The next Google Pixel device is set to come as the follow-up to the superb value Pixel 3a, with familiar compromises but the familiar “Pixel” experience. Even with no proper launch event, the rumor mill is rife with what the Pixel 4a might bring to the table.
Considering the sheer volume of leaks of the previous Pixel series devices, the 4a, in many ways, is a bit of an enigma. Yes, we do know a solid amount about the budget handset, but this time around, it has only flirted with the cameras briefly and mainly in a pre-release form factor.
With I/O 2020 being skipped in favor of online sessions, there is no stage for Google to unveil the latest Pixel. That means that we might see a loss of traction for the affordable follow-up, especially when Apple has only marginally beaten Google to the punch with the impressive iPhone SE — the Cupertino firm’s first “proper” affordable smartphone.
While the iPhone SE might be ideal for plenty of people, we’d wager that given the rumors and what we know already about the Pixel 4a, we are confident that it will likely be an even better option.
The first wave of leaks hinted at what we’d see, thanks to the exceptional track record of the tech industry’s favorite Frenchman, OnLeaks. However, since the early renders were shared, we have now seen a prototype device suddenly appear in the hands of a Cuban tech aficionado Julio Lusson, aka TecnoLike Plus. This prototype Pixel 4a device has help to confirm several upcoming hardware, design, and features, while simultaneously putting to bed a lot of rumors.
It comes as probably no surprise that the Pixel 4a will follow a similar design pattern to last year’s Pixel 3a with hints of the recent flagship Pixel 4 thrown in for good measure. This ensures that the device remains consistent and has that instantly recognizable “Pixel” flavor.
This time around, Google looks as though it will not release a Pixel 4a XL. Instead, there will be one Pixel 4a model to simplify the lineup. Hopefully, this makes it much easier for people to determine which version to buy. However, another sketchy seller on eBay-listed parts for what appears to have been a scrapped Pixel 4a XL. It’s not clear if Google was in the process of finalizing the 4a XL or if it never even existed, but spare-part manufacturers appear to have been prepping regardless.
As the Pixel 4a will be a mid-range device, it will be mostly polycarbonate in a similar manner to that of the 3a last year. It will measure in at 5.8 inches with a display cutout for the selfie camera. This cheaper Pixel will not come with the large forehead found on the Pixel 4, but does have reduced bezels on all sides. At the rear, the solo camera is now encased in a square protruding notch with room for the LED flash.
Expect the headphone port to make a return to the 2020 edition of the budget Pixel. Other features will include a physical rear fingerprint scanner, punch-hole notch at the front of that display, and 18W fast charging. The pre-installed software will undoubtedly come in the Android 10 flavor, which means we’ll likely see Live Captions, the new Google Assistant UI, Astrophotography modes, plus tons more on top.
With no room for the Soli radar chip or 3D face-scanning tech, the Pixel 4a will come without Face Unlock or Motion Sense features. That means the software will likely be closer to that of the Pixel 3a than that of the 4 simply because of those hardware omissions.
Pixel 4a specs rumors
The specifications of the Pixel 4a are no longer rumor thanks to the leaks, but also because our own Stephen Hall has had them exclusively confirmed. The device, codenamed “sunfish,” will pack in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of UFS 2.1 base storage. Just like last year, the Pixel 4a will have Google’s own Titan M security chip, but again, like last year, the Pixel Neural Core will not be found inside.
That 5.81-inch AMOLED display will have a 2,340 by 1,080-pixel resolution in a 19.5:9 aspect ratio at around 444PPI. This is a slight bump over the Pixel 3a, which did have slightly larger top and bottom bezels. This will be capped at 60Hz, though, rather than the 90Hz panel seen on the flagship Pixel 4.
Battery size might seem quite small, with the Pixel 4a rumored to come with a 3,080mAh cell. Unfortunately, the Pixel 4a will not come with Qi wireless charging, but it does support 18W fast charging via USB-C.
Google’s Pixel phones are lauded for their exceptional cameras, and the Pixel 4a will no doubt follow its predecessors nicely. The actual camera hardware is nothing special, though: The Pixel 4a will come with a 12.2-megapixel primary camera with the usual autofocus and OIS/EIS. As far as our sources can tell, the front-facing camera is essentially identical to last year’s model, with an 8-megapixel resolution and an 84-degree field of view.
We’re also told that video recording specs are going to be identical to the Google Pixel 4. That means 1080p @ 30 FPS, 60 FPS, 120 FPS, 720p recording @ 240 FPS, and 4K recording @ 30 FPS for the rear camera, and finally, 1080p @ 30 FPS for the front-facing camera.
Thanks again to TechnoLike Plus, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the Pixel 4a camera. In the leaked photos, we can see that it stacks up pretty well against the competition at the same price point. Oddly, we even get to see the dual exposure mode that is currently exclusive to the Pixel 4. It’s not entirely clear how this works without the Pixel Neural Core, but it appears to work just fine. Maybe Google has worked out how to mimic this with software alone.
Thanks to leaked hands-on images of the packaging, the Google Pixel 4a will come in black-and-white color options, at the very least. However, another rumor suggests that we’ll see the Pixel 4a in a blue-like color in a similar manner to last year’s “Purple-ish” Pixel 3a. Hints suggest it will be “Barely Blue,” but even given the leaked press materials, it’s hard to accurately tell.
Pixel 4a pricing rumors
The price of the Pixel 4a looks to be pretty enticing and follows that of its predecessor quite closely. Thanks to OG leaker Evan Blass, he shared advertising materials that put the Pixel 4a price at just $399 for the base model. This will likely mean just 64GB of internal storage, but with the iPhone SE requesting the same, this is pretty competitive, given the marketplace.
Release date and availability
Because the physical I/O 2020 launch event was canceled, the rumored release date of the Pixel 4a has shifted, but an alleged European launch date points toward availability from May 22. With I/O 2020 originally planned to take place between May 12 to 14, this fits in with what one would have originally expected.
Google’s own Rick Osterloh recently shared a screenshot from what we believe is the Pixel 4a, hinting that — unsurprisingly — key Google staff already have devices. Add in the recent packaging leaks, and Google is clearly gearing up for an imminent launch. We’re confident that we’ll see the Pixel 4a officially surface within the next few weeks.
What the Pixel 4a won’t include
Even as the Pixel 4a camera came with a telephoto zoom lens, we’ll be missing out on an ultra-wide-angle and zoom options this time around. You’ll have to rely on Super Res Zoom for close-ups, which in all honesty are pretty impressive.
Without the necessary 3D face-scanning tech or the Soli radar chip, it’s a physical fingerprint reader all the way.
The Pixel 4a won’t support 5G connections — which makes sense, given that 5G is still in the rollout phase around the globe.
What are you hoping to see on the Pixel 4a?
We want to open up the floor to you: What beyond the leaks and even including the leaks would you like to see come launch day? We are now on a countdown to the as-yet-unknown release to get to see the Pixel 4a in the flesh for the first time.
Let us know in the comments section what you are hoping (or not hoping) to see from the Pixel 4a. What Pixel 4a rumors are you excited or disappointed by? Remember to keep it civil.
More on the Google Pixel 4a:
- Google Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE specs compared: What’s the better $399 buy?
- Are you buying the Pixel 4a or the iPhone SE? [Poll]
- iPhone SE 2020 sets unusually high bar for Pixel 4a in $400 mid-range war
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