Google Pixel 4a

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.

Google has announced the Pixel 4a, a cheaper version of the Pixel 4/4 XL. This is the second generation of models with the letter "a", following the Pixel 3a/3a XL. While keeping the concept and having all the functions that can be achieved with the camera and software of the higher-end model, the company has tried to reduce costs in many places.

It is cheaper than its predecessor at 42,900 yen including tax. The price is a little bit more than the mid-range model, and the cost performance is even more impressive.

Google Pixel 4a
The Pixel 4a, a cheaper version of the Pixel 4, has been announced. Pre-orders will be accepted from August 14, with the release scheduled for August 20.

However, just like the Pixel 4/4XL, DOCOMO, which handled it last year, has decided not to introduce it. The SIM-free version will be available at the online Google Store, and SoftBank is also planning to launch it.

Also, while last year's Pixel 3a/3a XL was available in two models by size, the Pixel 4a is now available in one model. It's also only available in black. There's no longer any fun to choose from, but this may be one of the reasons behind the cost reduction.

Google Pixel 4a
The price is more reasonable than the Pixel 3a, at 42,900 yen including tax. SoftBank will carry it as a carrier.

That makes it even greater value for money than its predecessor, the Pixel 3a/3a XL. We're all familiar with the Pixel series for its machine-learning-infused camera features, and they're still there on the Pixel 4a, and while the Pixel 4a doesn't have the telephoto camera that the Pixel 4/4 XL had, it's now a single camera, they say it's almost identical when it comes to image capture.

There's also a solid Night Scene Mode that will surprise you with how much brighter it looks than the naked eye, and a Portrait Mode that lets you naturally blur the background. Camera features familiar from the Pixel 4/4 XL, such as Dual Exposure Compensation and Top Shot, are also covered in full.

Google Pixel 4a
The Pixel 4a is a single camera, as opposed to the dual-camera Pixel 4/4 XL, but they say the camera performance is almost identical.

The Pixel 4/4 XL's chipset is the Snapdragon 855, which is also powered by the Pixel Neural Core, which is dedicated to machine learning processing, while the Pixel 4a uses the Snapdragon 730G, so there are differences in speed when looking at the details, but the results of the photos that can be taken are almost identical.

The telephoto camera is not included, but it has improved algorithms to support super-resolution zoom. The zoom is the biggest hardware difference, and we'd like to see the results on the actual device.

In order to keep it to one size, the display has been tweaked. It has a 5.8-inch flexible OLED display with an in-camera built into the display. By adopting a so-called punch-hole display, it is possible to reduce the width of the bezel.

Instead, Soli Radar is no longer included and Motion Sense is not available, but frankly, many users may be happy with this specification, as it was a feature that was rarely used.

The result of the narrower bezel is a 5.8-inch display, which is 0.2 inches larger than the Pixel 3a, while the body is smaller in size. The Pixel 3a was 5.6 inches and the Pixel 3a XL was 6 inches, but they were able to make the shape more compact while just spacing it out.

And instead of a simple monocular in-camera, it has a fingerprint sensor on the back, just like the Pixel 3a/3a XL. With the coronavirus scourge increasing the chances of wearing a mask, this is also a feature that seems to be exactly what's needed right now.

Google Pixel 4a
Pixel 4a specifications. The chipset is the Snapdragon 730G, which comes in one size and has a narrower bezel due to its punch-hole display.

The use of machine learning has gone even further, with Adaptive Battery support. According to Google, Adaptive Battery is a feature that guesses which apps users will use and reduces the battery consumption of apps that don't, according to Google. It also seems to let you know when it's time to charge the battery, which is more helpful. As for the hardware, it has a 3140mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging.

Google Pixel 4a
Support for Adaptive Battery, which uses AI to optimize app battery usage.

Google Assistant will also have new features, and after August 20, it will gradually be able to integrate with Messenger apps.

For example, on LINE, you'll be able to call up Google Assistant on the talk screen and type in your voice and share photos, videos and the web. Since messenger apps like LINE are frequently used on a daily basis, there will be more opportunities to use Google Assistant.

Google Pixel 4a
Google Assistant also has a new feature.

Of course, since this is a smartphone provided directly by Google, you're guaranteed three years of OS updates and security updates. You won't have the sad thought of the update being discontinued in the middle of your active barely-working life. Like the past Pixel series, the Japanese version also comes with FeliCa, allowing you to use a mobile wallet and Google Pay.

Pixel 4a 5G / Pixel 5 launch also teased

The Pixel 4a's launch was delayed due to the coronavirus disaster that affected the supply chain, but Google has indicated that it intends to further expand its lineup.At the same time as the Pixel 4a's announcement, Google announced the introduction of the 5G-enabled Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. The company revealed that it will be rolling out two 5G models in the second half of 2020.

Google Pixel 4a
As a surprise, the introduction of the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 was also announced.

What's more, they've already announced a price starting at ¥60,500. "From" means that the Pixel 4a 5G is expected to be priced at this price, but the sudden introduction of a mid-range model is a pleasant surprise. With more choices in the form of the Pixel 4a if you're looking for price, and the Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 5 if you're looking for 5G, the variety of Pixel variants is now even wider. Teaser images have also been released, and expectations are high for the two 5G-capable models as well.

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This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.