The Pixel 4a: Google’s Mid-Model Smartphone


For many users, the flagship Pixel is still a little out of their budget. That is, until the

Pixel 4a launches at a few hundred bucks cheaper. Although the price is more accessible, so are many of the best features. And with improved storage and performance, it may win over a few long-time Apple fans.

What is the “a” Series?

Most companies introduce the standard edition of a device and then the “pro” model later. Starting with the Pixel 3a, Google decided it was opposite day. Introducing the “a series.” They achieved this by stripping away some features for a more affordable price. However, you still get to enjoy most of the Pixel experience without spending more.

The Pixel 3a and 3aXL launched at around $400, meaning a similar price for 4a. And, given the 3a’s improved camera and storage, we will likely get much of the same from the 4a.

Unfortunately, the Google I/O 2020 is still canceled, so we won’t know for a while. Thankfully, we should know more within the next month or so.

No Soli Radar Support

Probably the most significant difference in models is that the Pixel 4a loses motion support. The Soli radar, responsible for the phone’s motion detection, is a sizeable consumer expense. To keep the smartphone’s costs low, the radar’s got to go. That also means you won’t get to try out the facial recognition system, either.

You will, however, have a dedicated finger scan port on the back. It’s nice to see it get used more effectively with the smaller frame.

New Display Screen

Although the Pixel 4a will have a smaller screen, it utilizes it better. Smaller bevels eliminate more wasted space, making for a more efficient display area. Even at an estimated 5.8”, it will feel like a compact phone. And with the punch hole camera design, you will do more with less room.

Only One Rear Camera

As other companies are adding more lenses, Google is taking them away. Whereas competitors would have an array of three to four lenses, you will have one.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it will help keep costs lower. It’s unknown how that will affect the camera experience without added depth capturing.

You Can Keep Your Headphones

Although Google has taketh away your lenses, it will allow you to keep your headphones. With a top-mounted jack, it’s refreshing to know that not everyone is going wireless.

Below, you will see a USB-C port as well, albeit less shocking. Again, though, the focus seems to stay on speed and function over features.

Expected Performance

Par for the course, we should see a high-performing phone at about $400. The phone features UFS 2.1 digital storage via a 64GB SK Hynix chip.

Even as a mid-range product, you should still see 6 GB of RAM. With supped-up components and less hardware, the phone should perform well each time.

With any luck, the battery will get improved as well. Chances are, we’ll see at least 3,000 mAh packs for extended daily use.