Google Pixel 4a Review

It’s been a month since Google launched its latest mid-range device – the Pixel 4a in India and the device comes with some impressive specs on paper. The device flaunts a 5.81-inch Full HD+ OLED Display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. Under the hood, it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC and packs 6 GB of RAM along with 128 GB of internal storage.

The device is priced at Rs.31,999 in India and goes on sale via Flipkart. Is the Pixel 4a worth your money? Let’s find out.

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Google Pixel 4a Specifications

  • Display: 5.81-inch FHD+ OLED display with 1080 x 2340 pixels screen resolution, 18.5:9 aspect ratio, HDR support, and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G Mobile Platform; Titan M security chip
  • GPU: Adreno 618 GPU
  • RAM: 6 GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • Storage: 128 GB UFS 2.1
  • OS: Android 10
  • Rear Camera: 12.2 MP camera with f/1.7 aperture, Dual PD autofocus, OIS, EIS, and 4K video recording at 30fps
  • Front Camera: 8 MP with ultra-wide lens and f/2.0 aperture
  • Others: Fingerprint sensor, Stereo speakers, dual microphones
  • Connectivity: 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2MIMO (2.4/5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.1 LE, GPS, USB Type-C Gen 1, NFC
  • Battery: 3140 mAh battery with 18W fast charging

Design, Display, & Build

Talking about the design, the Google Pixel 4a comes with a Matte finished plastic back and weighs just 143 grams which makes it one of the lightest phones out there. Due to its compact form factor, the device easily fits into your hand and you have no issues while using it with a single hand. On the back, you get a square-shaped camera module along with a fingerprint scanner that works very well and unlocks your device within a second. You also have the Google logo in the bottom and as this is a matte finished back panel it doesn’t attract fingerprints. The device is only available in a single color which is black and there are no other options for the users.

The power button and the volume buttons are placed on the right and if you are someone who takes a lot of screenshots it’ll take you a while to get used to the button placement because we often found ourselves pressing the volume up key instead of the volume down due to its weird volume button placement. On the bottom, you get a USB Type-C port along with a Stereo Speaker setup. The speakers on the Pixel 4a are really good and quite loud which makes the media streaming experience better.

It also has a secondary microphone on the top along with a 3.5mm headphone jack that allows you to connect AUX cables and earphones directly with your device. The SIM Tray is placed on the right and even though this is a Dual SIM phone it supports one physical SIM along with one ESim which is a drawback. As of now only Jio and Airtel are offering ESim in India so if you buy the device you’ll have to switch to one of these network providers to use two SIM Cards on the device. We’ve seen the same problem with the iPhones and it’s high time that these companies start offering two SIM card slots at least in India because switching to an ESim is time-consuming and the process isn’t great either.

The box for the Pixel 4a is also smaller when compared with the others and inside the box, you get a Type-C to Type-C cable, an 18W fast charger, some manuals, and a Type-C to USB A adaptor.

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Moving on to the Display, the Google Pixel 4a comes with a 5.81-inch FHD+ OLED display with 1080 x 2340 pixels screen resolution, 18.5:9 aspect ratio, HDR support, and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. If you are a fan of compact phones then you’ll love the display on the Pixel 4a because even after the 5.81-inch screen size the device feels very small to hold. The device comes with 670 nits of peak brightness and we had no issues using it in the direct sunlight.

The colors on the display are vibrant and the device can also play HDR Videos which makes the media streaming experience better. However, what’s disappointing is that even at a price tag of Rs.31,999 the Google Pixel 4a comes with the standard 60Hz refresh rate and competitors like OnePlus Nord offer a better panel with a higher refresh rate. If you are okay with the 60Hz refresh rate then the display on the Google Pixel 4a would be good enough for you.

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User Interface and Software

Pixel devices are known for their stock android experience and the Pixel 4a also delivers the same. The device runs Android 10 out of the box however it already has the Android 11 update and it’s one of the very few smartphones in the market right now running on Android 11. Since this is a Google device you can expect constant updates for the next 2 to 3 years. In a span of 30 days, we already got 3 software updates with security patches and bug fixes so expect a lot of updates with the device.

The device comes with no bloatware and the only pre-installed apps you get on the smartphone are from Google. In our everyday usage, we had no issues with the Android 11 on the Pixel 4a and everything was running smoothly. The App opening speeds were quick and there were no app crashes even while multitasking. The device easily keeps 7-8 normal apps in memory and allows you to switch between them without any issues.

