It’s official: you don’t need to splash the cash for a great camera on a phone anymore. Instead, you just need to pay £349 for the absolutely fantastic Google Pixel 4a. Read on for our full thoughts on this mini Android phone that might turn you away from the iPhone SE 2 and OnePlus Nord.
What we love – Camera, battery life and screen
The camera is, of course, the star here, and we can see many people buying the Pixel 4a simply for the skills of the single 12-megapixel shooter. It’s actually the same main camera as you’ll find on the far pricier Pixel 4 XL and photos are equally as luscious and crisp.
Whether you’re shooting against the sun on the summer day or in a sparsely lit bar, the clever camera does all the work in the background and spews out consistently excellent pics. There’s an astrophotography mode for taking shots of the stars, a fantastic portrait mode with professional-looking background blur and stellar 4K video recording.
Don’t dismiss the Pixel 4a as a one-trick pony, though. On the front, there’s a sharp, colourful and bright 5.81-inch OLED display which is one of the best you’ll find below £400. There’s a snappy Snapdragon 730 chipset inside too, with loads of RAM (6GB) and healthy amounts of storage (128GB) for downloading Spotify playlists and games. In our thorough testing, we also found the battery big enough to get us through the day – that is unless you hammer it with hours of photography and gaming – only beaten out by the likes of battery specialist Moto G 5G Plus.
Pixel 4a should also appeal to those who aren’t looking for a huge phone, and this is the best small Android phone we’ve reviewed. If you’re familiar with the size of the iPhone 11 Pro then the Pixel 4a is slightly smaller.
Related: Already loving the Pixel 4a? Vote for your favourite best cheap camera phone
What we don’t like – Slightly dull design, missing a few big features and availability
There’s actually very little we don’t like about the Pixel 4a, but no phone is perfect. The design is a little, well, dull with a single black colour available and a plastic finish. It hardly sets our imaginations swirling, especially when Google has experimented with bright hues before.
It’s also missing some of the highlight features of big competition like the iPhone SE 2 and OnePlus Nord, including 5G support and wireless charging. We can’t say we missed these too much while using the Pixel 4a, but it’s worth noting.
Oh, and the biggest annoyance is you won’t be able to buy it in the UK until October. Google puts that delay down to supply-chain issues and it’ll open pre-orders from September.
Google Pixel 4a is a small phone that’s easy to recommend. It has a camera we’d pay more than double for, a great screen and enough power to get the job done. It ditches some luxuries, but for £349 we’re not going to complain too much. If only we didn’t have to wait until October to get our palms on one.
Our Recombu reviews are created using data collected by Trusted Reviews Labs, utilising their testing expertise to bring you an easy-to-read, short-form review.