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Google Pixel 4a 5G review: A larger Pixel 5 with slight drawbacks

Google Pixel 4a 5G
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2020 TechnikNews)

The Google Pixel 4a 5G is one of three new Google smartphones that the manufacturer presented this year. In terms of both price and hardware, it is between the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 and is thus the middle child of this year's smartphones from Google.

A few weeks ago I packed up here TechnikNews the Pixel 4a 5G and made my first impression. I recommend anyone who is more interested in this here our article. In this review you will find out which compromises you have to make compared to the Pixel 5 and whether the surcharge for the Pixel 4a can be justified.

Haptics, design & processing

It's such a thing when it comes to haptics. As such, the smartphone sits comfortably in the hand and due to its relatively compact size it can still be operated comfortably with one hand, but for my taste it is not really handy in the hand, which is probably due to the material. The back and the frame are made of matt plastic, which looks nice but, as already mentioned, does not provide a very good grip. In addition, it just doesn't feel particularly high quality. You don't have the feeling of having spent almost 500 euros on your smartphone here. That can definitely be done a little better. At least the plastic is matt and not glossy, as is the case with the current Galaxy A series, for example.

Apart from the built-in materials, I like the Pixel 4a 5G very much. The black back looks very chic, the camera layout is rather small and reserved for today's conditions and I also like the front very much. The small punch hole for the front camera in the upper left corner is almost never noticeable during use and the edge around the display is pleasantly narrow. The beautiful design is rounded off by the white power button on the side.

The Pixel 4a 5G is superbly made and the buttons have a very good pressure point.

Display - unfortunately without 90 Hertz

When it comes to the display, you have to make the first smear compared to the slightly more expensive Pixel 5. Unfortunately, it only supports a refresh rate of 60 Hertz. As a result, animations and movements on the smartphone don't seem so fluid and for just under 500 euros I would have expected more. Sure, this is complaining at a very high level and you can definitely cope with it, but a OnePlus Nord, for example, which is also cheaper, offers 90 Hertz. But well, there are smartphones for over 1.000 euros that only offer 60 Hertz.

Google Pixel 4a 5G punch hole

The front camera sits in a small punch hole in the display. (Image: TechnikNews)

Otherwise, the 6,2-inch display is convincing across the board. It gets bright enough that you can't even get in direct sunlight Proproblems with readability. The resolution of 2.340 x 1.080 pixels is perfectly fine and the color representation was also very convincing. Colors are typically OLED strong, but still sufficiently realistic. In this respect, I even like it a little better than the display of the OnePlus North. However, the viewing angle stability could be a bit better, especially in extreme viewing angles, but I also noticed this a bit negatively here and there in everyday life. That's also complaining at a very high level and for almost 500 euros it's still completely fine, but I wanted it fixedprohave chen.

Software - pure Android

The latest stock Android version 4 runs on the Google Pixel 5a 11G. Because this is a Pixel smartphone, it can be assumed that it will continue to receive updates for a few years. This is a huge advantage compared to other smartphones.

Stock Android is very plain, simple and modern. The animations look beautiful and there are no unnecessary additional functions. Of course, the Google Assistant is also on board, and it doesn't work as well on any other Android smartphone as it does on a Pixel. There is also a function called “Activate the display while typing”. As the name suggests, a single tap activates the display, much like the iPhones. I really liked that, because with almost all other Android smartphones you have to tap the display twice.

Performance - fast and 5G

Only the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G works under the hood and no high-end Processor, but the performance is at an extremely high level, which is definitely appropriate for the price of just under 500 euros. Apps start and close pleasantly quickly and there are hardly any stutters or delays. With complex apps or games, the Pixel 4a 5G does not have any larger ones either Probleme, but this is where it is most noticeable that this is a Promid-range processor. In terms of performance, you don't have to make any compromises compared to the Pixel 5.

If it still had a smooth refresh rate of 90 Hertz, the performance would be almost perfect, but it's great even that way.

Battery - very long-lasting

At 3.885 mAh, the battery is significantly larger than the one in the Pixel 4a, but also slightly smaller than the 4.080 mAh in the Pixel 5, which is a bit smaller despite the larger battery.

I always came protrouble-free through a day and even 1,5 days were mostly not Proproblem If you hold back a bit, 2 days are also possible. At the end of the day I usually had 30 to 50 left Procent battery left with a screen-on-time of about 4 to 7 hours. Those are really strong values.

The included 18W power adapter charges the Pixel 4a 5G to 100 in just under two hours Procent on. That's okay, but for the price, the competition offers, such as the OnePlus Nord or the much cheaper one Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC, much more. Wireless charging is not possible, but considering the price, this is still completely okay.

