Google has at last launched the Pixel 4a smartphone. The successor to the popular Pixel 3a brings a number of worthwhile upgrades such as; a larger screen but a smaller overall size, a faster processor, and more RAM and storage on board. Furthermore, Google asserts that the new Pixel 4a wields the "same great Pixel camera" as the Pixel 4 delivered last October. Importantly for a smartphone aiming at this target market the launch price is keener than last year, and the Pixel 4a will come out at $349 - with an all too familiar 1:1 conversion to £GBP.
Starting on the outside the Pixel 4a features a 5.81-inch FHD+ flexible OLED display with pinhole selfie camera in the upper left. This 60Hz display is a bit bigger than on the predecessor but the reduction in bezels (mostly top and bottom) means that the overall dimensions are reduced, especially the length at 144mm, compared to 151.3mm for the 3a.
Turn the smartphone around and the Pixel 4a features the growingly familiar camera array block but it has just the one camera, like the Pixel 4, with the flash taking up residence in the block too. A fingerprint sensor is also on the (middle) back, just like last year's model. On the right side there is the usual volume rocker and (brightly coloured) power button. Elsewhere you will find a speaker (making stereo speakers if you include the earpiece), a USB-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The UK model has a single-SIM slot which requires a pin to access, no dual or hybrid SIM options.
Looking inside, the processor has been upgraded a tier this year, to the 700 series. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 with Adreno 618 and Titan M security module feature. This SoC is complemented by 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of fixed storage is provided. Google reminds users that "unlimited online storage for all photos and videos uploaded in high-quality," is available.
Other specs include the 3,140mAh "all day battery", the Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection, the 8MP selfie cam and Android 10 installed at launch with fast updates to the latest OS. You will have to wait for longer-term reviews to know how well the battery lasts, but this was/is a notable weakness of the Pixel 4 (2,800mAh battery) with SD855 processor.
Of course one of the star attractions of a Pixel phone is the camera quality and if, as Google says, it is basically the same as the Pixel 4 in this respect at least it is a known quality that rates very highly, at a very accessible price point in the form of the Pixel 4a.
You can shop and compare the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4 and Pixel 3a via this link. Pre-orders are open now, depending upon your region. Device will start to become available on Thursday, 20th August.
Google Pixel Fordism
Initially the Pixel 4a is only available in black. Whether that will change moving ahead we don't know but there was a very conscious decision by Google management to limit the number of configurations available to keep prices down. Engadget talked to Brian Rakowski, VP of product management for the Pixel, who confirmed that there is no Pixel 4a XL being released for this very reason.
Add some colour with the Google recycled plastic cases
Rumours point to the Pixel 4a 5G perhaps filling the shoes of a 4a XL with a bigger screen and bigger battery. Such a design variation isn't confirmed officially at this time. The Pixel 4a XL is expected to sell for $499.
What about the Pixel 5? This flagship will launch in August alongside the Pixel 4a 5G. Relying on rumours again, the Pixel 5 may be rather cost conscious for a modern flagship, sporting the upper-midrange Snapdragon 765.