Both the Google Pixel 4a and OnePlus Nord have again made achieving the budget smartphone almost impossible. While they lack the great price of their premium counterparts, they offer many of the features you want to find in the Pixel 4 or OnePlus 8. The Pixel 4a features a camera that enables everything that happens on a flagship to be a Google device, while the OnePlus Nord offers 5G support and stronger battery life.
They are both great phones, but which one is the best? We break their specs and compare how they perform in different categories, which will help you decide which one gives you the most value for your money.
|Pixel 4A||Oneplus nord|
|Shape||144 x 69.4 x 8.2 mm (5.67 x 2.73 x 0.32 in)||158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm (6.23 x 2.89 x 0.32 in)|
|Weight||143 grams (5.04 ounces)||184 grams (6.49 ounces)|
|Screen size||5.81 inch OLED||6.44 inch fluid AMOLED|
|screen resolution||2,340 x 1,080 pixels, 19.5: 9 ratio (443 pixels per inch)||2,400 x 1,080 pixels (408 PPI)|
|Operating System||Android 10||Android 10 (under OxygenOS)|
|MicroSD card slot||No||No|
|Tap pay to Services||On google||On google|
|The processor||Snapdragon 730||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G|
|RAM||6GB||6GB, 8GB, 12GB|
|The camera||12.2-megapixel rear, 8MP front||Quad-lens 48MP, 8MP ultraviolet angle, 5MP depth, and 2MP macro rear, dual-lens 32MP and 8MP ultraviolet angle front|
|Video||4K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 120 fps||4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 480 fps|
|Ports||USB-C, headphone jack||USB-C|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes, rear-mounted||Yes (in-display)|
|The battery||3,140mAh |
Fast Charging (18W)
Warp charge 30W (up to 70% in 30 minutes)
|App marketplace||Google play store||Google play store|
|Network support||Most major US carriers||Most major US carriers|
|colour’s||Just black||Blue Marble, Gray Onyx|
|The prices||$ 350||379 British Pounds ($ 480)|
|Buy from||Google, Verizon, US Cellular||Oneplus|
|Review issue||news||3.5 stars out of 5|
Design, performance, and durability
The Google Pixel 4a specifically improves upon the design of its direct predecessor, the Pixel 3a. Gone is an old forehead bezel – it is replaced by a more pleasing edge-to-edge display, with a corner-mounted punch-hole selfie camera. The OnePlus Nord also sports a streamlined edge-to-edge display, although in its case, it has a dual-lens selfie camera in the corner. It is less considerate than a single-lens camera. However, the potential negative impact on Nord’s look is balanced by slightly narrower boundaries around performance. It also has Gorilla Glass on the rear, while the Pixel 4a works with cheaper – and less attractive – plastic.
The OnePlus Nord features a larger 6.44-inch AMOLED display, as opposed to the 5.81-inch OLED screen of the Pixel 4a. The Nord is slightly larger at 2,400 x 1,080, compared to a 4a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080. That said, the larger screen means that it actually packs fewer pixels per inch at 408 instead of 443. This may make this behavior seem a little less vivid, although this difference will not be as significant.
One advantage over Pixel 4a over OnePlus Nord is its size and weight. It is just 40 grams (more than one ounce) lighter and is also thinner and less long. Therefore, most users are likely to be more comfortable to hold and use it, although the Nord wrist is a pain.
Finally, both phones lack an IP durability rating, so it’s hard to tell which one will last the longest. We are going to declare this round a draw as both phones are beautiful in their own way and both provide satisfactory performance.
Performance, battery life and charging
The Pixel 4a is powered by Snapdragon 730, while the OnePlus Nord comes with Snapdragon 765G under its bonnet. The difference between the two processors is slight, with 765G improving GPU performance, meaning that graphics and visuals will be rendered more quickly by Nord.
Both phones come with 6GB of RAM as standard, which should be enough to handle the vast majority of games and applications that come your way. Having said that, you can buy OnePlus with 8GB of RAM or 12GB of RAM, it is far more powerful than the Pixel 4a if you have extra cash. The 12GB version of the OnePlus Nord also offers 256GB of internal memory, while the 8GB and 6GB versions come with 128GB and 64GB respectively. The Pixel 4a gives you a generous 128GB as standard.
