Google finally launches Pixel 4a (sort of) and announces 5G models coming later this year

Originally intended for release in May, but delayed due to Covid-19, the Pixel 4a has been made official today.

And even after today’s launch, UK customers won’t actually get one into their hands until October.

What’s more, the Pixel 4a announced today is 4G only (powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730G chip). You’ll have to wait a little longer for the 5G model, which will come around the same time as the Pixel 5.

With so many other low-price offerings, all with 5G, such as the Realme X50 5G, OnePlus Nord, Motorola G 5G Plus and more, the launch of a 4G-only phone seems rather surprising, certainly in the UK where all four networks have 5G rolling out.

But, of course, the main reason people still love their Pixel phones is the camera. And from those people who have received review devices, it seems that Google has once again come up trumps.

The single camera device (12.2-megapixel f/1.7 with OIS) comes with Google’s fantastic camera app that is so well respected, people are always working on hacks to bring the gCam app over to other models.

Features from other Pixel phones carry over, including Night Sight with astrophotography, Live HDR+ with dual exposure controls, Social Sharing (share with social media from within the camera app), Super Res Zoom (to get the best from zoomed photos by combining multiple shots) and Google Lens and Portrait modes.

Keep listening

The phone has a tight integration of Google Assistant, live captioning of audio and video content that now works on calls, plus a sound recorder that automatically transcribes and labels what you record. In the Pixel 4a, you now get to export this data to Docs directly, complete with formatting options. (Live captioning is also coming to older Pixel phones, back to the Pixel 2).

Play it safe

A personal safety feature, first introduced on the Pixel 4, makes it easy to set up emergency contacts and the sensors in the phone can detect if you’ve been involved in a serious accident, calling the emergency services if you can’t respond.

If you’re about to go on an activity, like hiking, the phone can check on you and keep track of your location.

And talking of safety, now so many of us are wearing masks, you’ll be pleased to know fingerprint unlocking is back with a sensor on the back. 2020 is the year face unlocking quickly went out of favour.

Screen

The Pixel 4a comes with a 5.81-inch OLED display with a resolution of 1080×2340 pixels (443PPI) and it supports an always-on display, plus HDR support.

There’s stereo sound too, making it an ideal media consumption tool. It’s fantastic to see the bezels kept to a minimum, with only a small cut-out for the 8-megapixel selfie camera.

Battery

As this is a Google product, you won’t be surprised to see that there’s a pretty small battery inside – just 3,140mAh. What’s more, the phone supports 18W charging, which isn’t much of an advance on the first generation Pixel phones with 15W charging.

A wealth of power saving options are included, but you just can’t beat more power when you want to fully enjoy the features. That’s when you’re able to freely travel again.

Connectivity

The Pixel 4a comes with dual-SIM support, with one being an eSIM. On the Wi-Fi side, there’s dual-mode Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Google even includes a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box to let you quickly transfer data from your old phone.

Pricing & Availability

The Pixel 4a will be open for pre-ordering on September 10th, with shipping from October 1st. It comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage at a cost of £349.

Google has also announced today that there will be a 5G variant later in the year (with Snapdragon 765G), released most likely at the same time as the flagship Pixel 5.

It might seem weird to announce future models, but it makes sense to warn people who might want 5G that an updated version is imminent, to avoid anger and disappointment. Well done Google!

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