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.
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.
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
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.
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.