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.
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
|Category||Google Pixel 4a||Samsung Galaxy A71|
|Operating system||Android 10||Android 10
One UI 2.0
Gorilla Glass 3
|6.7-inch Super AMOLED+
Gorilla Glass 3
2x2.22GHz Cotex A76
6x1.80GHz Cortex A55
|Rear camera 1||12.2MP, f/1.7
4K at 30fps
4K at 30fps
|Rear camera 2||❌||12MP, f/2.2
|Rear camera 3||❌||5MP, f/2.4
|Rear camera 4||❌||5MP, f/2.2
|Front camera||8MP, f/2.0||32MP, f/2.2|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0
|5G, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0
|Security||Rear fingerprint||In-display fingerprint (optical)|
|Colors||Just Black||Crush Black, Prism, Silver, Blue, Pink|
Pixel 4a vs. Galaxy A71: It's an easy choice
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.
Google Pixel 4a
The best mid-range camera
The Pixel 4a offers the best camera you'll find in this category, and the value on offer here is staggering. You get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, clean software without any bloat, and three years of platform updates. The phone runs just fine in most day-to-day scenarios and is the ideal size for one-handed use.
Big, bold, beautiful
Samsung Galaxy A71
Big screen, excellent battery
The Galaxy A71 combines a massive 6.7-inch AMOLED screen with a 4,500mAh battery and robust internal hardware with 5G connectivity. The phone is ideal for playing games and streaming videos, and the fact that it will also get three years of platform updates is a huge deal.
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