Stripped to just the phone essentials, but it gets them right
As you read this review of Google’s new budget Android phone, the Pixel 4A, know that as I wrote it, I wanted to put the following line after nearly every sentence: “I should remind you that the Pixel 4A costs $349.”
That price is the most important thing to know about the Pixel 4A. It makes the Pixel 4A’s many good points — like its flagship-tier camera — that much more impressive. It’s also the source of some (but not all) of its compromises, like the processor I worry won’t stand the test of time.
In Android circles, Google’s Pixel line is often disdained for being at least half a step behind its competitors. Much of that scorn is deserved, but I think not all — and the Pixel 4A makes a much stronger case for itself than other Pixel phones.
The 4A is late, though: Google says the delay is down to the pandemic. The August 20th shipping date is awkwardly close to the usual October Pixel launch, so Google is going ahead and pre-announcing its next phones: the $499 Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 5 (price TBD). If you were hoping for something other than a single 5.8-inch screen option, you will need to wait for those phones.
Whether the Pixel 4A will make a better case than those upcoming phones remains to be seen. But I will tell you that after a couple of weeks, I prefer it over the much more powerful $800 Pixel 4.
That’s quite a thing to say because I should remind you that the Pixel 4A costs $349.