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Anyone get a Pixel 4a?

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dfonda

Senior Golfer
Joined
Feb 25, 2004
Bought the Pixel 4a yesterday. Not sure if it can replace my Pixel 2 XL but maybe. I have not decided on a fitness watch yet, so my phone is carried everywhere in my pocket so Google Fit can record my steps and the 4a will be smaller and lighter.

At $349 it was an easier buy.
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I'm planning on getting one to upgrade from my Pixel 2 as budget allows. My battery is just getting too old and can't handle day to day use. Anything you don't like about it compared to your 2 xl other than the size difference?
 

mackerel

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
Since I got the 3a it is a bit soon to replace it, but the 4a looks like a reasonable refresh. Be interested about longer term impressions of it.
 

rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
I was VERY tempted to just get the 4 or the 4XL since this is the first day the 4a was released in Germany and EVERYWHERE was sold out... Also they'd dropped the price of the 4 and the 4XL to 420 euros... just 80 euros more than the 4a.

But seeing as my Subaru started acting up... and I barely made it home... I figured saving a little money might do me a world of good! :D

Right now it's copying all the data from my old phone. Then I'll have a chance to put it through its paces.

The phone is in such high demand right now that I'm sure I'd have no trouble selling it. (Or maybe even just returning it for a full refund) if I decide I need a bit more space.

I was surprised by how small it is. it's about 24% smaller than my moto x4.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
I have a 4XL and like it pretty well. I wish it had the finger print scanner as a fall-back for the face unlock (which works really well... except for when you're wearing a mask).

The Pixel 5 is a sidegrade/downgrade across the board for a lot of the features of the 4XL, so I'm glad I have the phone that I do. Charging $700 for it as well is quite steep compared to competitors imo.

I'm sure the 4a will be a solid phone, my wife got a 3a after holding onto her 2 for a while that had been acting up. We waited a few months for an official 4a accounement and release, but 2 weeks after finally getting the 3a the 4a came out, lol
 

rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
I have a 4XL and like it pretty well. I wish it had the finger print scanner as a fall-back for the face unlock (which works really well... except for when you're wearing a mask).

The Pixel 5 is a sidegrade/downgrade across the board for a lot of the features of the 4XL, so I'm glad I have the phone that I do. Charging $700 for it as well is quite steep compared to competitors imo.

I'm sure the 4a will be a solid phone, my wife got a 3a after holding onto her 2 for a while that had been acting up. We waited a few months for an official 4a accounement and release, but 2 weeks after finally getting the 3a the 4a came out, lol

I've had a chance to play around with the 4a a bit now. It easily outperforms my old phone (Moto X4), but I'm a bit disappointed that they've disabled the USB to HDMI screen sharing. (The 4a, unlike most phones, actually has a USB 3.1 connector and the Snapdragon chipset absolutely supports HDMI support, but apparently Google have disabled this at the Kernel level.) And it's definitely a bit small for my hands... but now I'm thankful I didn't pay more for the XL.

I'm just going to have to pick up a Chromecast device in order to stream this sucker... and find a way to deal with the lag. (At least I won't have to figure out how to charge it while streaming.)

I've got my sights set on a OnePlus 8 Pro or 7 Pro in the near future. But that will, of course, have to come after I buy a PlayStation 5.

One thing I'll have to do IMMEDIATELY is disable the "Gesture App Switch" on the Pixel. Imagine being in the middle of a game and all of a sudden WHOOPS! Here's your email!
 

hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Just bought one of these for my son after my old OG Pixel XL died. They're presently $299 ($50 off) at Best Buy if you activate on purchase. I figured this would last him a while and would rather spend $300 on a brand new device with guaranteed 3 years of software updates than half that for a used device with questionable updates. Picking it up this afternoon.

I'm on a P4 XL and really like it (except for the face unlock Janus mentioned, because COVID). I get around that by connecting bluetooth headphones and adding them as trusted devices. Also agreed re: Side-grade on Pixel 5, though I don't upgrade yearly anyway. I hope they're back to flagship processors by the time the Pixel 7 arrives!
 

rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Just bought one of these for my son after my old OG Pixel XL died. They're presently $299 ($50 off) at Best Buy if you activate on purchase. I figured this would last him a while and would rather spend $300 on a brand new device with guaranteed 3 years of software updates than half that for a used device with questionable updates. Picking it up this afternoon.

