In this article, we’ll compare two siblings, the Google Pixel 5a 5G vs Google Pixel 4a 5G. The Pixel 4a 5G is the predecessor of the newly-announced Pixel 5a 5G. The two devices are actually extremely similar, maybe even too similar. The Pixel 5a 5G does offer some improvement in comparison, though, so that’s what may attract you to get it. In this article, we’ll compare the two phones, and try to give you an idea of whether the Pixel 5a 5G is worth upgrading to, or buying instead of the 4a 5G.
Truth be said, the second question can be answered straight away, as it does offer some improvements, while it comes with a lower launch price tag. In any case, we’ll start this off by comparing their spec sheets, and will then move to the design, display, performance, battery, cameras, and audio segments. That being said, let’s compare the Google Pixel 5a 5G vs Google Pixel 4a 5G, shall we?
|Google Pixel 5a 5G||Google Pixel 4a 5G|
|Screen size||6.34-inch fullHD+ OLED display (60Hz)||6.2-inch fullHD+ OLED display (60Hz)|
|Screen resolution||2400 x 1080||2340 x 1080|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G|
|RAM||6GB (LPDDR4X)||6GB (LPDDR4X)|
|Storage||128GB, non-expandable||128GB, non-expandable|
|Rear cameras||12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)|
16MP (ultra-wide, f/2.2 aperture, 1.0um pixel size, 119-degree FoV)
|12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)|
16MP (ultra-wide, f/2.2 aperture, 1.0um pixel size, 107-degree FoV)
|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||4,680mAh, non-removable, 18W fast battery charging||3,800mAh, non-removable, 18W fast battery charging|
|Dimensions||154.9 x 73.7 x 7.6mm||153.9 x 74 x 8.2mm|
|Weight||183 grams||168 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||Rear-facing fingerprint scanner||Rear-facing fingerprint scanner|
|OS||Android 11||Android 11|
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Design
When the design is concerned, these two handsets are quite similar. The Pixel 5a 5G is slightly taller, slightly narrower, and slightly thinner. It also comes with a slightly different paint job, and different build materials. The Pixel 5a 5G comes with a metal unibody construction with resin on the back, while the Pixel 4a 5G is made out of plastic. Both of these phones are available in a black color, but the Pixel 5a 5G comes in ‘Mostly Black’, which is a bit brighter. The Pixel 4a 5G has been available in ‘Just Black’ color variant. The difference between the two is much easier to notice when they’re side-by-side.
Both phones include a display camera hole in the top-left corner, while their bezels look equally thick / thin. They also offer the same camera setup on the back, and it also looks the same, basically. Google decided not to mess around with the cameras, so both the sensors and the lenses are the same as on the Pixel 4a 5G. You will spot a fingerprint scanner on the back of both phones.
Another differentiating factor, from a design standpoint, is the power / lock key. The Pixel 5a 5G’s power key is textured, while the Pixel 4a 5G’s is not. Both phones are made out of plastic (resin), and both are not as slippery as glass phones are, which may be a benefit to some of you. They feel similar in the hand, though the Pixel 5a 5G is a bit heavier, due to a larger battery. It weighs 183 grams, while the Pixel 4a 5G weighs 168 grams (5G Sub-6 model) / 171 grams (5G Sub-6 and mmWave model).
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Display
The displays are also quite similar, but Google did make some changes for the Pixel 5a 5G. The Pixel 5a 5G includes a 6.34-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) OLED display with Gorilla Glass 3 on top of it. That display is flat, by the way. The Pixel 4a 5G, on the other hand, comes with a 6.2-inch fullHD+ (2340 x 1080) OLED display. It also has the Gorilla Glass 3 on top of it. Both panels do support HDR content.
You’ll notice that both the size and the resolutions here are different. The Pixel 5a 5G offers a 20:9 aspect ratio, while the Pixel 4a 5G comes with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. These are the same panels, though, they may be different in size / aspect ratio, but they’re the same. They also look the same in real life, pretty much. Both displays are fairly good. They’re contrasty, have good viewing angles, and we don’t have any major complaints about them.
