Google Pixel 4a battery and charging could crush the iPhone SE

Pixel 4a wireless charging
(Image credit: ESR)

The Pixel 4a won't charge any faster than previous Pixels with an 18W charger, but Google has given it a slightly higher battery capacity of 3,140mAh, according to a recently discovered certification listing.

Spotted by DealnTech, Taiwan's National Communications Commission has a listing for a Google phone with codename G025J, the same code we've seen appear in listings in other government regulators' databases, including the FCC.

The NCC listing also provided the ID numbers for the Pixel 4a's battery and for the charger that comes bundled with the phone. DealnTech was able to cross-reference this number with the German TUV Rheinland certification database, and found the figures we mentioned below.

A screen capture of the Pixel 4a listing on the NCC website.

A screen capture of the Pixel 4a listing on the NCC website. (Image credit: NCC/DealnTech)

We wouldn't expect Google to introduce a big shift in its charging tech on a budget phone like the Pixel 4a. That said, the 18W charger, while better than some companies' offerings like Apple's 5W charger that it packs into the iPhone SE's box, is starting to look a little underpowered. 

Samsung and OnePlus, perhaps the two biggest rivals to Google in the Android smartphone space, offer 25W and 30W respectively. Hopefully, we'll see the Pixel 5 get some faster charging when it releases later this year.

A screen capture from the TUV Rheinland database showing the same batteries as the NCC listing.

A screen capture from the TUV Rheinland database showing the same batteries as the NCC listing. (Image credit: TUV Rheinland/DealnTech)

Pixel 3a had a 3,000 mAh battery, so it's good to see the Pixel 4a will have a little more capacity for power at 3,140mAh. The 3,080 mAh 'rated capacity' figure you see on the specs sheet is the guaranteed minimum capacity for the battery, since no two cells are truly identical and could have more than that. However, manufacturers always use the higher 'typical' capacity when selling their phones, which is why the 3,140 mAh is more important here.

It's not a huge battery, but it's larger than the 1,821 mAh battery that the iPhone SE has according to unofficial teardowns, so it should at least beat the competition there. But with the OnePlus Nord likely having around 4,000 mAh of capacity, the Pixel 4a's battery perhaps isn't enough without some beefy battery management software eking out every last drop.

There's no evidence here of whether the Pixel 4a will have wireless charging. The Pixel 3a did not have the 18W charging that Google offers on its flagship Pixels, but with the iPhone SE offering wireless charging, there are suggestions that Google may also introduce it to the Pixel 4a. But other than a single image of the Pixel 4a on a wireless charging pad, published by case maker ESR, there's been no sign of it up to now.

We've been waiting for the Pixel 4a to launch since May, but continuous delays have meant it could be as late as October before we finally see its debut. Whenever it  appears, we are keen to check out its new punch-hole display design, a first for the Pixel phones, and how Google's managed to improve on the Pixel 3a's already excellent photography talents.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.