Skip to main content

Google Pixel 4a review: The best camera under $400, and a great budget phone

Google Pixel 4a
(Image: © Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Our Verdict

Bottom line: The Pixel 4a is the budget camera quality leader — but it doesn't stop there. It has a larger screen than the 3a, but in a still-compact body, and is filled with solid specs and really good battery life. Its subdued design and lack of extra features may seem boring to some, but most will appreciate its simplicity when it comes to ease of use, software performance, and consistent camera quality.

For

  • Unbeatable camera quality at this price
  • Incredible size for one-handed use
  • Strong battery life
  • Headphone jack
  • 128GB storage
  • Guaranteed software updates for 3 years

Against

  • Off-center display cutout is distracting
  • No secondary wide-angle or zoom camera
  • Limited color options

Update, February 2021: Google Pixel 4a review, six months later

Google's several attempts at making self-branded phones have returned few victories, but one of the clear bright spots was the Pixel 3a. It turns out that Google's "less is more" approach really fits well within the constraints of a less-expensive phone, and its strengths in software and camera processing stand out against less-refined competition.

It can easily be argued that its successor, the Pixel 4a, is the best cheap Android phone around, and an even more important device for building the Pixel brand than the pricier Pixel 5. And on the face of it, Google did things right with the 4a; it improved the specs, kept the same great camera, and dropped $50 off the A series price. That makes an enticing package — here's how it all works.

Google Pixel 4a Price & release date

Pixel 4a Alex Back Outside Wall

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

The Pixel 4a was announced and made available for pre-order on August 3, 2020, then released just over two weeks later on August 20 for $349.99. Initially sold in a single configuration, the Pixel 4a features the Snapdragon 730G processor, 128GB of storage, and 6GB of RAM, and as of November 2020 it comes in two colors: Just Black, and the newer Barely Blue.

Though compatible with nearly any network, the Pixel 4a can be bought directly from Verizon, along with the unlocked model sold through most retailers. It's worth noting that while there's no official "Pixel 4a XL" variant, the Pixel 4a 5G features a larger display, a secondary ultra-wide camera, 5G network support, and slightly improved specs for $499.

Google Pixel 4a Hardware, display, features and specs

Google's well known for a minimalist design aesthetic even in its high-end phones, so it's no surprise that it keeps things very simple in the lower-end Pixel 4a. The plastic body is defined by its lack of flair or interesting touches. From front to back, top to bottom, it's all smooth lines and gentle curves — highlighted by a single pop of color from a contrasting power button. The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is very shallow, to the point where it's barely distinguished from the rest of the back, which can make it a tad tough to use until proper muscle memory sets in — though I found even after two weeks that the swipe-down gesture was inconsistent compared to previous Pixels.

Image 1 of 3

Google Pixel 4a

Image 2 of 3

Google Pixel 4a

Image 3 of 3

Google Pixel 4a

There's no formal "XL" version of the Pixel 4a, though the Pixel 4a 5G does have a larger 6.2-inch display, along with minor spec improvements and 5G support for an extra $150. The 5.8-inch screen size would lead you to believe it splits the difference between the 3a and 3a XL, but with a taller 19.5:9 aspect ratio display and dramatically smaller top and bottom bezels, the Pixel 4a is actually smaller than the Pixel 3a; it's shorter and lighter than the Pixel 4, too.

Google's hardware is simple and effective, and as far from flashy as you could imagine.

The small size is refreshing in a world where inexpensive phones have larger and larger screens to try and show greater value-for-money. After using the 4a for a week, my Pixel 4 XL feels like a surfboard. The 4a is easy to use one-handed, extremely light, and just bucks the trend of cumbersome and heavy modern phones. Whether that's actually a large enough market segment to attract a meaningful number of customers, though, is a major question. Between the small size and bland styling, Google doesn't offer a lot of curb appeal to potential buyers.

The AMOLED screen is solid for the money, with surprisingly high brightness and relatively good visibility out in the punishing sun of July in NYC. The 2340x1080 resolution is more than enough for this size, and off-axis color shift — a common issue on lower-end screens — isn't a problem. I do notice some subtle green/pink blotchiness at certain angles when viewing white or grey screens, but that's a minor complaint for a phone of this price.

