Google Pixel 4a First Impressions

Google hasn’t been very consistent with its phone launches in India of late. It didn’t launch its flagship Pixel 4 last year, and even this year, India won’t be getting the Pixel 4a 5G or the Pixel 5, at least not for now anyway. Google has struggled to compete with flagship smartphones from Samsung and Apple, but the introduction of a budget model last year, the Pixel 3a, gave us some hope for the premium segment. Now, the company has just launched its successor, the Pixel 4a in India at a suggested price of Rs. 31,999.

For starters, I think Google has done a much better job with the pricing this time with the Pixel 4a, than it did with the Pixel 3a at launch. This new phone goes on sale on October 16 and you can get all the details right here. I’ve been playing around with a unit that I just received, and here are my first impressions.

The Pixel 4a is a big upgrade over the Pixel 3a in pretty much every way. It’s lighter and more compact, yet packs in a larger 5.8-inch full-HD+ OLED display (compared to 5.6-inch on the Pixel 3a). It’s only a 60Hz panel but I don’t think that should be a dealbreaker. It has a polycarbonate body and is only available in black, but the finish is smooth to the touch. The rounded edges make for a comfortable grip, and overall, it fits pretty snugly in my hand. The Pixel 4a continues to feature a contrasting power button and just like the 3a, the 4a retains a 3.5mm headphone jack.

I’ve found the display to be bright and vibrant so far. It has slim borders all around and a modern-looking hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. There are also big upgrades to the specifications. The Pixel 4a features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC and is only available in one configuration — 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You get Android 11 out of the box, which is snappy to navigate through. Being a Pixel phone, there’s also the guarantee of receiving OS and security updates for at least the next three years, and a three month subscription to Google One cloud storage giving you 100GB.

pixel 4a first impressions back ss

The Pixel 4a has a simple and minimalist design

The Pixel 3a had great cameras, not so much due to the hardware but more because of Google’s expertise in post-processing. The Pixel 4a also has a pretty modest camera setup — a single rear 12.2-megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 aperture, OIS, and an 8-megapixel selfie camera. While there’s still a lot of testing to be done, I have a hunch that I’m not going to be disappointed by the 4a’s cameras, if the 3a was anything to go by.

Google promises “all-day” battery life for the Pixel 4a, which should be good enough for most people. The battery capacity has only increased slightly from the Pixel 3a, to 3,140mAh, so I’m hoping the optimisations made in Android 11 are enough to get good battery life. An 18W fast charger is included in the box, which is good to see.

The Pixel 4a also has a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, stereo speakers, and a single Nano-SIM slot (with support for an additional eSIM).

pixel 4a first impressions buttons ss

You get the recognisable contrasting power button on the Pixel 4a

Overall, the Pixel 4a is a big improvement over the Pixel 3a on paper but none of these upgrades would mean anything had Google messed up the pricing. The good news is that it hasn’t. If you’re comparing just specifications, the Pixel 4a is outranked by the competition at around the Rs. 30,000 mark, such as Realme’s X3 series, the Asus 6Z, and so on, but what this phone lacks in hardware, Google usually makes up for in software. I’ll be testing the Google Pixel 4a over the next few weeks, so stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for the full review.

OnePlus 8T leaked specs look great but where is the cheaper Nord? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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