Google Pixel 4a camera samples are impressive — and that's bad for iPhone SE

Pixel 4a render front
An unofficial render of the Pixel 4a. (Image credit: 91Mobiles/OnLeaks)

The Google Pixel 4a hasn't launched yet. but Apple's new iPhone SE 2020 should be concerned about its rival's cameras.

That's because Julio Lusson from Cuban tech site TecnoLike Plus (via 9to5Google), tweeted a comparison of two photos between the Redmi Note 7, on the right in the tweet below, and the Pixel 4a, on the left. And the Pixel 4a photos look very impressive for a budget-priced phone. 

Assuming this is indeed the Pixel 4a's handiwork we're seeing in these images, then Google has got a worthy successor to the Pixel 3a. In both the low-light and outdoor shots it produces far better colors than the Redmi, even though the Redmi uses a 48MP sensor compared to the Pixel's 12.2MP sensor.

The Pixel 4a was originally expected to debut later this month at Google's I/O developer conference, but this has now been called off. But we do expect some sort of virtual launch for the handset.

The new iPhone SE launched in April, and was very warmly received, including its single 12MP rear sensor, almost identical to the Pixel 4a's. But Google has always put a lot of focus on its phones' picture-taking prowess, so it's likely the Pixel 4a will be the smartphone of choice for people on a budget looking to get the best shots possible.

The one area where the Pixel 4a should outshine the iPhone SE is low light. The iPhone SE lacks the Night Mode found on the iPhone 11, while the Pixel 4a should continue to feature Google's impressive Night Sight feature. This should give Google's handset a big advantage in dim conditions.

Such photography leaks are far from unprecedented as TecnoLike Plus has previously posted a hands-on with a prototype Pixel 4a. But it's worth bearing in mind that such leaks and photography results can be from prototype devices, as is the case with Lusson's Pixel 4a. This means some things may be different on the final version you can buy, so don't assume this represents a final product.

While there's no Pixel 4a launch event officially on the horizon, for the time being, we do have plenty of rumors about the new cheap Pixel. It will remain at the same $399 price point (now shared by Apple's fantastic iPhone SE 2020), but will include upgrades like a Snapdragon 730 CPU, 6GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB of storage, and a 5.81-inch OLED display with a punch-hole 8MP selfie camera, the punch hole being a first for the Pixel series. 

So the Pixel 4a will beat the iPhone SE on screen size and most likely on photography prowess, while the iPhone SE should win on sheer power with its A13 Bionic chip. But that same chip's image signal processor produces fantastic photos when there's a good amount of ambient light. We look forward to performing a photo shootout betweeen these two phones.

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.