Google Pixel 4a 5G review: cheaper with two-day battery

Bigger screen, longer battery life and great camera make the 4a 5G the best Pixel this year

The new Pixel 4a 5G is Google’s cheaper but larger 5G phone, and might just be the best.

It is available in black and costs £499, fitting in between the £599 Pixel 5 and the £349 Pixel 4a.

While the Pixel 4a 5G shares most of the same internal components with the Pixel 5, the look, feel and black plastic body matches the smaller Pixel 4a, just made larger.

The Pixel 4a 5G has a 6.2in FHD+ OLED screen that is bigger than the other Pixels this year. It looks good but won’t trouble the best from Samsung, OnePlus or Apple. The screen is flanked by stereo speakers that make video-watching in landscape really good.

google pixel 4a 5g review
The Pixel 4a 5G with a 6.2in screen on the left next to a Pixel 4a with a 5.8in screen on the right. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The body is a soft-touch black plastic and feels solid in the hand, but a little cheap compared with metal and glass rivals. Most users will put it in a case anyway. At 168g the phone is fairly light and well-balanced for its size. There is even the lesser-spotted headphone socket in the top, but the 4a 5G lacks water resistance.


  • Screen: 62in FHD+ OLED (413ppi)

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

  • RAM: 6GB of RAM

  • Storage: 128GB

  • Operating system: Android 11

  • Camera: 12.2MP + 16MP ultrawide, 8MP selfie

  • Connectivity: 5G, eSIM, wifi 5, NFC, Bluetooth 5 (AAC, AptX/HD, LDAC), headphones and location

  • Water resistance: None

  • Dimensions: 153.9 x 74 x 8.2mm

  • Weight: 168g

Two-day battery

Google Pixel 4a 5G review
The phone charges via the USB-C socket in the bottom and ships with an 18W power adapter. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Pixel 4a 5G has the same upper-middle-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor as the Pixel 5, but slightly less RAM with just 6GB. That also means it has a faster processor than the smaller Pixel 4a.

Performance is good. The phone feels snappy and responsive, apps load quickly, and switching between them is smooth. Processing photos shot in quick succession takes longer – as does opening complex websites – than rivals with a top-spec chip, but it handles everything I want it to do. Gamers looking for the fastest frame rates will want to look elsewhere.

Battery life is very good, lasting more than 48 hours between charges with the screen on for about six hours and using 5G for two hours and 4G for three hours, with the rest spent on wifi during that time. That means even with my relatively heavy usage, the Pixel 4a 5G lasts from 7am on day one until at least 7am on day three.

Google’s new extreme battery saver system will extend battery life greatly when needed by only allowing a select group of apps to run, suppressing all others.

The Pixel 4a 5G ships with an 18W fast charger that takes less than 90 minutes to fully charge the phone, hitting 50% in about 35 minutes.


Google does not provide an estimate for the expected number of full charge cycles from the Pixel 4a 5G batteries. However, the typical lifespan of a smartphone battery is at least 500 cycles while maintaining at least 80% capacity. The Pixel 4a 5G is generally repairable. Out of warranty repairs cost £110 for the screen or about £60 for the battery through one of Google’s repair partners, iSmash, or via the Google Store.

The Pixel 4a contains about 47% of post-consumer recycled material in its plastic mechanical parts – part of Google’s commitment to include recycled materials in all its products launching from 2022. The company publishes environmental impact reports for some of its products including the Pixel 4a 5G. Google will recycle all Pixel devices free of charge.

Android 11, Google’s way

google pixel 4a 5g review
The screen has fairly slim bezels all round, of which Google’s solid gesture control system as part of Android 11 makes the most. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Pixel 4a 5G runs the latest version of Android 11 and can expect a minimum of three years of operating system and security updates, which is still some way behind Apple’s five-year support for iPhones.

The Pixel’s version of Android is slick and well-optimised, running just as well as on the Pixel 5. Generally speaking, it is simple and well-optimised, with good gesture controls, the upgraded media controls and conversation options built into Android 11.

