The Google Pixel 4a is finally here, providing another affordable entry point into Google’s smartphone ecosystem. Like last year’s Pixel 3A, this latest model is not attempting to win over the performance-enthusiastic crowd. Instead, the Pixel 4a provides enough of everything you need in a comprehensive, reliable smartphone package.
At least that is the theory. However, the Google Pixel 4a’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chipset and 6GB of RAM appear to be next to the similarly priced OnePlus Nord, with its 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G and up to 12GB of RAM. Even more when compared to the £ 399 (~ $ 519) powerhouse Poco F2 Pro and its flagship-level Snapdragon 865 processor.
Is the Google Pixel 4a powerful enough for a budget phone in 2020? Or is Google Slow lagging behind hardware? Come learn some Pixel 4a with benchmark testing.
Our verdict: Google Pixel 4a review: Google’s best phone in years
Snapdragon 730G vs Snapdragon 765G
Before you dive into the benchmark numbers, do a little recap on the Snapdragon 730G here. It is the G variant, which benefits from slightly more graphical grunts as well as some additional performance features. It also packs in two heavy-lifting Cortex-A76-based CPU cores to assist with odd, more demanding workloads. This is an upgrade to the Google Pixel 3a’s Snapdragon 670 over two Cortex-A75-based cores, and is quite close to the Snapdragon 765G setup. Just without a high “staple” core.
The Pixel 4a is not as powerful on paper, but does it really matter?
The graphics package is more reserved, featuring a Qualcomm Adreno 618 that will perform slower than the 765G’s Adreno 620. That being said, we are again seeing a significant change from last year’s Adreno 615 inside the Pixel 3A. The SoC of the Pixel 4a also has a Hexagon 688 DSP with Tensor Accelerator for enhanced AI processing, but like the OnePlus Nord it does not have 5G integration. The Pixel 4a chip is built on an 8nm process, which offers better energy efficiency than the previous generation. However, it is not built on the 7nm process of its more expensive siblings.
Overall, the Pixel 4a’s Snapdragon 730G processor is a notable upgrade from last year and a good package. However, it is definitely missing some features and high-performance parts that you will find among the 4a’s competitors.
Classic Benchmark: AnTuTu, Geekbench and 3DMark running in Google Pixel 4a
Let’s take a quick look at the classic industry benchmark to see how Google Pixel 4a compares to CPU, GPU, and overall system departments.
Based on the chipset discussion, the results are much higher than we would expect. The Poco F2 Pro seems to have a healthy lead over these other inexpensive handsets. The gap between the Pixel 4A and OnePlus Nord is not large in the single-core CPU department, and the handset is within about 10% of the LG Velvet’s Snapdragon 765G implementation. Google’s latest phone is more than capable of handling demanding apps.
The largest bay is in the graphics department, though. The Pixel 4a looks partially between its previous incarnation and its closest contemporary. High-end gaming is still out of the question.
With that being said, the Pixel 4a is still a major step up from last year’s universally beloved Pixel 3a, especially when it comes to CPU and overall system score. This is a definite improvement.
One-time benchmarks give us a snapshot of peak capacity, but they tell us nothing about how a phone handles stress for long periods of time, or if the tank runs low, to extend battery life The display returns the throttle. For that, we turn to the speed test G running on a loop.
The Google Pixel 4a results here are a lot more interesting. The phone is quite comparable to LG Velvet’s Snapdragon 765G, but can only maintain competitive performance for 25 minutes. We can see why by turning to the CPU chart, where performance is exceeding test length. This is the result of excessive heat buildup in the Pixel 4A’s small frame. Finally, unlike some of its rivals, the phone cannot run at full tilt for long periods. On the plus side, there is no indication that Google slows down performance at low battery levels.
Read more: Google Pixel 4a Specs: Is this enough for Pixel 3a upgrade?
With the graphics, the Pixel 4a is largely what we would expect. It is better than Pixel 3a. However, the performance fluctuates over a long session (3o min +), and it certainly does not hold up with its high-end competitors. The flagship-tier GPU in the Poco F2 Pro offers faster speeds than the 2XL 4D in our graphics benchmark.
The Pixel 4a is competitive in short burst, but cannot keep pace for longer sessions.
On that note, this test shows how badly Poco F2 Pro stands for long-term abuse. While it can offer 2020 flagship-level performance for more than 20 minutes, the CPU quickly reverts somewhere between Nord and Velvet. Incidentally, these two are the most consistent of these mid-rangers. The Poco F2 Pro is still the fastest handset, but it doesn’t deserve much praise that the one-shot benchmark suggests. Nevertheless, the additional graphical power of the Poco F2 Pro still makes it the best affordable option for gamers.
Benchmark CH Real World Access
Continuous performance is clearly not the Pixel 4A’s strong suite. That said, we need to see the bigger picture. This handset is not targeting a consumer who can ring two or three hours of gaming sessions at a time. It is designed for browsing, checking email, and zipping through Google’s app.
Most workloads only require a quick bursting process and minimal graphics, so the Pixel 4A actually seems so scary to use.
As our benchmarking showed, the Google Pixel 4a really blows above its weight for burst use cases, which is how most phones are used. This is reflected by the time David spent with the handset, where he called it “almost effortless”. Even after a few days without cleaning recent apps, they did not see any hiccups or stutters. Just don’t try to make it too harsh for too long.
Do not lose: Google Pixel 4a Price and Release Date: What you need to know
In summary, yes, the Google Pixel 4a is quite fast for modern mid-range handsets when it comes to the real world. Not the fastest, the Pixel 4a offers enough performance that you’ll struggle to notice any differences between flagship-level chips in other mid-ranger or even daytime tasks. Google’s latest affordable phone is where it matters. However, those looking for an inexpensive workhorse or gaming phone can check the OnePlus Nord or the less-compatible Poco F2 Pro.
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