Google Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4a: What's the difference?

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(Pocket-lint) - Google expanded the Pixel 4 household with the Pixel 4a. The Pixel 4a is simply a much affordable Pixel option, aiming to get you entree to those Google telephone features astatine a little price.

The Pixel 4 was announced successful October 2019, truthful what's the quality betwixt the aged flagship and the newer model? We drill done the details to uncover all.

Price and availability

  • Pixel 4: £669
  • Pixel 4a: £349

The Google Pixel 4 launched successful October 2019 and is wide disposable from £669 for the smaller mentation of this phone; the larger Pixel 4 XL costs from £829 (prices existent astatine launch).

The Pixel 4a was announced connected 3 August 2020 with a terms of £349, truthful astir fractional the terms of the Pixel 4.



  • Pixel 4: 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2mm, solid back, IP68 rating
  • Pixel 4a: 144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm, polycarbonate body

The Google Pixel 4 launched introducing a somewhat revised design, moving that camera into the achromatic quadrate successful the country - earlier it was fashionable to marque a plan diagnostic retired of your camera. 

It's a prime physique with a large frosted solid decorativeness arsenic good arsenic offering IP68 waterproofing arsenic you'd expect from a flagship phone. The Pixel 4 is the smaller model, but fundamentally is the aforesaid arsenic the Pixel 4 XL - which we'll permission retired of this comparison, due to the fact that there's nary Pixel 4a XL being launched. 

The Pixel 4a is beauteous overmuch the aforesaid carnal size arsenic the Pixel 4, but somewhat shorter. That's owed to the usage of a punch spread camera successful the display, alternatively than the wider forehead of the Pixel 4 which housed Google's Soli tech for facial designation and unlocking.

The Pixel 4a besides sports a polycarbonate build, akin to the Pixel 3a we saw successful 2019. But the existent triumph for the Pixel 4a is pushing backmost those bezels, thing that Google hasn't truly done connected Pixel phones successful the past. It conscionable looks much modern from the front, astatine least. 

The Pixel 4a besides offers a 3.5mm headphone socket, but overall, the Pixel 4 looks and feels somewhat much premium.


  • Pixel 4: 5.7in, 2280 x 1080 pixels, 442ppi, 90Hz, OLED
  • Pixel 4a: 5.81in, 2340 x 1080 pixels, 443ppi, 60Hz, OLED

There aren't a immense fig of smaller-screened phones launching these days and the Pixel 4 was 1 of the exceptions. With a 5.7-inch screen, it's smaller than average, with phones similar the "small" Samsung Galaxy S20 coming successful astatine 6.1-inches, truthful bigger overall. 

The Pixel 4 has a solution of 2280 x 1080 pixels, resulting successful 442ppi and it's an OLED display. That means plentifulness of item with tightly packed pixels designed to perform. We were truly impressed with this show erstwhile we reviewed it. 

It was besides 1 of the archetypal displays to measurement up the refresh complaint to 90Hz, though arsenic we said astatine the clip of the review, you're improbable to truly announcement immoderate difference. Refresh rates are present each the fashion, immoderate radical swearing by them, immoderate radical dismissing them arsenic different gimmick. 

The Pixel 4a sticks to 60Hz, but besides has an OLED display. The solution is 2340 x 1080 pixels, resullting successful 443ppi, truthful it's fundamentally the aforesaid acquisition arsenic the Pixel 4. Certainly some are large displays and some person plentifulness of extent and popular to colours.


  • Pixel 4: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM, 2800mAh battery
  • Pixel 4a: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G, 6GB RAM, 3120mAh battery

The Pixel 4 is positioned arsenic a flagship phone, and arsenic specified it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. That's present outdated hardware, but it's inactive successful Qualcomm's apical tier. 

It's supported by 6GB RAM and though galore phones present connection much RAM - 8 oregon 12GB successful immoderate cases - we've ne'er recovered 6GB of RAM to clasp a telephone back, not erstwhile paired with bully hardware and bully bundle optimisation. 

The Pixel 4's 2800mAh artillery is simply a small tiny and we recovered it to beryllium reasonably inconsistent successful stamina, reasonably variable. Certainly, it's not a immense capacity, but past this is simply a smaller phone, truthful determination isn't the carnal size for more. 

The Pixel 4a is Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G with 6GB RAM and a artillery capableness of 3120mAh. That means is has little powerfulness - it's mid-range alternatively than flagship - but there's inactive plentifulness of punch here. The Pixel 4a has nary problems moving the latest games and apps and it's a fluid acquisition through-out - truthful you're improbable to announcement a immense quality successful show to the flagship model.

It besides has a larger artillery and portion this volition instrumentality a large deed if you're playing hardcore games connected it, successful astir cases it volition get done the time beauteous easily.


  • Pixel 4:
    • Main: 12.2MP, f/1.7
    • Zoom: 16MP, f/2.4 2x
    • Selfie: 8MP, f/2.0
  • Pixel 4a:
    • Main: 12.2MP, f/1.7
    • Selfie: 8MP, f/2.0

The Pixel 4 uses Google's 12.2-megapixel camera to large effect, powering up this snapper with AI smarts. It's a large camera, with beardown debased airy show acknowledgment to Night Sight, it offers astrophotography mode and large representation shots.

On the Pixel 4 Google introduced optical zoom, with a 2x lens, not the biggest zoom around, but inactive a utile addition. The beforehand camera is 8-megapixels and offers bully debased airy and representation modes again.

Effectively, the Pixel 4a comes with the aforesaid main and selfie camera, but misses retired connected the zoom. The show is precise adjacent to the Pixel 4, it offers the aforesaid features and the aforesaid large results. If you're looking for Pixel camera powerfulness past you get it each from the Pixel 4a - it's a large acquisition that matches the flagship.


Summing up

The Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4a are highly adjacent successful galore areas. The Pixel 4a has a akin show and camera experience, lone truly missing retired connected the zoom offering. You truly won't cognize the quality erstwhile you're utilizing these phones, isolated from the integrative physique of the Pixel 4a compared to the solid of the Pixel 4.

The existent difference, therefore, lies successful the halfway powerfulness and that's astir it. Based connected our experience, that's not a immense quality either. Sure, 1 is flagship grade, but successful day-to-day usage you tin hardly announcement the difference. 

That makes the PIxel 4a the telephone to prime - different it's hard to spot what you're spending your wealth on.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published connected 28 July 2020.

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