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  • - This finally is the Pixel 4a,

  • but before we can talk about the Pixel 4a,

  • we have to talk about timing.

  • This phone isn't shipping until August 20th,

  • which is super late.

  • Google says it's because the coronavirus

  • kept it from finishing the final stages

  • of design and manufacturing.

  • But whatever, because this phone is coming up so late,

  • Google knows that it could conflict with other phones

  • that it's gonna release.

  • So it's just going ahead

  • and pre-announcing two other Pixel phones

  • that are coming out later this year,

  • it's pre-announcing the Pixel 4a 5G,

  • which is gonna cost $499,

  • and the Pixel 5 which is gonna cost,

  • I don't know.

  • And literally that's all we know about those phones,

  • but right now we have the Pixel 4a

  • and it only costs $349.

  • And I would use it, it's really pretty good.

  • It's just a little basic, there's no frills.

  • There's nothing fancy on it, pike at all,

  • but there's no weird software and it's not too big.

  • This is actually the most basic Android phone

  • that you can get.

  • And there's nothing wrong with basic.

  • (upbeat music)

  • Okay, let's just give you the basics of what this phone is.

  • I just said basics again.

  • I'm gonna say basics a lot in this video,

  • I'm gonna try and just turn that up down a little bit.

  • We'll see how I do.

  • The most important feature on a Pixel

  • is either Google software or it's the camera,

  • and you know what?

  • Let's just do it right at the top.

  • Let's talk about the camera.

  • It is really good.

  • There is a single 12.2 megapixel camera on the back

  • with optical image stabilization

  • and the front camera is eight megapixels

  • inside this little hole punch here.

  • Google's camera hardware

  • is never really anything special though,

  • because the focus

  • is always on making better use of that hardware

  • with computational photography.

  • So I compared the Pixel 4a which costs $349

  • to the Pixel 4 which costs $800,

  • it's a lot for a Pixel 4,

  • and the iPhone SE which costs $400.

  • And the results are that the Pixel 4a's photos

  • are almost indistinguishable from the Pixel 4

  • in almost all cases.

  • It is good in low light,

  • it is good with night sight.

  • It's good at HDR, it's pretty solid at zoom.

  • And it has that super contrasty Pixel look.

  • Now the iPhone SE does give some warmer colors,

  • which some people like,

  • but in general, I will take the 4a, especially in low light.

  • Do I wish that Google had put a wide angle

  • or a telephoto lens on the 4a?

  • Well, yeah, but those secondary cameras

  • are almost always worse than the main sensor,

  • especially on inexpensive phones.

  • So Google just left them out,

  • but that does have one weird side effect.

  • When you go into portrait mode on the 4a,

  • it has to do this really aggressive 2x crop

  • to make the portrait stuff work with the Pixel's math.

  • Other than that portrait mode is what you would expect.

  • It's not too great at the edges if you look too closely,

  • but it's fine for Instagram.

  • And speaking of math,

  • there is no extra image processor on the Pixel 4a

  • like there is on the Pixel 4.

  • So images do take longer to process.

  • If you take a photo and then jump right into the gallery,

  • you're gonna have to wait a beat

  • for the image to fix itself.

  • The other thing about Pixel phones

  • is that while their photos are great,

  • their videos are not so great.

  • If taking video is more important to you

  • than getting great still photos,

  • you might be better off with iPhone SE,

  • but in general,

  • I do still prefer these still photos of the Pixel

  • than I do on the iPhone.

  • Bottom line, this is a Pixel,

  • which means that it has a very good camera.

  • It is a $350 phone that can go toe to toe

  • with cameras that cost like, I don't know, $1,200.

  • That's still amazing.

  • Now the rest of this phone isn't amazing like the camera,

  • but the Pixel 4a does get almost all of the basics right.

  • I know, I said it again.

  • Okay, there's only one size.

  • It's got a 5.8 inch screen with a hole punch

  • and it's OLED at 1080p.

  • There is a fingerprint sensor on the back

  • and there's that one camera with a flash on the back,

  • one camera on the front,

  • and a headphone jack, hooray!

  • As you can see just by looking at it,

  • it looks pretty simple.

  • It has a plastic body

  • and it has Gorilla Glass 3 on the screen,

  • which is kind of a throwback,

  • we're coming up on Gorilla Glass 7.

  • I don't know, whatever, it's really well-built,

  • there's no flex to it.

  • And maybe it's because it's the same size

  • of regular iPhones have been

  • all the way back to the iPhone 6.

  • But if you don't like big phones,

  • this feels like the size of phone.

  • This feels like a really good size to me.

  • You can get any color that you want

  • as long as it's black.

  • Google likes to use cute names for its phone colors,

  • and it always calls the black ones just black.

  • And yeah, this phone is available just in black.

  • There is this neat seafoam blue-green power button though.

