The Pixel 5a is easily one of the most uninspiring upgrades we have seen this year. As manufacturers like Xiaomi and Realme overdo expectations with affordable phones, Google did the opposite by doing the bare minimum and giving midrange phone buyers a slightly refreshed Pixel 4a 5G. Good or bad; that depends on your requirements for your next phone. What’s assured is that Google wants all attention for the Pixel 6 later this year. Also Read - Redmi Smart TV 32-inch, 43-inch with Android 11 launched in India, price starts at Rs 15,999
The Pixel 5a naturally succeeds the Pixel 4a and we couldn’t stop ourselves from comparing the spec sheet. After all, the Pixel 4a is Google’s only offering in India at the moment and that seems to be the case for some years to come. Would it make sense to invest in the ageing Pixel 4a or import a slightly pricier Pixel 5a from the US? We try to figure it out. Also Read - Free Fire Max launch in October: Better graphics, minimum requirements, Firelink technology and more
Pixel 4a vs Pixel 5a: Is there anything new?
Design: The Pixel 4a and 5a look identical at first glance but look closely and the differences are visible. The Pixel 5a is bigger, has a dual-camera setup, and a metal unibody construction coated with plastic material. The front appears similar and the bezels are uniform across all sides. Like the Pixel 4a, you get the 5a in the “Just Black” colour. Also Read - Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro: Design, camera, colours, launch date, every rumour you need to know
Display: Both the Pixel models feature an OLED HDR panel but it is the 5a that gets a larger 6.3-inches display. The new model also retains the same 60Hz refresh rate and a similar Full HD+ resolution.
Performance: The Pixel 4a relied on the old Snapdragon 730G chipset and only supported 4G LTE networks. Compared to this, the Snapdragon 765G is a notable upgrade in terms of connectivity (sub-6GHz 5G) and raw performance. This isn’t a new chip and there are cheaper phones using the Snapdragon 778G, which is a more capable successor in many ways.
OS: All Pixel devices at the moment are currently on the stable build of Android 11 and are in the queue to get Android 12 by next month (possibly). Hence, the basic experience remains the same. However, the Pixel 5a will get an extra Android OS upgrade over the Pixel 4a, which is something to consider if you have plans to use it for a long time.
Cameras: The Pixel 5a borrows the camera hardware from the Pixel 4a 5G, which itself boasted of an extra wide-angle camera over the Pixel 4a. Hence, compared to the 4a, the Pixel 5a will let you get better ultra-wide photos. Sadly, Google did not bother giving the Pixel 5a a telephoto camera setup; you will have to wait for the Pixel 6, or Pixel 6a next year.
Battery: This is an area where the Pixel 5a gained massively. The Pixel 4a with its 3140mAh battery was barely able to last an entire day. Early reviews from other publications claim an entire day’s battery life and then some for the next day from the Pixel 5a’s 4680mAh capacity battery. The 18W charging remains the same on both.
Pricing: The stuff that actually matters! The Pixel 5a costs $449, which is roughly Rs 33,400. That’s just a little more than the Pixel 4a’s price of Rs 31,490 in India. Hence, for just a little more, you get more performance, better battery, 5G connectivity, and an extra camera. Of course, you have to factor the import costs, which will only add over this price.
Is the Pixel 5a worth waiting for/buying in India?
Frankly, no. For what it’s worth, the Pixel 5a is still expensive by Indian standards. You can get a phone of the same calibre from Realme, Xiaomi, OnePlus and Motorola, all of which have presented Indians with some interesting midrange Android phones. The Pixel 5a’s camera is still unmatched but the rest of the phone feels restricted in comparison. Try looking at the competition for an overall better deal.