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Google’s Pixel 4a heralds a new era of large, cheap phones

The iPhone SE only costs $ 399. The OnePlus Nord is sold outside of the United States at approximately the same price. Now Google is back in shape and has launched the new Pixel 4a for just $ 349.

It has never been clearer that we have entered the next great era of amazing cheap phones. An important time has also come. Flagship prices have risen in recent years, and Apple has sold older models at slightly lower prices. Even the once revered bargain maker OnePlus had lost its middle mojo and only started selling phones that cost well over $ 500.

But everything changed in 2020. Those who have searched used phone pages for a worthy purchase are now welcome to spend that $ 300 to $ 400 on a new phone that won̵

7;t disappoint. In particular, the Pixel 4a again raises the standard for what we can expect from affordable cell phones.

A bargain with a flagship


When you buy a phone for $ 350, you don’t expect a perfect phone with every feature under the sun. You’re probably wondering what you could get for $ 500 more – and how good $ 350 can be.

It turns out it’s pretty good, in the right way, especially the way that matters most. After simple SMS and calls, photography remains one of our favorite things we all do with our smartphones. The Pixel 4a not only offers you a good camera, but also a flagship camera. Exactly the same photos are taken that you would take with the Google Pixel 4, which is twice as expensive.

In the past, the camera was the main reason to buy the most expensive flagship phones. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G Ultra is the only phone in the family with a 100x zoom. With the Pixel 4a, however, Google hands over the most important feature of the flagship to bargain hunters. Almost every other compromise is acceptable with this pixel camera.

It can scare you that the Google Pixel 4a uses the same 12.2 megapixel camera sensor as the last Pixel phones. But in this case it is a function, not an error. Google has proven that it is actually an advantage if a product development team is so familiar with a component. The Pixel 4a harnesses Google’s ingenuity in machine learning to use the raw data from shots with the Pixel 4a sensor and create images that rival those with the best camera hardware. This software processing is just as good on the Pixel 4a as it is on the Pixel 4.

In practice, Google can greatly improve the way a mobile camera handles low-light exposures. When you take photos in the dark, you see more detail and color than other cameras. When you take pictures on a bright day, you get a snappy and dynamic picture with clean bright spots and atmospheric dark areas. If you point the Pixel 4a at the night sky, you can capture an arm of the Milky Way. Even the best iPhone can’t do that.

It’s time for budget phones to shine

It would be easy to attribute the boom in excellent budget phones to the global pandemic. But remember: Planning for the design, procurement, manufacture and sale of a smartphone takes more than a year. Even if Apple and Google wanted to cut prices to fit everyone’s current economic reality, it would be difficult to cut much due to the strong margins and existing bulk sales agreements.

However, the pandemic will certainly speed up this process. Samsung has a hangar full of phones that you can buy for over $ 1,000. However, it is easy to see that the bargain phones will have a significant sales advantage in the foreseeable future. Once this has happened, expect a new race to the rung below the middle. Manufacturers will experiment to decide what features they can limit before buyers believe a phone is missing too much more than a high price. Regardless of which phone has the edge, we are all winners when the competition is so tight.

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