Last Updated : Oct 18, 2020 03:18 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Google Pixel 4a First Impressions | Google’s most compelling case for a Pixel

The Google Pixel 4a brings big improvements over its predecessor at a very competitive price.

Google recently unveiled the Pixel 4a in India in all its glory. Since then, the Pixel 4a has gone on sale during Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale. The Google Pixel 4a is priced in India at Rs 29,999 and is available in a single 6GB/128GB configuration. The Pixel 4a will cost Rs 31,999, but Google is offering the phone at an introductory price of Rs 29,999 during Flipkart’s sale. Now, that all the boring details are out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the Google Pixel 4a.

Google recently unveiled the Pixel 4a in India in all its glory. Since then, the Pixel 4a has gone on sale during Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale. The Google Pixel 4a is priced in India at Rs 29,999 and is available in a single 6GB/128GB configuration. The Pixel 4a will cost Rs 31,999, but Google is offering the phone at an introductory price of Rs 29,999 during Flipkart’s sale. Now, that all the boring details are out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the Google Pixel 4a.

If there’s one word to describe the design of the Pixel 4a, it’s ‘simplicity’. Unlike some devices that attempt to give you the impression of a glass back or an aluminium frame, the Pixel 4a embraces its plastic body. There’s a matte textured finish that runs throughout the device, which isn’t nearly as flashy as some of its competitors, but really feels comfortable to use.

If there’s one word to describe the design of the Pixel 4a, it’s ‘simplicity’. Unlike some devices that attempt to give you the impression of a glass back or an aluminium frame, the Pixel 4a embraces its plastic body. There’s a matte textured finish that runs throughout the device, which isn’t nearly as flashy as some of its competitors, but really feels comfortable to use.

While the current trend in the smartphone industry leans towards bigger phones, the Pixel 4a doesn’t break tradition, sticking to the small form factor. If you are a fan of big smartphones, then the Pixel 4a is not for you. Google has also trimmed the bezels on the screen to the point of being almost unnoticeable. The notch with the Soli radar chip on the Pixel 4a has been replaced with a hole-punch cutout for the front camera.

While the current trend in the smartphone industry leans towards bigger phones, the Pixel 4a doesn’t break tradition, sticking to the small form factor. If you are a fan of big smartphones, then the Pixel 4a is not for you. Google has also trimmed the bezels on the screen to the point of being almost unnoticeable. The notch with the Soli radar chip on the Pixel 4a has been replaced with a hole-punch cutout for the front camera.

The Pixel 4a is only available in the Just Black colour variant. And when Google says Just Black, they mean just black. The only part of this phone that’s not black is the power button and the Google logo on the back. The Pixel 4a has a headphone jack on the top and a USB-C charging port on the bottom. The SIM tray is shifted to the left, while the power button and volume rocker are located on the right. And the back, you get a square-shaped camera module and a fingerprint reader.

The Pixel 4a is only available in the Just Black colour variant. And when Google says Just Black, they mean just black. The only part of this phone that’s not black is the power button and the Google logo on the back. The Pixel 4a has a headphone jack at the top and a USB-C charging port at the bottom. The SIM tray is shifted to the left, while the power button and volume rocker are located on the right. And on the back, you get a square-shaped camera module and a fingerprint reader.

Now, let’s move on to the display. Google has opted for a 5.81-inch OLED panel with a Full HD+ resolution. The screen doesn’t have a high refresh rate like the OnePlus Nord or Realme X3 Super Zoom, but the OLED panel supports HDR. The display also features a 443ppi pixel density and a 19.5:8 aspect ratio. We’ve not used this phone for long, but apart from the high refresh rate, Google has got this spot on. The OLED panel is clear and responsive with vivid colours. The screen also gets quite bright, and there’s no off-axis colour shift. If you can look past the refresh rate, and we could, then this is a really good OLED panel.

