Review Google Pixel 4a Smartphone Reasonably Priced and Feature Rich

hey everybody it’s lan seidman and we’re taking a look today at the new google pixel 4a this is a mid-range phone from google that is really nice for its price point and we’re going to be taking a closer look at what this phone is all about here in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that google sent this to the channel free of charge however all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this new phone is all about now the price point on this is 349 dollars pretty reasonable for the feature set that you’ll see here google is offering though only a single configuration which is the 5.8 inch size that we have here in my hand it’s got a beautiful oled display on board it’s super bright in fact it’s so bright we’re going to turn it down for the rest of the review here so it doesn’t blow out my cameras but it looks spectacular for an entry-level phone at least in this lineup from google and i’m very very pleased with it overall great for photos great for reading just a really nice display to look at unlike last year’s phone that had larger bezels on it this one is a little bit more modern in its design they punched out the camera here in the upper left hand corner to give you more screen real estate so even though this is probably around the same physical size as last year you do have more screen real estate because they’re making more efficient use of the space now the display has a 1080 by 2340 resolution essentially 1080p for the

most part it is running at about 443 pixels per inch so nice and sharp for the form factor and size here and it supports hdr color inside it’s got six gigabytes of ram a bump of two gigabytes over last year’s 3a and it also has 128 gigabytes of storage and again that’s the only configuration there is so it’s good to see that much storage available there is no sd card option though so you can’t go beyond the 128 but i think 128 is decent enough for folks that would be looking at this phone the processor is a snapdragon 730 g so it’s a little faster than the last go around as well and we’ll run some games and benchmarks on it in a little bit so you can see how it performs the build quality is very nice you got your gorilla glass here on the front again a really nice looking display the back is a polycarbonate plastic but it doesn’t feel that slippery and it doesn’t feel cheap it actually feels like a very nicely constructed phone not all that heavy about 143 grams that’s about five ounces just slightly lighter than last year’s version but it’s thinner than last year’s version it doesn’t support wireless charging though so you’ll have to plug it in to the usbc port at the bottom it’s got a single camera with a flash but because google does a lot of fancy software photography work you’ll see the image quality on that single camera is really nice for an entry level phone and i found the fingerprint reader here to be very responsive and quick at letting me in now although the phone is well constructed it is not weatherproof or waterproof so you’re going to

want to avoid getting it near any bodies of water big or small the speakers on it though sound really nice the handset speaker here is nice and crisp and loud and clear when you’re in speakerphone mode it is also equally loud crisp and clear the sound quality for movies and music is also pretty good and you’ve got stereo sound on this one as well with decent stereo separation so i was very pleased to see that again on one of these more entry-level phones now for ports you’ve got a bunch of them on here on the top you actually have a headphone jack which is becoming a rarity these days so you can plug your favorite headphones in it also supports bluetooth headphones you’ve got microphones on the top and bottom of the phone so you should be able to pick up your voice pretty decently in speakerphone conversations on the right hand side here you’ve got the power switch along with the volume rocker on the other side you just have a sim card tray for the micro or the nano sim that goes in for your carrier on the bottom you’ve got a usb type-c port and i tested this a little bit earlier unfortunately it doesn’t support display output but it does of course support power in for charging and usbc data devices that you might want to connect it also supports fast charging and it comes with an 18 watt charger too which is nice to see which will charge the phone up pretty quickly