You also get a few Google exclusives such as automatic transcription in the improved Google Recorder app, new Live view for Google Maps, which uses augmented reality to point out where friends are, improved smart reply suggestions for messages in chat apps, and the new, faster Google Assistant.


google pixel 4a 5g review
Google’s camera app is one of the best in the business: it is uncluttered with useful features that are easily accessible, but it lacks full manual control for enthusiasts. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The cameras on the Pixel 4a 5G are identical in hardware and software to those on the Pixel 5 and therefore perform identically. That means the Pixel 4a 5G has some of the best point-and-shoot cameras available, including some of the crispest and best-looking photos and top-class low-light performance.

There is a main camera and an ultrawide, but no telephoto camera for optical zoom. Instead there’s a solid digital zoom that’s good for 2x magnification but has its limits beyond that. Video capture is pretty good, too, with excellent stabilisation to remove camera shake.

For more information please see the Pixel 5 review.


google pixel 4a 5g review
The good and fast fingerprint scanner on the back makes unlocking the phone quick and easy. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian


The Pixel 4a 5G costs £499 and is only available in black.

For comparison, the Pixel 4a has an RRP of £349, the Pixel 5 costs £599, the OnePlus 8T costs £549, the OnePlus Nord costs £379, the iPhone 12 costs £799 and the iPhone SE costs £419.


The Pixel 4a 5G is the best mix of battery life, price and capability of this year’s Google smartphones.

It isn’t as nice to hold as the £599 Pixel 5, but the rest of the experience is essentially the same, just with a slightly bigger screen and longer battery life of more than two days. That means you get a really great camera, good screen, decent performance and good software with three years of software updates.

There are smartphones that offer better hardware for similar money, but they simply can’t match the Pixel on camera or battery life.

At £349 the 5.8in Pixel 4a is better value if you’re not interested in 5G or want a smaller phone, but the Pixel 4a 5G is faster and ticks a lot of boxes, particularly if you can find it at a discount from its £499 RRP.

Pros: great camera, good screen, great software and update support, great battery life, relatively inexpensive, headphone socket, 5G.

Cons: no expandable storage, no water resistance, plastic body is a bit plain.

Google Pixel 4a 5G review
The black plastic body feels well made, but looks a bit cheap compared with metal and glass competitors. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Other reviews


Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Pixel 5 review: Google gets back to basics
The 4a’s big brother is simple to use and has a great camera, but can’t compete with rivals in terms of processing power

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

16, Oct, 2020 @6:00 AM

Article image
Pixel 4a review: the best phone Google has made in years
Cut-price Google phone has great camera, screen, performance and battery life, in small and light body

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

04, Aug, 2020 @6:00 AM

Article image
Google launches cheaper Pixel 3a smartphones
Model has top-spec camera and software but costs more than £300 less than flagship Pixel 3

Samuel Gibbs

07, May, 2019 @7:00 PM

Article image
Google Pixel 6a review: this mid-range master is a true bargain
Top chip, brilliant camera, great software and solid battery life in a smaller body with a cheaper price

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

22, Jul, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
Pixel 3a XL review: the cheaper Google phone to buy
Great camera, top software, OK battery and performance, in a plastic body that’s a bit too wide

Samuel Gibbs

17, May, 2019 @6:00 AM

Article image
Google Pixel 4 review: a good phone ruined by poor battery life
Brilliant camera, slick features and small size mean nothing when the phone won’t even last a day

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

31, Oct, 2019 @7:00 AM

Article image
Pixel 3a review: the people’s Google phone?
Great camera and software make a bargain, let down only by middling performance and battery

Samuel Gibbs

14, May, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
Pixel 6 Pro review: the very best Google phone
Brilliant camera and experience puts Pixel on par with Samsung and Apple, while undercutting on price

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

28, Oct, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Google IO: Pixel 6a, Pixel Watch and Android 13 unveiled
New Pro earbuds and upcoming Pixel 7 phones, tablet and software shown off during virtual event

Samuel Gibbs

11, May, 2022 @7:00 PM

Article image
Pixel 6 review: the cut-price Google flagship phone
Top camera, Android 12 and Tensor chip but competitive pricing makes for a bargain

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

02, Nov, 2021 @7:00 AM