Strong cameras

Google installed a dual camera here, including a 12,2 megapixel (f / 1.7) main camera and, for the first time, an ultra-wide-angle camera with 16 megapixels (f / 2.2). The front camera has a resolution of 8 megapixels (f / 2.0).

Google Pixel 4a 5G camera

The camera layout looks rather small and reserved these days. (Image: TechnikNews)

As is typical for pixels, the main camera is once again convincing across the board. Images are reproduced with a high level of contrast, with a good and true-color representation. The sharpness is also right here, even if current flagships are a bit better in this regard. The dynamic range is also slightly better with flagships, but this is also at a very high level with the Pixel. The low-light performance is also really impressive, especially for the price. Sometimes I even find the pictures a little better than the much more expensive one OnePlus 8 Pro. Other smartphones, such as this, are only in extremely low light I live X51 5G or Huawei P40 Pro+, a little better.

And how does the first ultra-wide-angle camera from Google perform? Well, really good. The images are reproduced realistically with good image sharpness. With Lowlight, like almost all other ultra-wide-angle cameras from the competition, it is less of a use.

Videos are possible in 4K with up to 60 FPS and are completely reasonable for the price. The videos convince with good sharpness, good stabilization and realistic colors. Only the dynamic range could be a little better, but that's really grumbling on a very high level.

In conclusion, it can be said that the Pixel 4a 5G offers an above-average camera for a price of just under 500 euros. Fortunately, you don't have to compromise on the more expensive Pixel 5 here either.

Google Pixel 4a 5G: test photos

Let's take a look at some test photos. The following images are unedited but lossless compressed to keep the website loading times and memory consumption low.

Comparison with the OnePlus Nord

Let's briefly compare the camera in different situations with the OnePlus Nord, which is around 100 euros cheaper.

The two smartphones don't take a lot when there is enough light, only the dynamic range is a bit better here and there with the OnePlus, but these are really nuances. As soon as the light is less, the pixel is convincing all along the line and clearly beats the OnePlus Nord.


I would like to positively highlight the stereo speakers, which really surprised me. They get pretty loud and still give a clean sound even at high volume. Kudos to Google.

Unlike almost all other smartphones in this price range, Google still uses a physical fingerprint sensor for the Pixel 4a 5G, which is located on the back of the smartphone. He is easy to reach, reacts pleasantly quickly and unlocks the device surprisingly reliably.

Unlike the Pixel 4, the Pixel 5a 5G is unfortunately not protected against the ingress of water and dust in accordance with IP-68. For the price, I don't want to complain too much.

The 128 GB internal memory cannot be expanded using a micro SD card. Dual SIM is possible, but only with an e-SIM. Google actually installed a 3,5 mm headphone jack on the top.

Google Pixel 4a 5G: Conclusion

I think it became clear that I liked the Google Pixel 4a 5G pretty much. The performance, the modern design, the clean software, the great battery life, the excellent speakers and of course the powerful cameras are at an extremely high level. Actually, the display is also very convincing, if it weren't for the missing 90 Hertz. I know that they wanted to differentiate the device a little more from the Pixel 5, but for just under 500 euros I expect more.

Pixel 4a and Pixel 5: the better alternatives?

Now the question remains whether you should rather use a Pixel 4a. I would put it this way: In principle, the surcharge of currently around 140 euros would be worth it in my opinion, because you get an even better battery life, a practical ultra wide-angle camera and of course the stronger, future-proof one Proprocessor with 5G. Unless you want a handy pixel smartphone and don't attach too much importance to good battery life and an ultra-wide-angle camera, then you can save the 140 euros and go for the 4a without hesitation.

And should you go for a Pixel 5 now? Is the current surcharge of around 120 euros worth it? The surcharge would also be worth it if you put a lot of emphasis on wireless charging, IP 68 certification and of course 90 Hertz. If you can do without it, the surcharge is again not worth it and you can use the Pixel 4a 5G without hesitation.

You notice it, this year it is totally difficult to choose a Pixel smartphone, as each device has a lot more to offer compared to the cheaper one. So in the end it's up to you. You have to decide for yourself which features are important to you and what you can possibly do without.

No matter how you decide in the end, you won't go wrong with any Pixel smartphone. These are all three great devices and I can recommend them across the board.

Buy the Google Pixel 4a 5G

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Fabian Menzel

Fabian has been part of since mid-September 2020 TechnikNews and regularly supplies the site with various news, but also with some test reports on smartphones. He's having so much fun and is extremely grateful to have such a great team by his side. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music and occasionally taking photos with his Huawei Mate 50 Pro.

Fabian has already written 300 articles and left 24 comments.

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