Google Pixel 4a & Pixel 4a 5G: Your complete buyer’s guide

Google Pixel 4aSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Following up on 2019’s excellent Pixel 3a series, Google once again targeted the budget smartphone landscape with two excellent offerings in 2020 — the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G. The phones have a fair amount of similarities and differences, but they both share the same goal of delivering great value to those shopping on a budget.

In fact, you could argue that these are the two most important phones in Google’s current lineup. With there just being one high-end Pixel 5 variant that’s cheaper and less powerful than 2019’s Pixel 4, it’s clear that Google has been making a shift to prioritize lower-cost devices in most cases. The upcoming Pixel 6 could change that once again but, for now, Google is focused squarely on more affordable devices.

Whether you want to learn more about the specs, pricing, or what makes the Pixel 4a worth buying, we have it all right here in one place. Here’s everything you need to know about the Google Pixel 4a!

So good


Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a

An outstanding camera, and then some

Simply put, the Pixel 4a is one of the best values the smartphone market has to offer today. The camera is better than ever, the performance is plenty fast, the battery is reliable, and there’s even a headphone jack. Assuming you’re a fan of smaller phones and don’t mind the boring design, the Pixel 4a is one of the best deals out there.

Upgrade pick


Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G

More Pixel for more money

Like what you see with the Pixel 4a but wish it had just a little more oomph? That’s where the Pixel 4a 5G comes in. It’s very similar to the regular 4a in a lot of ways, but it adds a faster processor, larger battery, slightly bigger screen, and a 16MP ultra-wide camera. Oh, and there’s also 5G.

Pixel 4a and 4a 5G Price

Google Pixel 4a

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Let’s start with the most important thing of all — price. The big draw to the Pixel 3a was its $399 starting price, and for the Pixel 4a, Google was able to hit an even lower number.

If you want to buy a Pixel 4a for yourself, you’ll pay just $350. That makes it considerably cheaper than flagships such as the Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9, and just a little bit more expensive than the Moto G Stylus — but you’ll be getting a much better camera than Moto offers. Should you want to splurge for the higher-end Pixel 4a 5G, it’ll cost you $499 — although, these days it’s a bit hard to come by as it has been replaced with the Pixel 5 at many retailers.

Google is once again offering just a single storage option for both phones, but that also comes with a nice tweak compared to 2019’s Pixel 3a. Instead of being limited to 64GB of space, the Pixel 4a and 4a 5G ship with 128GB. There’s still no microSD support for further expanding how much room you have, but 128GB should be more than enough for the vast majority of users.

No matter what you think of the Pixel line, you have to give Google credit for its pricing of the Pixel 4a series. We seldom see companies offer lower prices for new smartphone releases, and the Pixel 4a is a wonderful exception to that rule. Even with the pricier Pixel 4a 5G, the added specs and features you’re getting over the regular Pixel 4a make it an excellent value in its own right.

Pixel 4a and 4a 5G Availability

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

As of right now, the Pixel 4a is officially available for purchase in the United States on Google’s own web store, along with Google Fi, Verizon, Amazon, and Best Buy.

The Pixel 4a 5G is also available at various retailers, although it has been replaced by the Pixel 5 at retailers like Best Buy and B&H Photo. Some retailers have even hiked the price up a bit when compared to the initial release, making it more expensive to buy these days.

Pixel 4a and 4a 5G What’s the difference?

The Pixel 4a has a great price and is available for purchase, but is it any good? Yes, yes it is. Here’s our Pixel 4a review: we gave it four stars out of five. The Pixel 3a left the 4a with big shoes to fill, and for the most part, Google pulled it off with great success.

Just like its older sibling, the Pixel 4a sets a new standard for camera performance in this price range. Equipped with the same primary camera as the Pixel 4 and Google’s magical image processing, the Pixel 4a takes incredible photos. Take out the phone, press the shutter button, and you’re treated to a fantastic image every single time.

But the camera isn’t the only talking point. You’ll find the rest of the Pixel 4a experience tends to exceed expectations, as well. The AMOLED display looks very nice, the Snapdragon 730 processor is plenty fast for virtually any task, and battery life is wonderfully reliable. Add all of that together with a form factor that’s easy to use in one hand and Google’s unmatched software, and the end result is one of the very best phones you can buy for under $400.

All of that said, we don’t blame you if you find the 4a to be a tad boring. The design is uninspired, the lack of any ultra-wide or telephoto cameras is a bummer, and not having a larger XL model could turn big phone-lovers away. If none of those things are issues for you, though, the Pixel 4a is a darn good choice for your next Android.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

We’ve also reviewed the Pixel 4a 5G, and if you’re looking for an upgraded Pixel 4a experience for a little bit more money, that’s exactly what you get. While the core user experience remains the same, some shoppers might find that the $150 price hike could be worth it.

One of the main upgrades you get is going from the Snapdragon 730 processor up to the Snapdragon 765G. This results in better performance across the board, and while the 730 is perfectly capable in its own right, there’s no arguing that the 765G is more powerful. It also allows for 5G connectivity, which while not a must-have feature right now, is important for future-proofing.

