The Google Pixel 4a is one of the best budget smartphones in the market at the moment, no doubt about that. Is it worth upgrading from the Pixel 3a, though? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out, as we’ll compare the Google Pixel 3a vs Google Pixel 4a in this article. The Google Pixel 3a is well over a year old now, and some of you may be considering upgrading. The Pixel 4a does seem like a great choice, as it’s quite affordable, and it does have a lot to offer.
Before we get down to it, let’s just say that the Pixel 3a is not worth getting at the moment, instead of the 4a. It’s a better idea to spend a bit more on a new Pixel 4a, than to get the Pixel 3a now. Don’t get me wrong, the Pixel 3a is still a great phone, no doubt about that, but the Pixel 4a has more to offer. Having said that, if you do own the Pixel 3a already, and are trying to figure out whether to upgrade, well… it’s time to kick off the Google Pixel 3a vs Google Pixel 4a comparison.
|Google Pixel 3a||Google Pixel 4a|
|Screen size||5.6-inch fullHD+ OLED display (60Hz)||5.81-inch fullHD+ OLED display (60Hz)|
|Screen resolution||2220 x 1080||2340 x 1080|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 670||Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G|
|Storage||64GB (eMMC 5.1), non-expandable||128GB, non-expandable|
|Rear cameras||12.2MP (f/1.8 aperture, 28mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)||12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)|
|Front cameras||8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)||8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)|
|Battery||3,000mAh, non-removable, 18W fast battery charging||3,140mAh, non-removable, 18W fast battery charging|
|Dimensions||151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm||144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm|
|Weight||147 grams||143 grams|
|Connectivity||LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||Rear-facing fingerprint scanner||Rear-facing fingerprint scanner|
|OS||Android 9 Pie (upgradeable)||Android 10 (upgradeable)|
Google Pixel 3a vs Google Pixel 4a: Design
Both the Google Pixel 3a and 4a are made out of plastic. There’s nothing wrong with that, not at all. They do feel plasticky, but also feel quite nice in the hand. They’re not heavy, but do have some heft to them at around 140-150 grams, which is a good balance. The design is different, though, as the Pixel 4a looks far more modern. Bezels on that phone are a lot thinner. So much so that the device has a noticeably larger display, while being both shorter and narrower than the Pixel 3a.
The Google Pixel 4a is also slightly lighter than its predecessor. It is considerably shorter, around 7mm, actually. So, it’s a more compact phone overall. The Pixel 4a does have a display hole in the top-left corner, which is a sacrifice you have to make for those thin bezels. Both devices include a flat display, and a rear-facing fingerprint scanner. A single camera is included on the back of both devices, and the same goes for the front as well.
Both phones are quite slippery in the hand, though not as slippery as glass-made devices. Considering their size, though, it’s possible to use them without a case, and not feel like they’ll slip out at any point. Both feel really good in the hand, though we prefer the feel of the Pixel 4a a bit more, due to the size. There you have it. Both are good options in terms of the design, but the Pixel 4a just feels so much more modern, it’s not even close.
Google Pixel 3a vs Google Pixel 4a: Display
Both the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a come with OLED displays. Those panels are different, though, and so is their protection. The Google Pixel 3a features a 5.6-inch fullHD+ (2220 x 1080) OLED display. The Google Pixel 4a includes a 5.81-inch fullHD+ (2340 x 1080) OLED panel which supports HDR content. So, as you can see, the Pixel 4a has a considerably higher display aspect ratio. It also comes with a higher screen-to-body ratio, of course.
Now, there is also a difference when it comes to display protection. The Pixel 3a comes with the Asahi Dragontrail Glass. It actually held up well on the Pixel 3a devices, but it’s not as mainstream as Corning’s solutions. Gorilla Glass 3 is not the newest solution from Corning, not even close, but it’s more than good enough. It will protect that display from scratches to a high degree, and give you peace of mind.
In terms of general display quality, well… they’re both pretty good. Don’t expect miracles, and you’ll be really happy with the results. The black are black, the colors are vibrant, and the viewing angles are also pretty good. These are not the most color-accurate displays out there, though, so keep that in mind, though chances are that won’t bother you. Both panels run at 60Hz, by the way, these are not high refresh rate displays.
Google Pixel 3a vs Google Pixel 4a: Performance
When it comes to performance, both phones deliver, though the Pixel 4a will offer more in this regard as well. The Google Pixel 4a not only comes with more RAM, but it also includes a more powerful processor and GPU. As a result, you will get somewhat better performance on it, as you’ll notice less stutters, while the gaming performance will be better as well. Neither of these two handsets are meant to be gaming smartphones, so keep that in mind.
The Google Pixel 4a performance is actually great, considering its price tag. It can provide really smooth performance, and the Pixel 3a is not far behind, but it is noticeably outplayed by its successor. For the vast majority of people, however, both will do the trick. Both do great in multitasking, though the Pixel 4a offers a better experience in that regard as well. It’s also faster when it comes to loading apps / games, though that’s not something you’ll always notice.
Google Pixel 3a vs Google Pixel 4a: Battery
In terms of battery life, both phones are fairly good, but not great. We’ve managed to reach 6 hours of screen on time on both devices, with our usage, on most days. Everyone uses their phones in a different way, though, so your mileage may vary. The battery life on the Pixel 4a was a bit better, though, that’s worth noting. The Google Pixel 4a does have a slightly larger battery, but it also comes with a larger display. In any case, both of these devices should offer enough juice for the whole day, for most users, at least.
When it comes to charging, well, both offer wired charging only. They offer the very same wired charging solution, as you’ll get access to 18W charging here (USB Power Delivery 2.0). Reverse charging is not available, nor is wireless charging of any kind. That is to be expected at their price tags, though. It would be a major surprise if Google managed to offer wireless charging with either of them.
Google Pixel 3a vs Google Pixel 4a: Cameras
When it comes to camera quality, well, you’ll get very similar images from these two phones. Google is using the same camera sensor on both phones, for the rear camera. Speaking of which, there is only one camera on the back of each phone. This is a 12.2-megapixel sensor from Sony. Do note that the aperture is slightly different, as is the lens that Google used. The Pixel 4a has an advantage in that regard.
That being said, those differences do not result in some obvious differences. The two devices will perform very similarly in all lighting conditions. They will offer great camera performance in all those conditions, by the way. Google’s algorithms are great, the company’s image processing is second to none. It can pull out the best out of the images you take, even if there’s little light in a scene. You will need to utilize the Night Sight mode in such situations, though.
Images taken with each of the two devices do end up looking really nice, very sharp. You will not get as much detail as you would from high-res cameras, though, so if you zoom in or crop images often, this may not be the best option. Low light images look excellent from the two devices. It’s a shame neither of them has an ultra-wide camera, but that is to be expected in this price range.
You’ll be glad to know that both of these smartphones feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. That is a feature that is no longer available on the vast majority of high-end devices, and it’s nice to see that it made the cut here. In addition to that, Google also managed to pack in a set of stereo speakers on both devices. That is not something that all phones at this price range offer, and it’s definitely appreciated.
So, what’s the sound like? Well, good. It’s not excellent, it’s not great, but it’s good enough for most people. That goes for both phones, as the sound is similar. If you’re an audiophile, chances are you’re not even considering getting either of these. If you’re not, these speakers and audio output through a set of solid headphones will do the trick. The speakers do get loud enough, and they’re also sharp enough. They’re a level or two below the best speakers on smartphones these days, though.