The 4a gives you more screen, and better specs, in a smaller overall package than the 3a.

Moving to a "hole punch" selfie camera was a necessary evil for dramatically reducing the top bezel, and while I really wish it was on the right instead of the left (pushing over the time and notifications is just odd), it doesn't bother me much. I appreciate the better-balanced bezel size around the screen as a result, especially as it fits into the minimalist overall design.

The hardware rounds out really nicely in terms of features, with headphone jack on the top and stereo speaker separation between a down-firing grille at the bottom and the boosted earpiece at the top. The speakers won't blow you away, but are above-average for this price and are more than enough for watching videos or playing games.

Google Pixel 4a Software, performance and battery life

Google Pixel 4a

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

After spending the first half of the year using the Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro, the Pixel 4a understandably underwhelms in terms of performance. But once you recalculate your expectations based on price, and get used to it after a few days, there's nothing to complain about here.

You don't get flagship-level performance, but the spec sheet is really good for a $350 phone.

In terms of the raw spec sheet, Google has done right by the budget-minded buyer. The Snapdragon 730 processor is more than capable of handling Android 11, and 6GB of RAM is good to see in a budget device. They combine for solid performance, even if it's clear that some heavier apps and multitasking are a beat slower than what you'd expect in a top-end phone. And it handled a couple long sessions of Call of Duty just fine — though this did result in a little wonkiness with my thumb covering the top part of the screen triggering random auto-brightness adjustments. I never experienced any hangs or unresponsiveness, just slight delays here and there; par for the course for this price. I also appreciate that the single Pixel 4a model has 128GB of storage, a surprising increase from the Pixel 4's base 64GB.

The only performance-related hurdle for me to get over was switching back to a 60Hz display, which makes the 4a feel slower than it is — even though I definitely became amenable to it after a week. Outside of the OnePlus Nord, we haven't come to expect higher refresh rate displays in this price range, but now that people are becoming accustomed to 90 or 120Hz screens, 60Hz definitely feels like a step back.

Source: Android Central

The software has nothing new or changed from what we see on the Pixel 4, 3a and 3 as of the Android 11 release, but we never expected the 4a to introduce any new features. That means you're getting a simple, easy-to-use and generally streamlined experience, with all of Google's headline features like advanced on-device Assistant functions, call screening, the Recorder app, live captions, the Personal Safety app, and little treats like "Now Playing" music identification. Google's take on Android is still one of my favorites (neck-and-neck with OnePlus), and it takes a nice balance of being appealing to nerds and casual users alike.

I wish Google could get this kind of battery life out of its high-end phones.

There is one big question about the software, though: what's going to happen with updates? The 4a launched with Android 10 in most markets, and was subsequently updated to Android 11 alongside other Pixel devices, which is a great start. But there's also the (distant) future to consider. Google guarantees "three years" of platform updates for Pixels, but it isn't clear how that will be handled considering the phone's launch was technically before the Android 11 release. The Pixel 4a could be put in a weird limbo of missing out on a final platform update by a couple of weeks; I suppose we'll find out in 2023.

We get to see the fruits of the processor and 60Hz display with battery life, which is surprisingly good. And not just because I'm getting a full day of use out of just a 3140mAh battery, but because I'm doing so with 30% left at the end of the day. In my usual use for a 15-16 hour day, with 3-4 hours of "screen on" time, using Ambient Display and the usual slate of utilities, browsing, messaging and social media, I was never wanting for more battery. Heavier tasks like streaming video or navigating in Google Maps never hit the battery hard, and I never once reached Battery Saver mode, which I had set to come on automatically at 15%. I can't even get this kind of consistent battery life out of a Pixel 4 XL.

Source: Android Central

On the charging end, Google's sticking with its same 18W USB-C PD charging, which absolutely gets the job done for this size of battery; although once again it's a tad behind the likes of the OnePlus Nord's 30W charging. That said, I'm completely happy to have a standardized and non-proprietary charging system, where I don't have to pay $40 for an extra fast charger. 18W PD chargers are plentiful and pocketable at a quarter of that price.

It's worth noting that while the 4a doesn't come with 5G, it does have broad unlocked support for every carrier in the U.S. Not only does it support Verizon, including its legacy CDMA bands, but it also has 24 LTE bands to fully meet the needs of T-Mobile and AT&T. There's also eSIM support alongside the regular SIM slot, just like the Pixel 4. Considering 5G hasn't reached ubiquity in the lower price ranges, it isn't a big loss — and anyone who has to have it can instead buy the Pixel 4a 5G.

Google Pixel 4a Cameras

Google Pixel 4a

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

The Pixel 4a effortlessly delivers high-quality photos every time you press the shutter.

Google has clear strengths in brand recognition and software ease-of-use, but the primary reason for the Pixel 4a's existence is to bring an amazing camera experience down to a much more affordable price. The 4a is using the same 12.2MP sensor as the Pixel 5, supported by OIS (optical image stabilization) and an f/1.7 lens. Just like with the Pixel 3a, this is a huge win: the Pixel 4 is still in the conversation as the best Android camera, even as it nears its first birthday.

The Pixel 4a's biggest camera advantage is being able to take amazing photos and do it consistently. It effortlessly delivers high-quality photos every time you press the shutter, which is a rarity at this price. Photos don't blow you away with over-saturated colors or tons of extra pop, but that's the point — you just get balanced, solid photos with high dynamic range. Every time.

Image 1 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 2 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 3 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 4 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 5 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 6 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 7 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 8 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 9 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 10 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 11 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 12 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 13 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 14 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 15 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 16 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

Image 17 of 17

Google Pixel 4a Camera Sample

It may have just one camera, but the 4a delivers top-tier photos no other budget phone can touch.

It's an incredible rarity to take a photo you wouldn't be happy to save and share, and even the ones that don't come out perfectly are a quick edit in Google Photos from being there. Using $1000+ phones every day, I take for granted having this level of photo quality in my pocket, but anytime I pick up a cheaper phone I'm reminded how weak low-end cameras are — the Pixel 4a is far closer to flagship than entry-level. That gap gets even wider when you see HDR+ engage in mixed lighting, or switch to Night Sight in dark scenes; no other phone within $300 can handle poor lighting this well.

The only time you're reminded of the 4a's lower price is when you take several HDR+ photos in short succession, when you sit and watch the processing progress bar notification. Waiting a couple of extra seconds is a bummer, but I've never lost a frame, and when the results are this good you're willing to wait sometimes. And it even has the horsepower to offer well-stabilized video in 1080p, or 4K30 video if you prefer.

The selfie camera lines up the exact same as the Pixel 3a — an 8MP f/2.0 with fixed focus — with the exact same results. Google's selfie photo processing is top-notch, producing consistently good shots, but I'm disappointed by the fixed focus paired with an 84-degree lens that can make it tough to capture your face sharply. Thankfully I have long arms, but more average-sized folks may find it tougher to get tack-sharp selfies, particularly of multiple people together.

An ultra-wide or 3X zoom camera would've been nice, but you can't argue with these results.

It's a valid complaint to say that Google's starting to fall behind, even in this affordable price range, by only having a single rear camera. While I appreciate Google's restraint to not throw three extra (read: bad) cameras on the back of the phone just to say it has a "quad camera" phone, I would have loved to see a secondary ultra-wide or 3X zoom camera.

Google's "Super Res Zoom" tech does an admirable job of sharpening zoomed photos, but it's really only good at 2X — anything further turns into a grainy and blotchy mess. And even those solid 2X photos are not as good as "real" zoom that comes from a dedicated longer focal length lens. Whiel I understand why Google didn't want to put an inferior secondary sensor in there just to say it has an ultra-wide camera, I'm glad that the Pixel 4a 5G rectifies this issue.

Google Pixel 4a Competition

OnePlus Nord

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The cheap Android phone space is packed with incredible products, and things get tightly subdivided in tiny increments everywhere from $250 to $400. In the U.S., the big player is the Samsung Galaxy A51, which launched at $400 but regularly retails for $300-325. This is the anti-Pixel 4a, with a huge display and shiny exterior, plus all of Samsung's usual over-the-top features. It's known for its inconsistent performance, but it has a great spec sheet and incredible battery life — and its camera holds up well against the competition, even if it isn't on the 4a's level.

Outside of the U.S., the OnePlus Nord is the obvious 4a competitor at €400. The Nord arguably bests the Pixel 4a in performance and software fluidity, and definitely stands out with its large 90Hz display — plus it has awesome battery life and faster charging. It also has 5G, if that's on your list of priorities. But much like the Galaxy A51, it's just a big phone, making it a competitor in price but not really in size. Its camera is a step behind the 4a's, but I can still see the Nord's overall package stealing a ton of sales from Google. The 4a wins in a few areas, but you just get more in the Nord for about €50 extra.

Google Pixel 4a Should you buy it?

Google Pixel 4a

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Who it's for

  • If you put an emphasis on camera quality
  • If you want a phone that's easy to use one-handed
  • If you appreciate simple and streamlined software
  • If you need a headphone jack
  • If you care about regular, long-running software updates

Who it's not for

  • If you need a huge screen for media or games
  • If you want an ultra-wide or telephoto camera
  • If you want a flashy, standout design or color
  • If you want 5G connectivity

The Pixel 4a doesn't mark a paradigm shift for the direction of the Pixel lineup, and it isn't going to shake up the entire affordable phone space. But it's positioned to easily pick up where the 3a left off as the best-selling Pixel phone ever. Google modernized and improved the design, stepped up the specs, kept the same great camera quality, slightly increased battery life, and dropped the price by $50 — that's a fantastic deal.

4 out of 5

Google bucks the trend of cheap phones getting bigger and bigger displays, and I appreciate it — those looking for something larger can still get the Pixel 4a 5G. But even large phone fans should look past that size constraint and realize they're getting an incredible value for only $350 here. The camera experience speaks for itself, the spec sheet is going to carry the phone well for a couple years, and Google's software (and guaranteed updates) is always a strength. The Pixel 4a should be on the short list for anyone shopping for a budget-minded phone.

Google Pixel 4a Six months later

Pixel 4a Alex Recorder

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

Half a year into the Pixel 4a's life cycle, it's still one of the best deals you can get on a snappy phone with a great camera. While phones like the Galaxy S21 have brought similarly aggressive pricing strategies to the high-end spectrum, few contenders have emerged in the sub-$500 space.

In spite of its modest specs, the Pixel 4a still runs Android 11 without much hesitation, and enthusiasts who don't mind running pre-release software can even try the Android 12 developer preview right now — though to be clear, this is not meant for consumer use just yet, and will be considerably less stable.

Google has expanded its lineup since the release of the Pixel 4a, subsequently launching the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G, but I still think the baseline 4a is a great fit for most people. While the 4a 5G offers a slightly faster processor, larger screen, and 5G support, the basics remain the same, from the frequency of software updates to the image processing of the camera and general build quality. It's still hard to call 5G a necessity for almost anyone in early 2021, and the Pixel 4a leaves little else to be desired compared to its larger sibling.

Even against the decidedly higher-end Pixel 5, which costs twice as much, the differences are surprisingly few in number. The Pixel 5 has a faster 90Hz refresh rate, along with a faster processor, an aluminum enclosure capable of water resistance and wireless charging, and an additional 0.6x ultra-wide camera. Still, nearly every other metric is comparable if not identical; just because you're paying half the price for the Pixel 4a, doesn't mean you're only getting half the experience.

We're already starting to hear rumors of the Pixel 5a, which will allegedly be larger in size and nearly match the design of the Pixel 4a 5G — though with so little to complain about on the 4a series, it's unlikely that the 4a owners will feel left out or cheated any time soon. This is still a phenomenal device at an unbeatably low price, and I doubt that'll change any time soon.

Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.

74 Comments
  • It's a $350 phone, not having a secondary rear camera isn't not a real con.
  • True, but the Nord has one, but true.
  • The Nord has what 4 cameras? What purpose do they serve if they are all crap??
  • The Nord main camera is decent, but the others are not. So, pretty much the same as a single camera in my book.
  • The Noord's camera isn't anywhere near the iPhone SE camera and thanks to the image signal processor in the A13 bionic chip in the SE and the Pixel 4 a has the best camera in this mid range segment including the SE. Oh and by the way I'm getting my gold iPhone 11 Pro Max (256GB) tomorrow and I'm stocked.
  • Nobody is saying the Nord camera is as good as the SE. I said it was decent. Going with the gold version? Nice. That's my favorite iPhone 11 color.
  • Here we go again! Our iBoy is back! 🙄
  • I consider it a pro.
  • I'd prefer the Nord but for the average consumer this probably a better bet. Average consumers often prefer smaller phones too. Confusing name though. Should be called 5a but I don't suppose it matters, it's for a different consumer than the 5.
  • This phone has been ready for a while now so I'm sure it would be too late to change the name.
  • Given how the phone industry has been evolving, the "average consumer" seems to prefer larger phones.
  • The Pixel 3a was based off the Pixel 3, but sold during the same year as the Pixel 4. The Pixel 4a is based of the Pixel 4, even though it's sold during the Pixel 5 model year. It's really not that confusing.
  • Why are they NOT making it truly available (shipping it) today? From everything I have read in recent times these phones are already boxed and sitting on shelves somewhere! They have supposedly been boxed for months and now we still have to wait another 17 days until they actually ship??? What planet are we living on these days???
  • You're expecting your life to be over in 2.5 weeks?
  • Dude, its just a phone, I think you'll be OK.
  • ROF...no kidding.
  • Because at this point the 3a (and really the 4 which is a failed product, partly due to coronavirus and no fingerprint sensor) are dead in the water and have to be got rid of via grey sales, since who would buy them at the official price? Google has been trying to get rid of stock without dropping the price too far but now it is fire sale time. Once the fire sale is over the 4a can ship.
  • The Off-centre camera makes practical sense. It's out of the way when you're watching videos.
  • Yep and it's NOT a con either. But I guess no matter what they have to find something to whine about. This is a 5 star budget phone. Specs, price, performance, cameras and software. All at a great price
  • While Xiaomi gives me the same spces for $200, Why would I buy this?
    I can get MI 9T Pro with Snapdragon 855 for less than $400...
  • Then deal with no updates and lousy software. I'll take the pixel any time.
  • This is it.
  • I agree, OnePlus suck at updates, my 7T is stuck on the May security patch and it's more than 2 months since OnePlus posted an update as it's clear they're more focused on their newer OnePlus 8 series and the recently released OnePlus Noord but it doesn't matter now as I'm getting my iPhone 11 Pro Max today and goodbye to Android Central and Android as my primary device. I'm done with Android's shortcomings, e.i fragmentation, apps not being optimised, lousy selection of apps and I don't care for customisation and gimmickry features. I'm finally coming back home to iPhone, where I belong.
  • Far better camera and updates
  • The SE trump's both with updates and hardware ( in internals but the Pixel.smd OnePlus Noord has more RAM) but the Pixel wins in camera
  • Don't care about the SE
  • It's an interesting point. Elsewhere in the world the Pixel 4a is arguably poor value. But here in the States it's among one of the best midrange phones money can buy. I honestly don't know which I would buy if given a choice.
  • Google seems to have finally put a package together that will be perfect for me. This might just be my next phone. I'll probably wait for Black Friday sales and see if I can snag one for an even $300. Either way I'd get this over a OnePlus Nord any day (if it was even for sale in the U.S.)
  • Best Buy is running a pre-order deal right now. You have to activate it on a carrier, bit they're selling it for $250 activated on Sprint, $300 activated on Verizon & AT&T, sorry don't remember if there was a discount for T-Mobile. There's an article on CNet about deals on the 4a.
  • Crap deal is only for new lines :(
  • This is basically Google's version of the Samsung Galaxy S10e, minus the IP rating and wireless charging.
  • Exactly. Which I am typing on right now... and I still want the 4a. Clean software experience and better camera (I suspect).
  • And roughly half the price at launch?
  • Wouldn't say perfect phone for 2020 exactly, I would chose it over the Nord or iPhone SE and would say perfect phone for budget in 2020