One area where the Pixel 4A is not that generous is batteries. It falls far short of the OnePlus Nord in this regard, offering a 3,140mAh cell, while the OnePlus phone offers 4,115mAh. The Nord can live comfortably for more than a day without the need for a recharge, while the 4A may require recharging in a single day, especially if you are a heavy user.
Then the fact that the Pixel 4a supports fast charging at 18W, while the OnePlus Nord goes up to 30W. This enables OnePlus’s device to charge up to 70% in about 30 minutes, which is very quick for anyone.
Combined with the improved processor, this battery advantage provides the OnePlus Nord with a clear win in this round.
Winner: OnePlus Nord
The camera is where the Google Pixel 4a actually excels. It employs the same 12.2MP main lens as the Pixel 4 and operates using the same software (such as Knight Sight), which makes full use of Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) skills. It may not look like much on paper, but 4A takes great photos in almost every condition.
On the other hand, the OnePlus Nord has more impressive specs, but less impressive results. Its main camera is the 48MP Sony IMX586, topped by an 8MP ultraviolet camera, 5MP depth sensor and 2MP macro sensor. Such hardware establishes it as a highly versatile camera phone, yet the reality is quite different. We found that it often preformed shots and could not use HDR as well as the OnePlus 8, creating photos that looked in too much detail.
To be fair, the OnePlus Nord lets you capture 4K video at 60 fps, while the Pixel 4A can only muster 30 fps. This is not enough to counterbalance the 4a’s superior camera, however, this round is a decisive victory for Google’s phone.
Winner: Google Pixel 4a
Software and updates
OnePlus Nord runs on OxygenOS 10, its own version of Android 10. OnePlus. It is one of the fastest Android skin, offering a fast and accessible user interface that is not overly crowded with features. One of its main additions to Android that you can find elsewhere is Zen Mode, which helps you maintain your purity by giving you a 20-minute time-out, during which your calls and notifications are muted and You cannot access different apps.
It may not be like a novel, but the Pixel 4a runs on Android 10. The advantage is that, being a Google phone, it will be the first line to receive security and core software updates. This puts it ahead of the OnePlus Nord, which often benefits from new software releases.
Winner: Google Pixel 4a
The Pixel 4A and OnePlus Nord each have a headline-specific feature, and what’s more special will depend on your preferences as a phone user. Pixel comes with the aforementioned flagship-level camera, which basically lets inexperienced photographers point their phone at a person or scene and capture a quality photo. Meanwhile, Nord comes with support for 5G, which will let you surf the web and download media at a much higher speed.
Other than that there is not much to write home about, although the Pixel 4a offers some Google-specific features you wouldn’t normally do on other Android devices. If you lose yourself in an unfamiliar location, Google Maps Augmented Reality Instruction mode comes in handy, while AI-based features such as call screens can help you save time.
This round can go either way, though the Pixel 4a’s Google-only extras can swing it for something. Then 5G, brings a level of future proof that others can get more value than anything, so we’re going to declare another tie.
Price and availability
The OnePlus Nord is now available from OnePlus, Amazon, Three and John Lewis stores in UP. Prices start at 379 British pounds (about $ 480). OnePlus has stated that it has not launched the phone beyond the banned beta program in the United States.
Google Pixel 4a is available from August 20 for $ 400. Google has confirmed that it is being sold from Verizon, US Cellular and Google Fi. It is not yet confirmed whether the phone will be available from T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T.
Overall Winner: Google Pixel 4a
This is a close call, but Google displays the Pixel 4a OnePlus Nord as a budget smartphone. It doesn’t look good enough, and is a bit less powerful, but its camera produces better images in most environments. It also has better software and will receive more regular updates, something that will keep it securely running for a long time. Its display is at least as sharp as the OnePlus Nord, while it is also available in cheaper and more available (at least US) smartphones.
The OnePlus Nord will be more attractive to anyone wanting a 5G. This in itself is a great budget smartphone, but in the end, the Pixel 4a wins for providing premium features at such a low price.