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Google Pixel 4A Review – The Mid-Range Flagship

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
22nd Nov 2020
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GOOGLE PIXEL 4A
Review Summary

Google Pixel 4a is one of the latest Pixel devices in Google’s affordable line-up. Although Google has cut down on various hardware elements, its software both Android and the underlying software for cameras is on par with excellence. Don’t back down by seeing the simple camera setup because it is still gonna take some really fancy pictures which you will definitely love.

PROS
  • Perfect and handy size.
  • Modern design
CONS
  • Cameras are not the best out there when it compares to the competition
  • Lacks expandable memory slot.
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
3140 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
Android v10 (Q)
Screen Size
Screen Size
5.81 inches
Highlights:
  • No
  • Corning Gorilla Glass v3
  • 3140 mAh
  • Android v10 (Q)
Introduction

Google Pixel 4A is a serious photography beast given its upper-hand in post-processing and computational capability. With a decently-sized phone, affordable pricing, three years of Android upgrades, a stock Android interface, Pixel 4A gets many things right. Add a mix of fewer cameras, less RAM, a single configuration & colour option, smaller battery, no 5G, and a slightly underpowered processor, it makes it a tough choice to make.

Also Read: Best Smartphones For Students

Compare it with its competitors and you would want to get them instead of Pixel 4A but unsurprisingly, Pixel 4A ain’t that bad. It does bring a clean stock Android which is prioritized over others, a compact size, and an excellent camera set up in affordable pricing that makes a lot of difference.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

Google Pixel 4A is available in India at a price tag of Rs 31,999/- for its sole and single 128GB+6GB variant. Available in a single colour variant “Just Black”, it will soon swing into its next sale on Flipkart India.

Various offers on Flipkart include a 10% off up to 1,500/- on Axis Bank CC and up to Rs 1,000/- off on DC. There’s a 5% extra off on selected Credit/Debit Cards. You can avail of No Cost EMI starting at Rs 2,667/mo as well as get Standard EMI on-board as well. Flipkart is also offering complimentary photography lesions worth Rs 7,999/-. Finally, there’s an exchange program with a discount up to Rs 29,599/- on eligible smartphones with up to Rs 1,350/- extra.

Box Contents

Your Google Pixel 4A comes in a minimalist packaging which includes:

  1. Pixel 4A phone
  2. SIM tool
  3. Quick Switch Adapter
  4. Power adapter (USB Type-C 18W)
  5. USB-C cable (USB 2.0)
Specs at a glance

Before we talk in detail about the Google Pixel 4A, let’s have a quick look at the key specifications. 

  • Display: 14.76 cm (5.81 inch) Full HD+ OLED  Display
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G
  • RAM & ROM: 6GB/128GB
  • Software: Android 1
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP
  • Selfie camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3140 mAh
  • Weight: 143g
  • Dimensions: 144.00 x 69.40 x 8.20mm

With key specs discussed, let’s jump right into the review of the all-new mid-range flagship device Google Pixel 4A which is already out of stock at almost all the places. 

Design and Build

Devices launched under the Google Pixel series have always been either too good in terms of design or too bad. The Google Pixel 4A weighs just 143g which is like holding almost nothing but in reality, you are holding one of the best phones for photography. The phone measures at 144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm which is okayish since you don’t have to use both of your hands to reach out to the upper section of the display.

pixel 4a design

At the front, you get a giant display at 5.8-inch diagonally, along with a giant punch-hole cutout to the top-left corner. Although it still sports thick bezels, it is not near as thick as its predecessors. Google Pixel 4A is very likeable and minimalistic in terms of design so you don’t have to flaunt it, the phone’s design will do it itself. A unibody polycarbonate shell with a matte finish at the back with Just Black colour is pretty amusing. Google has curved the sides on the back panel to make it handier with no other bells and whistles on the panel to keep low-key.

About the buttons and other add-ons, the bottom spots a USB Type-C 3.1 port, a bottom-firing loudspeaker, and a microphone. You also get a second speaker above the display that allows the phone to produce stereo sound. Next up, you get a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top edge. Just as its predecessors, Pixel 4A too has a different mint-green coloured power button on the right along with a volume rocker. The left has a SIM Tray with a single slot although you also get eSIM support as well, it is limited in some countries only so don’t expect it in India as of now.

Display

Google Pixel 4A packs in a 5.81-inch OLED panel with FHD+ resolution. It supports HDR content and offers Pixel’s first all-screen vivid bezel-less display with thin bezels on the sides and a punch-hole cut-out instead of a thick top bezel though all sides are still thicker when compared to its competitors such as OnePlus Nord.

Hold the device and you’ll see that its display is pleasing and looks pretty vibrant allowing for a stunning user experience. The screen is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 which is tested to withstand several drops although it isn’t recommended to deliberately toss your phone around. It also prevents scratches and scruffs on the display. On the contrary, it’s competitor OnePlus Nord offers Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

Check Out: Smartphones With The Best Display

Anyways, the display is said to have an FHD+ resolution with 1080 x 2340 pixels which is 443 PPI and the phone sports a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. It is great for viewing movies and videos in landscape mode and playing games on the go. The HDR10 support on Pixel 4A ensures an excellent viewing experience on OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video among others.

pixel 4a

You get an Always-On Display (AOD) which is the talk of the town. A display notification icon notifies users about the notifications as said. Pixel 4A doesn’t have Active Edge sensors like last year so don’t expect something to happen after squeezing the side panels. A new feature that has been added on Pixel 4A called Now Playing recognizes songs playing in the background and finds out titles and artists on the lock screen itself without any manual search. There’s no higher refresh rate either.

