The Pixel 4A raises the bar for how good a budget phone's camera can be.
Amid the abundance of $400 phones that are out now, which include the iPhone SE (2020) and the Galaxy A51, the Pixel 4A's two standout features are hard to dismiss. The fact that it has the same excellent main camera as the Pixel 4 (unfortunately, it doesn't have the Pixel 4's second telephoto lens) makes it the ideal phone for someone who wants to take great photos without much effort. Especially if that person doesn't care about having a sleek design or a huge screen, both of which the Pixel 4A doesn't have.
The Pixel 4A is about $50 cheaper than its closest competitors and has 128GB of storage, instead of 64GB like years past, so it really is a solid value. And these days, any amount of money that can be saved is crucial.
So does the Pixel 4A have the best camera on any phone? Which is to say does the Pixel 4 still have the best camera? Not necessarily, not like previous years. When the Pixel 2 came out in 2017, the delta between Google's camera and other Android phones at the time felt pretty wide. And when the Pixel 3 introduced Night Sight, it was witchcraft-levels of impressive. But rivals such as Apple, Samsung and OnePlus have shrunk the gap when it comes to important camera features like low-light photos and zoom.
The better question to ask then, is: Is this the phone with the best camera you can get for $350? Considering that the Pixel 4A also receives prompt software updates from Google, has a long-lasting battery life (so far) and-- all on top of its stellar camera -- I'd venture to say the answer is yes.
COMPARISON OF GOOGLE PIXEL 4A AND PIXEL 4
|Pixel 4A||Pixel 4|
|Rear cameras||The Pixel 4A doesn't have a second rear telephoto camera||2 rear cameras make for better portrait shots|
|Headphone jack||It has a 3.5mm headphone jack||The Pixel 4 doesn't have a headphone jack|
|Design||Larger, 5.81-inch screen and hole-punch front-facing camera||Smaller, 5.7-inch screen and prominent camera bump|
|Display refresh rate||60Hz display||90Hz display|
|Charging||No wireless charging||Does charge wirelessly|
|Water resistance||Not water resistant||Rated IP68 for water resistance|
|Soli motion-sensing||Doesn't have Soli motion-sensing, which enables touchless gestures||Pixel 4 does feature Soli motion-sensing and touchless gestures|
|Battery||3,140-mAh battery||2,800-mAh battery|
|Processor||Less powerful Snapdragon 730G chipset||More powerful Snapdragon 855|
|Storage options||It has one 128GB storage option||Two options: 64GB and 128GB|
The Pixel 4a features a 5.81-inch display that's all screen, with a small front-facing pinhole camera at the top left, a square-shaped camera bump at the rear, and fingerprint biometrics on the back.
Design wise, the display is much larger than the iPhone SE's display, which is modeled after the 4.7-inch iPhone 8. The iPhone SE also features a fingerprint button, but it is at the front in a thick bottom bezel.
Apple is actually rumored to be working on a new version of the iPhone SE called the iPhone SE Plus that would have an all-display design similar to Apple's more expensive iPhones, with a fingerprint sensor built into the power button. The iPhone SE Plus won't be coming until 2021, though.
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