Google Pixel 4a vs Pixel 4: Preliminary specs, features, price comparison

Google Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4a preliminary comparison
Back in 2019, we got the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, two affordable counterparts to the flagship Pixel 3 phones. Despite their plastic build, they proved highly successful on the market, mainly for their lower price and for having the same exceptional camera found on the 3 and 3XL. 

In 2020, Google is expected to follow the same pattern and release the Pixel 4a and 4a XL. But how are the Pixel 4a and 4a XL going to be different from the Pixel 4 and 4XL? Here are the rumors we have so far. 

Design & display

The glass Pixel 3 and the plastic-made Pixel 3a were mostly indistinguishable and felt pretty much the same to the touch. However, leaks and rumors suggest that the Pixel 4a will have its own personality and differ from the regular Pixel 4 in a couple important aspects. 

For one, the Pixel 4a is set to debut the punch-hole design. Google phones have previously relied on a more traditional look and only once dabbed into the notched design. This means that the sophisticated motion-sensing capabilities unlocked by the Soli chip on the Pixel 4/4 XL will not be present on the Pixel 4a/4a XL. Yet, this would ensure for a much more modern design, one that does not require a large bezel at the top. 

Another big difference - the Pixel 4a is likely to get a headphone jack whereas the Pixel 4 doesn't have one. What goes around, comes around, just like with the Pixel 3 and 3a last year.

Display size is likely remaining similar to the Pixel 3a and 3a XL — 5.6 inches for the smaller and 6.0 inches for the larger device. OLED is most likely remaining the display tech of choice for the Pixel 4a series, but the 90Hz refresh rate is quite unlikely to be making an appearance. After all, it's one of the signature features of the premium Pixel 4-series.


Currently, we can only speculate on what chipset will power the Pixel 4a and 4a XL. It will likely end up being a chipset of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 700-series. most likely the Snapdragon 730/730G or the Snapdragon 760/765G. In terms of storage, we expect at least 64GB of storage in the base version of the phone, though it would be very nice if Google puts 128GB of native storage inside the phone. Battery size is unknown at this point.

Interestingly, leaked info suggest that there could be a whole lot of three different Pixel 4a versions: a Pixel 4a, a Pixel 4a XL, and a Pixel 4a XL 5G. The Snapdragon 765/765G come with integrated 5G modems, which makes these likely candidates to power the Pixel 4a XL 5G. Here's a tabulated comparison of the specs:

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On the topic of cameras, we expect the Pixel 4a to closely mimic the Pixel 4 in terms of the, ahem, camera "island" at the back, but also in hardware, features, and general image quality. We expect the Pixel 4’s square camera module to carry on to the Pixel 4a, along with the 12.2MP standard lens, the 16MP telephoto lens, the hyperspectral sensor for collecting additional data, the dedicated mike, and the flash module. No wide-angle lens here, but Super Res Zoom will likely make up for it. Night Sight will also be present, and hopefully, the astrophotography mode will be on deck as well.

How would the Pixel 4a fare against the Pixel 4 flagship? Judging from our previous experience with the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3a, there would most likely be just minute differences in terms of image quality. The Pixel 3a also used to process images noticeably slower than the Pixel 3, and we suppose that would apply to the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4a as well. Aside from that, the Pixel 4a would most probably be just as good of a cameraphone. 

Price and availability

Just like the Pixel 3a, the Pixel 4a phones will definitely cost much less than the Pixel 4 and 4XL. This will be a result of using more affordable build materials as well as a mid-range chipset which would be used instead of the Snapdragon 855, and let's not forget the omission of the relatively expensive Soli chip and sensors at the front. A price tag of about $449 is what we are likely headed to, as the Pixel 3a cost $399 at launch. Meanwhile, the Pixel 4 starts at $799, so the Pixel 4a could prove to be a much better deal.

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