Pixel 4A 5G - First Impressions

May 24, 2021

When it comes to modern smartphones, I'm pretty much a laggard. This past weekend I finally got around to replacing my Pixel 1 smartphone (circa 2017), with a newer Pixel 4A 5G. My original Pixel had no battery life left and required multiple battery charges per day (!). It was also getting slower and hadn't received a security update since late 2019. After doing some brief research, I settled on the 4A 5G variant of the Pixel line for three primary reasons:

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Good reviews
  • Ships with the latest version of Android (as of this writing)

Cost was the primary contributor to my decision. Although I use my phone daily, I'm not sure I can justify paying $700 or more for a top-tier phone (though, to be fair, I did indeed pay $700 for the original prior to having kids and while still on a dual income). This phone cost me $499, as I went with the non-Verizon 5G model (even though Verizon is my wireless provider). I don't care about 5G speeds, as I'm on wifi 95% of the time, so 4G support (which is what it falls back to) is just fine for me.

So far, I'm very pleased with the device. It's faster, has way more onboard storage (128 GB vs 32 GB), has stereo speakers (a huge plus), and will receive security updates for the next 3 years. As a byproduct of having more onboard storage, I'm planning on moving my music library onto the phone, which will allow me to ditch my iPod classic (talk about an ancient piece of hardware!). I'm also digging the larger display.

I will probably try to upgrade again in 2024, once I've ridden this phone out to the end of its upgrade cycle. I pushed my previous phone too far and I don't want to make the same mistake again.


Gary Bishop

9:48 PM on May 24, 2021

Nice! What is the advantage of the 5G? Anything besides 5G?


12:50 AM on May 25, 2021

The 5G has a few nice improvements over the 4A:

  • Faster CPU (exact same chip as the much more expensive Pixel 5, if I remember correctly)
  • Larger battery
  • Larger form factor (6.2" vs 5.8")
  • Comes with Android 11 (I think the 4A ships with Android 10, which can then be upgraded)
  • Multiple camera sensors (not that big a deal to me)

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