In addition to this, the Pixel 4a comes with the Widevine L1 certification which means that it’ll be able to play videos from services like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix and the highest quality. Since it’s an HDR Display streaming HDR videos on YouTube is also possible and you are going to enjoy streaming media at its best. Since this is running on Stock Android you don’t get additional features like Dual Apps, App Lock, and more and if you want to use them, you’ll have to search for a third-party app on Play Store. You can have a look at the Android 11 in the screenshots below.

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Lockscreen and Homescreen
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App Drawer and Google Discover
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Notification Panel
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About Phone
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HDR Video on YouTube
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YouTube on Pixel 4A

Hardware, Performance, & Gaming

Google Pixel 4a comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G Processor which is coupled with an Adreno 618 GPU, 6GB LPDDR4X RAM, and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage. This is the only variant for the Pixel 4a in India which means that you can’t get 8 GB RAM or 256 GB of Storage. The processor does the job well however at this price we would have loved to see a better chip.

Talking about the performance, the Google Pixel 4a handles everyday tasks with ease. From your social media apps to documentation apps everything runs pretty smooth. When it comes to Gaming performance, heavy games like Call of Duty can be played on medium settings without any lag whereas playing it on high may get you some frame drops in between. Other Popular titles like Among Us, Free Fire, and more can be played without any issues.

When it comes to connectivity, the Google Pixel 4a comes with support for 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2MIMO (2.4/5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.1 LE, GPS, USB Type-C Gen 1, and NFC. While our usage, there were no connection drops when we were connected with a WiFi network and the connection speed was also good.

Moving on to the Benchmarks, we tried running 3DMark, AnTuTu, Geekbench 5, and Androbench Storage Benchmark on the device, and the results were impressive. You can have a look at the detailed benchmark scores below.

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Geekbench 5 on Pixel 4a
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AnTuTu Benchmark Pixel 4a
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3DMark Wildlife Stress Test on Pixel 4a
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Androbench Storage Benchmark Pixel 4a

Camera

Google Pixel 4a comes with a single 12.2 MP camera with an f/1.7 aperture on the back. This is the same lens that we’ve seen on Pixel 3a and older models. Along with the 12.2 MP shooter, there is an 8 MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture on the front which takes care of your selfies and video calls.

Even after a single camera at the back, the photos you get are amazing and this is possible because of the image processing that happens when you click a photo. The camera performs amazingly well in daylight conditions and the night shots are also good. However, when you are shooting indoors with low light you will notice some grainy photos.

It comes with the Google Camera App preinstalled and features like Photo Sphere and Google Lens are already present in the camera app. Other Camera modes include Portrait and Night Sight. It is to be noted that the default camera app doesn’t support manual mode. Have a look at the camera samples below to see how Pixel 4a performs when it comes to taking photos.

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Battery

Google Pixel 4a comes with a 3140 mAh battery with 18W fast charging support. The battery size is less when you compare it with the phones like OnePlus Nord and Samsung Galaxy M51 however Pixel 4a manages to get you through the day without any issues. The device manages to give you 5 to 6 hours of screen time after a single charge. The screen time can be increased further if you use the device on lower brightness.

The device comes with a 18W USB Type-C charger inside the box which means that you won’t have to purchase a fast charger separately. It takes about 1hrs and 40 mins to charge the Pixel 4a completely. Overall, when it comes to the battery life, the battery on the Pixel 4a is average and just gets the job done for casual users.

Verdict

The Pixel 4a is a good smartphone for the people who love the Stock Android Experience. It has nothing which makes it standout from the competion however it isn’t bad either. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor handles everyday tasks with ease, the small and compact form factor is really nice and as the smartphone weighs juust 143 grams, you get a good feel when you hold it in your hands. Overall if you are looking for a lightweight phone with Stock Android then the Pixel 4a is for you else you can go for OnePlus Nord, Apple iPhone SE 2020 or the Samsung Galaxy M51 because they offer you better value for your money.

Strength

  • Lightweight
  • Compact  – Easy to use with a single hand
  • Android 11 – Stock Android Experience
  • Stereo Speakers
  • 3.5mm Headphone Jack

Weakness

  • Average Battery life
  • Standard 60Hz Refresh Rate
  • No Ultra-Wide angle camera
  • ESim instead of Physical SIM
  • Manual Mode isn’t supported in the Stock Camera App