Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel 4a 5G: make a difference

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The Google Pixel 5a is here. Successor to the Google Pixel 4a 5G, it takes the best features of the latter and adds a number of modest but welcome improvements. This includes an official water resistance rating, a bigger battery, and a slightly enlarged screen. However, are these improvements enough to make the 5a a better all-around smartphone than the 4a 5G? Is it worth upgrading if you already have the old phone?

We answer these questions by comparing the two models in a direct comparison. We take a look at their specs, designs, displays, performance, batteries, software, and cameras, to determine which device is the best overall. This should hopefully allow you to decide whether to upgrade or not.

Specifications

Google Pixel 5a Pixel 4a 5G
Cut 154.9 x 73.7 x 7.6 mm (6.10 x 2.90 x 0.30 in) 153.9 x 74 x 8.2 mm (6.06 x 2.91 x 0.32 in)
Weight 183 grams (6.46 ounces) 168 grams (5.93 ounces)
Screen size 6.34 inch OLED 6.2 inch OLED
Screen resolution 2400 x 1080 (415 pixels per inch) 2340 x 1080 (413 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 11 Android 11
Storage room 128 GB, 256 GB 128 GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Type to pay services Google pay Google pay
Processor Snapdragon 765G Snapdragon 765G
RAM 6 GB 6 GB
Camera 12.2MP, 16MP ultra-wide rear, 8MP front 12.2MP, 16MP ultra-wide rear, 8MP front
Video

4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps

4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
Bluetooth version 5.0 5.0
Ports USB-C, headphone jack USB-C, headphone jack
Fingerprint detector Yes, on the screen Yes, in the back
Water resistance IP67 No
Drums 4,680 mAh

Fast charge (18W)

3,885 mAh

Fast charge (18W)

Application market Google play store Google play store
Network support Most major US carriers Most major US carriers
Colors Mostly black Just black, clearly white
Prices $ 449 $ 499
Exam note 4 out of 5 stars New

Design, display and durability

Ajay Kumar / Digital trends

Design has never been Google’s strong suit in the Pixel lineup, and the Pixel 5a is no exception. It features the same edge-to-edge display as the 4a 5G, which has a punch-hole selfie camera in the upper left corner. From the front it looks quite nice, but like the 4a 5G, it’s dragged a bit by the drab black plastic of its case, which is cheap and uninspiring.

Still, you can at least take comfort in the fact that the Pixel 5a has a sufficiently clear screen. At 6.34 inches, its OLED display is a bit larger than the 4a 5G (at 6.2 inches), with a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels. That gives it a pixels-per-inch count of 415, which is slightly higher than the 4a 5G’s 413 count, but not enough to notice any real difference in sharpness or vividness. With both phones lacking the Pixel 5’s 90Hz refresh rate, neither is really impressive, but they get the job done and are very good at their respective price points.

A small but significant difference between the two is that the Pixel 5a comes with an IP67 rating. That means it can withstand submersion in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes, while the Pixel 4a 5G, which doesn’t have that rating, can’t. The IP67 rating also indicates dust resistance, so with the 5a proving to be more rugged (what you’d expect from a value phone), it secures a narrow victory in this first round.

Winner: Google Pixel 5a

Performance, battery life and charging

Pixel 5a at the bottom.
Ajay Kumar / Digital trends

The Pixel 4a 5G hosts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, and oddly enough, the Pixel 5a too. As it turns out, both phones also rely on 6GB of RAM, so you’ll be hard pressed to notice a difference in processing speed. Luckily, 6GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 765G chip are enough to handle most apps and tasks, so even though none of the phones have the punch of a Galaxy S21 or iPhone 12, you’re still going to have it. your money.

The same goes for internal memory. Both phones offer 128GB of internal storage, and neither feature the option of models with more internal memory. They also lack slots for microSD cards, so you won’t be able to go crazy downloading lots of new apps at once, although it should be fine in most cases.

