Last year’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL contained flagship specs but had terrible battery life and were overpriced. This year we’re seeing a different strategy with lower prices, mid-range specs, and fewer options available for the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G. Everything indicates that this is possibly the right strategy for Google.
When I saw the excellent Black Friday deal on a Pixel 4a 5G from the Google Fi website and great trade-in deals from the Google website, I ordered a Pixel 4a 5G for my wife and me at an average out-of-pocket cost of around $ 250 . After more than a week, I couldn’t be happier with the phone as it has all of the vital information needed to get the job done while it supports 5G and has a fantastic camera.
See also: Google Pixel 5 review: less is more. Indeed, it is extraordinary
ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani tested the Pixel 5 for $ 200 more. That $ 200 premium brings a metal case, a slightly smaller display, a bit more RAM, a 200 mAh battery, IP68 dust / water resistance, wireless charging, and a 90 Hz refresh rate. If there had been better deals, I could easily have justified the Pixel 5, as I love to walk in the rain with my phones and have been pampered by high-refresh rate ads.
- processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
- display: 6.2-inch OLED with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels, 413 ppi
- operating system: Android 11
- R.A.M.: 6 GB
- warehouse: 128 GB internal
- Cameras: 12.2-megapixel standard and 16-megapixel ultrawide rear cameras. 8 megapixel front camera.
- battery: 3800 mAh battery
- Dimensions: 153.9 x 74 x 8.5 mm and 168 grams
- colour: Only black
The battery is 1,000 mAh larger than the Pixel 4. The phone is only available with an internal storage option and in one color. Since there is a 3.5mm headphone jack, this is a great option that is a minor drawback in the smartphone world.
This year, Google equipped the Pixel 4a 5G with a beautiful AMOLED display that is big, bright and clear. It doesn’t have the $ 1,000 high refresh rate for phones, but it still looks great, and running standard Android can help keep things nippy.
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There’s a little pinhole camera in the left corner, facing forward, and I barely notice it’s there. The handset’s speaker is located just above the display and also serves as one of the stereo speakers. Audio is loud and sounds good, but doesn’t have the clarity of more expensive phones.
The Pixel 4a 5G has some fallback features that I love; a centered rear fingerprint sensor and a 3.5mm audio jack. While we regularly wear masks, a proven and brilliant solution is to quickly tap the back of the phone when you pick it up.
The back of the Pixel 4a 5G is made of matte plastic and that’s fine. Lots of people slap a case on their phone, and if not, a plastic-backed phone is more likely to survive a drop than a glass phone. It’s easy to hold on to and won’t get ugly with greasy fingerprints.
Google’s camera software is brilliant and combined in this phone with standard and ultrawide lenses to capture the world around you. I’ve taken some lovely photos with it since it arrived and my wife can’t stop praising its accomplishments as she captures the holidays, our daughters, and our pets.
See also: Google Pixel 4 XL Review: A Totally Disappointing Phone
The Pixel 4a 5G starts with Android 11 and already has the security update for Android from December 5th. It’s Android as Google designed it with a clean, responsive user interface. We even just got some cool Mandalorian wallpapers and AR characters to try out.
It’s nice to use Android as Google intended, and this approach also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of some new features in Android 11 before other Android users. Some of these features include Live View with Google Maps location sharing, app suggestions, and voice access.
Live view with location sharing is a bit like Find My Friends on an iPhone. In Google Maps, you can tap the appropriate icon and see where they are in relation to you. Tap Start to receive directions and meet with them. Maybe not that useful right now, but it can be a great way to keep in touch with family.
Thanks to Google’s app suggestions, I’ve changed the way I normally set up my Android home screen so I can leave some spots on the bottom bar open for Google to dynamically manage. The phone will now display apps throughout the day based on my usage patterns and the typical needs for that time of day. It’s a pretty cool feature that I find more useful than I ever thought.
Voice Access has been available on Android devices since 2018 to help people control their phones with just their voice. This is an accessibility feature that is very useful for people with motor disabilities but can also be helpful when your hands are not available and you want to use your phone.
My wife is a huge fan of spam filtering on pixel phones. This was a main reason why she wanted a new pixel when the older Pixel 3 expired. The new Hold For Me feature is also great for this remote buying time when you may need to speak to a customer service representative by phone while stores are closed.
Price and availability
The Pixel 4a 5G has a full price of $ 499. There are a variety of sales, currently $ 50 off, and trade-in offers on older phones, so you may find a way to save on this purchase.
While $ 500 on a 5G phone is a fair deal, you can save $ 100 and get a TCL 10 5G UW from Verizon with similar specs and probably a bit more features.
See also: Google Pixel 4 Review: Solid Camera, But Poor Battery and Cellular Performance Wrecks Business
Daily use and conclusions
If I hadn’t come across a Black Friday sale for my Google Fi Pixel 4a 5G, I probably wouldn’t have bought one, and that would have been awful. The phone is exactly what I want from an affordable Pixel with a fantastic camera, great 5G performance, and all the great Android extras that come with a Pixel, like timely Android security updates and new feature breakouts.
The display is gorgeous, the matte back is easy to grasp, and the performance was impeccable. If I hadn’t been told about the processor, I would have no idea the phone has a medium-range Snapdragon 765G. I just miss a 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rate when jumping on another phone and zipping around, but when I’m only using the Pixel 4a 5G I don’t see any problem with the 60Hz display.
We might see another flagship that’s twice the price of the Pixel 4a 5G, but I’m a fan of this strategy of delivering a solid Android phone with all the great camera and Google extras that the Pixel line of the others stand out.