Google Pixel 4a vs Pixel 3a vs Pixel 4: design and specs comparison

Google Pixel 4a vs Pixel 3a vs Pixel 4: design and specs comparison
The long-awaited Pixel 4a is finally here, Google's second budget Pixel device. Unlike last year's two models, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, this year Google went with a single model with a display size that fits between the previous two.

So, how does Google's latest creation compare to its previous two? Well, that's what we're here to find out! 


Google Pixel 4a vs Pixel 3a vs Pixel 4 design comparison


As you can see above, there's not that much to discuss in this section as Google is keeping to its design philosophy with the Pixel 4a. On the back, the phone is a mix between the 3a's plastic body and fingerprint reader and the Pixel 4's square camera bump. Unlike the Pixel 4, however, the 4a has a single rear camera, but more about that later.

The biggest difference between the Pixel 4a and the other two phones is at the front. Gone are the thick bezels, replaced with a small hole-punch in the upper-left corner instead. It's a look fitting for 2020, which is preferable over another Google design experiment (like the Pixel 3 XL). 

We're also happy to notice the return of the headphone jack. Of course, it will go missing again once the Pixel 5 is released, but at least Google kept it on its budget device, unlike some other manufacturers (looking at you, OnePlus!).

Overall, the simplistic design of the Pixel 4a may lack the fancy colors other budget phones try to lure you with, but it looks fit perfectly to its purpose: to be the bread and butter Android phone. 


Google Pixel 4a vs Pixel 3a vs Pixel 4 specs comparison


But while looks are important for some people, others care more about what's inside. And when it comes to smartphones, the specs are what will influence your experience the most. So, let's compare what these three Pixels are packing.

Display

Size

5.6 inches
5.7 inches
5.8 inches

Technology

OLED
OLED
OLED

Screen-to-body

73.93 %
77.32 %
82.53 %

Features

Scratch-resistant glass, Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor
90Hz refresh rate, HDR video support, Scratch-resistant glass, Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor
HDR video support, Scratch-resistant glass, Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor

Hardware

System chip

Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SDM670
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SM8150
Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 SM7150-AA

Processor

Octa-core, 2000 MHz, Kryo 360, 64-bit, 10 nm
Octa-core, 2840 MHz, Kryo 485, 64-bit, 7 nm
Octa-core, 2200 MHz, Kryo 470, 64-bit, 8 nm

GPU

Adreno 615
Adreno 640
Adreno 618

RAM

4GB LPDDR4
6GB LPDDR4
6GB LPDDR4

Internal storage

64GB, not expandable
64GB, not expandable
128GB, not expandable

OS

Android (11, 10, 9.0 Pie)
Android (11, 10)
Android (11, 10)

Battery

Capacity

3000 mAh
2800 mAh
3140 mAh

Charging

USB Power Delivery
USB Power Delivery
USB Power Delivery

Camera

Rear

Single camera
Dual camera
Single camera

Main camera

12.2 MP (OIS, PDAF)
12.2 MP (OIS, PDAF)
12.2 MP (OIS, PDAF)

Specifications

Aperture size: F1.8; Focal length: 28 mm; Sensor size: 1/2.55"; Pixel size: 1.4 μm
Aperture size: F1.7; Focal length: 28 mm; Sensor size: 1/2.55"; Pixel size: 1.4 μm
Aperture size: F1.7; Focal length: 27 mm; Sensor size: 1/2.55"; Pixel size: 1.4 μm

Second camera

 
16 MP (Telephoto, OIS, PDAF)
 

Specifications

 
Aperture size: F2.4; Focal Length: 45 mm; Pixel size: 1 μm
 

Video recording

3840x2160 (4K UHD) (30 fps), 1920x1080 (Full HD) (120 fps), 1280x720 (HD) (240 fps)
3840x2160 (4K UHD) (30 fps), 1920x1080 (Full HD) (120 fps), 1280x720 (HD) (240 fps)
3840x2160 (4K UHD) (30 fps), 1920x1080 (Full HD) (120 fps), 1280x720 (HD) (240 fps)

Features

OIS, EIS, Video calling, Video sharing
OIS, Time-lapse video, EIS
EIS

Front

8 MP
8 MP
8 MP

Video capture

1920x1080 (Full HD) (30 fps)
1920x1080 (Full HD) (30 fps)
1920x1080 (Full HD) (30 fps)


Compared to its predecessor, the Pixel 3a, the 4a brings significant improvements in three major catogries: SoC, memory and storage. 

Starting with the chips, this year, Google went for a 700-series Qualcomm chip, instead of a 600-series one, which is great news. You might be surprised it's not the Snapdragon 765G, but there's a good reason for that. Rumors around the Pixel 5 state that Google is moving away from the flagship 800-series chips this year and will instead go for the 765G just like LG did with the new Velvet.

The extra 2GB of RAM are a good addition as well, but most importantly, the base storage on the Pixel 4a is 128GB, twice the amount you're getting with the much more expensive Pixel 4. 

Unlike many other budget phones these days that boast quad-camera setups that often lack quality, the Pixel 4a is fitted with a single camera that has the same sensor as last year's Pixel 4. Paired with Google's camera software, the 4a should take best-in-class pictures and even better than some flagship phones from other brands. The lack of a telephoto camera is unfortunate, but we'd take an awesome single camera over two mediocre ones any day. 

The Pixel 4a comes with the biggest battery among the three, unfortunately, that's not high praise. At 3,140mAh, the battery capacity is far from what we're now used to seeing on Android phones, where 4,000mAh is almost a given. 

All in all, the Pixel 4a stacks favorably against its predecessor in every way, as it should be. Add to that software support that will surely outlast that of similarly priced Android phones and you have a device that's perfect for users that aren't hell-bent on having a high-end smartphone.

Related phones

Pixel 4a
  • Display 5.8 inches
    2340 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Single camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
    6GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3140 mAh
  • OS Android 11
Pixel 3a
  • Display 5.6 inches
    2220 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Single camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
    4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 11
Pixel 4
  • Display 5.7 inches
    2280 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Dual camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
    6GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 11

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