At the end of 2020, Google released two smart­phones — Pix­el 5 and Pix­el 4a 5G. They received sim­i­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics, but the price dif­fer­ence of $ 200 imme­di­ate­ly caused a lot of ques­tions among fans of the brand. Over the course of the year, the gap in val­ue nar­rowed slight­ly and today is about 100 $ on the Russ­ian mar­ket. In this review, we will find out whether it makes sense to over­pay such an amount for the old­er Pix­el 5 mod­el, or whether the Pix­el 4a 5G is not sig­nif­i­cant­ly behind it.

Comparison of Google Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 smartphones - why overpay 100 $Source:

Slight naming confusion

By name, you can decide that the Pix­el 4a 5G is a fol­low­er of the younger mod­el Pix­el 4a (we wrote about it here), which sim­ply added a 5G modem. In fact, many oth­er tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics have also changed. More­over, released simul­ta­ne­ous­ly with this mod­el, the Pix­el 5, despite the lack of men­tion of 5G in the title, also received a high-speed modem.

Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G bundle

Both gad­gets are packed in glossy card­board box­es. The design is tra­di­tion­al — in the style of Google: a white back­ground and a con­cise col­or logo. Below it is the mod­el name and image of the smart­phone. The box­es are not sealed with a film, but are pro­tect­ed from open­ing with stick­ers. From the size of the box­es, it is clear that the Pix­el 4a 5G is slight­ly larg­er. The bun­dles are the same: in addi­tion to the smart­phone, the instruc­tion is in Eng­lish, a clip to open the SIM card slot, a Type‑C cable, a Type C to Type A adapter (reg­u­lar USB) and an 18W fast charg­er.

Almost identical design of Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G

Exter­nal­ly, smart­phones are very sim­i­lar — the dif­fer­ence is only in size and mate­ri­als. Both gad­gets have a dis­creet design, it looks mod­ern.

The body of the Google Pix­el 5 is made from recy­cled alu­minum and has a mat­te, tac­tile fin­ish. The Pix­el 4a 5G is made from a less expen­sive mate­r­i­al: poly­car­bon­ate. Because of this, the smart­phone is slight­ly infe­ri­or in strength to the old­er mod­el. If you look close­ly, the dif­fer­ence between smart­phones can only be seen in the thick­ness of the frames and dimen­sions. To the touch, the coat­ings of the cas­es are slight­ly dif­fer­ent. The Pix­el 4a 5G feels a bit cheap­er, but just like the old­er mod­el, it feels good in the hand and does­n’t slip off.

Comparison of Google Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 smartphones - why overpay 100 $From the front, smart­phones can be eas­i­ly con­fused. The dif­fer­ence is notice­able only in size. Source:

A spe­cial coat­ing makes touch marks less notice­able and even slight­ly hides minor dam­age on smart­phones. On the back of the body is the cam­era unit. It is made in the shape of a square and has round­ed cor­ners. There is also a fin­ger­print scan­ner. Pix­el 4a 5G is slight­ly heav­ier than Pix­el 5 – 168 g ver­sus 151 g. Only the “five” has IP68 mois­ture pro­tec­tion.

Bright OLED displays

Both smart­phones are equipped with high-qual­i­ty OLED dis­plays with a res­o­lu­tion of 2340 x 1080 pix­els, which dis­play a clear and smooth pic­ture. Indi­vid­ual pix­els are not vis­i­ble, even if you look close­ly.

Max­i­mum dis­play bright­ness with ambi­ent light sen­sor enabled is 670 nits. Illu­mi­na­tion is uni­form. If you dis­able the light sen­sor, the bright­ness lim­it will be lim­it­ed to 441 nits. The dis­plays dif­fer only in size: 6 inch­es on the Google Pix­el 5 and 6.2 inch­es on the Pix­el 4a 5G. Also, the “five” has a high­er screen refresh rate — 90 Hz ver­sus 60 Hz.

For the most cor­rect col­or repro­duc­tion, you need to select the col­or pro­file “Nat­ur­al”. In addi­tion to it, there are oth­er options in the set­tings: “Adap­tive” and “Advanced”. In all cas­es, the dis­play impress­es with high con­trast and deep blacks — these are the advan­tages of OLED tech­nol­o­gy.

View­ing angles are good, the pic­ture is not dis­tort­ed even with the max­i­mum devi­a­tion of the smart­phone to the side. The dis­play bezels are thin and look neat.

Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G camera overview

Comparison of Google Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 smartphones - why overpay 100 $Cam­eras with flash are placed in a square slight­ly pro­trud­ing frame. Source:

These gad­gets can­not be called cam­era phones, but the tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties are quite enough to cre­ate juicy, beau­ti­ful and sea­soned pic­tures. All thanks to the algo­rithms that Google Pix­el devel­op­ers have cre­at­ed to improve the qual­i­ty of images. Smart­phones have opti­cal and elec­tron­ic sta­bi­liza­tion, as well as Dual Pix­el phase detec­tion aut­o­fo­cus.

The set of cam­eras on the Google Pix­el 5 and Pix­el 4a 5G is iden­ti­cal:

  • 12.2MP main sen­sor (f/1.7 aper­ture),
  • 16MP ultra wide-angle cam­era (f/2.2),
  • 8 MP front cam­era (f/2.0).

Prac­ti­cal tests con­firm that smart­phones shoot iden­ti­cal­ly. Dur­ing the day, they can be used to cre­ate gen­er­al­ly high-qual­i­ty pic­tures, in which only slight blur­ring is vis­i­ble in the cor­ners. The rest of the footage impress­es with good dynam­ic range, accu­rate col­or repro­duc­tion and high sharp­ness. In low light con­di­tions, smart­phones also pleas­ant­ly sur­prise with the qual­i­ty of pho­tos.

Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4a 5G – which smartphone is more powerful

Both smart­phones are equipped with Qual­comm Snap­drag­on 765G chipsets — this is a 2019 gam­ing proces­sor. In terms of RAM, the leader is the Pix­el 5, which has 8 GB, while the Pix­el 4a 5G has only 6 GB onboard.

Pri­or to the release of these smart­phones, Google has always lagged behind com­peti­tors in terms of RAM, but now its smart­phones are on par with oth­er brands. In terms of mul­ti­task­ing, these two gad­gets also sur­pass all pre­vi­ous­ly released Pix­el devices. Even 6 GB of mem­o­ry in the Pix­el 4a 5G is enough to solve most stan­dard tasks and run games com­fort­ably.

Autonomy of smartphones

Bat­tery life and auton­o­my have always been the weak­ness­es of the Pix­el series smart­phones. Google final­ly cor­rect­ed the sit­u­a­tion and equipped smart­phones with more capa­cious bat­ter­ies. The com­pact Pix­el 5 has a 3,885 mAh bat­tery, while the Pix­el 4a 5G has a 4,080 mAh bat­tery. Due to the dif­fer­ence in screen sizes, the auton­o­my of both phones is approx­i­mate­ly the same. For exam­ple, with con­tin­u­ous video play­back, smart­phones last­ed about 22 hours. In a gen­tle mode of use, the bat­tery capac­i­ty can last almost two days. In nor­mal mode, smart­phones can eas­i­ly with­stand at least one day with­out recharg­ing.

Comparison of Google Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 smartphones - why overpay 100 $A USB Type‑C cable is used to charge both smart­phones. Source:

The old­er mod­el sup­ports wire­less charg­ing, which the Pix­el 4a 5G does not have. Anoth­er dif­fer­ence between the Pix­el 5 is that it works in exter­nal bat­tery mode (reverse charg­ing). The func­tion allows you to charge oth­er devices by con­nect­ing them to your smart­phone.

Both smart­phones come with 18W charg­ers. By mod­ern stan­dards, this is very small. It takes about an hour and a half to ful­ly charge the bat­tery.

Bottom Line: Does it make sense to buy the more expensive Google Pixel 5 over the Pixel 4a 5G

At the start of sales, the dif­fer­ence in price between smart­phones was even greater, but even now many buy­ers have a ques­tion about the advis­abil­i­ty of over­pay­ing. In fact, for an addi­tion­al 100 $, the user gets a high­er screen refresh rate (90 Hz), an alu­minum case, wire­less charg­ing, 2 GB more RAM and a 0.2 ”larg­er dis­play.

If in the first place when choos­ing a phone you put the qual­i­ty of the cam­era, auton­o­my and proces­sor per­for­mance, you will not see the dif­fer­ence between the two gad­gets — you can safe­ly buy the one that is cheap­er or more com­fort­able in your hand.


By Yara