Google’s newest smartphone, the Pixel 4a ( 9/10, WIRED Recommends), is the best it has ever made and it only costs $350. But it lacks some of the extras you can get on pricier phones, like wireless charging, waterproofing, and a screen with a wonderfully smooth 90-Hz refresh rate. If you want these features then you might want to check out the flagship Pixel 4, which is now available for $250 off.
The company recently discontinued the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL 8/10, WIRED Recommends), even though they first became available late last autumn. Google sold its entire inventory, but there’s still stock available from various other retailers. It likely won’t be available for sale much longer, but we think it’s still a great phone to snatch up. You get an excellent camera experience, a nice screen, great performance, and smart software in a compact package. It’s also the only Android phone to have a system that mostly matches Apple’s Face ID unlocking.
It’s important to know that Google will release the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G this fall, likely around October, so it might be a good idea to hold off if you really want a Pixel with more bells and whistles than the Pixel 4a.
Is the Pixel 4 Right for You?
WIRED: The cameras on Pixels are among the best you’ll find on a smartphone, particularly when it comes to low-light shots. Google’s Night Sight snaps multiple photos together at different exposures and stitches them together—all in a matter of seconds—for a well-exposed and colorful image. Performance is also great, it’s powered by 2019’s flagship Snapdragon 855 chip, and the 90-Hz screen refresh rate makes the experience of using the phone feel super smooth and fluid. Face Unlock is present as well, and it’s more secure than on any other Android phone.
Google has plenty of awesome smart software features too, like Call Screen, which scans calls from unknown numbers to prevent robocalls and spam. The software will also be supported for three years, which is more than what you’ll get on most Android phones. And, again, it has extras that aren’t available on the Pixel 4a, like wireless charging, a telephoto zoom camera, and IP68 water resistance.
TIRED: Battery life is this phone’s Achilles’ heel. If you’re a power user, you’ll struggle to get through a full day of use unless you turn off the fun app-style Pikachu wallpaper and maybe turn down the 90-Hz refresh rate. It also doesn’t have a headphone jack or MicroSD card slot, so you’re stuck with the included 64 gigabytes of storage in the base model. The cheaper Pixel 4A does have a headphone jack.
You can see all of our top Android phone recommendations here.
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