Google Pixel 4a Review – the mid ranger with fantastic night shooting capabilities

Conclusion

Pixel 4a is a scaled down version of the Pixel 4 and an improved Pixel 3a at an affordable price tag. Although we don’t see much major differences between the Pixel 4a and 3a other than the processor performance and some inherited feature from the Pixel 4 e.g. Dual exposure controls and Live HDR+.

As the champion of computational photography, Pixel 4a did not disappoint us in night shots. In fact, the shorter exposure time as compared to other smartphones produces super sharp and stable image. Enjoy astrography, taking the night stars with the Pixel 4a if you can find a place where there is little light pollution. While many phone manufacturers already support a secondary wide angle and telephoto of more than 2X, PIxel series still uses Super Res for up to 7x digital zoom on the Pixel 4a. There are also no manual adjustments available for the ISO, exposure  controls in it’s camera app. Nevertheless, Pixel 4a have shown to be an excellent shooter comparable to high end DXOmark smartphones in our comparison.

Performance wise, it is almost on par with a  Snapdragon 845. With a larger memory capacity, the Pixel 4a is smoother in operation compared to the Pixel 3a.

If you are into Google Assistant, you will miss the Active Edge as it is dropped on the Pixel 4a.  Some useful software that comes with it preinstalled are Caption and Recorder. Caption your audio in phone, video calls with Live caption. Activate it using the Live Caption
button in the volume control before or during a call. Another nice feature is the recorder. The recorder brings the power of search to audio recording. Meetings, lectures, band
practices, family memories — anything you want to save and listen to later. Recorder
automatically transcribes and labels what you record so you can easily find the parts that
matter to you. * 

Pixel 4a is designed as a more compact version of the Pixel 3a. It is shorter in height and has a a slightly larger screen. This phone fits well right into the pocket. I like it’s small size and use it with Google Pay or third party NFC based e-wallets. e.g. Dash. 

The usual complain about pixel comes back to haunt the Pixel 4a. With a battery of only 3140 mAh, you will need to charge it every one and a half day.

Google Pixels design revolve around a Physical and e-SIM. While this might be the new norm, a lot of service providers do not really support eSIM yet. Thus, a dual SIM phone is just a Single SIM phone. While most parts of the world are moving to 5G, the Pixels do not work with operators who are VoLTE enabled. It is a pity that the Pixel 4a or earlier Pixels do not work in VoLTE mode with Singapore telcos M1 and TPG. 

In Conclusion, if you want a mid range excellent nigh shooter without zoom and wide angle, the Pixel 4a may be one of the better choices. It gets monthly security updates regularly and for the more experienced users, the bootloader is the simplest to unlock among all the smartphones.

Online pre-orders for the Pixel 4a start from today on the Google Store, Challenger and Courts, and will be available online from 10 September, on the Google Store and retail partners Challenger, Courts and Amazon SG.

For our international readers, you can order the phone from Amazon US at this link.

*Live caption and Recorder are not exclusive to Pixel 4a.

Pros :

  • NFC
  • Compact Size
  • Monthly Google updates
  • 12 MP camera + computational photography

Cons:

  • No wide angle
  • No Telephoto
  • No IP68
  • Just 18W fast charge
  • No 90 Hz screen
  • 3140 mAh battery

 

Ratings

  • Performance 10
  • Design 10
  • Features 8
  • Usability 10
  • Value for money 10
  • Score : 9.6 / 10