From the Apple iPhone SE to the OnePlus Nord, this year has seen the return of some big names in the smartphone space to the business of making affordable smartphones. The next in line is global software giant Google, which recently launched the Pixel 4a in India. The Pixel 4a claims to bring some of the best features from Google at a reasonable price of Rs 31,999. But is it worth your money? Let’s find out:
It is hard to find an Android smartphone, especially a midrange one, with good ergonomics and a compact form factor. Thankfully, the Google Pixel 4a has both. You will love the Pixel 4a’s in-hand feel, and it is surprisingly sturdy despite its polycarbonate build. Moreover, its lightweight design (143g) makes it comfortable to hold and operate, and it feels like air while resting inside the pocket.
The Pixel 4a’s design is accentuated by the 5.8-inch OLED screen (fullHD resolution) with a punch-hole on the top-left corner to accommodate the front camera. The display stretches across the borders, leaving minimal bezels – something that previous Pixel smartphones could not pull off. The screen is bright, vivid and responsive. It has a good contrast and seems suitable for most content you consume on a smartphone screen.
The phone supports the always-on display mode to show relevant information even when the phone is locked. Also, there is the ‘Now Playing’ feature that recognises a song playing in the background and shows its details on the locked screen. Interestingly, the ‘Now Playing’ feature works without internet connectivity and is right on the spot in recognising songs, including those from Bollywood. The Pixel 4a also has a stereo speaker set-up which is something few phones in this segment boast.
The speakers are loud and clear, and work well for almost every utility. There is a 3.5mm audio out port for wired headset connectivity. Though a small feature, it adds a major value here, considering smartphones are quickly ditching this feature in the interest of bigger batteries or to reduce the overall thickness.
Imaging has always been Google Pixel’s strong point and the experience in the Pixel 4a is similar. Though it lacks the multi-optics set-up which limits its usage to regular point-and-click, the 12.2-megapixel rear camera is a capable one – it works seamlessly across light conditions. Its natural output might not impress everyone but shutterbugs who prefer natural colours to saturated or overly processed images would love it.
There is also an option to save images as RAW files, so you can tinker with image settings for the desired result. However, it is a pro feature, so every user may not be able to benefit from it. In the auto mode, the photos come out with plenty of details and clear distinctions of contour. For low-light imaging, there is a dedicated night mode, which is one of the best you get in any smartphone. There is also the astrophotography mode, which gets automatically activated through the night mode when the phone is mounted on a tripod or any other stable object. Despite featuring a mono lens, the Pixel 4a does portraits better than most other smartphones. The portrait mode also extends to phone’s 8MP front camera, and results come out clean.
The Pixel 4a is powered by Qualcomm’s midrange system-on-chip (Snapdragon 730G), which is slightly underpowered if you compare it with the Snapdragon 765G that powers the OnePlus Nord. Yet, it does not show any weakness or stutters while performing its duties. The phone works well for regular operations and handles processor- and graphic-intensive jobs with ease. The phone’s 3,140 mAh battery keeps the show going for around a day on normal usage. The charging time is good, but not exceptional. The phone comes with an 18W USB type-C charger, which replenishes a completely drained battery in around two hours.
The Google Pixel 4a justifies its pricing by offering almost everything that you expect in a midrange smartphone. From a captivating design to a dazzling OLED screen, loud stereo speakers, and a no-frills performance, there is nothing to complain about in this phone. It is a go-to smartphone which would have been a perfect fit if it also had some sort of ingress rating for water and dust resistance. But the Pixel 4a is still a perfect smartphone in this segment. Pick this one if you need a smartphone with good in-hand feel without having to compromise on other important factors.