To like

  • Affordable
  • Excellent camera
  • Has a headphone jack
  • Great battery life so far

I do not like it

  • No wireless charging
  • Not waterproof

Google revealed on Monday the pixel 4A that sits next to that Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 5. Although the latter two will be available at a later date, you can pre-order the Pixel 4A for $ 349, GBP 349 and AU $ 599. Unlike in previous years, the phone is only available in one color (black) and one size (there is no Pixel 4A XL). And for its price, the Pixel 4A has one of the best cameras you can get on a phone.

Continue reading: Here is how the Pixel 4A is compared to the Pixel 3A, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. And here is how it can compete with affordable competitors like the iPhone SE and the Galaxy A51.

In the midst of the plethora of currently $ 400 cellphones, including the iPhone SE (2020) and the Galaxy A51, the Pixel 4A's two outstanding features are hard to dismiss. The fact that it has the same excellent main camera as the Pixel 4 (unfortunately not the Pixel 4's second telephoto lens) makes it the ideal phone for someone who wants to take great photos with little effort. Especially if it is not important to this person to have a slim design or a huge screen, both of which are not present in the Pixel 4A.

The Pixel 4A is about $ 50 cheaper than its closest competitors and has 128 GB of storage instead of 64 GB as in previous years. So it's really a solid value. And nowadays, a lot of money that can be saved is crucial.

Does the Pixel 4A have the best camera on any phone? What does the Pixel 4 still have the best camera for? Not necessarily, not like in previous years. When the Pixel 2 came out in 2017, the delta between Google's camera and other Android phones felt pretty big at that time. And when the Pixel 3 introduced Night Sight, it was an impressive witch level. Competitors like Apple, Samsung and OnePlus have closed the gap when it comes to important camera functions such as photos in low light conditions and zoom.

The better question then is: is this the phone with the best camera that you can get for $ 350? Given that the Pixel 4A also gets instant software updates from Google, it has a long battery life (until now) and has a headphone jack – everything on his star camera – I dare say the answer is yes.

Comparison of Google Pixel 4A and Pixel 4

Pixel 4A

Pixel 4

Rear view cameras

The Pixel 4A does not have a second rear telephoto camera

2 rear cameras ensure better portraits

Headphone jack

It has a 3.5mm headphone jack

The Pixel 4 has no headphone jack

design

Larger 5.81-inch screen and pinhole on the front

Smaller 5.7-inch screen and striking camera shot

Show update rate

60Hz display

90Hz display

Charge

No wireless charging

Charges wirelessly

Water resistance

Not waterproof

Degree of protection IP68 for water resistance

Soli motion detection

No solo motion detection that enables contactless gestures

Pixel 4 offers solo motion detection and non-contact gestures

battery

3,140 mAh battery

2,800 mAh battery

processor

Less powerful Snapdragon 730G chipset

Stronger snapdragon 855

Save options

It has a 128 GB storage option

Two options: 64 GB and 128 GB

The Pixel 4A has a single 12.2 megapixel camera

Angela Lang / CNET

The Pixel 4A has the best camera for the money

The main selling point of the Pixel 4A is that it has the outstanding main camera of the Pixel 4 in a cheaper package. While handling the Pixel 4A with HDR effects and contrasts sometimes seems unrealistic, the cinematic quality of its photos makes it one of the more intuitive cameras. And although there aren't multiple rear cameras like the Galaxy A51 or the original Pixel 4, it takes very little effort to get the Pixel 4A to spit out a good photo. This is fun and easy to use.

Below are some general outdoor photos taken in the afternoon and evening. Note the clear, fine details and contrast.

Lynn La / CNET

Lynn La / CNET

Lynn La / CNET

The photo below was a challenge because the camera was facing the sun. And in the picture afterwards I stood in the dark shadow and took a picture of the bright, sun-drenched lake. Both are difficult lighting situations, but the photos are well exposed.

Lynn La / CNET

Lynn La / CNET

Below is an example of the phone's 7x zoom, which Google calls "Super Res Zoom". While the person sitting on the lawn looks confused, the fact that I can still see them even though they were sitting about 400 feet away is impressive.

A view of the lake without zoom.

Lynn La / CNET

This picture was taken with the 7x zoom of the Pixel 4A.

Lynn La / CNET

Like previous Pixel phones, the Pixel 4A can take pictures in very low light thanks to its night vision function. It also has a mode specifically for astrophotography.

Take a night vision photo of the lake in the dark evening.

Lynn La / CNET

Even though this photo is blurry, it was taken near dark and you can still see the palm trees and stars in the sky.

John Kim / CNET

The Pixel 4A takes portrait pictures with just one camera. Although these photos came out well, there were a few others where the bokeh effect was inconsistent or inaccurate.

On this portrait photo you can see that the blur on the right side of the cat's face drops off abruptly.

Lynn La / CNET

Another portrait picture taken with the Pixel 4A.

John Kim / CNET

Making the video was great too. The Pixel 4A uses a combination of optical image stabilization and software to stabilize the film material. When I recorded my surroundings on the sidewalk and by bike on a paved path, the videos were stable and fluid.

It looks like a "budget" phone

While Pixel 3A and Pixel 3 look almost identical, Pixel 4A is clearly an affordable version of Pixel 4. While I like the thin bezels, pinhole, and baby-blue accent on the power button – all of which keep the phone modern – Pixel 4A sees it cheap and feels that way. The sleek polycarbonate case lacks the sheen of the Galaxy A51, the elegance of the iPhone SE and the fun pop art aesthetics of its Pixel 4 brother. And unlike the Pixel 4, it doesn't have a display with a higher refresh rate. This is not a deal breaker since most phones have the same 60 Hz screen, but it would have been a nice transmission that would have made the Pixel 4A more attractive.

Discover the latest news and best ratings for smartphones and mobile operators from CNET's mobile experts.

As someone with a small grip, I find that the small size of the phone makes it easier to navigate – and it fits in my back pocket. I prefer a one-handed experience, which is one of the reasons why I don't usually choose the "XL" versions of pixels. So I'm glad that Google chose the smaller option when choosing a size for the Pixel 4A.

Since the phone doesn't have the Pixel 4's Google Soli sensor chip to scan the face, I used the fingerprint sensor on the back to unlock the screen, which works quickly and consistently.

google-pixel-4a-4656

The Pixel 4A is only available in black and has a simple polycarbonate body.

Angela Lang / CNET

Pixel 4A software: incremental but welcome improvements

Since the Pixel 4A is an inexpensive phone and Google is launching its main Pixel 5 in the fall, it is not surprising that the 4A does not contain an Android 11 that is ready to use. It's also not full of radical changes to Android 10. Instead, Google has added small improvements to the Android features that were useful from the start.

Live subtitling of a call in FB Messenger.

Lynn La / CNET

This includes expanding the phone's live subtitling capabilities introduced on Pixel 4. You can now transcribe phone and video calls live, including those made with non-native apps like Facebook Messenger. When I tried Messenger, there was a delay between language and subtitling, and not every word was 100% accurately transcribed. But other than that, it worked pretty well, and I can imagine that it is useful when I have to answer a call in a loud, noisy environment. If you've ever used Google Screen Call to transfer an incoming call, it works similarly.

The real-time transcription for audio recordings, which also debuted on the Pixel 4 and is only available in English, can now be queried by voice input via the Google Assistant. The sentence Google suggested for starting the recording is, "Hey Google, start recording my meeting." It is a very specific phrase and, strangely, the only one that works. I've tried others: "Start Audio Recording", "Record Audio Recording" and "Start Audio Recording", but they only opened the recorder app. I could end the recording by telling the assistant to stop, and luckily I didn't have to add "my meeting" to the command. I also found it useful that I can now save the text of these transcriptions directly in a Google Doc. As a reporter, this streamlines my own workflow

Other tidbits of the Pixel 4A software

  • Like all Google phones, it is Pixel 4A will be one of the first phones to receive operating system and software updates when they're ready to roll out from Google.
  • Google Assistant on your phone can be activated by voice by tapping the assistant icon on the screen or by swiping up from both corners. The Pixel 4A has no active edgeThis was the case with previous Pixel phones and called the assistant by pressing the sides of the phone.
  • The Pixel 4A has a call screenwhich is a Robocalls checker by default and is one of my favorite features for Android. (So ​​much time saved if I don't hear random Chinese spam recordings that I can't even understand!)
  • The Google Personal Safety app is pre-installed on the Pixel 4A and is also available for download for Android phones. In addition to crash detection and setting up emergency contacts, you can plan a security check. It's a new feature (my Pixel 3 received this update a few weeks ago) and it gave me a little peace of mind when one day I walked alone from my car to my apartment. I have set a 15 minute timer for the app. If I hadn't checked in to the app within 15 minutes, this would have informed my emergency contacts. Fortunately, nothing happened and I came home safely.
  • Google no longer offers new pixel users unlimited photo storage in original resolution. If you want to do this, you need to sign up and pay for Google's cloud service One. Pixel 4A owners still get unlimited "high quality" storage space. However, this is not as big as the original, but should meet most requirements.

google-pixel-4a-4649

Android 10 runs immediately on the Pixel 4A.

