 3885mAh
  • Fingerprint Sensor: Rear
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/b/ac, 2.4GHz/5GHz; MIMO; Bluetooth 5.1; NFC; AT&T, Verizon, Dash, T-Cellular assist
  • 5G bands: n1, 2, 5, 12, 25, 28, 41, 66, 71, 78*
  • Water resistance: None
  • Colours: Black
  • Dimensions: 153.9mm x 74mm x 8.2 mm, 168 grams 
  • Value: $500

*Notice: the unlocked model of the Pixel 4a 5G works on Verizon, however only the version sold by Verizon has entry to its ultra-wideband mmWave service (which is constructed into the unlocked Pixel 5). Verizon’s customized model of the Pixel 4a 5G is 0.2mm thicker, three grams heavier, and $100 dearer. We’re reviewing the usual unlocked mannequin.

When it comes to on a regular basis usability, the display screen dimension is the massive ticket right here. All of Google’s 2020 telephones have a superb and environment friendly physique design, actually maximizing each the display screen area and the person’s entry to it. However as a very subjective opinion, I believe the 4a 5G has simply in regards to the perfect-sized display screen, a minimum of for my extraordinarily common male palms. In the event you’re contemplating an improve from the Pixel 3a XL or related, it will do exactly nice for you.

Pixel 4a 5G from the bottom.
Justin Duino

Different variations within the {hardware} had been negligible, except for the apparent 5G connection and further digital camera. Whereas the 4a 5G’s Snapdragon 765G processor is technically a hair quicker than the Snapdragon 730G within the 4a, I couldn’t spot a distinction in efficiency, particularly for the reason that display screen makes use of the identical 60Hz refresh charge.

The battery’s bigger—naturally, since there’s more room within the physique—however the display screen and 5G radio appear to stability that out, giving it the identical wonderful battery life. I bought 1.5-2 days alone use, heavy on Wi-Fi and display screen time. I like that the twin audio system (one doubles because the earpiece) are good and loud, if not precisely concert-quality. It’s useful for watching movies whereas cooking.

Left to right: Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 4a.
Left to proper: Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 4a. Michael Crider

The one bitter be aware on the Pixel 4a, a display screen that generally didn’t modify its brightness appropriately, doesn’t appear to have carried over right here. That, or Google corrected the problem with a firmware replace even earlier than I bought my palms on the system. I additionally need to spotlight that the display screen now makes use of Gorilla Glass 3. It’s not the most recent or hardest, however a notable enchancment over the cheaper Dragontail tempered glass on the 3a collection, which may see some scratches from regular use.

The {hardware} design for the 2020 Pixels is, greater than something, a repudiation of Google’s own choices in previous generations. I believe that the Pixel 3a offered far more in quantity than any of the Pixels earlier than it, and Google has taken the general public’s “much less is extra” method to coronary heart. Like each the much less and dearer telephones on this 12 months’s providing, it swaps face unlock for a extra standard rear-mounted fingerprint reader, drops Soli “radar scanning” and the “squeeze” button inherited from some historical HTC DNA to activate Google Assistant, and offers customers a black plastic physique with no frills.

Pixel 4a 5G from the rear
Justin Duino

In the event you’re coming from any of the earlier Pixel telephones, you’ll discover the {hardware} acquainted, although it’s clearly lacking the velocity and smoothness of final 12 months’s Pixel 4. However I believe the additional screen-to-body ratio, with only one front-facing digital camera and no extraneous sensors, makes up for it. The Pixel 4a 5G received’t flip heads, even with the usual Pixel splash of shade on the ability button (gentle blue right here, versus orange on the 4a). I’d have preferred an possibility for one thing a little bit extra expressive, just like the “Sorta Sage” shade for the Pixel 5.

However even with out turning heads, the {hardware} on the 4a 5G is exceptional for… properly, for not being that exceptional. The bodily features of the telephone simply sort of disappear if you’re utilizing it, letting you concentrate on no matter you’re doing. It’s the telephone equal of a comfortable pair of denims. And plenty of that’s all the way down to Google’s concentrate on the software program.

Software program

It’s Android. Whadya need, that’s mainly all the level of the Pixel line!

Okay, I suppose I’ll do my job. The software program has all the time been the spotlight for the Pixel line, and it stays so right here. You’ll discover not one of the extraneous googaws that Samsung aggressively packs into even its least expensive units, not one of the reskinned or changed apps or questionably needed interface tweaks that nearly each Android telephone maker appears to insist upon.

Pixel 4a 5G Google Now activation
Justin Duino

I believe there’s a case to be made that OnePlus’s software program is superior to Google’s, if solely as a result of it incorporates among the hottest tweaks that customers make themselves. However that comes on the expense of Google’s quick, straight-from-the-source software program and safety updates. A good commerce, particularly when the Pixels stay essentially the most mod-friendly and adjustable telephones round.

The Pixel 4a 5G’s additional two gigabytes of RAM versus the Pixel 3a collection is a quiet however very noticeable improve, giving simply sufficient respiration room for Android to shine. And crucially, it doesn’t really feel stifled in comparison with the Pixel 5, which will get an additional two gigs on high of that. It’s indication that you just received’t miss something important within the software program expertise by going with a less expensive Pixel.

