Last year, many were caught off guard when Google released a midrange Pixel device. Priced below $400, the Pixel 3a was quickly crowned the best value-buy camera phone on the market, as it brought most of the camera tech people loved in the flagship Pixel 3 for almost half the cost. Google plans to continue this series in 2020 with a phone that will debut very soon.
The Pixel 4a appears to be a worthy upgrade for Pixel 3a owners looking for more power and a better camera at a sub-$500 price tag. One thing to note is that Google may be dropping the XL version of this phone. This would lower production cost and help maintain separation between the two Pixel lineups, but it might alienate those who prefer bigger screens.
Jump to a section: Standout Features | Dates | Storage | Price | Body | Basics | Software | Skin | Display | Performance | Battery | Front Camera | Rear Camera | Audio | Media Formats | Sensors | Connectivity | Security | Box Includes
The Google Pixel 4a will the first Pixel device to run a Qualcomm Snapdragon 700 series chipset, an SoC that brings much of the power and efficiency of the flagship 800 series chipset at an affordable price tag. It will also come with a new punch-hole display, giving it flagship look while cutting the top and bottom bezels. It will retain the headphone jack.
The Google Pixel 4a should be announced during Google I/O 2020, which takes place May 12–14, 2020. New reports have it that Google will once again produce the phone in Vietnam, thanks in part to the coronavirus outbreak plaguing China. Production is starting in April, which points to a May release, likely the same day as the announcement.
- Release date: May 12, 2020
- Preorder date: N/A
- Announcement date: May 12, 2020
Recently, Google conducted a survey gauging interest in two potential additions to the Pixel lineup: an inexpensive phone with a plastic body starting at $349 and premium phone starting at $699.
We believe the former is the Pixel 4a and the latter is the Pixel 5. If the starting price is indeed $349, this would mean the starting storage capacity will be 128 GB, as it's the same price Stephen Hall heard for the 128 GB Pixel 4a.
The storage will be UFS 2.1 instead of eMMC for faster read and write speeds. We don't expect expandable storage support as Google has never included it in the Pixel lineup.
- Storage available: 128 GB
- Expandable storage: no
- Standard: UFS 2.1
According to Stephen Hall, Google is thinking of undercutting the new iPhone SE and setting the price at $349 for the 128 GB model. Google reaffirmed this by surveying users asking them about a new Google Pixel phone with a headphone jack and plastic body which started at $349.
- Price: starting at $349
Like its predecessor, the Pixel 4a should have a shell made entirely out of polycarbonate plastic. The cheaper material will keep the cost low. It is rumored to come in three colors: Clearly White, Just Black, and Barely Blue.
- Frame: polycarbonate
- Finish: just black, barely blue, clearly white
With its smaller bezels, the Pixel 4a manages to increase the size of the display while decreasing the height and width of the phone. It is slightly thicker at 0.32 inches, which we believe is an indication of a larger battery.
Last year, Google announced the Pixel lineup expanding support to all four major US wireless carriers. We expect the same support to continue with the Pixel 4a along with US Cellular and Google Fi. We currently don't know if AT&T will sell it directly this year.
- Height: 5.68 inches
- Width: 2.74 inches
- Depth: 0.32 inches
- Weight: Unknown
- Dust/water resistance: Unrated
- Supported carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular
- Infrared blaster: no
The Pixel 4a will have operating temperatures between 32°F to 95°F, similar to most smartphones.
- Operating temp: 32º to 95º F
- Nonoperating temp: Unknown
- Relative humidity: Unknown
- Operating altitude: Unknown
As you would expect, the Pixel 4a will run the latest version of Android, 10. It will also get three years of security patches and three years of full OS updates. It will also be one of the first phones to get Android 11 when it releases later this year.
- Version: Android 10
The Pixel 4a doesn't technically run a skin. However, this isn't precisely stock Android Open Source Project. Thanks to Google's Pixel exclusive features, the Pixel devices run more of Pixel skin than pure Android, although most of us still consider it stock Android. Expect features such as the Recorder app, Call Screen, Now Playing, and other distinctively Google features.
- Version: stock Android (Pixel version)
Gone are the relatively large bezels of the Pixel 3a, replaced with a punch-hole display that houses the front-facing camera. This shrinks the top bezel, allowing the screen size to bump to 5.8 inches while lowering the length and width of the phone. The hole is positioned in the upper-left corner.
The resolution will be 2340 x 1080, a slightly taller aspect ratio than its predecessor. It will not share the Pixel 4's 90 Hz refresh rate, opting for 60 Hz instead. There are no Soli radar sensors for Motion Sense or sensors to enable Face Unlock.
- Screen size: 5.81 inches
- Screen resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels
- Total pixels: 2,527,200 pixels
- Pixel density: 443 pixels
- Screen type: OLED
- Notch: no
- Punch-hole: yes
- Screen-to-body ratio: Unknown
- Aspect ratio: Unknown
- Minimum brightness: Unknown
- Maximum brightness:#Unknown
- Refresh rate: 60 Hz (60 Hz for touch-sensing)
- Color temp:Unknown
- Color gamut: Unknown
According to XDA, the Pixel 4a will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730. This is not only the first Pixel device to use this SoC, but one of only a handful of US-bound smartphones. This is an 8-nanometer process with 2.2 GHz clock speed on its Gold cores.
Rumors also indicate Google will increase the RAM to 6 GB. Worried about the performance? Well, thanks to XDA, we have a rough idea of the performance which is slightly below the Pixel 3 XL and much better than last year's Pixel 3a.
It Hexagon 688 DSP is more potent than the one included in the Snapdragon 845, which means AI enhancement will be fast. GeekBench scores are higher than the Snapdragon 845 in single-core but much lower in multi-core application, which means it will excel in gaming but not in video editing.