I'm on a P4 XL and really like it (except for the face unlock Janus mentioned, because COVID). I get around that by connecting bluetooth headphones and adding them as trusted devices. Also agreed re: Side-grade on Pixel 5, though I don't upgrade yearly anyway. I hope they're back to flagship processors by the time the Pixel 7 arrives!

One thing that annoys the hell out of me is the removal of White Balance controls. They did this specifically for the Pixel 4. The excuse they're spinning is that "The 4 does the White Balancing for you." That is NOT a "feature"... That's actually the REMOVAL of a feature! It's nothing but Auto White-Balance... which every camera in the past 30 years does by default.

It works alright in daylight... but the tendency once you get indoors is to go straight to yellow. Easy enough to fix in the edit... but annoying that you even HAVE to fix it. Fortunately they included a RAW mode so if you know in advance that what you're shooting is important then you can use that and all you have to do is nail the focus. Everything else can be accurately changed in post.
 

hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
One thing that annoys the hell out of me is the removal of White Balance controls. They did this specifically for the Pixel 4. The excuse they're spinning is that "The 4 does the White Balancing for you." That is NOT a "feature"... That's actually the REMOVAL of a feature! It's nothing but Auto White-Balance... which every camera in the past 30 years does by default.

It works alright in daylight... but the tendency once you get indoors is to go straight to yellow. Easy enough to fix in the edit... but annoying that you even HAVE to fix it. Fortunately they included a RAW mode so if you know in advance that what you're shooting is important then you can use that and all you have to do is nail the focus. Everything else can be accurately changed in post.

I always prefer more options than less, you're right about that. That said, I have always liked the Pixel's choices (first on the XL, then on the 4 XL)and very rarely even want to edit anything.

Just bought one of these for my son after my old OG Pixel XL died. They're presently $299 ($50 off) at Best Buy if you activate on purchase. I figured this would last him a while and would rather spend $300 on a brand new device with guaranteed 3 years of software updates than half that for a used device with questionable updates. Picking it up this afternoon.

I'm on a P4 XL and really like it (except for the face unlock Janus mentioned, because COVID). I get around that by connecting bluetooth headphones and adding them as trusted devices. Also agreed re: Side-grade on Pixel 5, though I don't upgrade yearly anyway. I hope they're back to flagship processors by the time the Pixel 7 arrives!

Got the 4a up and running last night (waited until the screen protector came in - see: son) and it is a very nice little device. Impressions:

  • The edge-to-edge screen with hole-punch camera is great.
  • I'm actually jealous of that combined with the fingerprint sensor and would gladly give up Soli/face unlock (complete with giant forehead) instead.
  • It feels perfect in my hand. If it weren't for the smaller battery I would get this size in a heartbeat over the XL.
  • The 4a seems quite speedy for having a mid-tier processor as well. No complaints here about app loading/running/etc.
  • Without deliberate pixel peeping I can't tell the difference between the 1080 px width (443 ppi) and the XL's 1440 px width (537 ppi).
  • A 90 Hz screen would be nice but unless I already knew the difference to look for I wouldn't have thought about it.
  • 6GB of RAM is plenty.
  • 128 GB storage is a very nice inclusion at the price point.

All in all, in my very limited use setting it up and testing the 4a is a very capable phone, with a flagship camera to boot. Anyone that is OK without a flagship processor should not hesitate to pick one up. For $299 it's a great deal (on sale; $349 normally, which is still a good price for what you get).
 

rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
  • The edge-to-edge screen with hole-punch camera is great.
  • I'm actually jealous of that combined with the fingerprint sensor and would gladly give up Soli/face unlock (complete with giant forehead) instead.
  • It feels perfect in my hand. If it weren't for the smaller battery I would get this size in a heartbeat over the XL.
  • The 4a seems quite speedy for having a mid-tier processor as well. No complaints here about app loading/running/etc.
  • Without deliberate pixel peeping I can't tell the difference between the 1080 px width (443 ppi) and the XL's 1440 px width (537 ppi).
  • A 90 Hz screen would be nice but unless I already knew the difference to look for I wouldn't have thought about it.
  • 6GB of RAM is plenty.
  • 128 GB storage is a very nice inclusion at the price point.

