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Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives: 6 other phones that deserve a look

If you like a lot about the phone but not enough to buy it, here are some Pixel 4a 5G alternatives that might work better.

Published onMarch 21, 2021

In September 2020, Google officially launched the Google Pixel 4a 5G. As its name implies, it’s a 5G-powered variant of the Google Pixel 4a, which launched earlier in August. You might like the Pixel 4a 5G quite a bit, but there might be things that don’t excite you. That’s where these Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives come in!

See also: Everything you need to know about Google hardware

Below, you’ll find six other phones that deliver a similar experience at similar price points. Granted, some of these handsets will be more expensive, but others will actually be cheaper. With phones in this price range, you really need to factor out which features are the most important to you and then use that as your guide for your decision.

Without further ado, here are the best Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives you can currently find!

1. Google Pixel 5

google pixel 5 sorta sage press image from youtube video
  • Many more premium features with a similar design
  • $200 more expensive
  • Available unlocked and on many US carriers

The Google Pixel 5 is the most obvious choice from the various Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives. The Pixel 5 has a very similar design and shares a lot of the same specs, including 5G support. It even launched on the same day!

However, the Pixel 5 offers a few notable upgrades over the Pixel 4a 5G. It has a 90Hz display refresh rate, which allows for a much smoother experience when scrolling around apps. The Pixel 5 also has an IP68 certification protecting it from water and dust. It has wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, an upgraded camera system, a bigger battery, and more RAM.

Related: Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4a 5G vs Pixel 4a: Which should you buy?

Essentially, if you like the Pixel 4a 5G but it’s just not as powerful and feature-rich as you would want, the Pixel 5 is the obvious next-best-choice. It looks similar, it has the same software, and it will deliver a terrific camera experience.

Of course, all those extra perks come at a premium. The Pixel 5 starts at $699, which is $200 more than the Google Pixel 4a 5G. Keep in mind, though, that $700 is still much, much cheaper than the big-time flagships of the year, which come in at around $1,000 or sometimes more.

Google Pixel 5 taking a photo 4 1
Google Pixel 5 (New)
Google's first 5G smartphone
The Google Pixel 5 may not be the high-end Pixel we were expecting, but it's a pretty compelling mid-range option. Google is going back to basics with the Pixel 5, ditching higher-end features like face recognition and the quirky Motion Sense gestures.

2. Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a back face down zoomed in 1
David Imel / Android Authority
  • Fewer features but a similar design and software experience
  • $150 cheaper
  • A wide range of availability in all countries, including India

If your main issue with the Pixel 4a 5G is that it’s too expensive, then the vanilla Google Pixel 4a is something you should check out. It’s the cheapest phone on this list of Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives.

The Pixel 4a is a foil to the Pixel 5. Where the Pixel 5 increases the price by adding in more features, the Pixel 4a decreases the price by removing them. For example, the Pixel 4a only has one camera lens on the back, is physically smaller with a smaller battery, and has a weaker processor.

Related: Google Pixel 4a review: Google’s best phone in years

With the Pixel 4a, you’ll also lose out on 5G support. While 5G connectivity might not be super important right now, the lack of compatibility makes this phone less future-proof.

Of course, the loss of those features drops the price significantly by about 30%. The Pixel 4a 5G is $499, while the Pixel 4a is only $349. That’s a huge difference that could sway the budget-conscious buyer. The bottom line here is that if you want a terrific smartphone experience for as little money as possible, you want the Pixel 4a.

Google Pixel 4a front standing straight
Google Pixel 4a
Pixel on a budget
Getting the Google experience has never been more accessible. A compact phone that's easy to use, a beautiful screen, and one of the best cameras in this price range. The Pixel 4a is hard to beat.

3. Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G color burst
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Some upgrades (and some downgrades) inside a very “Samsung” design
  • $100 more expensive, but it has frequent discounts
  • Available pretty much everywhere

Moving away from Pixel phones, one of the best Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives is the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G. This is the current top-of-the-line mid-range phone from Samsung. If you go any more premium than this, you enter into Galaxy S territory.

The Galaxy A71 5G is a very different phone from the Pixel 4a 5G. Most notably, it’s bigger, heavier, and has twice as many rear cameras as the Pixel 4a 5G. However, it’s not necessarily more powerful. Its Exynos chipset probably won’t match the Snapdragon 765G on the Pixel phone. In our review of the Galaxy phone, we felt its performance was slightly lacking for a device in its price range.

Related: Samsung phones buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

That being said, there are some notable perks to the Galaxy A71 5G. It has a MicroSD slot for expandable storage, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and a much bigger battery that charges at a faster rate. It also features a unique two-tone design that might be cool enough to sway your vote.