  • A 'perfect' 4 star phone for a niche audience 🤷 Sounds sponsored.
  • You new here? Android Central has always had a strong preference for Pixels.
  • Anytime something is sponsored, it is clearly noted. Also, we don't write reviews sponsored by the company whose product is being reviewed.
  • The Pixel 4a is a good phone but the iPhone SE is still a better phone which beats the 4a in performance with the A13 bionic chip, wireless charging, IP67 water resistance and 5 years of software support, the only areas the Pixel 4a wins is in camera, battery and screen and while the Noord is better in performance and all other aspects, I'd choose the Pixel 4a because of Google's consistency with security patches and updates and that for me trunps meaningless specs as the Pixel 4a has good enough performance. But I'd still pick the iPhone 11 Pro Max over any of these Android phones because I simply prefer iOS and iPhone over Android and the gestures are far better with iPhone, in fact everything is better on the iPhone in my opinion.
  • The A13 chip is just no substitute for squinting on the SE's tiny screen. And camera, battery and screen are far more than 'only'.
  • Exactly my thoughts. Screen and battery on the iPhone SE are abysmal and deal breakers for me.
    Pixel 4a is just about perfect size wise and I've already watch performance reviews on the 730. The performance is great for the price.
  • Yes, screen and battery are holding the SE2 back. The Pixel 4A photographs edge out the iPhone SE, but not by much, and not all the time. I think the SE is still better at video though, so if the camera is your main focus (no pun intended), it's the 4A for still photography, and the SE2 for video.
  • This fixes the only real issue with my 3a XL, doubling the rather mean 64 GB storage. The RAM and SoC upgrades are nice, though the 3a still runs well enough. Think I'll hold out for the 4a 5G version though, as that seems to be the XL version I prefer in screen and battery size. But for the price, the 4a is a fantastic buy, especially for that camera quality you'd normally spend hundreds more to achieve.
  • If you like the XL size, you probably won't be happy with the standard 4a. I agree, wait to see the 4a 5G.
  • It was a no brainer purchase at $350...Does not matter to me how it compares to other phones, since I'll never buy them.
  • Great camera for the price, but did they improve video? And how is the selfie video performance?
  • Android cannot beat iPhone for video. Fact!
  • I would agree with that for 99% of Android phones.
    Can an iPhone match the video quality of a $2500 Panasonic AG-HMC40 professional video camera? I'll answer that for you: No. So, why am I referencing the AG-HMC40? Because I filled in doing short films as substitute videographer for a few weeks, and when the original camera guy returned, the company executives wanted the same quality they got from me. He was forced to switch to the Panasonic AG-HMC40, because his iPhone 11 Pro couldn't do it.
  • Video on the iPhone is overrated. My iPhone 11 was mediocre at best
  • Does this Pixel finally have USB-C to HDMI output?
  • Is there dual sim support like the 3a and 4?
  • Yes, a SIM slot and an eSIM. DSDS by the Pixel 4.
  • give it til black friday and it will be on sale for $299
    (unlocked no activation)
  • What's the old saying, keep it simple stupid. OK, go find a better 📷 for 349.00 bucks? Keeping it simple, Google will sell ⛵ loads at this price!
  • It doesn't have wireless charging, so it ISN'T perfect.
  • I've got wireless charging on my Note 9, with Sammy's really nice wireless charger. Used it a couple of times, charging times took longer and phone got warmer than usual. It now resides in my desk drawer and I use a top of the line Anker Powerline + cable... works beautifully. The Pixel 4a is a value phone that offers features... that work very well. Keeping it simple.
  • Nice to see Google getting a lot right with the 4a. The Pixel 3a is a larger phone only because the bezels are massive. The 4a has a 5.81 inch OLED screen, vs the 5.6 inch gOLED 3a. The marketing department will sell the camera as a differentiator, and by all accounts that's not inaccurate due to Google camera software... But I think the camera differences from the most expensive phones to affordable ones are tiny. Ie. When you go on Facebook, you couldn't point out a friend who obviously uses an Apple camera or or Samsung or Pixel. Or maybe I'm an odd duck who doesn't take a lot of photos... Maybe in a couple of years a six camera patent from Samsung will truly revolutionize phone cameras, but that's a wait to see. Andrew, good to see you are engaged in the comments... So perhaps I can suggest an editorial worth considering.... And it's a concern to Android.... That is the absolute mess that Samsung has become, who has released over 20 different phones in 2020 worldwide. The logic of its release dates (S20 and Note20) or that the S10 is still being manufactured, and the awful reality of two years of updates. What if... Samsung had no more than six devices, and the S and Note series supported five years of updates? Android can't afford to see Samsung not be a visionary and leader.
