Key TakeawaysDespite being six months old, Google's Pixel 4a 5G still offers one of the best mid-range Android experiences right now.With so much unknown about the Pixel 5a, it's hard to say whether or not it will exceed what the Pixel 4a 5G already offers.Guaranteed support for Android updates in 2023 means you won't have to worry about a lack of support anytime soon.
Ach5 / Andrew Hayward
It's been six months since the Pixel 4a 5G was released. With the Pixel 5a set to release later this year—and rumors of a Pixel 6 with a Google-made chipset swirling—it might be difficult to decide whether the Pixel 4a 5G is still worth the $499 asking price. Spoiler alert—it is.
Smartphones are one of the trickiest electronics that we spend our money on. With technology evolving more each year and annual releases of the latest flagship devices, the decisions that face smartphone shoppers can be stressful.
Is last year's device still worth the price? Or should you wait for the newest device to release? When it comes to Google's Pixel devices, they tend to hold their value even years after release.
"People have kept the same model of phone for nearly a decade before without issues when their finances didn't allow them to buy something new or they just didn't feel it was necessary," Rex Freiberger, the CEO of Gadget Review, told Ach5 in an email.Related: Google Pixel 4a 5g Review
Smartphones are expensive. Even the most affordable options can come in at hundreds of dollars, and that's not a manageable amount of money to part with for most people. So, when you do decide to drop a few hundred bucks to grab a new smartphone, you'll want to ensure you're getting something that is both affordable and usable for at least a few years.
Google's Android phones never have been the most technically appealing devices. At their core, these phones are meant to offer a smooth Android experience paired with great software and a decent camera.
The Pixel 4a 5G hits that mid-range perfectly at $499. It has 5G support, and it offers a large OLED screen with access to the latest Android OS updates well into 2023. This means you can expect updates to Android 12, Android 13, and even Android 14 before you have to worry about Google ending support.
The included Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G is also a solid contender in the mid-range market, and it means the Pixel 4a 5G will continue to offer smooth performance for another few years. It doesn't quite stand up to the flagship chipsets that Samsung and others are using, but that isn't the point with this device.
Andrew Hayward / Ach5
"The older model Pixels are sturdy, robust devices that make great smartphones. If you don't need cutting-edge tech, you'll get a lot of mileage out of them." Freiberger told us.
Google excels at offering a good-performing smartphone that has access to some of the best Android software available. No bloatware—all those useless apps and games installed on your phone when you buy it—also means less junk to slow your phone down.
Should You Wait for the Pixel 5a?
While Google already has confirmed that the Pixel 5a will arrive later this year, the leaks so far paint a picture of a phone that looks very similar to the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 4a 5G.
Renderings shared by Steve “Onleaks” Hemmerstoffer show a new phone that looks exactly like the past Pixel phones, including an OLED screen similar to the Pixel 4a 5G.
Since the Pixel 4a 5G appears to have fit in where the usual XL devices tend to go—Google previously released both regular and XL devices for the Pixel lineup (e.g., Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL)—it's possible the 5a could cost more around the $349 of the Pixel 4a, even with 5G.
If Google goes with a larger screen, though, it will make sense for the company to bump that price up to something more around the $500-range, where the Pixel 4a 5G currently sits.
When you start looking at the upcoming phones, it all comes down to personal preference.
Google isn't trying to be the best of the best. It just wants to offer an affordable and smooth Android experience that will last for another three to four years. If that's what you're looking for, then a Pixel 4a 5G should fit all your needs.