In an era where a large sized screen is often thought of as a
prerequisite in a phone by most people, the Google Pixel 4a presents itself as
a breath of fresh air. And it is not just the screen size that’s unusual. The
Pixel 4a is unlike any other mid-range Android smartphone on sale right now.
Let’s start with how it feels in your hand. At a time when every
other manufacturer offers a mix of glass and metal at this price point, Google
chose to go with a polycarbonate back. Outrageous, you’d think. But actually,
in more ways than one, that is an incredibly smart move.
Compared to the huge
slabs of metal and glass that we are used to holding, the Pixel 4a aided by its
tiny dimensions seems feather light and that can only be a good thing. With its
soft touch finish and curved edges, it is also a lot easier to hold and use.
The capacitive fingerprint reader is positioned perfectly and is a joy to use,
unlike a number of in-screen ones. Another advantage to the plastic build - it
is a lot more resilient to drops.
Towards the front, the notch has disappeared (in favour of a small
cutout for the front facing camera) and the bezels are a lot more palatable.
The 5.8-inch display and the small bezels mean that it is extremely easy to use
the phone single-handedly. The OLED
panel is bright enough and has good colour reproduction. There’s no fancy high-refresh
rate here but you hardly miss it.
Enthusiasts would scoff at the Snapdragon 730G that does duty inside
but, clearly Google knows a trick or two that other Android manufacturers
don’t. The Pixel 4a never struggled in day-to-day tasks and coupled with
Google’s slick UI, everything seemed like a breeze. True, it did have the
occasional frame drop while playing resource intensive games but that is hardly
what this phone is intended for. The 3140mAh battery was easily able to handle
a day’s worth of browsing, calling, messaging, social media and photography
with no trouble.
The rear-facing camera – notice the singular use of the word –
produces outstanding images with great clarity, sharpness and good colour. In
fact, it is very close to the current flagships in this regard, closer than a
mid-range smartphone has any right to be. Google’s image processing tech is
simply outstanding. The 8MP font shooter also produces great image with good
exposure, lighting and colours. The 730G’s limitations however mean that you
have to wait a tiny bit longer for the photos to be processed once shot.
The Pixel 4a, in my opinion, has everything most people would ever
need in a smartphone. In fact it has a number of additions over and above that
make it truly special. With a seamless UI, well matched hardware and a great
camera, the Pixel is hard not to recommend.
GSM / HSPA / LTE
2020, August 03
Available. Released 2020, August 20
144 x 69.4 x 8.2 mm (5.67 x 2.73 x 0.32 in)
143 g (5.04 oz)
Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), plastic back, plastic frame
Nano-SIM and/or eSIM
5.81 inches, 83.2 cm2 (~83.3% screen-to-body ratio)
1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~443 ppi density)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Android 10, upgradable to Android 11
Qualcomm SDM730 Snapdragon 730G (8 nm)
Octa-core (2x2.2 GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6x1.8 GHz Kryo 470
128GB 6GB RAM
12.2 MP, f/1.7, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55", 1.4µm, dual pixel
LED flash, Auto-HDR, panorama
4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps; gyro-EIS
8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1.12µm
Yes, with stereo speakers
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS
USB Type-C 3.1
Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity,
Li-Po 3140 mAh, non-removable
Fast charging 18W
USB Power Delivery 2.0
Just Black, Barely Blue
??37,250 / $?346.73 /
£?349.00 / €?465.00
AnTuTu: 268714 (v8)
GeekBench: 6426 (v4.4), 1626 (v5.1)
GFXBench: 17fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
Contrast ratio: Infinite
Endurance rating 76h
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