Performance

Under the hood, Google Pixel 4A is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC along with 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB of internal storage on-board. Pixels usually don’t have an expandable memory card slot and Pixel 4A is no different. It’s not just the hardware but Google has optimized the software to go hand-in-hand with it which is a great good. We tried a number of high-graphics games and found out it can take up higher frame rates and supports HD graphics with ease. Though you need to understand that this processor is slightly underpowered when compared to its competitors one of which sports a Snapdragon 765G which makes a huge difference in performance.

You get an excellent integration with Google Assistant so you are pretty much powered with a tonne of voice commands to speak and get it done remotely.

Software

Google Pixel 4A comes pre-loaded with Android 10 out-of-the-box. No doubt Android 10 is one of the finest software ever and since you are getting a vanilla interface, it adds to its USP with a clean and bloatware-free user interface. You get all the features on Android 10 along with the monthly security updates for three years and prioritized and guaranteed major Android OS upgrades for three years. This means Android 11, Android 12, and Android 13 is covered on Pixel 4A.

Cameras

Unlike other brands, Google Pixel’s camera setups aren’t that lengthy. You get a 12.2MP primary setup at the back with f/1.7 aperture and capable of shooting videos at 4K resolution at 30fps and yanks it up to 240fps for super slow shots. The front, on the other hand, sports an 8MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and that’s pretty much all.

pixel 4a camera

Although the number of lenses differs when compared to the successor Pixel 5, Google hasn’t spared Pixel 4a with its highly-professional post-producing software. The camera app is as powerful as it gets allowing users to shoot photos and videos with different modes including Top Shot, Motion Autofocus, Super Res Zoom, Night Sight, Live HDR+, and others. The photos using the rear camera have well-balanced exposures and natural colours to it. We did see some noise in the photos but they were very fine and may not be even visible to other non-Photography users.

All the shots in close-up were rich in colour with good details and an exceptional background blur with top-of-the-line edge detection. The camera uses a digital zoom of up to 4x that you can use to snap objects that are distant.

It’s Pixel and its amazing Night Sight doesn’t fail to impress the masses no matter what may come. The mode adjusts the exposure and other settings for great shots but overall, you can grab quality shots even without engaging the Night Sight. Just as said, the depth effect on Pixel 4a is on par and so are selfies with bokeh effect. Using the flash to snap photos results in even better images no doubt.

We were equally impressed with the selfies from Pixel 4a. Great background blur and works in the low night too, Pixel 4a does outperform a string of its competitors may it be OnePlus Nord or other devices.

Also Read: OnePlus Nord Quick Review

Pixel 4a has made photography easy. Simply point and shoot and Google’s intelligent software processing will take care of the rest. Even if you shoot videos, it is high-quality at daylight while low light videography is decent.

Battery

The battery is undoubtedly one of the most crucial aspects of any smartphone. Apparently, Google Pixel 4a sports a hefty 3,140 mAh battery. Although it may not seem large, it is larger than its predecessor. It gives around 24 hours of battery backup thanks to its Adaptive Battery technology that keeps the phone alive for longer. Once the battery levels go below  20%, the power saving mode activates considerably, yanking up the battery life when needed.

Playing games and watching videos on a loop does tend to consume a lot of battery and since you don’t have much to spare, you really have to think about continuous use, to be honest. You also get an estimated time the phone will die icon on the notification shade.

The device arrives with an 18W charging brick which isn’t the fastest of all but does its job. It refuels the battery to 2% in 15 minutes while taking about an hour and 15 minutes to fully juice up the battery. It supports USB Power Delivery 2.0 and charges via its USB Type-C 3.1 port but there’s no wireless charging tech here.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

Google Pixel 4A packs in a stereo speaker. A bottom-firing loudspeaker and a front-firing speaker above the display that produces stereo surround sound. It is great for gaming and watching videos or movies without any doubt. The pair produces decent loudness although the latter is louder.

About the connectivity features, Google Pixel 4a is equipped with Wi-Fi 5 dual-band with DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD, LE, A2DP. It does have an NFC with GPS support including Glonass, Galileo, QZSS, and A-GPS. A 3.5mm headphone jack is a must-have on-board. In the US, you can also get hands-on the Google Pixel 4A which comes with 5G support.

Unfortunately, you don’t get a facial recognition feature on-board Pixel 4A which must have been available but it is not. You get a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that recognizes users and unlocks the phone in a jiffy. You don’t even need to blink before getting it unlocked. Apart from that, you get the usual PIN, password, and pattern unlocking mechanisms in place as a substitute to the fingerprint scanner.  It features a Google Titan M security hardware that keeps your biometric and security functions secured.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Perfect and handy size.
  • Modern design

Cons:

  • Cameras are not the best out there
  • Lacks expandable memory slot.
Verdict
To be honest, Google Pixel 4a is a great device if you are into mobile photography. It’s post-processing and incomparable no matter what phone you pick. Google did manage to plug a few upgrades over last year’s Pixel 3a such as a good (although old) processor, RAM, and storage that offers gaming performance as well although to a certain extent. Some of its best traits include stereo speaker, OLED panel, light-weight, and minimalistic build, and excellent camera performance and not to forget, a stock Android with guaranteed updates. On the flip side, it doesn’t have an ultra-wide camera, the battery is a bit low, there’s no wireless charging, and so on. It does score higher in most of the verticals so you can literally consider it for yourself.


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