Pixel 4a & Google Fi Review! Best Budget Combo for 2020!

The Google Pixel 4a is the biggest smartphone in the smallest form factor, yes almost like the city of Reno, I do have some interesting fear and loathing in Reno past experiences with my college friends but we will talk about that in another time. Pixel 4a features an OLED 5.67 inch screen with 2340×1080 pixels and 3140mAh battery. For performance, Pixel 4a packs a Snapdraon 730G, its raw performance somewhere between a Snapdragon 835 and 845 based on it benchmarks. This is rather similar to somewhere between Galaxy S8 & S9 performance on paper. But don’t let that fool you, the highly-optimized Pixel 4a from Google, maker of Android operating system runs rather faster, and it feels faster than most of other flagships on the market today including my own Galaxy S20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro. I was actually rather amazed how flawless everything ran with no lag.

Back fingerprint is finally back! Although Google might have chosen this due to lower cost, I prefer to have the rear fingerprint over in-display fingerprint as it’s much faster and way more accurate. I also save at least a full second when taking my phone out of the pocket as it’s unlocked by the time I bring it to my face. While in-display fingerprint looks cool, it’s not as functional and fast as rear fingerprint sensor.

Long battery life is certainly one of the highlights of Pixel 4a. While it only has a 3140mAh battery, thanks to efficient battery optimization, you get more battery life than all of the flagships on the market today. I get longer battery life than all my Samsung, LG, and more.

Pixel 4a brings a small phone in world of big phones. While I enjoy my collection of big smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or Galaxy Note 10 Plus, sometimes I need a small phone that fits in my pajamas while I ride my Icebox Skateboard. Since I am sitting down, some of my pajama pockets are just plain too small and a big phone may fall out easily while riding. The Pixel 4a is certainly my goto phone on such occasions. One-handed operation is also possible with such smaller form factor.

Google is bringing low price back into the smartphone game just like they did 9 years ago with Nexus One, Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus 4/5. True to Google’s first budget phones, the Pixel 4a was intended to give you a great deal on a super-efficient Android smartphone not filled with bloatware.

Stereo sound on the Pixel 4a is suprisingly decent. You get two speakers that are fairly loud and give you rather rich sounds. All of this for $350? Much wow.

Pixel 4a only has one back camera while many flagships come with extra zoom and wide-angle camera. If you absolutely need zoom and wide-angle, you may want to go with Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, or some other brand. But if you don’t care for all that low-quality extra cams, I mean face it, you lose hella quality when using a zoom or wide-angle camera. They are good in bright conditions but the tech is still not there, you always get best photos/videos with your main camera. So having one camera isn’t such a bad thing and Pixel 4a takes some really excellent photos. Google’s photo processing with Google camera has proved to be better than other smartphones with even better camera sensors and specs. Likewise, with just subpar camera sensor and lens, Pixel 4a still takes much better photo than most other flagships. Portrait mode works great, dynamic range is great, the Pixel 4a is a beast when it comes to taking photos. Videos are decent also, nothing to boast about but you can do 4K just fine.

My OnePlus 8 Pro has freezing issues while browsing the web. Other phones have lags due to bloatware or slow down over time. With Pixel 4a, there’s absolutely no lag, freezing thanks to a good memory and app management. I also believe only Google can truly bring out the best in Android. A lot of manufacturers like Xiaomi/OnePlus/Samsung/LG have added way too much bloatware, high-level software that ruins the pure Google Android experience.

Pixel 4a and every Pixel is Android made as it was designed. You get 100% original Android without the additives. You can expect no frills and just only very useful features such as Google photo processing, excellent portrait mode, Google Fi, spam blocker with personal assistant that answers your calls.

Google Fi is also great for those of you who don’t use a lot of data because you are usually on WiFi at work or home. I actually really love my own Google Fi, I saved big since I work from home and I don’t need to pay for data I don’t use. While you will end up paying $70-80 a month on unlimited plans from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon, you will only pay like $30 a month with Google Fi if you don’t use a lot of data. Plus Google Fi works with Hangouts which means you can receive your SMS on any device like your desktop computer. You can even receive call right on your hangouts app through your number.

And my absolute feature? You can easily move your phone number to another phone easily. For example, if I had two Pixel phones, I simply sign into my Google Fi app and I can switch between the phones within seconds. If you have non-Pixel phone, you can also install Google Fi SIM card on both phone and do the same thing. I will have video on how I do this soon if you guys are interested.

Also, you can use Pixel 4a as dual-SIM device when using with Google Fi since Google Fi uses eSIM and the SIM card slot is open for any other network. This can be useful when traveling overseas. If you want to see how that works, subscribe and make sure your bell notification is on so you will know when I upload that video.

Interested in saving $20 off Google Fi on your first month bill? Sign up for Google Fi using my link below. You can also refer other people once you sign up to get $20 off your own bill. So it’s definitely win-win, Google Fi offers so much more than your typical carrier. Also check out my Google Fi review I made last year to learn about all of its features.

Overall, Pixel 4a is definitely the budget king of smartphones in 2020. While it isn’t for everyone but if you are tired of upgrading phone every single year and you just need a good small phone that has long battery life and efficient performance, this is it.

Get it on Amazon here.

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.