Pixel 4a: (Should Be) Your Next Android Phone

Although it’s definitely been a long time coming, the Pixel 4a has finally arrived. Current reviews make it look like one of the best Android mid-range options on the market, but with the high prices of flagship phones, this may be one of the best Android phones period.

Mid-Range Renaissance

I talked about the great options in mid-range phones back toward the beginning of August. If you want a phone and don’t want to spend 4-figures, one small positive about 2020 has been the uptick in mid-range phone quality and features.

The Pixel 4a is continuing this upward mid-range trend, with a price that’s $50 less than last year’s Pixel 3a, but with noticeable improvements in many areas. In some ways it even beats the just-discontinued Pixel 4 (that cost $800)!

Pixel 4a – Improvement By Addition (and Subtraction)

The 4a offers noticeable improvements over the Pixel 4 include:

  • Larger screen size (5.8-in vs. 5.7-in)
  • Larger battery size (3,840-mAh vs. 2,800-mAh)
  • Return of the 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Removal of gesture-based Project Soli
  • Return of the fingerprint reader (instead of the Pixel 4’s face unlock)

And, of course almost everything is an upgrade over the Pixel 3a.

Pixel 4a Missing Features

There are few things missing from the Pixel 4a that you can find in other mid-range smartphones though. For example, the OnePlus Nord has a 90-Hz screen and 6 cameras – but the Nord costs $100 more (if you can get it) and the 4a’s single rear camera produces better still photos.

The Pixel 4a is also missing wireless charging, but just about all mid-range Android phones lack this feature. The only mid-range phone that does include wireless charging is the iPhone SE, and most people who have decided on Android won’t even consider it.


Like I mentioned in my mid-range phone post last month, one of the side effects of carrying around a connected computer is that it needs to be up-to-date, or you should consider it compromised. Given that so many Android phones are abandoned by the manufacturer after 2-3 years, and that older versions of Android have some serious security holes, it’s dangerous to carry around an insecure device with so much personal information.

If spending $1,000+ every three years to have a secure and up-to-date phone doesn’t appeal to you, then the Pixel 4a – with its balance of affordability, quality, and support – should be your next phone.