Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G: Should you upgrade?


It’s been a little over a year, but we finally have a successor to the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 4a 5G. In fact, the Pixel 5a is taking the place of all of Google’s current lineup of phones, including the Pixel 5 until the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro arrive later this year. But how does Google’s latest handset match up against two of the most popular phones from the past year?

At first glance, you can already see that the Pixel 5a borrows a few things from the 4a 5G, while also offering quite improvements in some key areas. The first of which is the larger display offered by the Pixel 5a, coming in at 6.34-inches, while maintaining the same resolution, pixel density, and refresh rate as the 4a 5G. Google’s Pixel 4a has a higher pixel density, but that’s partly due to the smaller display and slightly lower resolution (2340 x 1080 vs 2400 x 1080). Unlike the Pixel 5, none of these devices offer a faster refresh rate, which doesn’t come as too much of a surprise given that Google’s primary focus here is to get the Pixel experience into your hands without breaking the bank.

Pixel 5a vs Pixel 4a 5G vs Pixel 4a Spec Comparison

Pixel 5a Pixel 4a 5G Pixel 4a
Price $449 $499 $349
Screen size 6.34-inches 6.2-inches 5.81-inches
Resolution 2400 x 1080 2400×1080 1080 x 2340
Pixel Density &
Refresh Rate
413 ppi
413 ppi
443 ppi
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G
Storage 128GB 128GB 64GB
Battery 4680 mAh 3885 mAh 3140 mAh
OS Android 11 Android 11 Android 10
Rear camera Dual cameras: 12.2 MP, f/1.7, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS,
16 MP, f/2.2, 107˚ (ultrawide), 1.0µm
Dual cameras: 12.2 MP, f/1.7, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS,
16 MP, f/2.2, 107˚ (ultrawide), 1.0µm
Single-camera: 12.2 MP, f/1.7, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS
Front camera 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1.12µm
Bluetooth v5.0 v5.0 v5.0
NFC Yes Yes Yes
Dimensions 156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8mm 153.9 x 74 x 8.2 mm 144 x 69.4 x 8.2 mm
Weight 183g 168g 143g
Water Resistance IP67 No No
Wireless Charging No No No
Special features 18W fast charging, Wi-Fi 6, stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack 18W fast charging, 3.5mm headphone jack, 5G connectivity 18W fast charging, 3.5mm headphone jack

In terms of power, the Pixel 5a uses the same Snapdragon 765G from the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a 5G. This provides 5G connectivity while being pretty fantastic at offering a balance of good battery life and excellent performance. All three models include 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and this is the only configuration available across the board.

The first big step up that we find, other than the display size, comes in the battery department. Google equipped the Pixel 5a with a 4,680mAh cell, which is the largest battery ever included in a Pixel smartphone. Google claims that the battery will last for up to 48 hours with Extreme Battery Saver enabled. And in our testing, we found that the Pixel 5a lasted for a whopping 16.5 hours in our battery benchmark, which is just simply incredible. Unfortunately, Google stuck with 18W “fast” charging speeds, as it has with other A-Series phones, which is rather disappointing given the size of the Pixel 5a’s battery.

Another major change with the Pixel 5a is the introduction of an official water and dust resistance rating with the Pixel 5a. For the first time ever in an A-Series phone, the Pixel 5a sports an IP67 rating. This isn’t as robust as you would find on a flagship phone, but this means that you can get your Pixel 5a wet without worrying about everything going haywire.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly we have a familiar camera system. The tried-and-true combination of a 12.2MP main camera with a 16MP ultrawide makes its way to the Pixel 5a. This is the same dual-camera setup that was available on the Pixel 5 and the 4a 5G. We know that Google is planning to completely overhaul its cameras with the Pixel 6, but the Pixel 5a will still be amongst the best when it comes to photography. And it will likely offer the best camera experience under $500.

Should you upgrade?

If you’ve made it this far and are still on the fence about upgrading, there’s one major reason why we think the Pixel 5a is a sure-fire hit — battery life. Having a phone that can last you for almost two days on a single charge is something that just isn’t found in very many phones, regardless of price.

Essentially, you’re getting all of the benefits of the Pixel 4a 5G with a bigger display, bigger battery, and the additional IP67 rating. And all of this comes in with a lower price tag, coming in at just $449. Google really nailed it here, and if it weren’t for the limited release, this could have ended up being another home run for Google.


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