battery life on the phone and our testing gets through the whole day it’s competitive with other smartphones that are out there for better battery life you probably want to turn the display brightness down a bit and where i am where i have weak cell phone coverage you’ll see a little less battery in those circumstances than you might if you are closer to your cell tower it only supports 4g lte this is not a 5g phone but i think for most folks the speed of the network will be more than adequate given the price point and market that they’re aiming for here it also has wi-fi built in of course but it does not support wi-fi six just wi-fi ac all right let’s take a look now and see how the phone performs we’ll load up a few apps here and then go into a couple of games and then we’ll check out the camera system and image quality so i’ve got youtube here running in the background and when you’ve got six gigs of ram you’ll be able to switch between your frequently used apps pretty quickly because they can sit in ram in the background there as you can see the video here pops up very quickly and we can rotate it around here to landscape orientation and one of the cool things about these oled displays is that because the contrast ratio on these is so nice when you’re watching a video with a smaller aspect ratio than the screen you kind of lose track of where the screen ends and the bezel begins so if we zoom it in here a little bit you can see where those bezels are and as i zoom out here you can see it really just kind of bleeds away it’s really pretty cool this is something you see on more expensive phones as well this does give you though a good idea as to what that camera hole would look like if you had a wider aspect ratio video and sometimes you might encounter them in your travels so let’s take a look now at some web browsing again a very basic task on most phones and easily accomplished here we’ll go visit

the homepage over wi-fi as you can see everything loads up here pretty quickly and the text is very crisp and clear thanks to the oled display here so really no problems with the basics let’s take a look now at some games and see how it does with those all right so here is the controversial game of the hour fortnite it seems to be running just fine on the phone here it picked the medium graphics settings for this and it’s running at about 75 for its 3d resolution so it’s not going to look as clear as it might on a really expensive flagship phone but of course it’s certainly playable which is what you want uh one thing i’m noticing is that it does push the display over a little bit because the camera bump is right here so it is a little off-center but otherwise it seems like it is a playable experience and other android games should also perform pretty well on here now i always like to push the envelope a bit with some emulation and we have the dolphin gamecube emulator running here on the phone with wave race and while it’s impossible to control with the touchscreen it actually runs pretty nicely and i was impressed too because the pixel 3a did a nice job of this but this one feels like it’s doing slightly better than last year’s model and that’s because the processor is slightly more capable so if you have a game controller attached you’ll do better but it’s definitely looking like a pretty good emulation experience here even for some of the higher end emulators like dolphin and on the 3dmark slingshot gaming benchmark test we got a score of 3670 that is a nice improvement over the pixel 3a not a huge jump in performance but a nice bump in performance and we’re always looking for that from one year to the next but this won’t rival flagship phones even older flagships so if you take a look on the chart there the google pixel 3

comes in at a much higher score even though it’s an older flagship phone so google’s been very careful i think about slotting these phones into the right spot so they don’t cannibalize their more expensive phones and that certainly is continuing here and one thing to note on this chart and i always get a lot of flack for this is that apple doesn’t seem to be as concerned about the performance of their low end phones so if you check out the iphone se on that list which is very much a competitor to this phone you can see that it is just light years ahead of all of these different devices coming in at true flagship speeds and this is due in part to the fact that apple makes their own chips for the phones whereas google is purchasing theirs from qualcomm and i do think that makes a difference here so the iphone se is still the most powerful low end phone by many miles here but if you’re looking for an android phone this one is more than adequate to run a bulk of the android app library with decent performance all right so let’s take a look now at the camera system and we’ll start on the rear camera here this is a 12.2 megapixel camera it’s got a 1.7 aperture which is pretty good for low light photos you can see a photo here i took in lower light with my dog on the way out the door it looked pretty good there it also supports some of the night modes that the more expensive pixel phone support so you can

take long exposure night photos and you can see what one of those looks like here you can also use it for the astro photography that we saw the pixel 4 do although when i took it out to test the astro photography i would see the option pop up very briefly and then disappear so i wasn’t able to get any of those astrophotography photos done with this one it looks like maybe they’ll be updating the firmware perhaps to fix that ai glitch that i think i was encountering outside so we’ll have to come back to that at a later time video quality out of the phone is pretty good the max it will do is 4k at 30 frames per second and as you can see it actually does a very nice job of stabilizing the image even when you’re getting tugged around like i was with my dog there so i was very pleased overall with the video quality out of this even though it doesn’t do 4k at 60 it will though do 1080p at up to 120 frames per second and 720p at up to 240 frames per second now thanks to the fact that it has a 1.7 aperture lens you get some really nice bokeh on these images even when you’re not in portrait mode so this photo here of this butterfly on a flower in my wife’s garden looks pretty good you’ve got a lot of detail on here even though i was not very close to that butterfly and as you can see it does a nice job of blurring out the background here naturally just due to the optics of the lens and that was really impressive to see i’ve got another photo here let me zoom back out and switch over to the next one similar photo here just of a bee who was getting at one of those flowers there and again you can see you’ve got a nice natural bokeh here even when you’re not in portrait mode but it does a very nice job at those portrait photos let’s take a look at a few examples of that so here is a portrait mode photo shot out of the rear camera and you can see it did a really nice job here very cleanly cutting the flower out from

