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Review: Google Pixel 4a 5G

Review: Google Pixel 4a 5G is arguably the best value for money Google smartphone. More powerful than the 4a and more enduring than the 5.
4.3/5 - (48 votes)

Launched at the same time as the Pixel 5, the Google Pixel 4a 5G has everything the ideal smartphone for the holiday season. At 499 euros, this device stands out from the competition thanks to its record autonomy and its competitive camera.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

With its Pixel 5 , Google has made everyone happy. The latest smartphone from the American giant is undoubtedly our favorite of 2020 and seduced by its photo capabilities, its autonomy and its ease of use. While we do not regret calling this device the best value for money when it was released, we must nevertheless admit that its little brother, the Pixel 4a 5G, deserves to be given a chance.

Marketed for 499 euros (against 629 euros for the Pixel 5), the Pixel 4a 5G indeed shares a lot in common with Google’s flagship device, starting with its processor, camera module and software. For a week, we made it our main smartphone.

A slightly more low-cost design

Let’s start with what’s wrong and, that’s good news, this part will be short. Aesthetically, the Pixel 4a 5G appears to be a larger Pixel 5 (6.2 inches vs. 6 inches). In reality, there are quite big differences between these two devices, especially in terms of the symmetry of the screen. Where the edges of the Pixel 5 impress with their finesse and uniformity, those of the Pixel 4a 5G fall more into the codes of the entry / mid-range. At the top, left and right, they are of “normal” size. At the bottom, there is what can be called a “chin”. The screen border is a bit thicker, which is clearly lacking in elegance.

The back of the Pixel 4a 5G is also lower cost. The Pixel 5 benefits from a very nice aluminum coating, the Pixel 4a 5G is satisfied with a plastic one could not be more classic. Let’s see a positive side, the device is very light (168 grams, which makes its use very pleasant). In hand, we still notice that this smartphone is not intended for lovers of luxury products. Another complaint, its fingerprint sensor is 1 cm higher than on the Pixel 5. It is less easy to reach the first time.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Another negative point, Google only markets the Pixel 4a 5G in a color… black. We can hardly be sadder. The device is not certified as water resistant. On the other hand, good news for audiophiles, the Pixel 4a 5G has a jack plug like the Pixel 4a at 349 euros. Better than nothing !

Google Pixel 4a 5G

6.2 inches, the largest in the family

Google is one of the few manufacturers (not to say the only one) to offer only “small” smartphones. After the 4a (5.8 inches), the 5 (6 inches), here comes the 4a 5G of 6.2 inches. This XL size device is therefore not really one and should be able to be used by all users without great difficulty.
We also appreciate the efforts of Google which, criticized last year for the too low brightness of the screen of its smartphones, has greatly improved in 2020. Our laboratory measured a brightness of 758 cd / m2 for the Pixel 4a 5G, which is excellent, and also noticed that the colors are fair on this device as long as you choose the natural display mode (with a Delta E 2000 of 1.41, in default mode the Delta E is less good at 3.16).

Google Pixel 4a 5G

The front camera of the Pixel 4a 5G is hidden in a punch at the top left, it’s very discreet. Regarding the refresh rate of its screen, it is 60 Hz. Quite disappointing, but this choice remains understandable. We must leave the Pixel 5 (90 Hz) a point of distinction. It’s not really a problem at such a price, the Pixel 4a 5G is rather one of the good students.

Insane battery life

With its Pixel 5, Google has gone from the worst manufacturer in terms of the battery timings of its smartphones to one of the best. With its Pixel 4a 5G, the web giant takes fifth place in our ranking in all categories. Impressive.

So even if it uses a small capacity battery (3800 mAh), the Pixel 4a 5G withstood our versatile battery life test at 19:02, 12:39 in streaming and 9:38 in communication. In use, this resulted in a recharge every two to three days despite rather intense use. A real joy. With the charger provided in the box (18 W), the device recharges in 1h32. It is not compatible with wireless charging. Autonomy is really the strong point of the Pixel 4a 5G which, thanks to Google’s optimization efforts, really sets itself apart from other mid-range mobiles.

Satisfactory performance

Technically, the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 use the same processor, which makes us wonder why Google didn’t call this device Pixel 5a. It would have made more sense, especially since the non-5G Pixel 4a uses a different chip.

Compatible with 5G, the Snapdragon 765G chip should allow you to keep the smartphone for several years without worrying about having to change devices to benefit from the new telecom standard.

However, we have to admit that we are almost disappointed with the performance of the Pixel 4a 5G. While everything is smooth on the Pixel 5, we sometimes experienced some funny slowdowns on this device. Are these just software bugs? We hope so, especially since the smartphone receives one update per month and should benefit from three major Android updates in the coming years. On this device, Google offers you 128 GB of non-expandable storage, which is pretty decent although you will no doubt need the cloud to store your photos.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

The camera, the Google button

Since we usually save the best for last, let’s talk about the Pixel 4a 5G camera. On the back of the smartphone, there are two objectives. One is attached to a 12.2 Mpix sensor and opens at f / 1.7, the other allows you to take ultra wide-angle photos using a 16 Mpix sensor (f / 2.2). This is, once again, the same as on the Pixel 5. Since we tell you that these two smartphones are almost identical.

Rather than offering you a broad technical analysis, your best bet is to show you the result. What smartphone for less than 500 euros makes such beautiful photos, especially at night?

Now automatically activated, Pixel Night Mode is as impressive as ever. As usual, Google transforms photos after you press the shutter button. Pure magic.

Ultra-wide-angle side, the Pixels again benefit from a great software optimization. The angles are hardly distorted and the quality is there. We are once again completely won over by the manufacturer’s score, even more so at this price.

Technical sheet Google Pixel 4a 5G

* See complete specification of Google Pixel 4a 5G here.

Conclusion – Google Pixel 4a 5G

At 499 euros, the Pixel 4a 5G is arguably the best value for money Google smartphone. More powerful than the 4a and more enduring than the 5, this smartphone offers a concentrate of all the best on the market at a reasonable price.

Anyone looking for a device designed to last for several years, 5G compatible and particularly good at photography should be delighted by Google’s proposal. We fully validate the Pixel 4a 5G, hoping that its successor will make some efforts on the design side! Having a choice of different colors would also have been welcome.

Positives of Google Pixel 4a 5G

  • Incredible autonomy
  • Excellent price-performance ratio
  • Super talented in photography
  • Jack socket

Negatives of Google Pixel 4a 5G

  • A little low-cost design

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