The Google Pixel 4a launched back in August after a long delay, and just a few months later a new version has launched - alongside the Google Pixel 5 - that can connect to the high-speed 5G networks – meet the Google Pixel 4a 5G.
While the Pixel 4a 5G costs a bit more than its 4G LTE-only predecessor, it comes with some upgrades, stepping up from a Snapdragon 730G to a Snapdragon 765G chipset and adding a second rear camera (ultrawide). The 4a 5G's 6.2-inch OLED display is larger than the 5.8-inch screen on the original 4a, too, and a massive 3,800mAh battery compared to the 4a's 3,140mAh capacity.
The new phone also packs 6GB of RAM and the just-released Android 11 out of the box. It will keep its predecessor's 128GB of storage.
Those handful of upgrades make the price bump from the standard Pixel 4a’s $349 / £349 / AU$599 cost to the Pixel 4a 5G’s $499 / £499 / AU$799 price tag easier to bear.
Getting the Pixel 4a 5G is another headache, though: in the UK, it's going on sale on November 19 on the Google Store. The standard version with sub-6 5G connectivity will be available in the US on November 19, per Android Police, but the mmWave 5G version will go on sale from Verizon a bit earlier on October 29 – though it will cost $599 instead.
Introducing #Pixel4a5G!6.2” OLED display. Ultrawide lens. A more powerful battery. And even a headphone jack. https://t.co/OH3Q4IKmFq #LaunchNightIn pic.twitter.com/RS02Et4nIRSeptember 30, 2020
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So with the Pixel 4a 5G, why buy a Pixel 5?
So with the spec upgrades and 5G connectivity on the Pixel 4a 5G, the question becomes: why pick the Google Pixel 5, which costs more at $699 / £599 / AU$999?
The Pixel 5 has the same Snapdragon 765G chipset, dual rear camera (12.2MP f/1.7 main and 16MP f/2.2 ultrawide), and Android 11 out of the box.
But the pricier phone packs a smaller 6-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate with the leading Gorilla Glass 6, compared to the Pixel 4a 5G’s 6.2-inch screen with 60Hz refresh rate and Gorilla Glass 3. It has a bit more RAM (8GB) and battery (4,000mAh), too.
Clearly, there are tradeoffs to opting for the cheaper Pixel 4a 5G over its pricier Pixel 5 sibling. But given Google’s phones receive Android upgrades at the same time, it’s tough to argue for the more expensive model given how largely comparable both phones are.
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David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.