  • PS. No micro SD is the deal breaker for me... It's the one feature in a phone I can't live without. But I am open to buying a Pixel phone in a few years. Affordable phones will be that much better, and I might be inclined to stop buying flagship Android phones.
  • While Samsung's top tier phone might possibly last 5 years, there's no money in it for Samsung! It's all about money...as we can see from their outrageous prices...so to expect 5 years of updates means even higher prices for such phones.
  • For years I've loved my samsung note phones, but lately I've wanted something a little lighter and smaller.
    The stock google phones have always been attractive for the simplicity, (moto x being close to stock was one of my favorites). If i was to look outside samsung it would be towards the google line.
    Having a great camera is a must for me, w battery life, expandable storage, and cheaper price all important.
  • The perfect (Android) phone for 2020. And that's debatable.
  • Nice to see that the 4a has a fingerprint reader on the back. These days a finger print reader is the preferred method of accessing the phone-which is why my galaxy s9 is once again my daily driver(was a pixel 4)
  • Best? Didn't they said that about the Pixel 4 also?
  • Camera. Camera. Camera. Doesn't a phone serve other purposes? I'm elated that the pixel series has great cameras but what of the performance and etc? Highlight them equally
  • AGREED!!!! So tired of hearing about cameras. Nearly every phone out today can take acceptable pictures for display on a phone screen! There's a dozen reviews already (probably many more but you know) and I can't recall any review of call quality, or LTE reception, or WiFi connectivity.
  • Thank you!!! Yes I'm sick of hearing about cameras on phones!!! Honestly I realise I'm not someone who takes many photos, I generally use my phone camera to snap documents and things like payslips to refer back to to check later but the occasional times I take 'normal' photos my 5 year old Moto X takes acceptable pictures to my 54 year old eyes most of the time. Whenever I see these articles I really cant tell hardly any difference between any of them! I realise there are obviously better cameras on more expensive phones but surely I'm not the only one who looks at camera specs last and it certainly isn't a consideration in buying a phone as I don't print them off (unless they a document I need a paper copy of) but you hardly need cutting edge technology for that. Please comment about this as it's bugged the life out of me for such a long time now, surely a clear screen, good battery life and stable connectivity to WiFi and clear phone calls are (to many people) more important yet we ALWAYS get at least half of any new phone review about the cameras and often nothing to very little on these things!
    Ok rant over, just needed to get that off my chest. Peace✌
  • Phone is awesome, I will wait for Google Face ID to get better then I'll jump in though. Great phone for some people, simple and works well.
  • Another garbage Pixel phone 🤦🏻‍♂️
  • I wish it had a little bit bigger screen, that would also have allowed a little bit bigger battery. So close, and yet so far. Personally I wouldn't worry too much about where it may fall in the 3 year upgrade cycle. I mean really...how many people who buy this phone are going to keep it for 3 full years? When most people upgrade every year or so, and very few keep a phone that is this "cheap" in cost for more than 2 years...I just don't think upgrades are going to be a real concern for the vast majority who buy one now.
  • Waiting for the Nokia 8.3...
  • You can sense the pressure to please Google in this review.
  • Hey guys... Just clicked on this story and got a full page add for a porn app. Good job AC! Jesus Christ.
  • I've used the pixel 4a for 2 months and its really acting buggy. The battery life seems weak at best. Wish I never bought any google products. This is my first and last google anything.
  • Just picked up one running Android 11 for a family member. A couple of surprises were that I had to download Nine as the stock email insists that gmail be the primary inbox. Another was that I had to install Nova Launcher to get rid of the stock Google search bar on the home page. Other than that its a great phone.
  • Personally I like the stock Google search bar the whole Pixel UI which is simple and easier to use than my S20 FE which I've slapped on Lawnchair which resembles the Pixel Launcher which is my favourite launcher and Google's software is my favourite version of Android, I know it isn't for everyone but I have enjoyed Pixel and Nexus phones the most because of the software, updates and in the case of the Pixel, the great camera that doesn't overwhelm you with options or needless manual modes to get great photos.