  • The Pixel 4a also does a good job

  • at a bunch of the other fundamentals.

  • You've got stereo speakers on the earpiece here

  • and one on the bottom,

  • it's got six gigs of RAM and 128 gigs of storage.

  • And actually that 128 is important.

  • You can't expand it,

  • but it is double what the base $399 iPhone SE has.

  • So technically the Pixel 4a is 100 bucks less

  • than the equivalent 128 gig iPhone SE.

  • The screen quality on the Pixel 4a is fine.

  • It used to be super rare

  • to be able to get OLED at this price point,

  • but that's changing a little bit.

  • And I think this OLED looks pretty good,

  • it's obviously not the best one that I've ever seen.

  • The color skew a little bit warm

  • in certain lighting conditions.

  • But look, the bezels are relatively small.

  • The Pixels feel fairly close to the surface of the glass

  • instead of being weirdly set back

  • like they can feel on other phones.

  • (soft music)

  • Now the phone is missing some stuff though.

  • So for example, there's no wireless charging,

  • which sure, but come on,

  • that's like expected these days.

  • Google also dropped a thing

  • where you can squeeze it to bring up the Google Assistant.

  • And I don't care.

  • I don't miss that at all.

  • You don't get fancy higher frustrate screens

  • or multiple cameras or a water resistance rating.

  • And that last one, that does kinda suck,

  • but Google dropped all that stuff

  • so that it could focus on the essentials

  • and had to get those right.

  • And I think that Google

  • might might've gotten

  • the most important, essential thing right, battery life.

  • So there's really only two ways

  • to improve battery life on a phone,

  • put it in a bigger battery

  • or make the phone draw less power.

  • And I think Google tried to do both on the Pixel 4a.

  • It has a 3,140 milliamp hour battery,

  • which is small by today's standards,

  • but it's still 300 milliamps more than the Pixel 4.

  • And the Pixel 4's battery life, it's bad,

  • but the Pixel 4a's battery life, well, it's not amazing,

  • but it's fully acceptable.

  • You should be able to make it through a full day.

  • I'm getting around 4 1\2 to 5 hours of screen time,

  • which to me is enough.

  • The other thing that helps with battery life

  • is drawing less power.

  • And the screen is a big part of that,

  • so a 5.8 inch screen isn't huge, so that helps.

  • But I think the processor inside the phone

  • is the more important part.

  • It is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G.

  • The G stands for faster graphics.

  • And I think this draws less power

  • than a Snapdragon 865 with a 5G modem.

  • This is also not a 5G phone, by the way.

  • But does that processor make the Pixel 4a slow?

  • I can see it,

  • sometimes it happens to take a beat longer to open

  • and sometimes scrolling in Chrome

  • is gonna feel a little bit junky, but it's not terrible.

  • And this phone feels a lot smoother

  • than the Samsung Galaxy A51,

  • which is like kind of in the same class here.

  • Smoother is the key thing,

  • because this is using Google's version of Android,

  • which is super clean, super easy to get around.

  • It doesn't have a bunch of extra crap that you don't want.

  • Like these days Samsung

  • is fully just putting ads in its software now.

  • (sighs)

  • Google is guaranteeing three years

  • of software updates for the Pixel

  • and I think this processor

  • is really gonna be showing its age at three years,

  • but it should make it.

  • But if you compare that to the iPhone SE

  • whose processor right now is a beast,

  • it's gonna last longer

  • and it's probably gonna get like five or six years

  • of software updates.

  • So that's something to keep in mind.

  • So look, I know that basic is an insult,

  • it means that it's common.

  • That it's every day, but you know what?

  • In your life, you need to have some simple things

  • that are consistent and reliable.

  • But what I'm saying

  • is I would be very happy with this phone.

  • And I don't know why anybody would buy a Pixel 4

  • when this phone exists

  • and as for the upcoming Pixel 4a 5G for 500 bucks,

  • me, I don't care that much about 5G yet

  • and we don't know what other changes

  • are coming to it officially,

  • and as for the upcoming Pixel 5,

  • honestly, all I can say

  • is I really hope that Google changes up

  • its flagship phone strategy this year.

  • But wherever the Pixel 5 lands,

  • it's going to be in a different market than this phone

  • because the Pixel 4a is for the sub-$400 market.

  • Here is another word that gets used as an insult, cheap.

  • The Pixel 4a is cheap in terms of cost,

  • but other than being a little, I don't know, plasticy,

  • it doesn't feel cheap.

  • Now it's not as fast as an iPhone SE.

  • And it probably won't last as many years

  • as an iPhone SE will, but it costs less

  • and it has a really nice version of Android on it

  • if you want Android.

  • Look, at this price point, you just can't have it all.

  • I've talked about that with the Samsung Galaxy A51,

  • John just talked about it with the OnePlus Nord.

  • Companies have to pick where their priorities are

  • <