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Google Pixel 4a 5G purchaser’s information: Know before you purchase

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Google Pixel 4a 5g Buyer’s Guide: Know Before You Buy
Google Pixel 4a 5g Buyer’s Guide: Know Before You Buy

The Google Pixel 4a 5G is here and it’s bigger and better than the already-excellent Google Pixel 4a. It’s also more expensive.

We’re here to make your purchase decision easier by answering some key questions: Is the new Pixel 4a 5G a good deal? Should you buy the 5G model or stick with the trusty LTE version? Is it worth spending a bit more for the Pixel 5? What about all the other great options out there?

Let’s go through the key facts in our Google Pixel 4a 5G buyer’s guide.

Don’t miss: Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Perfectly balanced, as all Pixels should be

Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this Pixel 4a 5G guide with more tips, resources, and details, so keep it tuned.

Google Pixel 4a 5G at a glance

Google Pixel 4a 5G Affordable 5G, Google-style

The Google Pixel 4a 5G is a value-oriented phone made for people who don’t want or need a flashy high-end phone. Like the Pixel 4a, the 4a 5G model’s strong points are its cameras, smooth software, and rock-solid update policy.

The Pixel 4a 5G was announced on September 30, 2020, along the Pixel 5, the Google Nest Audio, and the latest Chromecast.

The Pixel 4a 5G is, in essence, the 5G-enabled version of the regular Pixel 4a, which came out on August 3. However, there are more upgrades to the Pixel 4a 5G. The phone has a bigger screen, features a faster Snapdragon 765G processor, and comes with a bigger battery.

Pixel 4a 5G is a value-oriented phone made for people who don’t want or need a flashy high-end phone. Like the Pixel 4a, the 4a 5G model’s strong points are its cameras, smooth software, and rock-solid update policy.

Do you even need a 5G phone?

Google Pixel 4a 5G in hand back of phone

Before we go any further, ask yourself: Will you be able to use the 5G connectivity of the Pixel 4a 5G?

This isn’t a simple question, as the answer depends on some factors outside of your control. While 5G coverage is becoming more common, it’s still scarce in many places around the world. Not only does your carrier need to offer 5G service in your area, you may also need to be signed up for a 5G plan. Furthermore, the 5G network needs to cover the places you actually live and work in. Finally, even if you do technically get 5G, you might not notice a speed improvement at all – 5G connections can actually be slower than 4G in some cases.

Go deeper: What to look for in your perfect 5G plan and network

That’s a lot of ifs and maybes. For this reason, we don’t recommend you go out of your way to buy a 5G phone in 2020.

What about “future proofing”? If you think you’ll want 5G service down the road, then yes, the Pixel 4a 5G is a good choice, though it’s far from the only one.

Is the Google Pixel 4a 5G worth buying?

Yes, it is. Our own Oliver Cragg reviewed the Pixel 4a 5G and found its stellar camera, well-built hardware, long battery life, and big display to be a nice sweet spot in the 2020 Pixel lineup.

At $499 give-or-take, the Pixel 4a 5G goes against Google’s own Pixel 4a and Pixel 5, Apple’s well-reviewed iPhone SE (no 5G), the OnePlus Nord, the Moto One 5G, and the Galaxy A71 5G. That’s some tough competition.

Google Pixel 4a 5G ($499) vs Pixel 4a ($349): What’s the difference?

At a glance, here’s how the Pixel 4a 5G differs from the Pixel 4a:

The Pixel 4a 5G is larger and heavier than the Pixel 4a.The screen on the Pixel 4a 5G is bigger, at 6.2 inches vs 5.81 inches. Both are 60Hz displays.The Pixel 4a 5G features a slightly more powerful processor. We found the 4a’s Snapdragon 730G to be good enough for most daily tasks, but you’ll want to pick up the Pixel 4a 5G if you want better performance.The battery on the Pixel 4a 5G is 24% larger than the Pixel 4a’s. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the 5G model will have 24% longer battery life, as the bigger screen and the 5G connectivity consume more power.

Google Pixel 4a 5G ($499) vs Pixel 5 ($699): What’s the difference?