Pixel 4a 5G notification
Justin Duino

The telephone stays quick and easy, if not blazing like these with a Snapdragon 800 collection. However until you’re consistently making an attempt to re-render Pixar movies in your telephone’s processor, you received’t miss it from day after day. I by no means needed to sit there and anticipate a second or two, as I did with the Pixel 3a … or certainly, sometimes with the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition.

The Pixel 4a has one of the best Android software program of any finances telephone. The Pixel 4a 5G does, too, with $150 price of {hardware} on high of it. There ya go.

Digicam

The twin-sensor digital camera module on the Pixel 4a 5G is similar one as within the Pixel 4, nevertheless it swaps out a zoom lens for a large angle one. This has confirmed a divisive alternative amongst Pixel followers, however having by no means tried the secondary sensor on the Pixel 4, I can’t choose the distinction. As somebody who reaches for a mirrorless digital camera and its interchangeable lenses each time I’m doing “actual” pictures, and who has been unimpressed with telephone zoom lenses to this point, I can’t say I’m upset.

Pixel 4a 5G camera shots: basketball hoop Pixel 4a 5G camera shots: basketball hoop

Above: Commonplace versus wide-angle sensor.

You’ve heard this earlier than: the Pixel’s digital camera tech is among the many greatest within the enterprise , nearly as good as or higher than Apple and Samsung. Colours are shiny and correct in nearly any gentle, and the low-light efficiency of the cameras (bolstered by plenty of difficult processing tech) is downright wonderful. Google’s signature function, and its photographic crown, stay intact.

All the 2020 Pixels undergo a reasonably dramatic drop in time to course of photographs versus final 12 months’s flagships, which is smart. I didn’t discover it an obstacle to taking pictures, and it’s much less of a difficulty on the extra finances 4a and 4a 5G, nevertheless it’s one thing to concentrate on should you’re coming from the Pixel 4 or 4 XL in 2019.

Pixel 4a 5G camera shots: horse and fence

The sensors themselves are nonetheless simply 12 megapixels, which appears a bit low when even finances telephones are boasting of 30 or extra. However the outcomes communicate for themselves. If you actually need a photograph with sufficient decision to cowl a billboard, then you definately want a full-sized digital camera to match it.

Pixel 4a 5G camera shots: grate Pixel 4a 5G camera shots: bleachers Pixel 4a 5G camera shots: vending trailer

The front-facing digital camera is, once more, the identical as the opposite Pixels have seen for years. It’s fairly good, although you would possibly miss the wide-angle prowess of some telephones with a number of selfie sensors should you take them frequently. However that’s not a completely honest comparability, because you received’t see a number of front-facing sensors on another telephones on this value vary.

Worth

Utilizing the Pixel 4a 5G day after day introduced me again to the final time I actually beloved a telephone, the Nexus 6. Solely it’s higher—not simply due to six generations of silicon developments, however as a result of Google now is aware of extra about the way to make a telephone really feel proper to make use of. Just like the 4a and the 5, the 4a 5G has an unbelievable economic system of options, design, and value.

Justin Duino

And as I mentioned earlier than, there’s not a factor improper with the telephone … only one factor I’d change. And it’s the factor that’s so central they put it proper within the title: the 5G radio. On Google Fi (which piggy-backs on the T-Cellular community), I bought the identical 5G efficiency round my neighborhood as I’ve seen on the Pixel 5 and the Galaxy S20 FE. 70-100 megabits down, and about the identical up. It’s excellent … however not one thing I’ve ever actually felt the necessity for on my telephone.

Which isn’t what I might say for among the different options you get by upgrading to the Pixel 5. The $700 telephone will get every little thing the 4a 5G does, with a barely smaller, 90hz display screen, water resistance, and wi-fi charging. It’s the final two that precipitated me to purchase a Pixel 5 and to modify to it as my “each day driver” telephone. They had been highlights of the Nexus 6, too, and I haven’t purchased a telephone with out them since.

Nearly Excellent

If I may have the Pixel 4a 5G, minus the 5G, and plus water resistance and (much less necessary) wi-fi charging, I’d have been comfortable to fork over the $500 asking value. On this hypothetical buy, I don’t suppose I ever would have envied the dearer telephone its super-speedy cell protection.

I believe that the concentrate on 5G, to the exclusion of different options, is extra of a concession to carriers than it’s a response to precise client demand. Think about that the iPhone SE has each of these additional options I’m searching for, regardless of being $100 cheaper … and missing 5G.

Pixel 4a 5G from the rear
Justin Duino

That, and that alone, is the one dangerous factor in regards to the 4a 5G. It falls shy of perfection not due to something it does improper, however for the issues it may have executed higher in its finances scope. It’s nonetheless a beautiful telephone, and simply the one I’d suggest in order for you one on this value vary.

Ranking: 9/10
Value: $500

Right here’s What We Like

  • Excellent display screen dimension
  • Improbable Android software program
  • Nice battery life
  • Unbeatable cameras

And What We Do not

  • 5G is questionably helpful
  • No water resistance
  • No wi-fi charging



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