It’s with the battery that things get interesting, with the Pixel 5a sporting a very powerful 4,680mAh cell. As our review revealed, you can get anywhere from a day and a half to two days of fun before you need to recharge. In contrast, the Pixel 4a 5G’s 3,885mAh battery keeps you going for a day, although it can only go a second if you use it sparingly. Both offer 18W charging, which isn’t fast enough by today’s standards, although that’s close to what you’d get with an iPhone 12 (20W).

It’s because of the battery advantage that we’re giving the Pixel 5a this round, although the phones are equal in all other respects.

Winner: Google Pixel 5a

Cameras

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you want to buy the Pixel 5a (or Pixel 4a 5G), maybe it’s because you’ve heard that its camera is one of the best on any phone today. That’s absolutely true, with the dual-lens setup on the 5a cameras outperforming more expensive phones with more lenses. The same goes for the 4a 5G, which carries the same 12.2-megapixel primary lens and the same 16-megapixel ultra-wide. Both also come with an 8MP selfie camera on the front.

Basically, both phones take great photos in the vast majority of situations and environments. While neither have hundreds of megapixels, each harnesses Google’s powerful artificial intelligence (AI) software to adapt to changing conditions, delivering stunning photos that are almost always worth the effort. be shared. In combination with features like HDR + (and exposure bracketing), Night Sight, and Portrait Light, what you get (whichever model you choose) is a very versatile camera phone that delivers vivid photos, detailed and crisp.

The Pixel 5a and 4a 5G also let you shoot 4K video at up to 60 frames per second, as well as 1080p video at a maximum of 240 fps. Taken with anything but equal in camera quality, that means this round is a tie.

Winner: tie

Software and Updates

Google Pixel 5a displaying apps.
Ajay Kumar / Digital trends

No prize for guessing that the Pixel 5a and 4a 5G run the same software. It is Android 11, which runs as smoothly as you’d expect on a Google phone, despite the lack of bells and whistles that come with proprietary skins seen on Samsung, OnePlus, or Motorola devices. That said, owners of the 5a or 4a 5G will benefit from a few Google-exclusive niceties, such as the Hold for Me feature, call filtering, and AI-based song identification.

As for updates, Google said the 5a will receive three years of software and security updates, which means you should hit Android 14 on the phone. The same goes for the 4a 5G, but since it was launched a year earlier, you might only get to Android 13. However, this is a small difference, and with the software otherwise identical, we call another link.

Winner: tie

Particularities

5G characteristic picture

The Pixel 5a and Pixel 4a 5G both support 5G. However, the 5a only supports the slower / longer 6Hz sub-band of 5G, while the 5G 4a also supports the faster mmWave band only if you’re on Verizon.

Otherwise, there aren’t really many other special features to mention, given that both phones are meant to be lower-cost models. There are the aforementioned exclusive Google software features like Call Filtering (which pre-alerts you to spam calls) and Hold For Me, which will keep the phone on hold for you (while you do other things) and then will alert you when a real human joins the call.

Other than that, there’s not much to say, so this round is another draw.

Winner: tie

Pricing and availability

The Google Pixel 5a costs $ 449 and can be pre-ordered from Google. It will work on all major networks (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon), as well as Google Fi.

Google now has ditched the Pixel 4a 5G in the US, so now you’ll have to go to sites like Amazon, Best Buy, and eBay if you want to. It normally sold for $ 499, although you can find it cheaper online if you’re lucky.

Overall winner: Google Pixel 5a

Pixel 5a portrait mode.
Ajay Kumar / Digital trends

It may only offer incremental improvements over its predecessor, but the Google Pixel 5a is definitely a better phone than the Pixel 4a 5G. Its battery is able to last until the second day, while the introduction of an IP67 rating is ideal for anyone who wants their phone to be a bit more durable. It also offers a slightly larger screen, while its camera and software are just as excellent as the 4a 5G.

Of course, if you already own a Pixel 4a 5G, there’s really no need to upgrade just yet. However, if you’re looking to buy a more affordable (and newer) Pixel device for the first time, the Pixel 5a is definitely the way to go.

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