Google Pixel 5 next to Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G 2Google Pixel 5 next to Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G 2

Left to right: Google Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G

As for the Pixel 4a 5G compared to the top-of-the-line Pixel 5, the key differences are:

The Pixel 4a 5G’s screen is 0.2 inches larger than the Pixel 5. However, the Pixel 5 features a 90Hz refresh rate, making for a smoother experience. The Pixel 5 also has a better grade of Gorilla Glass protecting it.The Pixel 5 has 8GB of RAM, compared to just 6GB of RAM on the Pixel 4a 5G. We believe 6GB is still enough for most users right now, but the Pixel 5 is better equipped to run smoothly for longer.While the main cameras are similar on both phones, the Pixel 5 has a 16MP ultra-wide camera, versus 8MP on the Pixel 4a 5G.The Pixel 4a 5G has a headphone jack, the Pixel 5 does not!The battery is slightly larger on the Pixel 5: 4,080mAh vs 3,800mAh. Again, it remains to be seen what kind of difference that makes in terms of battery life.

Google Pixel 4a 5G specs

 Pixel 4a 5GDisplay6.2-inch OLED
2,340 x 1080 resolution
60Hz refresh rate
Gorilla Glass 3ProcessorQualcomm® Snapdragon 765G
2.4 GHz + 2.2 GHz + 1.8 GHz, 64-bit
Adreno 620
Titan M Security ModuleRAM6GBStorage128GB
no microSD card slotCameraRear:
Main:

12.2 MP dual-pixel
1.4 μm pixel width
Autofocus with dual pixel phase detection
Optical + electronic image stabilization
ƒ/1.7 aperture
77° field of view

Secondary:
16 MP ultrawide
1.0 μm pixel width
ƒ/2.2 aperture
107° field of view

Front:
8MP sensor, f/2.0, 1.12µm pixels, fixed focus, 83-degree field-of-view

Battery3,800mAh
USB-C USB-PD 2.0
18W fast charging
No wireless chargingHeadphone portYesSoftwareAndroid 11
Minimum 3 years of OS and security updatesDimensions and weight153.9mm x 74mm x 8.2mm (8.5mm for mmWave variant)
168g (171g for mmWave variant)Price$499ColorsJust Black, Clearly White

Should you buy now or wait?

Google Pixel 4a 5G box 1Google Pixel 4a 5G box 1

We only expect Google to announce new phones next year, so don’t worry about missing out on any new Google hardware.

However, you may want to wait for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, which this year happens on November 27. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Google discount the Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 4a, or Pixel 5. For reference, last year Google knocked $200 off the pricey Pixel 4/4 XL.

Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives

Pixel 4a/5 – For Google fans who want a recent phone, the Pixel 4a ($349) and Pixel 5 ($699) are the only alternatives. The Pixel 4a 5G sits right in the middle; read the sections above to get an idea of the differences between the phones.Galaxy A71 5G and A51 5G (~$500) – Depending on where you get them from, Samsung’s 5G mid-rangers can be bought for about the same price as the Pixel 4a 5G. We find their performance a bit lackluster, but they provide niceties like a microSD card slot, more versatile cameras, and bigger batteries.Motorola One 5G (~$445) – This unassuming phone features a massive 5,000mAh battery and a very similar processor, though the Pixel pulls ahead with the better image quality and update policy.OnePlus Nord ( ~€410) – Currently not available in North America, the OnePlus Nord beats the Pixel 4a 5G when it comes to the battery size and charging speeds, RAM and storage, and the 90Hz display. OnePlus said it would bring a version of it to the US this year.Poco F2 Pro (€375) – The only Snapdragon 865 phone on our list of Pixel 4a 5G competitors, the Poco F2 Pro is all about value for money. On paper, it beats the Pixel 4a 5G in multiple ways, but the two phones target very different buyers.

To see a full list of Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives, head here.

Where to buy the Google Pixel 4a 5G

The Pixel 4a 5G is available from the Google Store, Best Buy, and Amazon. Google confirmed the Pixel 4a 5G  will launch in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Pixel 4a 5G is available for $499 outright or $20.79/month for 24 months with 0% APR Google Store financing. The phone went up for pre-order in the US and Canada October 29, 2020.

Related: The best Google Pixel 4a 5G cases you can buy

Google Pixel 4a 5G FAQs

Q: Does the Pixel 4a 5G have a headphone jack?

A: Yes, the Pixel 4a does have a 3.5mm audio jack.

Q: Does the Pixel 4a 5G has a microSD card slot?

A: The Pixel 4a 5G doesn’t have a memory card slot, so you won’t be able to expand the storage beyond the internal 128GB.

Q: What colors is the Pixel 4a 5G available in?

A: The Pixel 4a 5G is available in Just Black and Clearly White.

Q: Is the Pixel 4a 5G waterproof?

A: The Google Pixel 4a 5G doesn’t have an official IP rating for water and dust resistance. You shouldn’t expose it to any liquids.

Q: Does the Pixel 4a 5G screen offer 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rates?

A: No, this is a standard 60Hz display.

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