The latest nugget of information comes courtesy of Pixel 4a renders from phone case maker ESR (opens in new tab), which further confirm what we know about the phone’s design. But it also revealed that the Pixel 4a could have wireless charging.
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One of the render images used to promote ESR’s ‘Pixel 4a Metal Kickstand Phone Case’ shows how the case will allow the phone to still be charged on a wireless pad. While we need to have a degree of skepticism here, as these aren’t official renders, it does show that the Pixel 4a could have the wireless charging capabilities of its full flagship stablemates.
This is rather surprising, as the Pixel 3a (opens in new tab) didn’t have wireless charging, and no leaks have suggested that the Pixel 4a will charge wirelessly. But such a capability would certainly boost the appeal of Google’s upcoming phone and it would help better compete with the iPhone SE 2020 (opens in new tab).
The other renders reaffirm that the Pixel 4a will have a single rear camera, likely with a 12.2MP lens, housed in a square module, as mentioned in previous leaks and rumors. Sadly, this means the Pixel 4a won’t have the dual rear cameras of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.
That means the Pixel 4a could have camera capabilities that are more of an upgrade over the Pixel a rather than a cutdown take on the Pixel 4’s rear cameras. That being said, Google’s phone photography abilities come courtesy of its skill in computational photography, meaning the Pixel phones have managed to deliver impressive photos with fewer cameras than their rivals. The Pixel 4, for example, delivers photos that mostly triumph those of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus and at times beat the mighty iPhone 11 Pro, which is currently one of our picks for the best phone cameras around.
The ESR renders also show off how the Pixel 4a will make us of a punch-hole selfie camera to deliver a display — likey measuring 5.8 inches and using an OLED panel — that has significantly slimmer bezels than the Pixel 4. It does mean there’s not likely going to be any space for Google’s Soli chip used to power its face unlocking tech in the Pixel 4.
No specs were mentioned in the ESR listing. But so far we know that the Pixel 4a will be powered by a Snapdragon 730 chip, which promises decent if not flagship-grade performance — especially if it’s combined with 6GB of RAM. Storage is expected to start a 128GB. There’s no word on battery size, though we hope it's bigger than the Pixel 3a's 3,000 mAh pack.
The Pixel 4a will have to do battle with Apple’s iPhone SE in the best value phone arena. Despite being the cheapest iPhone, it comes with the same high-end A13 Bionic chipset as the iPhone 11, has wireless charging, and puts in impressive phone photography with its single 12MP rear camera. In our continuous web surfing test over 4G LTE, the iPhone SE managed a reasonable 9 hours and 18 minutes of battery life; that’s not quite enough to make our best phone battery life list.
So the Pixel 4a might lose out to the iPhone SE on sheer performance, but it has the opportunity to beat Apple’s handset on photography and battery life. And with a more modern design, the Pixel 4a could appeal to people who don’t want a smartphone that looks a lot like an iPhone from several years ago.