Google announced its cheaper Pixel 4a earlier this year which has gone on sale in India recently last month. We even saw early buyers got the Pixel 4a at a lower price tag thanks to Flipkart BBD. So finally, we had got the chance to review the new Pixel 4a and in this post, you will get to decide is it worth all the hype?
Google kept its retail package simple and comes with big Pixel 4a branding on the front. The box content includes an 18W power adapter, USB Type-C cable along with USB Type-C to Micro USB adapter. Sadly, Google has not put the back case which could be included as the user is paying a premium.
The new mid-range Pixel aka Google Pixel 4a looks similar to Google Pixel 4 from the back with a square-shaped single rear camera. The Pixel 4a is the first-ever Google phone with a punch-hole display. The Pixel 4a is super compact and even lighter than expected. it features a polycarbonate body which doesn’t feel cheap at all.
Yes, the device gives a premium feel as it uses a matte finish over the plastic body. Even with a plastic back, the device is super slippery and easily falls out of your hand. So, using the Pixel 4a with a back case is recommended. Overall a good design and great in-hand feel the Pixel 4a provides.
The next is the main thing of any smartphone at this price tag the Performance of the device. So, the Pixel 4a will not disappoint you at the performance on a day to day usage as it comes with stock Android without any customization. The Pixel 4a comes powered by Qualcomm SD730G SoC which is even powering the Galaxy M51 that is priced lower.
The Pixel 4a gives a completely lag-free experience thanks to great software and hardware. Yes, even with one-year-old SD730G the Pixel 4a performs pretty well in the daily task and even the apps opened up quickly without any lags. Further, the 6GB RAM helped to keep the apps for a long time under the multi-tasking and doesn’t reload at all.
But we noticed that as we keep on launching more than six apps then the previous app use to reload. So, this might be a software glitch that can be fixed through an OTA update. As the device lacks a microSD card slot but offers 128GB might be sufficient for normal users but Pro users might suffer.
The games too launched quickly on the Pixel 4a and we managed to play the Asphalt 9 and COD at the highest graphics setting. We hardly notice any sort of frame drops or lag as it gave a complete lag-free gaming experience. So, the SD730G is still a stronger chipset but falls short when compared with OnePlus Nord.
In short, the Pixel 4a can survive heavy gaming too but with continuous gaming for 30 min, the device back gets warm and not hot. This might be common for any device as the processing power being used majorly by the game. Overall, the Pixel 4a gives a good performance than any other device at this price range.
The major highlight of any Google Pixel series is the camera and Pixel 4a promises to offer a great camera experience. Yes, the Pixel 4a single camera will kill most of the devices under this price segment. The Pixel 4a features a single 12MP Sony sensor which shoots stunning images both in the day and low-light situation.
The rear camera outshines in the day with stunning shots taken that gives nearly natural colors without any oversaturation. It gives a clear image with a great dynamic range which is even better than any other phone under this price range. The Pixel 4a rear camera even outperforms in artificial lighting with blur-free images and great shots.
The Pixel 4a too gets Night mode and Astro Photography feature from the Pixel 4 series which adds more feathers to the hat. The new Pixel 4a comes with Okay low-light shots as it tries to over-sharpen the images and in some cases, the pictures turn out to be a lot more on the yellower side. Overall, it gives out above average low-light images.
Coming to the selfie shooter, the new Pixel 4a features a 8MP selfie camera that provides great images both in artificial and daylight situations. In fact, the Pixel 4a might be the best selfie camera phone in this price range. The portrait mode under the selfie camera is one of the best seen to date.
It gives out almost nearly perfect blurriness when compared with other devices. The images taken from selfie camera at times look pixelated which happens only during the artificial lighting situation which is a disappointment. Overall a great selfie camera on the Pixel 4a.
The Pixel 4a can shoot videos up to 4K at 30fos and comes with EIS & OIS support too which works only with FHD recording. The video from the rear camera of the Pixel 4a is the best with great sound capture thanks to dual mics. It gives great footage at both 4K and FHD resolution but is shaky during the 4K video capture. The Pixel 4a comes with an almost perfect video recording smartphone but lacks the pro-mode.
As it is Google own smartphone, we have a lot of expectation in terms of overall Software experience. When it was officially announced the new Pixel 4a came with Android 10 OS and was directly launched with Android 11 OS in India. The new Pixel 4a comes with great software which gives bloat free apps and cleaner UI.
As expected, the new Android 11 on Google Pixel 4a outshines in terms of smooth and lag free software experience. It comes without any customization and gives us stock Android UI. So, it’s finally left to the user how he wants to customize the phone. Sadly, still the new Android 11 lack some of the custom skin features like Net Speed indicator on the top bar, App lock etc. which needs an additional app to function.