All in all, in my very limited use setting it up and testing the 4a is a very capable phone, with a flagship camera to boot. Anyone that is OK without a flagship processor should not hesitate to pick one up. For $299 it's a great deal (on sale; $349 normally, which is still a good price for what you get).

6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is kind of the mid-level standard now. The same is available on the Poco X3 NFC for $249, you actually get 256GB of storage and 6GB of RAM on the Huawei P30 Lite New Edition, then on all the Redmi phones it's basically 6GB/128GB, and the OnePlus Nord actually gives you 8GB of RAM and 128GB for $399.

The XL was actually on sale here in Germany for 420 the day the 4a came out. Even at just 70 bucks more I'm glad that I didn't get that over the 4a because they've specifically disabled features that I need (1. absolutely ZERO advanced camera options and 2. no USB-C to HDMI out compatibility which they've gone so far as to disable at the KERNEL level even though the chipset supports it... So even if you Root your phone and use another OS... you still can't get HDMI working. That's a pretty shady move...)

That said it's a GIGANTIC upgrade over my Moto X4 (although I prefer everything about the Moto's Camera... except lowlight.) Just sucks that I'm pretty much always going to need two phones to do everything that I need to do. I'll use the 4a for programming and stuff and I guess I'll have to pickup an LG or a used Galaxy S9 or something so that I can have HDMI out.

EDIT: Well... Solved THAT problem for good: Now I can mirror my screen over USB 3.1 to my PC in real time... No HDMI required!

Screen Shot 2020-10-09 at 2.02.25 PM.png
 
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OP
dfonda

dfonda

Senior Golfer
Joined
Feb 25, 2004
I'm planning on getting one to upgrade from my Pixel 2 as budget allows. My battery is just getting too old and can't handle day to day use. Anything you don't like about it compared to your 2 xl other than the size difference?
Late for this reply, but I just never started using the 4a...Did not know what to do with my P2 XL (Which I still think is great) so the Pixel 4a has just been collecting dust. I'll switch my wife to it , when I get around to it.
 
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rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Okay... This has become a HUGE problem for me... The whole "Always Unlocked" thing of the Pixels. I absolutely HATE using a screen lock code. Previously I had all Motorola phones... I would swipe to unlock... and that was it. No problem. Stayed locked until I swiped. With my Pixel 4a... absolute MAYHEM whenever I put the thing in my pocket. So I HAD to put one of those connect the dot codes in just so that my phone wouldn't get up to random insanity every single time I put it in my pocket.

You would think that would've been the end of it... but no! Even with a lockscreen code I'm tormented. To the extent that I just lost all my mobile data... for the month... which I JUST PAID FOR... because somehow my wifi got turned off and I was up all night looking at live election results.

How ON EARTH... do you guys even use these phones? I could find no settings in any of the menus to turn off this "Always unlocked" thing. It just keeps screwing me over....
 
OP
dfonda

dfonda

Senior Golfer
Joined
Feb 25, 2004
So Rain you want it always locked up? Do you have ? Display/Advanced/Lock Screen/Show Lockdown option or maybe I need to understand what you need better.

Edit: No that is not what you are looking for. The 4a locks on screen time out. It doesn't activate for me unless it gets a fingerprint or pin.

You on Android 11?

I can not help with the wifi off, I have unlimited Data and if you turn wifi off by mistake, that is not the phones fault. Tho I regret it happened to you.:grouphug:

My wife can do that as she only has use one hand, and it is a problem as I have her on Mint with just 3GB of data.
 
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hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Okay... This has become a HUGE problem for me... The whole "Always Unlocked" thing of the Pixels. I absolutely HATE using a screen lock code. Previously I had all Motorola phones... I would swipe to unlock... and that was it. No problem. Stayed locked until I swiped. With my Pixel 4a... absolute MAYHEM whenever I put the thing in my pocket. So I HAD to put one of those connect the dot codes in just so that my phone wouldn't get up to random insanity every single time I put it in my pocket.

You would think that would've been the end of it... but no! Even with a lockscreen code I'm tormented. To the extent that I just lost all my mobile data... for the month... which I JUST PAID FOR... because somehow my wifi got turned off and I was up all night looking at live election results.

