Google’s new Pixel 4A has a bit more to offer than most smartphones I’ve tested this year.
Maybe it’s the wonderfully compact size that allows me to put my fingers completely around the phone. Or the matt, tabular polycarbonate back, which is easy to grip and, unlike its glass counterparts, does not attract fingerprints. Perhaps it is the camera that impresses all day every day or the various software smarts such as call screens that keep annoying spam and robocalls out of sight.
I think a big part of it is the value of this phone that keeps spinning in my head ̵
Two things that may worry you when buying a cheap phone are poor performance and a bad camera. Well, you can put those concerns to bed.
Inside the Pixel 4A is the Snapdragon 730G chip from Qualcomm with 6 gigabytes of RAM, a considerable advance over the Snapdragon 670 in the Pixel 3A. The performance was very smooth. I haven’t noticed any noticeable stuttering or delays even after games Dead cells and Altos Odyssey for a lot of time. It feels like worlds apart from cellphones like the Moto G Stylus ($ 300) and Samsung Galaxy A51 ($ 400), where some sluggishness is commonplace. Instead, the performance is much closer to the more powerful OnePlus Nord.
The 5.8-inch screen does it all appearance good as well. It is sharp (2,340 x 1,080 pixels) and colorful, with slim bezels and a floating selfie camera for modern flair. I can stare at this OLED screen all day – I actually have. I’ve seen my favorite shows more often than usual – in the dog park and on the couch – because the 4A is so light and compact that I can easily wrap my palm around it.
Everything about Hold This phone and the press of its clicking buttons feel uniquely relaxing. It’s never bulky, which means I don’t have to worry about breaking glass as much as other phones. (If you want a precautionary case, I like it from the moment.)
Did I mention that you have a headphone jack, NFC, and a rear fingerprint sensor? Lately I’ve had to quickly plug in headphones for meetings after forgetting to charge my Bluetooth buds. The 4A reminds me of how helpful the 3.5mm connector should be as an option. The same applies to NFC, which allows you to make contactless payments with services such as Google Pay. It’s not always present on low-cost phones (you look at Motorola) so it’s great to see it here. And everyone can have their opinions on the different types of fingerprint unlocking. I prefer capacitive fingerprint sensors on the back of phones over sensors under the display. They are often faster and much more naturally accessible. This works great.
More good news: The battery has been charged a little. The 3,140 mAh cell reached five hours on time on a day I took a short trip from 7:30 a.m. With a lot of social media and web browsing, games and photos and videos, I didn’t have to plug in until around 11 p.m. Power users, this phone won’t last longer than a day, but with light to moderate usage, it can run until the morning of a second day before it needs to be charged.
Class leading camera
Pixel phones are known for their excellent cameras. Last year’s Pixel 3A made waves mainly because the cameras on most $ 200 to $ 400 phones aren’t very good, especially when it comes to night scenes. The Pixel 4A shows even more the camera work from Google. There’s only one camera on the back – the same 12.2-megapixel main sensor as the flagship Pixel 4 of 2019 – and frankly, it’s all you need. I prefer a really good camera over several average ones. On the front you get an almost identical 8 megapixel selfie camera as on the flagship.
Google has also reduced many of the new features of the Pixel 4 camera to the Pixel 4A, such as astrophotography mode and Live HDR +. You can put this phone on a tripod, point it up to the sky, and get a surprisingly good photo of the stars above. That depends on where you live, of course, but I managed to capture some stars in heavily light-polluted New York City. (However, I haven’t seen any UFOs.)
Live HDR +, on the other hand, shows in real time what your photo will look like before you take it, so you don’t have to wait for image processing to finish. Here you will also find the controls for the double exposure of the Pixel 4, with which you can set the exact exposure level and the shadows according to your wishes.
What does it all mean? I can’t stop taking pictures with this phone. Daylight shots don’t look too sharp or saturated, and the camera manages high-contrast scenes incredibly well. Portrait mode is still not perfect, but it manages to take some great photos of my dog. And at night, the camera maintains good details and saturation, and the improved white balance keeps the color temperature at bay.
Heck, photos taken with Night Sight, a mode in which multiple photos are taken at different exposures and best put together, sometimes even outperform the results of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus ($ 1,200) and add much more accurate colors and add more details. This is one of the best camera phones available today and costs half the price of the iPhone 11.
Space to grow
My two weeks with the Pixel 4A were mostly positive. The Android experience from Google increases its excellence by another level: the always accessible Google Assistant is still the best voice assistant, and there are so many small intelligent functions such as “Now Playing” that automatically tell me which title in my Environment is played on the lock screen (also offline!). However, there are some areas where the phone could improve.
First, it lacks any type of IP-certified water resistance, so be careful when using it near pools. There’s also no microSD slot, so you’ll have to pay more for Google Cloud storage if you run out of space. That said, 128 gigabytes is what you’ll find on most phones in this price range.
The two speakers are sufficient if you are in a quiet room, but are making ambient noise and quickly picking up your headphones. When I was watching a video in the noisy New York outdoors, I had to turn the volume up to maximum, and it was still not that easy to identify dialogues. So is the screen straight bright enough to see in sunny conditions, but I sometimes had to squint and the camera’s video performance is not great.
My last two handles are small. Wireless charging is missing, and considering it is available in the iPhone SE ($ 400), it would have been nice to see it here. (I say it selfishly, with wireless chargers in my apartment.)
The phone is also only available in one color: black. Google cites “supply chain complexity” as the reason (also why there is no larger Pixel 4A XL this year), which is understandable but still disappointing. (There’s a hole in my heart for the rumored “Barely Blue” model.) At least the on / off switch is accented in white, which is always a nice touch and distinguishes this phone a little better from the flood of gray and black phones. A case can add some color.
Everything the phone you need
The best thing about it everything Pixel phones get security updates and Android version upgrades straight from Google (the company that makes Android) for three years. This duration of support cannot keep up with Apple, which supports its iPhones for five years or more, but it is much longer than most other Android phones (especially cheap ones).
You should also know that a 5G version of the Pixel 4A will appear next to the Pixel 5 later this year (probably in October). Given that 5G is still an emerging network technology only available in select areas of several U.S. cities, you don’t have to wait for the Pixel 4A 5G. It will likely cost a bit more, and the added speed doesn’t add much yet.
The Pixel 4A is delivered unlocked so you can use it on any major U.S. mobile operator. It can be pre-ordered now and will be available on August 20th. It’s the best phone that Google has made, and it’s the phone that I would currently recommend to anyone. It’s $ 349!
At a time when millions of people are unemployed, This Phone is a third of the price of many high-end models, but it will do everything you need. When you need a new phone, you save some money and do more important things in your life.