the background i was very pleased with this what’s interesting is that this camera of course lacks a second sensor and lens to get depth data so it’s doing this all computationally but still look how good it looks just out of the lens naturally so you really don’t need to use portrait mode perhaps as often on this camera as you might on others but you do get some really good computational photography here when you do want to use it here’s another photo this is of yours truly and as you can see here it cut me out of the background pretty decently we often see a little fuzziness around the edges especially when it comes to hair and whatnot but it did a pretty nice job here i did of course put more gray hairs on my head than i really have right but otherwise it did a nice job here of the portrait mode blurring and the chair that i’m sitting on is one that usually confuses these cameras so it was good to see that i was able to figure out where i was and effectively pull me out so that was nice here’s one of my dog it was a little more aggressive on the blur here but it did an okay job with her although this one it had a few more little glitches here just given the amount of hair that she has and you can see some more here by her nose and typically with dogs they’re a little harder for these ais to grasp versus people so that could be part of it but also it was very aggressive here with the blurring and there are ways to reduce the amount of blurring after the photo was taken let’s take a look at that so within the photo viewer here i can tap on the edit button and then i can hit the other edit button here and you can see the blur is dialed all the way up so i could maybe move it to the midpoint here and reduce that blur you also have the ability to change the focus to some degree so i could focus on the flowers there and then blur the dog out if i wanted to that can be used within reason obviously the camera is going to be

focusing on an object so there will be some natural focus there to begin with but it’s nice to be able to tweak the overall blur and the effectiveness of the portrait photo after the fact and it does always record a non-portrait version for every portrait photo it takes now the front-facing camera is eight megapixels a little lower resolution it’s also an f 2.0 lens so you’ll get a little less natural blurring and a little less low light performance here as you can see but it does look pretty nice nice and sharp and it has a slightly wider field of view at 84 degrees versus 77 on the rear and because google is doing all of this computational photography you have the ability here to do portrait mode on the front camera as well and as you can see here it does pretty much the same job the rear camera does when it comes to finding the person in the image and blurring out the background now the front camera will also do video but it’s limited to 1080p at 30 frames per second so not as robust as the rear camera which again can go up to 4k and lastly this is a google phone so you get all of the cool google apps that are made available in their pixel phone line this is one of those apps which will transcribe everything you’re saying and does a spectacular job of it and even more interesting is that all of this is happening on device it’s not using the network connection to do any of the transcription and i wonder why this is so good and yet the voicemails that come in from google voice are so lousy but this is again one of the cool things that you’ll get when you buy one of these google phones and really this is the pure android experience there’s no extra software on here there’s no bloatware it is a google phone as pure as a google phone can be because it’s made by the company that makes the operating system and i think if you are in the market for an android phone and your budget is on the lower side of the scale i think this is a very good phone to consider so if you’re not interested in spending 800 or 1200 on a phone this is going to get you a very similar experience for a

lot less money the camera is great and the display is equally great and for many people that’s all they’re looking for in a phone is a nice display and a nice camera and you’ve got that here the performance is more than adequate it’s not going to rival any of the flagships out there but for the most part the android app library isn’t even targeted at the flagship phones so you’re not going to see really many compromises here and you’re going to get a great phone unlocked i think for a great price and this is definitely a phone to consider if you’re looking for an android phone that’s going to do it for now let me know what you thought down in the comments below and until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by supporters including gold level supporters tom albrecht chris allegretta david hochman brian parker mike patterson and bill pomerantz if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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