The Pixel 4a 5G in 2021: An Excellent Midrange Device

Android, Google, Pixel, Smartphones

Ever since I got it a few months ago, the Pixel 4a 5G has become my daily driver. It’s been a part of my daily routine and it definitely gets a lot of use for media consumption, gaming, and of course, communication. Now the 4a 5G currently sits as the middle child in Google’s current Pixel lineup, that is until we get the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 5a.

Now maybe you’re interested in getting one for yourself or maybe you’re just curious as to what all the hype is about — well, let me share with you some of my experiences on using the Pixel 4a 5G and give some reasons as to whether or not you should get this smartphone in 2021.

Camera

Perhaps one of the main reasons for getting the Pixel 4a 5G is for its camera capabilities. Google has shown what they are capable of with single-lens cameras as seen on the Pixel 3a and 4a, and the addition of an ultra-wide lens on the 4a 5G adds more variety to the phone’s imaging features. There’s a wide range of functions on the camera which of course include some of my favourite features such as portrait mode, night sight, astrophotography, and you can even shoot 4K video at 60fps on this phone, as well as time lapse and slow motion video. The optical image stabilization is on point as well, and greatly reduces shales and hand-motion in video clips.

The front camera isn’t bad either because again, Google’s camera software makes a huge difference. If you’re looking for a great camera phone then the Pixel 4a 5G has a lot of features for you to consider. Check out some of these photos:

Performance

Another reason to get the Pixel 4a 5G is for its performance. Now given the price range of this device and the existence of the Pixel 5, you’ll be getting midrange specs on the 4a 5G, which include a Snapdragon 765G chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and a 3800-mAh battery. There’s no Snapdragon 888 chip here, or 12GB of RAM for that matter.

But for the price you pay and the performance you get, I’d like to think that the Pixel 4a 5G does a great job. There’s barely any lag, apps open up quickly, and I can even play some high-caliber games on my device. There’s a nice balance of price and performance and as someone who uses this phone as my daily device, it’s been a reliable piece of tech so far.

Battery

The same goes for battery life — while the phone only comes with a 3800 mAh battery, the stock Android software on the 4a 5G works hand in hand with the somewhat small battery capacity to provide you with enough energy throughout the day. With moderate use centered mostly around video and music streaming, web browsing and messaging, I was able to get a decent amount of screen on-time. But of course, if you play a lot of games, keep your screen on full brightness, then this will significantly affect battery performance.

Software

If you are after a phone with a clean and mostly unadulterated version of Android, then this might be a good fit for you. The Pixel android experience consists mostly of a clean interface without any bloatware, monthly security updates, and a guarantee of three major Android updates.

Personally I’ve had a good experience with the Pixel version of Android as it’s clean and functional. There are no ads on here, no duplicate apps, and most apps can be uninstalled if you have no need for them. The interface is slightly customizable although I do wish that Google would’ve given us the option to use custom icons for the launcher. Another issue I do have is that certain apps and games don’t utilize the full size of the display, leaving you with a black bar at the top of the display. I hope Google does address this matter as other Android versions like MIUI and One UI allow you to force apps into full screen display. Despite these minor complaints however, the software in general has been smooth and reliable so far in my experience.

So now that we have discussed some of my pros in getting the Pixel 4a 5G, I just want to go over some points that you might wanna take into consideration if you are planning to get this phone.

Display

Let’s talk about the display on the Pixel 4a 5G. It’s pretty good actually — it’s an OLED panel with a 1080×2340 resolution, and offers great colors and contrast. But if you are looking for a high-performance display then you might be a bit let down by this one. For starters, the refresh rate maxes out at 60hz, it only comes with Gorilla Glass 3, and overall screen brightness isn’t on the same level as what you’d get on more expensive hardware.

More often than not I usually have to set the display at maximum brightness when outdoors, and on particularly sunny days it’s a bit hard to make out what’s on the display. The lack of a 120 or even 90hz refresh might also be a dealbreaker for people who are used to higher refresh rates.

Wireless Charging

Another point to consider is the lack of wireless charging. While the Pixel 4a 5G does support fast-charging, you’re pretty much stuck to using the USB Type-C cable for charging sessions. If you do want a Pixel that supports wireless charging then the more expensive Pixel 5 should suit you.

Expandable Storage

Moving on, another feature lacking on the Pixel 4a 5G is expandable storage. There’s no microSD slot on here, so if you tend to store a lot of games, movies, photos and music on your device then you’re stuck with the 128GB of internal storage. Of course a remedy for this would be to access media through cloud storage or streaming services, but if you really need expandable storage then you might wanna think about this one.

IP Certification

Okay so last on this list is IP certification. The Pixel 4a 5G features a nicely-built and sturdy polycarbonate design, and while I do usually prefer this to fragile glass phones, it unfortunately does not feature any IP68 certification. You’ll have to be extra careful when handling the 4a 5G around pools or beaches, unless you’re using a waterproof case on the device.

It would have been nice to see some splash-proof coating at the very least, similar to what we see in other phones but for the time being this is all we get with the 4a 5G.

Now What?

Alright so after talking about all this, there are certainly a number of factors to consider if you’re planning on getting the Pixel 4a 5G. Personally, it meets a lot of my needs, gets the job done, and I’m pretty happy so far.

For people looking for more extensive features such as the ones I mentioned here, there are some compromises with this device that you’ll have to take into consideration. On the other hand, if you want a perfectly dependable midrange Android phone, or a relatively affordable Pixel phone, then the 4a 5G is a great choice.