The MSRP for the Galaxy A71 5G is $599, or $100 more than that Pixel 4a 5G. However, it is very easy to find deals that knock that price down to match the Pixel 4a 5G. This one is absolutely worth a look for the Pixel 4a 5G shopper!

samsung galaxy a71 5g press render
Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
Samsung's most affordable 5G phone.
Looking for a 5G phone but don't want to break the $1,000 barrier? The Galaxy A71 5G offers the speed you need at a price you love without feeling cheap.

4. Motorola One 5G

Motorola One 5G Motorola Promo Shot
  • A very similar phone but with a lower-quality display
  • Much cheaper
  • Worldwide availability

The Motorola One 5G is the latest 5G-capable phone from the brand. It’s also the cheapest 5G-capable Android smartphone in the United States as of this moment. In other words, if all you care about is 5G connectivity, then you can save a bit of cash by buying this one rather than any of the other Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives on this list.

Of course, the Motorola One 5G has some other interesting features that aren’t related to 5G. For starters, it has a dual-lens selfie camera, which is pretty nifty. It also has a MicroSD card slot, a quad-lens camera on the rear, an enormous 5,000mAh battery, and a display with a 90Hz refresh rate.

Related: Refresh rate explained: What does 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz mean?

Unfortunately, that display is LCD instead of OLED, which makes it of lesser overall quality. It also has less RAM and a slower charging speed than the Pixel 4a 5G.

The bottom line for this phone is that you’ll be saving a little bit of cash by making some fairly significant trade-offs. You’ll still get 5G support and a few perks compared to the Pixel 4a 5G, but there are reasons Motorola is only charging $445 for it.

While this phone was previously only available from AT&T, it’s now available via Verizon, and also as an unlocked phone. Currently, Motorola has priced the phone at just $299.99 in a special promotion.

Motorola One 5G
Motorola One 5G
A low-priced option in the 5G smartphone space.
The Motorola One 5G probably won't blow anyone away with its specs or design, but it delivers a capable experience with 5G support for a pretty low price.

5. OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord back side hero shot
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
  • Equal or better specs across the board
  • Less expensive
  • Only available in certain countries, and the US isn’t one of them

Last but certainly not least, we have the OnePlus Nord. Currently, this is the only phone on this list of Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives that is not available in the United States. There are rumors that a variation of the Nord will make its way to the US this year, but there is no confirmation as of yet.

If you live in a supported area of the world, though, the Nord is absolutely worth checking out. It offers pretty much every spec the Pixel 4a 5G sports but adds a little more. For example, it has a 90Hz display refresh rate, more RAM, more rear cameras, an extra front camera, a bigger battery, faster charging speeds, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. Whew!

Related: OnePlus Nord review: Get it for Oxygen OS and its value

What’s more, the OnePlus Nord is actually less expensive in many countries when compared to the Pixel 4a 5G. In the United Kingdom, the Pixel 4a 5G is £499 while the Nord is £379. That’s huge!

Of course, there are some drawbacks to the OnePlus Nord. It won’t feature the Pixel software experience, including those ultra-fast security updates. The Nord also won’t have the Pixel camera experience (more lenses don’t always mean better photos). It will, however, offer a lot of the same specs at a lower price, which is significant.

OnePlus Nord Holding the device out in the hand within the case
OnePlus Nord
The first mid-ranger from OnePlus in years.
The OnePlus Nord is a good mid-range smartphone with great software and a striking new colorway. OnePlus did a respectable job delivering a solid experience that for the most part, equals the competition.

6. iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone SE back straight on
David Imel / Android Authority
  • Mostly lower-quality specs and no 5G, but a much faster processor
  • $100 cheaper
  • Available pretty much everywhere

Obviously, because this is an iOS device, a lot of our readers might not even consider it. However, if you’re the kind of buyer who isn’t loyal to a particular operating system, the iPhone SE is definitely one of the best Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives out there.

Essentially, the iPhone SE is the iOS version of the Google Pixel 4a. It offers some of the most basic aspects of its more expensive flagship brothers while cutting a ton of corners to keep the price down.

Related: Apple iPhone SE review: What’s old is new again

Where the iPhone SE one-ups the Pixel 4a (and the Pixel 4a 5G, and even the Pixel 5) is with the processor. The iPhone SE houses the same A13 processor that powered the iPhone 11 series. That makes the phone ridiculously overpowered. In brief, your experience using this device will be nothing short of flawless.

Of course, you’ll be giving up a lot if you choose this one over the Pixel 4a 5G. You won’t get 5G connectivity, and you’ll get less RAM, less internal storage, and a much, much smaller display in a dated-looking chassis. You also won’t get Android, obviously.

Still, the iPhone SE is one of the best bang-for-your-buck phones launched in 2020 and it is worth your consideration.

Apple iPhone SE 2020 in all colors
iPhone SE
iPhone 11 power in an iPhone 8 body.
The iPhone SE offers the power of an Apple flagship, for less than half the cost.

Those are the best Google Pixel 4a 5G alternatives we know about. Be sure to bookmark this page, though, as other phones could launch this year that might make the list!

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