Google Pixel 4a vs. Samsung Galaxy A71: Which should you buy?

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

Google Pixel 4a

Pixel 4a

The Pixel 4a is all about the camera, with Google offering the same camera quality as the Pixel 4. That means you get a flagship camera that takes outstanding photos in just about any scenario, making the Pixel 4a stand out in this segment. You also get a clean interface, three years of platform updates, and the compact design is ideal for one-handed use.

Google Pixel 4a

Camera king

Class-leading camera
Compact design
Clean software with no bloatware
Three years of platform updates
3.5mm jack
Available in a single color
Limited global availability

Samsung Galaxy A71

Samsung Galaxy A71

The Galaxy A71 has a modern design with an attractive gradient finish at the back and the large AMOLED panel is great for streaming movies and playing games. The Snapdragon 765G chipset is plenty powerful in day-to-day use, you get usable cameras, and there's 5G connectivity. Combine that with excellent battery life and three years of updates and the A71 is a great overall phone.

Samsung Galaxy A71

Big, bold, beautiful

Gorgeous design
Powerful hardware with 5G
Great battery life with 25W charging
Vibrant AMOLED screen
Three years of platform updates
No wireless charging

The Pixel 4a distills the smartphone to its roots, with the phone offering a great camera backed by decent internals and a basic design. The Galaxy A71, meanwhile, is packed with the latest features, and you get a large AMOLED screen, massive battery, and 5G connectivity. Choosing between the two comes down to what you're looking for in a phone in 2020, so let's take a look at what both devices bring to the table.

Pixel 4a vs. Galaxy A71: You won't find two phones that are more different

With the Pixel 4a, Google is making the flagship camera from the Pixel 4 that much more accessible, making it one of the best cheap Android phones available today. That means you can take the same caliber of photos as a flagship.

The Pixel 4a is a decent option if you're in the market for a compact device. Phones have become taller and narrower over the last two years, and there's a distinct shortage of small phones in the market. Google is filling that void with the Pixel 4a; with a height of 144mm, the phone is ideally suited for one-handed use.

The Pixel 4a is compact, while the Galaxy A71 is one of the largest phones released in 2020.

The Pixel 4a also has a pretty basic design, and the phone is sold in a single Just Black option. The Galaxy A71, by contrast, is a massive phone that is 20mm taller than the Pixel 4a, and you get a gorgeous design at the back with an evocative gradient finish and a camera housing similar to that of the Galaxy S20 series.

The Pixel 4a has a 5.81-inch OLED panel that has vibrant colors, but the A71 comes with a massive 6.7-inch AMOLED screen that's one of the best in its category. If you're in the market for a large screen for gaming or streaming content, the A71 is the obvious option.

That 6.7-inch screen on the Galaxy A71 is paired to a 4,00mAh battery, and you easily get over a day's worth of use from the phone consistently. The Pixel 4a manages to last all day as well, but in this particular area, the A71 has a clear edge. And when you do need to charge, there's 25W fast charging on the A71, with the Pixel 4a offering 18W charging.

Samsung Galaxy A71 review

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

Things get interesting when talking about the internal hardware on the Galaxy A71 because based on where you're buying the phone, you'll get either the Exynos 9611, Exynos 980, or the Snapdragon 765G. The last two are limited to the 5G variant, and with the Snapdragon 765G the standard in the U.S., that's what I'm focusing on.

The Galaxy A71 is a battery monster, and it will get three Android OS updates.

The Snapdragon 765G is a fantastic chipset, and it delivers the same level of performance as flagship designs from just two years ago. The fact that you also get 5G connectivity is a bonus, and the base version of the A71 comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. To its credit, Google is also offering the Pixel 4a with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The Galaxy A71 also has a microSD card if you want to boost the storage, and the in-screen sensor is reliable and works unerringly well.

While the A71 has four cameras at the back, with a 64MP primary lens backed by ultra-wide, macro, and portrait lenses, the Pixel 4a handily beats the phone when it comes to image quality with its single 12.2MP lens. That might not sound like a lot, but it uses Google's image processing software to ensure the perfect shot every time, even at night.

Another big draw with Pixels is the software, with Google delivering three platform updates and three years of security updates. Samsung is also committing to three Android OS updates now, and the Galaxy A71 is included in the list, which is a huge deal in and of itself. The phone will get three platform updates and three years of security patches, making it a much better value versus previous generations.

Pixel 4a vs. Galaxy A71: All the specs that matter

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CategoryGoogle Pixel 4aSamsung Galaxy A71
Operating systemAndroid 10Android 10One UI 2.0
Display5.81-inch OLED2340x1080 (19.5:9)Gorilla Glass 36.7-inch Super AMOLED+2400x1080 (20:9)Gorilla Glass 3
ChipsetSnapdragon 7302x2.22GHz Cotex A766x1.80GHz Cortex A55Adreno 6188nmSnapdragon 765G1x2.4GHz A761x2.2GHz A766x1.8GHz A557nm
MicroSD slotYes
Rear camera 112.2MP, f/1.74K at 30fps64MP, f/1.84K at 30fps
Rear camera 212MP, f/2.2Wide-angle lens
Rear camera 35MP, f/2.4Macro lens
Rear camera 45MP, f/2.2Portrait lens
Front camera8MP, f/2.032MP, f/2.2
ConnectivityWi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0NFC, A-GPS5G, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0NFC, A-GPS
ChargingUSB-C 3.118WUSB-C 2.025W
Water resistance
SecurityRear fingerprintIn-display fingerprint (optical)
ColorsJust BlackCrush Black, Prism, Silver, Blue, Pink

Pixel 4a vs. Galaxy A71: It's an easy choice

Pixel 4a Alex Home Launcher

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

With the Galaxy A71 now available for just $445 and the Pixel 4a selling for $350, it's not that difficult to choose between the two devices. If you want a great camera and are in the market for a small phone, the Pixel 4a is the obvious choice. Google has managed to nail the basics here, and for what you're paying, the value on offer is excellent.

If you take a lot of photos, get the Pixel 4a. For playing games or videos, the A71 is a better bet.

While the camera on the Galaxy A71 isn't quite on the same level as the Pixel 4a, the phone has a lot of strengths elsewhere. The screen is one of the best in its category and is ideally suited for playing games or streaming videos. You also get more robust hardware in the form of the Snapdragon 765G, and there's 5G connectivity as well.

Then there's the battery life to consider. With a 4,500mAh battery and 25W fast charging, the Galaxy A71 is the outright winner in this category. Plus, with Samsung committing to three platform updates for the A71, the phone is on par with the Pixel 4a in this key area. The Galaxy A71 has a significant premium over the Pixel 4a, but you are getting more features, and the large screen with two-day battery life is a big differentiator.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.