You’ll also get the additional 16MP ultra-wide camera on the Pixel 4a 5G, allowing for photo possibilities not offered on the Pixel 4a. It isn’t a mind-blowing sensor, but for those times when you want to get a wider view of your subject, it’s incredibly convenient. Factor that in with a bigger battery and slightly larger display, and the 4a 5G is well worth considering.

You can’t go wrong with either phone, but we have a more detailed breakdown of why you might choose the Pixel 4a 5G over the Pixel 4a.

Pixel 4a and 4a 5G Specs

Google Pixel 4a

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Given the price of the Pixel 4a and 4a 5G, you shouldn’t go in expecting top-of-the-line specs. That wasn’t the point of the 3a, and that’s not the point here. What you do get are specs that give you a lot of bang-for-your-buck, no matter which phone you’re looking at.

Category Google Pixel 4a Google Pixel 4a 5G
Operating System Android 11 Android 11
Display 5.8-inch
OLED
2340 x 1080
60Hz refresh rate
6.2-inch
OLED
2340 x 1080
60Hz
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Memory 6GB RAM 6GB RAM
Storage 128GB 128GB
Expandable Storage
Rear Camera 1 12.2MP dual-pixel
1.4-micron
ƒ/1.7
OIS
Phase detect auto focus
12.2MP dual-pixel
1.4-micron
ƒ/1.7
OIS
Phase detect auto focus
Rear Camera 2 16MP ultra-wide
1.0-micron
f/2.2
107-degree FoV
Front Camera 8MP
1.12-micron
ƒ/2.0
Fixed focus
84-degree FoV
8MP
1.12-micron
ƒ/2.0
Fixed focus
84-degree FoV
Security Rear capacitive fingerprint sensor Rear capacitive fingerprint sensor
Audio Dual speakers
3.5mm headphone jack
Dual speakers
3.5mm headphone jack
Battery 3,140 mAh 3,800 mAh
Charging 18W wired charging
USB-C
18W wired charging
USB-C
Water Resistance
Dimensions 144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm 153.9 x 74.0 x 8.2mm
Weight 143g 168g
Colors Just Black Just Black
Price $349 $499

The Snapdragon 730 for the regular Pixel 4a isn’t the most technically impressive chipset that Qualcomm offers, but paired with the same amount of RAM found in the flagship Pixel 4, you’d be hard-pressed to be upset with the performance offered by the 4a. It’s responsive, handles virtually every app with ease, and can even power you through graphically intense games like Call of Duty: Mobile. The Snapdragon 765G in the Pixel 4a 5G offers more wiggle room for especially demanding tasks, so depending on how you use your phone, it may be worth getting the 5G model for that reason alone.

It’s also great that Google is sticking with OLED panels, ensuring that colors are vibrant and blacks are as deep as can be. Viewing angles aren’t the very best on the 4a, but that’s a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.

There’s also the Pixel 4a’s battery, which weighs in at 3,140 mAh. That doesn’t sound all that impressive at first glance, but in our testing, the Pixel 4a proved to easily get through a full day of heavy use with plenty of gas left in the tank. Despite the performance upgrade, the Pixel 4a 5G still delivers some of the best battery life you could ask for.

Impressively, both models made the list of best Android phones — a rarity for any budget-priced phone. The Pixel 4a scored a higher position on the list for its sheer value but, as we’ve already gone over, the Pixel 4a 5G will still be a better choice for some individuals.

Pixel 4a and 4a 5G Which should you buy?

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

When looking at the Pixel 4a and 4a 5G, you might find yourself having a difficult time deciding which phone you should buy. Several retailers have increased the price of the Pixel 4a 5G, making it a worse value than when it initially released. At the same time, some retailers have dropped the price of the Pixel 4a, making it an even better value than the initial release. So long as you can find a Pixel 4a 5G for the original $500 price — that’s still $200 less than the Pixel 5 — it’s a pretty fantastic deal and delivers a few key advantages over the smaller Pixel 4a.

One of the biggest differences between the two phones is the processor. While the Snapdragon 730 in the Pixel 4a is very capable for most tasks, the Pixel 4a 5G’s Snapdragon 765G has a bit more horsepower that’ll be appreciated by power users. It also enables 5G connectivity, which will be nice to have as carriers continue building out their 5G networks.

Another benefit of the 4a 5G is its 16MP ultra-wide camera, which joins the primary 12.2MP camera shared by both phones. It’s not the most dramatic wide-angle lens we’ve ever seen, but it still allows for different shooting possibilities that just aren’t possible with the regular Pixel 4a.

If you value that faster performance, additional camera, and 5G support, the Pixel 4a 5G is a fantastic pickup. And with its 6.2-inch display, it’s a better fit for people that prefer larger phones. That said, if you’d rather save some cash and/or prefer more compact handsets, the baseline Pixel 4a is just as good of a purchase.