- Memory: 6 GB LPDDR4X
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
- Chip size: 8 nanometer
- CPU frequency: 2.2 GHz (2x Kyro 470 Gold) + 1.8 GHz (6x Kyro 470 Silver)
- CPU cores: 8 cores (2 Gold, 6 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 618
- GPU frequency: 700
The Pixel 4a comes with a 3,080 mAh battery. This is a relatively small number, but considering the power friendly SoC and the reasonable 1080p display, it should still equate to good real-world battery life. And when you inevitably do run low, it should support both Quick Charge 4+ and USB Power Delivery with the ability to charge up to 18 W. Wireless charging support is unlikely.
- Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
- Capacity: 3,080 mAh
- Wired charging: yes, Quick Charge 4+,USB PD (18 W)
- Wireless charging: no
- Reverse Wireless charging: no
The front camera is rumored to be an 8 MP sensor with a 1.22 µm pixel size and f/2.0 aperture, the same found in the Pixel 3a. The main difference is the camera's location, now housed in the display instead of the top bezel. For video, you will be able to shoot up to 1080p at 30 fps.
- Resolution: 8 MP
- Aperture: ƒ/2.0
- Pixel Size: 1.22 µm
- Zoom: yes, 2x digital
- Flash: yes, screen flash
- Image stabilization: Unknown
- RAW support: yes
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: JPEG, RAW
The Pixel 4a will come with the same primary sensor as the 3a and 4, the Sony IMX363. This camera is 12.2 MP with 1.4 µm pixel size and f/1.8 aperture. Because it uses the same component as the Pixel 4, the difference is minimal, with the picture quality of the Pixel 4a slightly worse due to the lack of a Neural Core and the less powerful Image Signal Processor found in the Snapdragon 730 SoC.
The camera is optically and electronically stabilized just like the Pixel 4. It will get most of the same camera features of the Pixel 4, including the improved Night Sight 2.0, Top Shot, HDR+, and Super Res Zoom.
According to @Onleaks, there will be other sensors in the camera module (which is similar in design to the Pixel 4) to assist with photography and videography, although none were specified. Our best guess would be a zoomable microphone and potentially a ToF sensor for better portrait shots.
- Resolution: 12.2 MP
- Pixel size: 1.4 µm
- Aperture: ƒ/1.8
- Zoom: yes, 5x digital
- Flash: yes, LED
- Image stabilization: yes, OIS and EIS
- RAW support: yes
- Lens cover: sapphire crystal
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: JPEG, RAW
The Pixel 4a should once again top the charts on DxOMark with its video score despite its weaker SoC than many of the other contenders. Video capture should be limited to 4K at 30 fps, the same as the Pixel 4, both because of the SoC and the limited internal storage.
- Resolution: 720p, 1080p, and 4K
- Max frame rate: 60 fps at 1080p and 30 fps at 4K
- Slow motion: yes, 720p at 240 fps, 1080p at 120 fps
- Time-lapse: no
- Photos: 8.3 MP stills while recording 4K
- Zoom: yes, see above
- Flash access: yes, see above
- Image stabilization: yes, see above
- Object detection: Unknown
- Autofocus: dual pixel phase detection
- Audio: stereo
- Formats: H.264, H.265
Once again, the Pixel 4a will include a headphone jack, making it an enticing offer for those who love both wired earbuds and the Pixel lineup. Stereo speakers should also return, although not front-facing like the Pixel 3.
- 3.5 mm headphone jack: yes
- Stereo speakers: yes, one front- and one bottom-firing
- Mics: 2
- Max speaker volume: Unknown
The Google Pixel 4a supports the usual set of codecs found in Android phones.
- Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WAV, FLAC, APE, OGG, MID, M4A, IMY
- Video: MKV, MOV, MP4, H.265(HEVC), AVI, WMV, TS, 3GP, FLV, WEBM
According to Stephen Hall, Google is removing the pressure-sensitive edge, known as Active Edge, making this the first Pixel phone that can't be squeezed to access the Google Assistant. And unlike the Pixel 4, it will not include facial recognition, instead using a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.
- Sensors: accelerometer, ambient light, barometer, compass, gyroscope, proximity
The Pixel 4a supports Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, and GPS. We don't see any indication of dual-frequency support, but it could happen.
- GPS: yes
- aGPS: yes
- Glonass: yes
- BeiDou: no
- Galileo: yes
- QZSS: no
The Google Pixel 4a uses a Snapdragon X15 LTE model for up to 800 Mbps download speed and 150 Mbps upload. The Snapdragon 730 supports up to 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), although we expect Google to limit Wi-Fi connectivity to 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5).
- Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
- Bluetooth: 5.0 + LE
- NFC: yes
- Cellular: nano-SIM
- Port: USB Type-C 2.0
We currently don't know what LTE bands will be supported although we do know it is a 4G model device.
The Pixel 4a uses the Pixel Imprint, Google name for its rear-mounted physical fingerprint scanner. It's one of the fastest fingerprint scanners on the market and will ensure you're both protected from hackers while not be inconvenient to use.
The Titan M security module is also on board protecting your sensitive data and transactions.
- Fingerprint scanner: yes, rear-mounted
- Face scanner: no
- Iris scanner: no
- Manual authentication: password, PIN, pattern, swipe
In the box, you will get the same accessories as its predecessor. It was also once again not include any earbuds in the box.
- Google Pixel 4a
- USB-C to USB-C (USB 2.0) Cable (1 m)
- 18 W USB-C power adapter
- Quick Start Guide
- Quick Switch Adapter
- SIM card tool
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