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Pixel 4A: Plain looks, but a great price and camera

Despite its ho-hum design, the Pixel 4A is still an excellent value with a top-notch camera.

Lynn_La2.jpg
Lynn_La2.jpg

Lynn La

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1 of 14 Angela Lang/CNET

Google Pixel 4A

In addition to the Pixel 4A 5G and the Pixel 5, Google announced the Pixel 4A, a budget phone that costs $349, £349 and AU$599. It's available for preorder and will ship out Aug. 20.

Read CNET's full Pixel 4A review.

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The phone has a plain, polycarbonate body and a 5.81-inch OLED display. Unlike past years, it only comes in one color (black) and one size (there is no Pixel 4A XL).

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Unlike its Pixel 4 counterpart from 2019, the Pixel 4A doesn't have a second telephoto camera, a 90Hz display, wireless charging, water resistance or motion-sensing features. 

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It does, however, have a headphone jack, a slightly larger screen and a bigger battery. And while its processor isn't as powerful as the Pixel 4, the 4A does come with 128GB of storage right off the bat.

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The phone measures 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 in (144 x 69.4 x 8.2 mm) and weighs 5.04 oz (143g). It uses USB Type-C for charging and file transfering and has dual speakers.

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Because the phone doesn't have the Pixel 4's Google Soli sensor chip for facial scanning, it has a fingerprint sensor on the back for unlocking the screen.

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The phone has a 12.2-megapixel camera, the same main camera on the Pixel 4.

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The Pixel 4A's camera feature includes Night Sight, super res zoom, astrophotography and taking portrait photos.

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On the front is an 8-megapixel hole-punch camera.

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The phone comes with Android 10 out of the box and features a few new updates. And like all of Google's phones, the Pixel 4A will be one of the first phones in line to receive OS and software updates when they're ready to roll out from Google.

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The Pixel 4A has a better battery life than the Pixel 4. Tests for continuous video playback on Airplane mode averaged 18 hours and 45 minutes, which is an excellent time. For comparison, the Pixel 4 clocked in only 10 hours. 

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There is an abundance of $400 phones that are out now, including the iPhone SE (2020) and the Galaxy A51. Regardless, the Pixel 4A stands out for its price -- $50 cheaper -- and its great camera.

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The Pixel 4A features a Snapdragon 730G chipset and 6GB of RAM. On benchmark tests the Pixel 4A consistently outperformed the Galaxy A51. But, as expected, it fell behind the Pixel 4 flagship, which has a superior Snapdragon 855 processor. The iPhone SE, with its proprietary A13 Bionic processor from Apple, beat all the phones comfortably.

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Overall, the Pixel 4A has one of the best cameras for its price. Considering it also receives prompt software updates, has a long-lasting battery life (so far) and a headphone jack, it's a great value worth considering.

Read CNET's full Pixel 4A review

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