Pixel 4a and 4a 5G Cameras

Google Pixel 4a

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

In a world where phones are shipping with two, three, or even four rear cameras, the lone sensor on the Pixel 4a might look disappointing. Thankfully, we’re pleased to say that it’s anything but. The 12.2MP camera on the Pixel 4a is the exact same one found on the flagship Pixel 4, and simply put, it is outstanding.

Images are detailed, exposure levels are handled nicely, and even low-light shots look great. Above all else, the Pixel 4a does these things consistently. Just about every single time you press the shutter button to take a picture, it comes out looking fantastic.

While the Pixel 4a 5G has a lot in common with the regular Pixel 4a, one of its biggest advantages comes in the camera department. It has the exact same 12.2MP primary camera, but in addition to that, it also offers a 16MP ultra-wide camera — a first for any Pixel phone.

Google Pixel 4a 5G Night Sight sample (primary)

Google Pixel 4a 5G Night Sight sample (ultra-wide)Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

The ultra-wide camera isn’t a game-changer, though we’d certainly rather have a phone with it than one without it. The 107-degree FoV allows for wider shots of whatever it is you’re taking a picture of, and while that’s not the widest sensor of this type we’ve ever seen, it also means you don’t have to worry about pesky distortion in your shots.

Google didn’t reinvent the ultra-wide camera with the Pixel 4a 5G, but either way, it’s still a very welcome addition.

Pixel 4a and 4a 5G Compared to the Pixel 3a

Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 3a

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central

There’s no denying that the Pixel 4a is an outstanding phone, but it didn’t magically get here on its own. Prior to the 4a, Google took the smartphone market by storm a year earlier with the Pixel 3a. That phone was built on a very similar foundation, and as a result of that, is still chugging along just fine these days.

So, that begs the question — do Pixel 3a owners need to upgrade to the Pixel 4a? That depends.

If your Pixel 3a is starting to feel a little long in the tooth and you’re itching for something new, the Pixel 4a comes with a few nice upgrades. It has smaller display bezels, a newer processor, more RAM and storage, and is even a bit cheaper than the Pixel 3a’s retail price.

That said, if the Pixel 3a is still serving you just fine and you don’t feel compelled to upgrade, you can keep on using it without any issues. It may not be the flashiest phone these days, but the Pixel 3a still has plenty of kick left in it for existing owners.

Pixel 4a and 4a 5G Comparisons

Moto G Power 2020 Hands On

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

As great as the Pixel 4a is, it’s far from the only budget phone you can buy in 2021. It’s going up against a lot of competition, with one of those competing devices being the Moto G Power (2021). The Moto G Power (2021) has a worse display, its cameras are less capable, and there’s no NFC for Google Pay. However, it costs a fair amount less and still provides a pretty good user experience. The big draw to the phone is its 5,000 mAh battery, which allows for up to three days on a single charge — something you’ll never be able to do on the Pixel 4a.

There’s also the Samsung Galaxy A51, which has proven to be one of the most popular affordable phones of the year. The A51 is a pretty exciting phone for the price, delivering a larger AMOLED display, really excellent battery life, and a much more interesting design. The Pixel 4a still has it beat with its camera and better daily performance, but these are two really interesting phones that do a lot right.

And, of course, we have the iPhone SE. Assuming you’re OK using iOS, the iPhone SE is hard to argue with. The design may be extremely outdated by 2021 standards, but everything else is top-notch. It has an insanely fast processor, a great camera, Qi wireless charging, and will get at least four more years of updates.

Pixel 4a and 4a 5G Accessories

Google Fabric Case Pixel 4a Hero

Source: Google

Thanks to its plastic construction, the Pixel 4a is a phone that you don’t have to baby nearly as much as ones made out of glass. That said, you should still consider getting some accessories to go with it.

First thing’s first, pick up a case for the phone! It takes just one drop to damage the back plastic or frame of the Pixel 4a, and a case is an easy and inexpensive way to prevent that from happening. There are a ton of excellent options out there, including the official fabric case from Google and a myriad of third-party ones. Whether you want something slim and discrete or protective and bulky, there’s a case out there for you.

Similarly, you also need a screen protector. Whether it’s TPU film or tempered glass, a screen protector is the best way to keep your Pixel 4a’a display looking as good as can be. No one likes a shattered or scratched screen, and a screen protector keeps those things at bay.

The same goes if you opt for the Pixel 4a 5G, too. Get a case, get a screen protector, and you’ll thank us later.

So good


Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a

An outstanding camera, and then some

Simply put, the Pixel 4a is one of the best values the smartphone market has to offer today. The camera is better than ever, the performance is plenty fast, the battery is reliable, and there’s even a headphone jack. Assuming you’re a fan of smaller phones and don’t mind the boring design, the Pixel 4a is one of the best deals out there.

Upgrade pick


Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G

More Pixel for more money

Like what you see with the Pixel 4a but wish it had just a little more oomph? That’s where the Pixel 4a 5G comes in. It’s very similar to the regular 4a in a lot of ways, but it adds a faster processor, larger battery, slightly bigger screen, and a 16MP ultra-wide camera. Oh, and there’s also 5G.

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