How ON EARTH... do you guys even use these phones? I could find no settings in any of the menus to turn off this "Always unlocked" thing. It just keeps screwing me over....

Settings/Security/Screen Lock/Swipe. What you've been using is still right there.

The fingerprint sensor on those things is also ridiculously fast and secure.
 

rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
So Rain you want it always locked up? Do you have ? Display/Advanced/Lock Screen/Show Lockdown option or maybe I need to understand what you need better.

Edit: No that is not what you are looking for. The 4a locks on screen time out. It doesn't activate for me unless it gets a fingerprint or pin.

You on Android 11?

I can not help with the wifi off, I have unlimited Data and if you turn wifi off by mistake, that is not the phones fault. Tho I regret it happened to you.:grouphug:

My wife can do that as she only has use one hand, and it is a problem as I have her on Mint with just 3GB of data.

Settings/Security/Screen Lock/Swipe. What you've been using is still right there.

The fingerprint sensor on those things is also ridiculously fast and secure.

EDIT: Turned off "Tap to Wake Phone" and "Lift to Wake Phone." Now it's behaving as it should. NOW I can turn off the stupid lock code.

With the screen LOCKED (I just tried it) you can still pull DOWN... and you can turn off wi-fi, blutooth... you can turn on the flashlight... All of that.

Also... I did not turn off my wi-fi... The PHONE turned off my wi-fi. So it kind of IS the phone's fault.

Like I said... I put the phone in my pocket... it randomly does stuff... whether locked or not. It used to do MORE stuff before I put a lock code on it... but it still does stuff.

Steps to reproduce: Lock phone... put in pocket.

That is ALL. Maybe the Bluetooth gets shut off... Maybe the wi-fi. Maybe rotation gets screwed up. It can be anything accessible through that menu...

I'll look at the advanced settings and see if anything helps.
 

hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
If you truly think it is turning wifi off by itself, maybe you should factory reset the phone and start over. Phones just don't do that without some insane software gremlin seriously breaking the way it should be operating. I have had a 1st gen Pixel XL, my kid has a Pixel 4a and I have a Pixel 4 XL. None of them have ever turned wifi, bluetooth, flashlight, etc on or off by themselves. They are always in my pocket with the screen facing my body. For what you are claiming to happen, somehow it has to activate in your pocket, fully pull down the quick settings shade (You can't partially pull it down and disable something. Just tried it.), and touch the respective control...which is an insane amount of stuff to have happen without active interaction (or the aforementioned software gremlins).

If by some miracle you are able to put your phone in your pocket turned off and it does turn itself on and pull down the controls, you can add another roadblock by editing the settings so the ones you don't want disabled are on a different page (there are six per page). Pull quick settings down and there is an edit button on the bottom left.

EDIT - We also can't rule out physical hardware issues, but I don't think that's your problem. I just remembered an old Galaxy S5 where the wifi stopped working due to hardware failure. No matter how many times I reset the phone it would not reliably work. 5% of the time wifi would turn on and work. The other 95% wifi would not enable and connect. Since you can enable and disable wifi at will and it functions I don't think hardware is the issue, but it's at least possible.
 
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rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
So Rain you want it always locked up? Do you have ? Display/Advanced/Lock Screen/Show Lockdown option or maybe I need to understand what you need better.

Edit: No that is not what you are looking for. The 4a locks on screen time out. It doesn't activate for me unless it gets a fingerprint or pin.

You on Android 11?

I can not help with the wifi off, I have unlimited Data and if you turn wifi off by mistake, that is not the phones fault. Tho I regret it happened to you.:grouphug:

My wife can do that as she only has use one hand, and it is a problem as I have her on Mint with just 3GB of data.

If you truly think it is turning wifi off by itself, maybe you should factory reset the phone and start over. Phones just don't do that without some insane software gremlin seriously breaking the way it should be operating. I have had a 1st gen Pixel XL, my kid has a Pixel 4a and I have a Pixel 4 XL. None of them have ever turned wifi, bluetooth, flashlight, etc on or off by themselves. They are always in my pocket with the screen facing my body. For what you are claiming to happen, somehow it has to activate in your pocket, fully pull down the quick settings shade (You can't partially pull it down and disable something. Just tried it.), and touch the respective control...which is an insane amount of stuff to have happen without active interaction (or the aforementioned software gremlins).