Now the Sound bar has lot more options like one click to mute or got to silent mode by just tapping on the bell icon. The one tap to move between the apps is still there and swipe navigation too works fine on the new Pixel 4a. The default phone app still lacks call recording feature but now we have got the stock screen recorder feature finally on Android 11. Overall a great ad free Software experience on the new Pixel 4a.
The next and is most important thing on any smartphone is the display of the device. The new Google Pixel 4a comes with 5.8 inches FHD+ Super AMOLED display which gives great outdoor visibility even under direct sunlight. The blacks are complete black and is brighter than any other display. Sadly, the display is still 60Hz refresh rate unlike the OnePlus Nord which features 90Hz smooth display.
Under the display setting we have three options to choose with Natural, Boosted and Adaptive. We selected the boosted mode which gave us great contrast and bright colours. The adaptive mode will set the colours based on lighting.
Google Pixel 4a comes with all-new punch-hole display with almost bezel-less sides which gives a great look. Overall the 5.8 inches display gives us great single hand usability making it compact from every corner.
The Auto-brightness sensor works flawless in setting the screen brightness. Google has also added auto dark mode functionality so that one can schedule it based on time. This time the Pixel 4a also gets support for Always On display which the works great but they miss to add customization to it which Samsung and other brand gives. Yes, Google missed the option to schedule the AOD instead one has to enable it always on which might directly impact on battery of the device.
For any smartphone the major thing we use is for calls and here too the Pixel 4a will never disappoints. The new Pixel 4a again comes with 4G only support with carrier aggregation and gave us full signal even in places where other phones struggle. We were on single SIM with Jio 4G an got great network experience.
The audio from the speaker and earpiece during calls is great and never had any issue from the receiver end. So full marks for great network reception and call quality. The phone probably also got strong WIFI support has it comes with Dual Band WIFI but sadly, it gets disconnected once the WIFI signals are too weak which makes us a big letdown. We hope Google might fix this through OTA update soon.
The Pixel 4a also gets 3.5 mm audio jack which is great thing in 2020 but the sound quality is seriously bad. Yes, the audio through the 3.5 mm audio jack is not so great even with some of the good quality earphones we were unable to get that great sound. Further, the device also gets Dual Stereo speaker on the front which gave us great sound experience during gaming, watching videos and even during calls. The Bluetooth connectivity too is great and get connected to any nearby device very fast.
Last but not the least the fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 4a is located on the back which is bit disappointing as phones under this price segment comes with in-display one. Anyway, the fingerprint performance was good but not great as at time it uses to not detect but 90% of the time it worked. The fingerprint scanner also gets additional function like swipe to bring down the notification panel.
The GPS worked both in-doors and outdoors without any problems and gave us accurate results. Overall a great device but there are some flaws in terms of connectivity which might be fixed through OTA update.
Lastly any smartphone usage will be depending upon the battery which is also called life for any device. So, the new Google Pixel 4a packs in lower 3150 mAh battery which performs well. Yes, it actually surprised us in terms of overall average user as the battery last for one full working day. Yes, we had to charge the device by end of the day as it was left with just 20% juice left.
But during playing heavy games and multi-tasking between apps we had to charge the device twice a day which is acceptable due to the lower capacity battery. The Pixel 4a comes with 18W USB PD charger that can charge the device from 0-100% in 1 hour 40 min as per our test.
We even conducted test and the device took 1 hour 15 min to charge from 37% to 100%. The device also gets battery saving mode and do note this review is been based on normal mode. So overall a decent phone with good battery life.
Google has done an excellent job by launching such a great mid-range smartphone with Pixel 4a that outshines in almost all categories. But still it’s not an perfect device as it also have some cons. So let’s divide the review between the Pros and Cons of the new Google Pixel 4a.
- Great Display with best outdoor visibility.
- Best stereo sound with great call quality.
- Rear camera gives tough competition even for the flagship under this price range.
- Takes best selfies under good lighting.
- Smooth and lag-free software experience.
- Comes with best performance in terms of gaming.
- Audio via 3.5 mm audio jack not good at all.
- WIFI connectivity issues.
- Built quality could have been better as it comes with premium price tag.
- Heating issues during non-stop gaming.
- Lack of Ultra-wide sensor makes fall apart in terms of competition.
So the Pixel 4a is almost an worthy upgrade for those who want complete stock Android experience. As it will be getting regular Android update for period of three years. But for the price tag of Rs.31,999/- we have lot more options out there which might make the device slightly overpriced. The great set of camera and Google’s best software implementation will make us give it a worthy for each penny you spend.