A small phone with a great camera and laconic Android 11 of the latest version – this is how you can describe the Google Pixel 4a. Google Pixel of any generation is a real exotic, since we do not even smell of official sales, but people nevertheless get themselves these unusual Google phones.
At first glance, the Google Pixel 4a does not cling to at all: the phone looks simple, the body is made of ordinary plastic. At the same time, for connoisseurs of the Pixel cult, this is a great chance to try Google software without overpaying for “extra” functions. The compact Pixel 4a fits easily into any pocket and weighs nothing – the perfect mobile camera for all occasions.
- OS: Android 11;
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730;
- Screen: 5.81 ″, 1080 × 2340, OLED, Gorilla Glass 3, Always-On;
- RAM: 6 GB;
- Built-in memory: 128 GB, UFS 2.1;
- Front camera: 8 megapixels (f / 2.0);
- Main camera: 12.2 MP (f / 1.7), optical stabilization, video recording 4K 30 fps;
- Communications: NFC, eSIM, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C 3.1;
- Protection: fingerprint scanner;
- Sound: stereo speakers, 3.5 mm;
- Battery: 3140 mAh, fast charging 18 W;
- Dimensions: 144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm;
- Weight: 143 g.
The phone is small, light, and thin, if you are tired of bulky devices, then this is simply salvation. Although the screen is not that small: 5.81 inches diagonal is quite enough for comfortable viewing of videos or typing.
The display is flat: no bends at the sides, a simple flat surface covered with Gorilla Glass 3, where it is not difficult to attach additional protective glass. The frames are not the thinnest, but nevertheless, the front surface looks neat.
The screen is of normal quality, it does not have any features such as an increased refresh rate, like the OnePlus Nord classmate or a super-durable protective glass. Medium quality oleophobic coating, the picture is bright and does not fade outdoors. The brightness control works well, you can read the screen at night and not overload your eyes.
Great pocket camera
There is a simple rule in the smartphone market: if you want a phone with a great camera, buy a flagship. But Google has its own opinion on this, the Pixel 4a has a very affordable price of $ 350, while the smartphone is at its best in terms of photo quality.
There are no additional modules like telephoto or ultra-wide angle. Only one single 12-megapixel camera, familiar from old Google smartphones, and all the power of software for image processing.
Impressions from the camera of an inexpensive smartphone remained excellent, the Google Pixel 4a produces a picture of excellent quality, it can be put on a par with flagships. Excellent night mode, fast focusing, except that it takes a little longer to process HDR images than you expect. But the result is worth it.
Not about benchmarks, but about optimization
The filling is as follows: not the freshest, but a quite vigorous Snapdragon 730, 6 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of its own memory. Of course, there is no memory card slot, like in any other phone in the Pixel line.
The characteristics are common, but the software is well adapted, the vibration response is excellent, so I don’t want to let go of the small Pixel. The phone pleased me with its responsiveness and high-speed operation, the interface is smooth, the design is laconic – the inexpensive Pixel 4a left a pleasant feeling.
In theory, a smartphone should receive software updates for at least three years, this time. The second point – at the same time we get all the features of Android, as for more expensive smartphones of the Pixel family. Another thing is that not all the delights of the Google ecosystem are available to us. For example, a voice recorder with a speech transcript function appeared in Pixel backgrounds, it works in real-time with a breakdown by seconds. A journalist’s dream! But so far only English is supported.
I like the minimalist design of the menu, there is nothing superfluous, and convenient little things brighten up life. For example, you can enable a responsive row with icons, then application icons will automatically appear on the bottom line of the home screen, depending on your preferences. And how convenient the built-in function for detecting spam calls with the next offer to get a credit card works!
I got the phone on Android 10, but soon an update to Android 11 arrived. I hope that Google will regularly release patches and there will be no problems with support.
If you judge the phone by its looks, then you will not experience any emotions from the Pixel 4a. The case is plastic, the feeling of an inexpensive phone is complemented by tight volume control buttons and a loudly clicking power key.
There is no need to choose between body colors, the phone is available only in black. It’s a shame there aren’t any more fun colors, like light gray, white, or bright yellow, but the Pixel 4a has some great fabric cases. They are very pleasant to the touch, the pattern on the surface is interesting and thus you can refresh a boring look. On the other hand, matte plastic is not a pity: it will not break when dropped, like glass, scratches on it also did not appear in a couple of weeks of use.
The fingerprint scanner is located at the back, it works without errors, the main thing is not to miss and hit it blindly the first time, but this is already a matter of habit. However, after getting acquainted with the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, where the sub-screen fingerprint scanner worked just disgusting, I can no longer say that the scanner on the back is bad. At least it works perfectly and doesn’t go dumb. But the main thing is that you can confidently use a light smartphone with one hand, without fear of dropping it.
To the delight of fans of wired headphones, the Pixel 4a has a 3.5mm jack on the top for listening to music. The phone has stereo speakers, which are not found in all inexpensive smartphones. The sound is ordinary: the volume is at a good level, but without pleasant features such as deep lows or a sense of volume.
By tradition, the phone has one physical SIM-card, but there is support for eSIM. Payment for purchases via Google Pay is also present, there is NFC in the smartphone.
The box with the phone contains a powerful 18 W charger, you won’t have to spend money on an additional power supply, fast charging is always at hand. The phone does not support wireless charging, which is a pity.
The indicators, according to my feelings, are good: a phone with a small battery can easily withstand a day of active use, giving out about 5.5-6 hours of screen time in total. For comparison, Google Pixel 3 XL works the same for me.
In America, the smartphone costs $ 350 excluding taxes, the Google Pixel 4a has only black color and one memory option: 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal.
In America, the phone’s main competitor is the iPhone SE (2020). But there the 128 GB version costs $ 449. If you save up and cut it down to 64 GB, you still have to pay $ 399.
On the side of the iPhone is the Apple ecosystem, more expensive and high-quality materials, as well as a top-end processor, albeit of the last generation. But the Pixel 4a wins in battery life, it has a bigger screen and better photos. But in terms of the feel of the phone in hand, the iPhone SE is, of course, ahead.
For American or European buyers, the Google Pixel 4a turned out to be an interesting proposition. It captivates not with a dry set of characteristics, but with the sensations that add up as you use the smartphone.
It is inexpensive, while taking great pictures, works quickly, is not overloaded with unnecessary functions, and you don’t have to worry about the battery life. At the same time, it is small and easy to use with one hand, there are not enough such smartphones and I want more of them.