Now, let’s move on to the display. Google has opted for a 5.81-inch OLED panel with a Full HD+ resolution. The screen doesn’t have a high refresh rate like the OnePlus Nord or Realme X3 Super Zoom, but the OLED panel supports HDR. The display also features a 443ppi pixel density and a 19.5:8 aspect ratio. We’ve not used this phone for long, but apart from the high refresh rate, Google has got this spot on. The OLED panel is clear and responsive with vivid colours. The screen also gets quite bright, and there’s no off-axis colour shift. If you can look past the refresh rate, and we could, then this is a really good OLED panel.

The Google Pixel 4a gets a single 12.2 MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization. On the front, you get an 8 MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture. The camera can record 1080p video at 60fps or 4K video at 30fps. The front camera is limited to 1080p video recording at 30fps. Additionally, both the front and rear camera supports Night Sight.

The Google Pixel 4a gets a single 12.2 MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization. On the front, you get an 8 MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture. The camera can record 1080p video at 60fps or 4K video at 30fps. The front camera is limited to 1080p video recording at 30fps. Additionally, both the front and rear cameras support Night Sight.

The primary camera takes photos with sharp and accurate colours, wide dynamic range and excellent exposure.

The primary camera takes photos with sharp and accurate colours, wide dynamic range and excellent exposure.

Here’s another sample of Google’s exceptional work with computational photography.

Here’s another sample of Google’s exceptional work with computational photography.

Night Sight works impeccably both on the front and rear camera. It is safe to say that no other phone at this price can take such good photos in low light.

Night Sight works impeccably both on the front and rear camera. It is safe to say that no other phone at this price can take such good photos in low light.

The camera setup seems quite underwhelming if you consider some of the crazy numbers at this point. Phones like the Realme X3 SuperZoom, OnePlus Nord, Samsung Galaxy M51, and Vivo V20 Pro, all offer anywhere between four and six cameras in total. How many times have you heard 48/64 MP quad-camera setup or 32 MP dual front cameras? But let’s take a look at some of these samples first and then we’ll address some of these big camera numbers.

The camera setup seems quite underwhelming if you consider some of the crazy numbers at this point. Phones like the Realme X3 SuperZoom, OnePlus Nord, Samsung Galaxy M51, and Vivo V20 Pro, all offer anywhere between four and six cameras in total. How many times have you heard 48/64 MP quad-camera setup or 32 MP dual front cameras? But let’s take a look at some of these samples first and then we’ll address some of these big camera numbers.

As you can tell, the Pixel 4a is no slouch when it comes to capturing photos and videos. We will provide a more in-depth look into camera performance in our full review, but our initial impression of camera performance is overwhelmingly positive. But before we move on, let’s address the elephant in the room, the single-camera sensor. What Google is offering in the Pixel 4a is a single camera that can go toe-to-toe with the main camera on the Galaxy S20 or iPhone 11 Pro. What Google doesn’t offer is an ultrawide camera, but let’s talk about that for a second.

As you can tell, the Pixel 4a is no slouch when it comes to capturing photos and videos. We will provide a more in-depth look into camera performance in our full review, but our initial impression of camera performance is overwhelmingly positive. But before we move on, let’s address the elephant in the room, the single-camera sensor. What Google is offering in the Pixel 4a is a single camera that can go toe-to-toe with the main camera on the Galaxy Note 20 or iPhone 11 Pro. What Google doesn’t offer is an ultrawide camera, but let’s talk about that for a second.

The main issue on ultrawide cameras at this price has always been the lack of consistency across the main and ultrawide lenses. As for the depth and macro cameras, Google’s computational photography capabilities are more than sufficient to replace those. If we had one issue with this camera is that it uses a pretty dated sensor but isn’t noticeable with the photos this phone takes. However, we’ll talk about this in-length in our full review.

The main issue on ultrawide cameras at this price has always been the lack of consistency across the main and ultrawide lenses. As for the depth and macro cameras, Google’s computational photography capabilities are more than sufficient to replace those. If we had one issue with this camera is that it uses a pretty dated sensor, but isn’t noticeable with the photos this phone takes. However, we’ll talk about this in-length in our full review.

