The Pixel 4a 5G is here and I feel deja-vu


Deja-vu was just getting bigger and faster when Google’s Pixel 4a 5G arrived to add speed and screen size to what is probably the best budget Android phone of 2020. The new Pixel 5, the 5G-enabled smartphone, is even cheaper, starting at under $ 500 but adding the large display that was missing on the Pixel 4a.

So it is now a 6.2-inch panel with a size of 1080 x 2340 instead of the 5.81-inch display of the Pixel 4a. The resolution is the same, and they both use OLED and a pinhole camera.

Side by side, it’s clear that the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G are siblings. This particular model is the sub-6 GHz version (model G025E). However, there will also be a 5G mmWave version (model G6QU3) that can leverage the faster but relatively limited coverage networks of carriers like Verizon. There’s also a small difference in thickness: the Pixel 4a is 8.2mm, as is the Pixel 4a 5G, while the mmWave version of the Pixel 4a 5G is 8.5mm.

They are definitely no-nonsense phones with a black casing that feels sturdy but is hardly noticeable. The on / off switch is a welcome outlier, but I wish there was a bit more color on offer than the Pixel 3a. Something I never thought I’d be so excited about is the rear fingerprint sensor, which, after finding out that all phones with face login are not exactly compatible with our current masked world, reassuringly quick and easy to use with one to be found is fingertip.

The camera block is also slightly larger on the back to accommodate the second sensor. There is the same 12.2 megapixel dual-pixel camera as before with dual-pixel phase-detection autofocus, OIS and an aperture of f / 1.7, but with an ultra-wide 16-megapixel camera with a field of view of 107 degrees is combined. Unfortunately no telephoto, which, to be honest, I would have preferred to ultrawide. Google uses its digital magnification technology to circumvent the lack of a special sensor.

Also inside is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G with 6 GB of storage and 128 GB of storage. This should translate into an increase in speed compared to the Snapdragon 730G in the Pixel 4a, though I’m more curious to see how the larger battery – 3,800 mAh versus 3,140 mAh – holds up, given the larger screen and the addition of 5G. However, like the network speed tests, this will have to wait for our full verification.

That’s in preparation, as is a Pixel 5 test. Google’s new flagship starts at $ 699, a $ 200 premium compared to the Pixel 4a 5G, though it comes with mmWave support as standard. Given Google’s decision to stick with the Snapdragon 765G instead of installing an 8xx-series chipset and using a slightly smaller 6-inch display, the company arguably still faces a bigger problem.

As always, it can be software that really sets the Pixel 4a 5G apart. There Android 11 and the earliest access to Google’s functions – like Hold for Me – together with the established camera technology can make the difference. For the time being, hit me down in the comments with any questions we want to cover in our full review, and let us know if you’d like to slip a new Pixel into your pocket in time for the holidays.


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