Sigh... I already explained this... I believe thoroughly... right above your post. Here it goes again:

The Pixel 4a (which you don't actually use apparently... I guess your son does). The only thing that's necessary to disable the wifi on the 4a... with default settings... is to put it in your pocket. This is because of two features which may or may not be unique to the 4a (I've never had any other Pixel so I couldn't tell you about those):

"Tap to Wake" and "Lift to Wake".

Before creating a screen lock code the phone could be WIDE OPEN in my pocket. Calls... emails... you name it. "Tap to Wake" meant all it would have to do was tap ANY SURFACE of my pocket... and the phone would just unlock itself.

As I explained above... after creating a screen lock code... that would no longer happen... but the top menu could still be slid down and because the phone was just inputting random touches then "Yes": EVERY SETTING ON THE PULLDOWN MENU COULD BE PRESSED.
(bold, all-caps, underlining might have been going to far... you get the idea...)

Obviously if I said it happened... it wasn't just for the entertainment value. IT HAPPENED.

I even found a solution which was to disable "Tap to Wake" and "Lift to Wake" in the Advanced Settings. Now it behaves like every other phone I've had in the past fifteen years.

Seriously... I don't understand what was so hard to believe... :shrug:
 

hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Sigh... I already explained this... I believe thoroughly... right above your post. Here it goes again:

The Pixel 4a (which you don't actually use apparently... I guess your son does). The only thing that's necessary to disable the wifi on the 4a... with default settings... is to put it in your pocket. This is because of two features which may or may not be unique to the 4a (I've never had any other Pixel so I couldn't tell you about those):

"Tap to Wake" and "Lift to Wake".

Before creating a screen lock code the phone could be WIDE OPEN in my pocket. Calls... emails... you name it. "Tap to Wake" meant all it would have to do was tap ANY SURFACE of my pocket... and the phone would just unlock itself.

As I explained above... after creating a screen lock code... that would no longer happen... but the top menu could still be slid down and because the phone was just inputting random touches then "Yes": EVERY SETTING ON THE PULLDOWN MENU COULD BE PRESSED.
(bold, all-caps, underlining might have been going to far... you get the idea...)

Obviously if I said it happened... it wasn't just for the entertainment value. IT HAPPENED.

I even found a solution which was to disable "Tap to Wake" and "Lift to Wake" in the Advanced Settings. Now it behaves like every other phone I've had in the past fifteen years.

Seriously... I don't understand what was so hard to believe... :shrug:
I believe you that it happened. It's just astoundingly unlikely is all; literally, I'm astounded it managed to happen in your pocket by itself. I'm glad you got it fixed though.
 

rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
So where's Mr. "I always ike the Pixel's choices"...? Ah! ...it was you! :p

I always prefer more options than less, you're right about that. That said, I have always liked the Pixel's choices (first on the XL, then on the 4 XL)and very rarely even want to edit anything.


Straight from the camera... no white balancing:

pixel2.jpg

Note the overall YELLOW tint. That comes from my ceiling lamp. If there were an option to adjust the white balancing I could change that.. but since there isn't:

pixel1.jpg

...there's no choice but to edit.

Download the images... Zoom in. The camera's fine... but it's completely ridiculous that they don't allow you to change the white balance. And it's even dumber that they have the audacity to tout that as a "feature." The LACK of a feature is not a feature in and of itself. That's like creating a feature like "automatic RAW processing." That's called: "Taking a picture." That's not a feature. That's just what you kind of expect a camera to do. Having the ability to take RAW photos? That's a feature. Not having the ability to manually white balance is not a feature.

So not only do I have to edit... but I have to edit every single photo I take in this room with this ceiling lamp because... apparently... Google knows best.

...to the point that Android 11 introduced another new "feature" prohibiting the use of third party apps as the default camera. https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/20/21376391/google-android-11-third-party-camera-picker-intents

I absolutely despise the old "We know what's best for you" approach to hardware that I own...
 

hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Ouch; that's a hellacious tint. Definitely one of the rare cases I would want to edit! If that's how it regularly happens with your light that would indeed be very frustrating.