Google Pixel 4a 5G review: The middle child excels
1 week 2 days ago Price when reviewed 499
The launch of the Pixel 4a 5G is a bit of an outlier. Google first announced its existence during the reveal of the regular Pixel 4a almost three months ago, and we’ve been waiting impatiently for its official release date ever since. Well, the good news is that you don’t have to wait much longer.
It’s finally on the way, and you’ll be able to get your hands on the beefed-up Pixel 4a 5G in just a few weeks. READ NEXT: Best mid-range smartphones Despite what you might think, though, Google didn’t just shoehorn 5G compatibility into the Pixel 4a. Sure, it can connect to the UK’s 5G network (provided you’re in a 5G area), but that isn’t really the key part of the Pixel 4a 5G’s appeal. Preorder Google Pixel 4a 5G Google Pixel 4a 5G review: What you need to know The Pixel 4a 5G offers much more than 5G connectivity. It’s a substantial upgrade on the Pixel 4a, with a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 processor, a larger 6.2in OLED screen and a bigger 3,885mAh battery. It also has a secondary wide-angle camera, which sits next to the shared 12.2MP primary sensor.
Image 2 of 29
The Pixel 4a 5G comes with 128GB of (non-expandable) storage, as well as 6GB of RAM and – along with the Pixel 5 – is the first smartphone to launch with Android 11 preinstalled. Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Price and competition As for price, the Pixel 4a 5G will cost £499 when it arrives in the UK on 19 November. By comparison, that’s £150 more expensive than the Pixel 4a, but £100 cheaper than the top-end Pixel 5. When it comes to non-Google competitors, however, the Pixel 4a 5G faces up against the slightly more expensive OnePlus 8T (£550), Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite (£490) and Xiaomi Mi 10T (£469). Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Design and key features In an obvious attempt to keep costs to a minimum, the Pixel 4a 5G has a simple, polycarbonate plastic body, instead of an aluminium frame like the one found on the Pixel 5. It doesn’t have any official IP rating for dust and water protection, either, although the screen is protected from drops and scrapes with a layer of Gorilla Glass 3. See related
Best Christmas tree lights: Add a festive flourish to your tree from as little as £9 Best artificial Christmas tree 2020: Have a hassle-free Xmas with our pick of the best fake Christmas trees Speaking of which, the Pixel 4a 5G’s display stretches out across 6.24in, which is larger than both the Pixel 4a (5.81in) and Pixel 5 (6in). Its screen-bordering black bezels are slightly thicker in size than the Pixel 5’s, though not by much, and it has a neat hole-punch notch in the top-left corner.
The handset’s physical dimensions are quite pocketable, in fact, despite the large screen. Measuring 154 x 74 x 8.2mm (HWD), the Pixel 4a 5G is roughly the same size as the iPhone 11, although it is slightly taller, but it does weigh less at only 168g.
Image 7 of 29
Flip the phone over, and you’ll spot the square camera array in the top-right corner, as well as a centrally placed fingerprint sensor. You’ll be using this a lot, too, since the Pixel 4a 5G (like the Pixel 5) no longer supports face unlocking. Preorder Google Pixel 4a 5G As for the rest, the phone charges via USB-C (18W), which is located at the bottom of the handset, flanked by a pair of speaker grilles. A Parma Violet-coloured oblong power button can be found on the right edge next to the volume rocker, and a 3.5mm headphone jack (sorely absent on the Pixel 5) is on the top. Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Display Like the Pixel 5, the Pixel 4a 5G’s screen is an HDR-certified OLED panel with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080, although it doesn’t have the same buttery smooth 90Hz refresh rate – instead, you have to make do with a bog-standard 60Hz.
Image 5 of 29
Even so, the Pixel 4a 5G’s screen is exceptional for the price. Brightness peaks at 664cd/m² with auto-brightness enabled, which does the job for sunny days, and the phone’s ‘Normal’ display mode delivers 94.5% coverage of the sRGB gamut, with a total volume of 95.7%. In terms of colour accuracy, the Pixel 4a’s 5G display achieved an average Delta E of 1.02 in this mode, which is astonishing. Colours across the board looked as good as can be, and even the most exacting eyes won’t be able to spot any inconsistencies. Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Performance, battery life and software Arguably, the Pixel 4a 5G’s most obvious upgrade can be found on the inside. Instead of using the Snapdragon 730G (found inside the regular Pixel 4a), the 5G model uses a Snapdragon 765G for processing duties and 5G connectivity, which is the same CPU that powers the more expensive Pixel 5. We’ve reviewed many 765G-powered smartphones in the last few months, including the Nokia 8.3 5G and OnePlus Nord, and the Pixel 4a 5G is no different in terms of performance. Preorder Google Pixel 4a 5G The gap between the 765G and 730G isn’t as big as I would like, though, with the Pixel 4a 5G delivering similar performance speeds in both single- and multi-core processing when compared against the Pixel 4a in the Geekbench 5 test. This casts a particularly harsh light when you put the results up against its flagship CPU-toting rivals such as the Galaxy S10 Lite and OnePlus 8T – these phones are significantly faster in the same test.