One of the biggest shortcomings of the Pixel 3a, at least in India, was balancing out the price to performance. However, Google seemed to have addressed that issue rather well. The Snapdragon 730G SoC is one of the fastest mid-range chips on the market, while both RAM and storage have been upgraded to 6GB and 128GB, respectively. Google has also reduced the price of the Pixel 4a in India to the point where it is much more accessible while offering more value to the consumer. The new hardware does help with performance.

One of the biggest shortcomings of the Pixel 3a, at least in India, was balancing out the price to performance. However, Google seemed to have addressed that issue rather well. The Snapdragon 730G SoC is one of the fastest mid-range chips on the market, while both RAM and storage have been upgraded to 6GB and 128GB, respectively. Google has also reduced the price of the Pixel 4a in India to the point where it is much more accessible while offering more value to the consumer. The new hardware does help with performance.

Since we’ve only used the phone for some time now, we can only give you a brief idea of performance, but it should be enough. Call of Duty Mobile and Raid: Shadow Legends ran on high graphics and frame rates without a hitch. After 30 minutes of Call of Duty, the phone did get slightly warm, nothing to worry about. But subsequently settled down during the next one hour in Raid.

Since we’ve only used the phone for some time now, we can only give you a brief idea of performance, but it should be enough. Call of Duty Mobile and Raid: Shadow Legends ran on high graphics and frame rates without a hitch. After 30 minutes of Call of Duty, the phone did get slightly warm, nothing to worry about. But subsequently settled down during the next one hour in Raid.

Because of its size, the Pixel 4a packs a relatively small battery, with a meagre 3,140 mAh capacity. Google also bundles an 18W charger in the box. While 3,140 mAh may not seem like a lot, Google does a pretty solid job of battery management. You should get just about enough battery to get you through a day of moderate use. It is worth noting that gaming takes a major hit on the battery and you might want to have a charger at hand if you do plan on a two-hour gaming session.

Because of its size, the Pixel 4a packs a relatively small battery, with a meagre 3,140 mAh capacity. Google also bundles an 18W charger in the box. While 3,140 mAh may not seem like a lot, Google does a pretty solid job of battery management. You should get just about enough battery to get you through a day of moderate use. It is worth noting that gaming takes a major hit on the battery and you might want to have a charger at hand if you do plan on a two-hour gaming session.

The Google Pixel 4a runs on no-nonsense, squeaky clean, stock Android 11. If you prefer heavy smartphone skins, the Pixel 4a is not for you. Android 11 brings neat animations, sensible menu trees, and zero bloatware as well as quick and easy access to Google Assistant. The software experience on the Pixel 4a is second to none. We’ll take a better look at Android 11 on the Pixel during our full review.

The Google Pixel 4a runs on no-nonsense, squeaky clean, stock Android 11. If you prefer heavy smartphone skins, the Pixel 4a is not for you. Android 11 brings neat animations, sensible menu trees, and zero bloatware as well as quick and easy access to Google Assistant. The software experience on the Pixel 4a is second to none. We’ll take a better look at Android 11 on the Pixel during our full review.

So, should you buy the Pixel 4a? In our opinion, yes. With the Pixel 4a, Google has improved the design to keep up with the times, bolstered performance, stepped up the display, marginally increased battery life, maintained the great camera quality, all while slashing the price of the device. In a market, where every smartphone is trying to win the spec sheet battle, the Pixel 4a just aims to be a good phone with an exceptional camera. Stay tuned for our full review of the Pixel 4a to find out if the Google Pixel 4a is the best mid-range smartphone of 2020.

So, should you buy the Pixel 4a? In our opinion, yes. With the Pixel 4a, Google has improved the design to keep up with the times, bolstered performance, stepped up the display, marginally increased battery life, maintained the great camera quality, all while slashing the price of the device. In a market, where every smartphone is trying to win the spec sheet battle, the Pixel 4a just aims to be a good phone with an exceptional camera. Stay tuned for our full review of the Pixel 4a to find out if the Google Pixel 4a is the best mid-range smartphone of 2020.

First Published on Oct 18, 2020 03:18 pm
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