They are also bright enough, only in direct sunlight you may have some complaints. They are bright enough, but not nearly as bright as some flagship display panels out there, not even close. It is worth saying that the Gorilla Glass 3, which sits on the display of both phones, is not as scratch-resistant as its newer counterparts. Using a screen protector may be a good idea, as I didn’t have a great experience with the Gorilla Glass 3 on the Pixel 4a, which I’ve been using for a while now, between reviews.
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Performance
The performance is really good on both phones. You should get about the same results. Why? Well, these two phones not only offer the same SoC, but they have the same amount of RAM, and the same version of RAM and flash storage. You’ll find 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM in both phones, with 128GB of UFS 2.1 flash storage. Truth be said, Google still didn’t confirm that for the Pixel 5a 5G, but we’re almost certain the company used identical versions.
Add to that the fact that their software builds are fairly similar, and you’ll basically get identical performance results. Both smartphones can handle pretty much anything you throw at them. That Snapdragon 765G SoC is more than powerful enough. It can handle intensive multitasking, browsing, media consumption, shooting plenty of photos, videos, and so much more. The two devices can even handle some gaming, if that’s what you want to do. Even some processor-intensive games run fairly well, though not as good as on flagship SoCs, of course.
All in all, considering their price tags, these two handsets are amongst the best mid-rangers for performance. Google really did a great job when it comes to optimizing Android for these two phones. The Pixel 4a 5G didn’t have any major bugs from the get-go, which was surprising, and things are looking good on the Pixel 5a 5G side as well. It’s still too early to tell, though, of course.
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Battery
The Pixel 5a 5G comes with a considerably larger battery than its predecessor, and the Pixel 4a 5G offered good battery life. Based on that information, you can imagine how great the Pixel 5a 5G is in that regard. The Pixel 5a 5G comes with a 4,680mAh battery, while the Pixel 4a 5G offers a 3,885mAh battery. If you’re a heavy user with plenty of screen-on-time, and you want a mid-range phone, the Pixel 5a 5G is a no-brainer, basically.
The Pixel 5a 5G can push through pretty much any usage scenario. We’ve managed to rake up 7 hours of screen-on-time on it, and the phone still had plenty of juice left. The Pixel 4a 5G, on the other hand, should be able to provide you with about 6 hours of screen-on-time. The Pixel 5a 5G offers considerably better battery life, there’s no doubt about that. If you want a better device in that area, the Pixel 5a 5G is it.
Both phones offer 18W fast wired charging. Wireless charging is not supported in either smartphone. The same goes for reverse (wireless) charging as well. That’s not the fastest charging around, but it’ll do the job. You do need to keep in mind that these two phones are quite affordable, so you can’t expect them to offer every single major feature.
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Cameras
Google has been using the same 12.2-megapixel camera sensor for years now, ever since the Pixel 2. Both of these phones have that main camera sensor. Even though image quality improved since Google started using it, it’s starting to show its age. The main issue is the size of the sensor itself, even though Google is doing an amazing job on the software side of things.
Both phones can provide excellent images. They offer great HDR balancing, good dynamic range, white balance, and the images do turn out to be sharp. In low light, they also perform really well. They do allow for a bit more noise than most other cameras, but that doesn’t exactly affect image quality, as low light images turn out excellent most of the time. The size of the sensor does affect the artificial depth of field, though that’s not something that will bother most of you.
Not only is the main camera the same, but the ultrawide is as well, and the front-facing one too. The ultrawide camera can produce some compelling shots as well, and Google’s Night Sight mode works on it as well. The front-facing camera is good enough, but we’ve seen better ones out there. All in all, considering the price tag of these two phones, they do provide really compelling camera setups.
Things are basically the same in the audio department as well. Both of them offer stereo speakers, and it’s even possible they’re the same ones. Both phones also deliver a 3.5mm headphone jack. Those speakers are good enough. They’re not as loud as some higher-end offerings, nor is the sound quality as good, but it’s more than good enough. You’ll get that stereo effect, and they’re well-balanced.
The sound via a good set of headphones is okay. Audiophiles will find something to complain about, of course, but for most users, well, this will be more than enough. The sound is good across the spectrum. The devices do not provide the best audio experience around, but that’s not something you can expect at their price tags.