Still, I would argue that the Pixel 4a 5G’s processing speeds are ideal for most people’s needs, with only the die-hard power user running into any issues. Apps loaded in the blink of an eye, the phone was fast to boot up and navigating the user interface felt buttery smooth. The Pixel 4a 5G also has 6GB of RAM as well as 128GB of internal storage, which sadly can’t be expanded via microSD. The Pixel 4a 5G is singing the same tune in terms of graphical performance, too. Achieving an on-screen result of 28fps in the GFXBench Manhattan 3 test, the Pixel 4a 5G will run most titles on the Google Play Store at a playable level, but it won’t be running your favourite mobile games at particularly high frame rates.
The Pixel 4a 5G pulls away from the regular Pixel 4a in terms of stamina, though. With a larger 3,885mAh battery, the Pixel 4a 5G lasted for 23hrs 39mins in our video playback test, which is almost five hours longer than the Pixel 4a under the same conditions. Unlike the Pixel 5 it doesn’t support wireless charging.
Before we move on, it’s worth mentioning that the Pixel 4a 5G, as well as the Pixel 5, is also the first phone to launch with Android 11 preinstalled – other phones will have to wait at least a few months for the update. You can read more about what’s new with Android 11 in my Pixel 5 review, but the key features include a screen recorder located in the settings dropdown, as well as media controls above the notification drawer and the option to control any connected smart devices when you press and hold the power button. Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Cameras The Pixel 4a 5G doesn’t just share the Pixel 5’s innards. It also has a dual-camera array, which consists of the same 12.2MP (f/1.7) primary camera and 16MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide unit – that’s one more lens than the Pixel 4a. All three phones share the same 8MP (f/2.0) selfie camera, which is punched into a small hole in the top-left corner of the display.
How did I get on with the cameras? Well, unsurprisingly, I had the exact same experience as I did with the Pixel 5. The 4a 5G’s camera capabilities are astonishing, and the fact that it shares the same shooting accomplishments as the Pixel 5 but at a lower price is nothing short of exceptional.
What this means is that you’re getting a pair of rear cameras that excel in terms of colour reproduction, with detail-rich images and accurately judged blurred-background portraits. The Pixel 4a 5G’s ‘Night Sight’ shooting mode – which now works in portrait – remains the standout feature, which boosts the brightness of images without adding too much visual noise or producing an unnaturally warm colour cast (which plagues the iPhone 11).
The camera software itself is simple and easy to use, too. You can cycle through the various shooting modes via simple swipes at the bottom of the screen and access certain settings within the chosen mode by pulling down the menu at the top. This allows you to change the video resolution and framerate, for instance, as well as switch through the different stabilisation settings – including a new ‘Cinematic Pan’ mode – and adjust the level of face beautifying effects. Finally, as for video, the Pixel 4a 5G can record fully stabilised footage at up to 4K resolution at 60fps (the Pixel 4a is restricted to 30fps at 4K). Videos in this mode look crisp and judder-free, and the Pixel 4a 5G did a mighty fine job overall, even in low-light conditions. Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Verdict It’s top marks for the Pixel 4a 5G. Smashing clear through my expectations, the middle child of the new Pixel family is tremendous value for money, and Google has somehow stumbled on the secret ingredient when it comes to offering high-level features at the fraction of the cost of pricey flagships. Preorder Google Pixel 4a 5G If you’re keen on the Pixel 5 but you’d rather save the extra £100 (and don’t mind sacrificing just a couple of features) then the Pixel 4a 5G is absolutely the next best thing. In other words, you’ll be immensely happy with the Pixel 4a 5G, and your wallet will thank you, too.
