Review: What’s New in Google Pixel 4A

After using the Google Pixel 4a for a few weeks, it is ready for a review. In this review, I will focus on “What’s New” on the latest Pixel 4a. At the end of the review, you can see my summary of how I feel about the phone.

Introduction

I did not think that I will say this but the Google Pixel 4a grows on me. The more I used it, the more I love it. It is very fluid (no lag) and everything seems to function properly.

If you want the best Android experience, I think you can find it on the Google Pixel 4a.

Unboxing and First Look

I have done a blog post on the unboxing and first look. Do check it out if you want more details. Here is the video.

What’s New

I have seen a lot of reviews already. So, I believe you have too. I will not bore you with it. Let’s look at something new.

Google Recorder with Transcript Feature

I think this is a pretty neat feature from Google. When you record, it can automatically transcript (English only). And once done, you can save the audio file or the transcripted text to Google Drive. Super convenient. Check out this short demo.

Actually, that is not all. You can even search for keywords in the audio and if recognized (English only), it will show up in the search results and you can jump straight to the point in the audio where the word is mentioned (see below the word Google is being highlighted in Yellow).

Google Live Caption

When you press the volume button, you can see this Live Caption option as indicated in the picture below. Once activated, when it detects the language (English only), it will automatically transcript “live”. Although not 100% accurate, it is still interesting to have this feature.

I can imagine if you visit places where you cannot turn on the volume, you can use this transcript feature to understand what is going on based on the live caption.

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Google Assistant

This is the new Google Assistant. It is now less obtrusive, hidden neatly at the bottom of the screen with the colorful line showing the Google colors (shown in the picture below).

It has a number of new tricks and is faster now. For example, you can ask it to open the Maps and show you the Chinese restuarants. It can quickly display the results.

And if you swipe from the bottom left or right, the Google Assistant will be activated.

Usage

General usage

If you use it as a daily phone, it is really good. One of the reasons is because the OS running in the phone is the made by Google and definitely, it is 100% compatible.

With Pixel phones, you are always being assured that it will be using the latest software. This is definitely a big plus point. Overall, general usage is good. I have no complains.

Camera

At first, I am a little worried that it comes with just a single lens camera. After using it for some shoots, I am convinced that the Google Camera is good.

Here is a sample shot.

The blur effect is really good, given that it has only a single lens with no depth sensor.

I am equal amazed by the video quality. Check out the demo.

I am satisfied with the camera based on the fact that Pixel 4a is not a flagship model and yet it can produce such good quality results. It is definitely value for money and above the competition in a similar price range.

BTW, I did simple test on the Night Sight. It is useful in lowlight condition. It comes with a new feature, Night Sight wiht astrophotography. To use it effectively, you will need to place the camera on a stable position and press the shutter button. The length of the exposure varies, depending on the surrounding light levels and stability.

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Battery

The battery life is really good. I set it as default (Adaptive Battery). Based on the few weeks with the phone, it never fails to amaze me on how it preserve the battery.

If I don’t use the phone, the battery can really last a long time. With Adaptive Battery, it uses Machine Learning to determine which apps are infrequently used and limits their background battery usage. It can also now predicts if a user will run out of battery before their next charge and
reduces background activity further to keep your Pixel powered longer.

The phone comes with 18W fast charge adapter with a USB-C to USB-C cable. I tried to use one adapter with USB-A to USB-C cable. It could not charge up. However, some adapters are ok. This is a little frustrating.

Summary

With the latest Android OS and the hardware made by Google, the Google Pixel 4a is a breeze to use.

It has many ticks on the highlights but it does have some lowlights. There is no super wide-angle lens, or optical zoom lens. Storage-wise, it has just 128 GB of storage with no expandable storage. Thankfully, Google is providing unlimited full resolution photo uploads to Google Photos.

Charging-wise, it is quite sensitive. I tried some other charging adaptors and cables. They just won’t work. To make the best out of it, my suggestion is to use its cable and charging adapter.

Overall, the Pixel 4a is an easy phone to use with clean interace on the OS. If you love clean and fast OS, and wants to get updated on everything Google, go for Google Pixel 4a.