If you think the Pixel 4a is a boring smartphone, you’re wrong


The Pixel 4a is finally here, well… almost.  After months of speculation and delays, you’ll still have to wait a few weeks before the Pixel 4a lands on your doorstep. I have to admit, my euros are literally burning a hole in my pocket. I’m excited for this one.

This is what I’ve been waiting for from Google, a mid-range device with a low to mid-range price tag which offers a good amount of storage and the same Pixel camera we are all now completely in love with. Step aside Nord, Velvet and Reno, nice try. I mean, I see your cameras, screen resolution and processors but seriously… Google has finally used that free beta testing we gave them in the form of Pixel 3a Pixel 4 sales to zero in on what really counts when you boil down a mid-range device.

What we have here with the Pixel 4a appears to be a “go-to” device that you can blindly recommend with confidence on a whim to parents, family and friends who are looking for an all-round smartphone when they don’t want to blow their budget for a top tier device. Heck, at this price I’d buy one just for Astrophotography mode and my Moment lenses.

Early reviews are popping up across the internet and the general consensus is good. I guess it’s hard to complain about a smartphone that offers industry-leading camera and day zero Android software updates for less than 350€.

With every new release from Google, there is of course a polarised reaction. Scattered amongst the good vibes, sticking out like a sore thumb are the articles who trash the device before letting it out the gate. “Black is a boring colour” they say… “Just Black” is the only colour the Pixel 4a is available in btw. “The screen is only 60Hz” – “The battery is small” the list of criticism goes on, all before they’ve even had a chance to try it out.

I live in France and there is currently no pre-sale available yet, only a “waiting list” to join. It may be some time before I can get my hands on the Pixel 4a but it doesn’t stop me being any less impressed by the classically Google feature-packed spec sheet.

  • Display: 5.81″ FHD+ (1080 x 2340) OLED
  • Battery: 3140 mAh
  • Memory & Storage: 6 GB LPDDR4x RAM – 128 GB storage
  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 730
  • Rear Camera: 12.2 MP dual-pixel – 1.4 μm pixel width – Auto-focus with dual-pixel phase detection
  • Front Camera: 8 MP – 1.12 μm pixel size – ƒ/2.0 aperture – Fixed focus – 84° field of view
  • Charging: USB-C® 18 W adaptor with USB-PD 2.0
  • Buttons & Ports: USB Type-C® 3.1 Gen 1 – 3.5 mm audio jack – Power & Volume controls
  • SIM: Single nano SIM – eSIM
  • Audio: Stereo Speakers
  • Materials: Polycarbonate unibody – Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 cover glass
  • Available colours: Just Black

It’s clear Google has listened and has kept it simple: the Pixel 4a is available in a single variant, with 6GB of RAM and internal storage of 128GB (twice as much as the previous Pixel 3a and the Pixel 4). The Pixel 4’s Snapdragon 855 processor has been swapped out for a Snapdragon 730, largely up to par for a device of this type, and of course, much more power-efficient.

This is one of the points which defines the Pixel 4a: its autonomy. The 3140 mAh battery paired with a low power consuming processor can apparently last more than a day. However, its fast 18W charger will be more than enough to quickly replenish those valuable mAhs throughout the day if required. All that is missing is the wireless charging capability. A shame but not a deal-breaker.

One easily convincing reason to get the Pixel 4a is its spectacular camera. Put simply, you can look forward to incredible photos without paying a ridiculous price for megapixels and multiple camera modules. The Pixel 4a camera has all of our favorite features from previous Pixel phones, such as Live HDR+, dual exposure controls, Night Sight with Astrophotography, portrait mode and Super Res Zoom.

It really feels like Google has listened to the people and put some serious thought into the Pixel 4a, the timing might not be perfect but the device looks solid and the specs add up to a really attractive package. To instantly dismiss this device as boring or as a challenger to other mid-range handsets is a complete misunderstanding of what Google is trying to achieve. Affordability, Function, Camera and Style.

I think they’ve nailed it. The proof is in the pudding though, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Darren Millar
30 something, ex-nightclub DJ. Currently loving technology. Smart home builder, Small Japanese car fan. Never owned an iPhone. Cat person.

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