Image 1 of 29
Google Pixel 4a 5G specifications
Processor Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G (1x2.4GHz, 1x2.2GHz, 6x1.8GHz) RAM 6GB Screen size 6.2in Screen resolution 23,40 x 1,080 Pixel density 413ppi Screen type OLED Screen refresh rate 60Hz Front camera 8MP (f/2.0) Rear camera 12.2MP (f/1.7), 16MP wide (f/2.2) Flash LED Dust and water resistance No 3.5mm headphone jack Yes Wireless charging No USB connection type USB-C Storage options 128GB Memory card slot (supplied) No Wi-Fi 802.11ac Bluetooth 5 NFC Yes Cellular data 5G, 4G Dual SIM No Dimensions (WDH) 154 x 74 x 8.2mm Weight 168g Operating system Android 11 Battery size 3,885mAh
|M1 Apple MacBook Pro 13in (2020) review: This laptop will change the world (2020-11-25)||Jonathan Bray 7 hours 21 min ago Price when reviewed 1299 When Apple announced it was going to move all its Macs to its own silicon earlier in 2020 it was a bold move some might say a huge gamble and one I wasnt entirely sure would pay off However the new Apple Silicon MacBook Pro 13 proves I was wrong to be worried Not only is this a great laptop in all the usual ways the display keyboard touchpa..|
|EE Black Friday deal: 160GB of data in this bargain SIM-only deal (2020-11-26)||Victoria Woollaston 3 hours 1 min ago If youre on the lookout for a great SIM-only plan this Black Friday deal from EE is a great place to start Its so good EE is even calling it a Black Friday Mega Deal For just 20 a month youll get a 5G SIM Plan with unlimited minutes and texts and 160GB of data Thats 60GB on top of the regular 100GB offer that usually comes with this 20-a-month plan Although th.. EE Black Friday deal: 160GB of data in this bargain SIM-only deal|
|Unmissable Black Friday saving on Samsung M31 (2020-11-16)||Thomas McMullan 2 days 8 hours ago Amazon has cut the cost of the excellent Samsung M31 as part of its early Black Friday offerings The SIM-free handset is currently 200 marking a 45 cut from its standard price and the cheapest it has ever been on the online retailer If youre in the market for a budget phone its a difficult bargain to beat Buy now from Amazon We gave the Samsung M31 five stars in ..|
|Black Friday Fitbit deals: Save big on a new fitness tracker (2020-11-13)||Gareth Thomas 4 days 10 hours ago The Black Friday deals period is a great time to finally invest in a good Fitbit Obviously wed recommend you invest in a good Fitbit at any point in the year but with the festive season fast approaching and an inevitable bout of over-indulgence following in its wake there really is no better time to nab a fitness tracker and prepare for your New Years resolution S..|
|Get free AirPods with this iPhone 12 mini contract (2020-11-20)||Alan Martin 6 hours 30 min ago The iPhone 12 mini is out and as is always the case with freshly released iPhones contracts are a touch on the expensive side But thanks to the proximity of Black Friday this deal takes the sting out of things a little bit Carphone Warehouse is selling the 64GB iPhone 12 mini on a 12-month contract for 47 per month with a 62 upfront cost on the Vodafone network For t..|
|Black Friday GoPro deals: The best savings on new 4K and 360 action cameras (2020-11-22)||Christian Hopewell 1 day 9 hours ago Black Friday is the best time of year for great offers on tech so weve scoured the web for the best Black Friday GoPro deals Below youll find the best prices available across GoPros entire action camera lineup While a number of retailers are offering action camera discounts this Black Friday its GoPro themselves who have some of the best prices GoPro is current..|
|Apple iPhone 12 mini review: Small and perfectly formed (2020-11-17)||Jonathan Bray 2 days 4 hours ago Price when reviewed 699 Once upon a time back in the early days of smartphones a phone with a 54in display like the Apple iPhone 12 mini was considered enormous something you might poke fun at rather than stand in awe of Today with most smartphones toting displays at least six inches in size compact handsets are a rarity; rarer still are compact phones that are as ..|
|Why you shouldn’t fall for these Black Friday phone deals (2020-11-20)||Will Georgiadis 2 days 1 hour ago Are you looking for a phone deal this Black Friday? You might want to think before you buy Its incredibly easy to get suckered into committing to a long phone contract with prices that look good on the storefront but actually drain your wallet over the course of the next couple of years Its crucial that you pay attention to things such as the overall cost of the c.. Why you shouldn’t fall for these Black Friday phone deals|
|The new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13in and Mac mini are the first to get Apple Silicon (2020-11-10)||Alan Martin 5 days 23 hours ago Not content with events for the Apple Watch Series 6 and iPhone 12 Apple returned with its Columbo style One More Thing event to introduce a brand new MacBook Air MacBook Pro and Mac mini all powered by Apple Silicon In laymans terms Apple Silicon now made flesh in the form of Apples new M1 chip means you get the architecture of the iPhone and iPad in a laptop or de..|
|Black Friday Fitbit deals: Big savings on the Fitbit Inspire 2, Charge 4 and more (2020-11-26)||Thomas McMullan 3 hours 17 min ago Black Friday week is here and Fitbit is celebrating with deals And not just half-hearted look-we-tried deals either: deals on products across the Fitbit fitness tracker and equipment brands that span several of the biggest retailers participating in the Black Friday fun From the sleek Fitbit Versa 2 smartwatch and the kid-friendly Fitbit Ace 2 Fitbits best produc..|