Angela Lang / CNET

Pixel 4A power and battery

The Pixel 4A has a Snapdragon 730G chipset and 6 GB of RAM. The Pixel 4A consistently outperformed the Galaxy A51 in benchmark tests. But as expected, it fell behind the flagship Pixel 4, which has a superior Snapdragon 855 processor. The iPhone SE with its proprietary A13 Bionic processor from Apple beat all phones comfortably.

Anecdotally, the phone works quickly for most tasks. Unlocking the screen with my fingerprint, starting the wizard and opening apps went smoothly. But the Pixel 4A isn't the smoothest phone I've worked with. After downloading Call of Duty and PUBG, I had to restart the phone because both apps were blocked from loading. And every now and then, for example, an app ended unexpectedly or I had to restart the camera because the trigger could not be registered on the screen. Overall, however, the phone works reliably, and after restarting, I was able to play both of the above games without any problems.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 single core

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 multicore

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

As far as battery life is concerned, the Pixel 4A has a significantly better battery life than the Pixel 4. When I used it to watch videos, take a lot of photos, surf the Internet and perform similar activities, the phone held moments of low power without any concerns all day without charging any time of the day. Tests for continuous video playback in airplane mode showed similar results. When Google's Adaptive Battery function was deactivated, the average of the Pixel 4A was 18 hours and 45 minutes. This is an excellent time.

For comparison: the iPhone SE lasted approximately 15 hours and 45 minutes and the Galaxy A51 16 hours and 10 minutes. The Pixel 4, whose caliber had a disappointing battery life, was switched off after 10 hours. We're going to do more battery tests for the Pixel 4A with streaming video. When the results are available, I will update this rating and its final rating.

Pixel 4A specification comparison

Google Pixel 4A

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Samsung Galaxy A51 (4G)

Google Pixel 4

Display size, resolution

5.81 inch OLED; 2,340 x 1,080 pixels

4.7 inch LCD; 1,334 x 750 pixels

6.5-inch FHD AMOLED; 2,400 x 1,080 pixels

5.7 inch OLED; 1,080 x 2,280 pixels

Pixel density

443ppi

326ppi

405ppi

444ppi

Dimensions (inches)

5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches

5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

6.24 x 2.90 x 0.31 inches

2.7 x 5.7 x 0.3 inches

Dimensions (millimeters)

144 x 69.4 x 8.2 mm

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9 mm

68.8 x 147.1 x 8.2 mm

Weight (ounces, grams)

5.04 oz; 143 g

5.22 oz; 148 g

6.07 oz; 172 g

5.7 ounces; 162 g

Mobile software

Android 10

iOS 13

Android 10

Android 10

camera

12.2 megapixels (standard)

12 megapixels (wide angle)

48 megapixels (standard), 12 megapixels (wide angle), 5 megapixels (macro), 5 megapixels (depth detection)

12.2 megapixels (standard), 16 megapixels (telephoto)

Front camera

8 megapixels

7 megapixels

32 megapixels

8 megapixels

Video recording

4K

4K

4K

4K

processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G

Apple A13 Bionic

2.3 GHz octa-core processor

2.84 GHz Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

camp

128 GB

64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB

128 GB

64 GB, 128 GB

R.A.M.

6 GB

Not revealed

6 GB

6 GB

Expandable memory

No

No

Up to 512 GB

No

battery

3,140 mAh

Not announced, but Apple claims it has the same battery life as the iPhone 8

4,000 mAh

2,800 mAh

Fingerprint sensor

Back

Home "button

In-screen

No

Interconnects

USB-C

lightning

USB-C

USB-C

Headphone jack

Yes

No

Yes

No

Special features

Dual SIM functions (Nano-SIM and E-SIM)

Waterproof (IP67); Dual SIM functions (nano-SIM and E-SIM); Wireless charging

N / A

Solos motion detection and non-contact gestures; 90Hz display; waterproof (IP68); Dual SIM functions (nano-SIM and E-SIM); Wireless charging

Price outside the contract (USD)

$ 349

$ 399 (64 GB), $ 449 (128 GB), $ 549 (256 GB)

$ 400

$ 799 (64 GB), $ 899 (128 GB)

Price (GBP)

£ 349

£ 419 (64 GB), £ 469 (128 GB), £ 569 (256 GB)

£ 329

£ 669 (64 GB), £ 769 (128 GB)

Price (AUD)

AU $ 599

AU $ 749 (64 GB), AU $ 829 (128 GB), AU $ 999 (256 GB)

AU $ 599

AU $ 1,049 (64 GB), AU $ 1,199 (128 GB)

First published on August 3.

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