Review: Google’s brilliant, new Pixel 4a and 5 smartphones hit the mark

by James Wilkinson

Google unveiled its new Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 smartphones this week (Oct 15) and the lightning fast, lightweight devices are quickly proving to be a winner for users across the globe.

The Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 both pack 5G speeds, feature the latest Google hardware, software and AI, have a remarkable battery life and cameras that are firmly on a premium digital SLR quality.

As more networks globally plug-in to 5G networks, the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 are ready to capitalise on that and offer high-quality YouTube videos and more thanks to lightning fast download and streaming speeds.

While 5G might not be available immediately on all networks globally, both of the new smartphones already impress from a video quality and audio perspective – especially when listening in wired and wirelessly – whether it is watching a film, a clip on YouTube or on a Duo call with a colleague, client or friend.

Google has gone a step further with video calling app Duo on the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5, thanks to a new HD screen sharing mode that lets you and a friend watch the same vision, be it a sporting match, stand-up comedy show, a funny video and more.

On the camera front, Pixel smartphones have been known for thier high-quality image capture for years and the the new devices also take that to a new level.

Clever and creative new features include Cinematic Pan (which gives your videos a professional look with ultrasmooth panning); Night Sight in Portrait Mode (gives you the ability to capture brilliant low-light photos, including the stars); and Portrait Light (you can capture portraits that focus on your subject as the background fades into an artful blur).

There’s also an ultra-wide lens which means you can capture more of a room, beach or stadium than before.

Another great new feature on both the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 is an enhancement of Recorder, that makes it easer to crop audio clips and impressively, the ability to transcribe instantly.

Then there is the battery life, which at 48 hours with ‘Extreme Battery Saver’ is nothing short of exceptional and a lifespan that’s always been wished of a smartphone.

There are a few X-factors for the range-leading Pixel 5, including its durability (it can handle being submerged in 1.5 metres of fresh water for 30 minutes), kindness (you can use it to wirelessly charge other Qi-certified devices using Battery Share) and sustainability (Google used used 100% recycled aluminium in the back housing enclosure).

Both the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 come in at an affordable price too, with the phones retailing for AU$799 and AU$999 respectively, and that is a lot of bang for buck.

The Pixel 4a and 5 are available from the Google store and a range of retailers and telcos in Australia, including Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman.