Pixel 4a thoughts?

techie81

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I am thinking of "upgrading" my iPhone 8 to a Pixel 4a. Any thoughts on this phone?

Pretty good review here.

 

CHANG3D

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No 5G means this phone is not for me. But then considering that this phone will only get two major updates, perhaps I’m the one being naive about its longevity and futureproofness. Also, when the hell is Google going to do something about it’s video taking abilities? Also, OnePlus Nord is $500 and the same SoC is going into the Pixel 5. Google is using a far inferior SoC for the Pixel 4a 5G at that same $500 price point. So value-wise, if you don’t need 5G, get iPhone SE. If you do want 5G, get the OnePlus Nord or wait.
 
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SticKx911

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No 5G means this phone is not for me. But then considering that this phone will only get two major updates, perhaps I’m the one being naive about its longevity and futureproofness. Also, when the hell is Google going to do something about it’s video taking abilities? Also, OnePlus Nord is $500 and the same SoC is going into the Pixel 5. Google is using a far inferior SoC for the Pixel 4a 5G at that same $500 price point. So value-wise, if you don’t need 5G, get iPhone SE. If you do want 5G, get the OnePlus Nord or wait.
My 2xl is on the latest beta build. I’m pretty sure they’re going to drag the 4a along for multiple years as well. The nord is not being sold in the US right?
that said, I really like qi for overnight charging so it missing that kinda keeps me from jumping on it at launch. Qi isn’t a necessity, just the one thing that would have got me to switch from my 2xl to buying that.
 
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mls1995

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MKBHD said the Pixel 4a was a little laggy. And since that’s exactly why I want rid of my Note 9 then I’ll be aiming for something higher.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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So, I currently have a Pixel 3 and don't need another phone for quite some time, but I have given some thought to "what would I get if I had to".

I hated the Pixel 4. The fact that they removed the finger print reader and focused on cloud and assistant garbage really turned me off from it.

The 4a is better in that regard. It has a finger print reader. (It apparently even has an analog audio jack!)

I don't really like the way phones are going in general, but the 4a I think I could live with. I'd just do the same thing I did with my Pixel 3:
1.) Turn off everything cloud related.
2.) Set the interface back to the original "triangle, circle, square" style
3.) Disable the google assistant
4.) Replace the launcher with Nova Launcher.

I feel like with those four adjustments I could live with it.

I'm not exactly sure where it stands performance wise. According to geek bench it is slightly faster than my Pixel 3 in single core loads, but a bit slower in multi-core loads. I'm guessing fewer cores? That said, phone performance really does not matter to me. I'm still even happy with my ancient LG G Pad X 8. I don't understand the complaints of lagginess on any phone. I haven't used a phone that felt sluggish to me in over a decade. Because of this, CPU and GPU performance isn't even something I consider when phone shopping. They are all fast enough for text messages, web and email. :p

And then there is the price which is spectacular by modern standards. We are back in Nexus territory which is awesome.

Without having touched one (so I could change my mind) I feel like the 4a is the midrange phone done right.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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that said, I really like qi for overnight charging so it missing that kinda keeps me from jumping on it at launch. Qi isn’t a necessity, just the one thing that would have got me to switch from my 2xl to buying that.

I bought a couple of Qi chargers when I first got my Pixel 3. I've maybe used them 10 times in the year I've owned it. I find they charge too slowly, and the fact that you have to set them down on a platform means you cant really charge and use them at the same time.

The one time I used Qi to charge it overnight, I must have knocked into it at some point in the night and it fell off the charger and was dead the next morning.

I find that wireless charging is just more trouble than it is worth, a solution in search of a problem.
 
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legcramp

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No 5G means this phone is not for me. But then considering that this phone will only get two major updates, perhaps I’m the one being naive about its longevity and futureproofness. Also, when the hell is Google going to do something about it’s video taking abilities? Also, OnePlus Nord is $500 and the same SoC is going into the Pixel 5. Google is using a far inferior SoC for the Pixel 4a 5G at that same $500 price point. So value-wise, if you don’t need 5G, get iPhone SE. If you do want 5G, get the OnePlus Nord or wait.

The NORD looks like the perfect phone for me... big screen, cheap... replacing my V30 since it's cracked.. now where is that US release date...
 

T4rd

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4a looks solid to me and like a worthy replacement for my 2 XL for the most part. Only thing it's missing for me is a wide angle camera. I don't care about wireless charging or water resistance and definitely prefer the rear fingerprint scanner to the face recognition on the 4, which is really hoping the rumors are true that they're dropping that on the 5. But my 2 XL is still trucking along just fine, even battery life is still good. If only Google wasn't ending support for it at the end of the year, I'm confident that I could keep it for another year, the only thing that sucks on it is weak display brightness outside, which even the newer Pixels still suck at too though.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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No 5G means this phone is not for me. But then considering that this phone will only get two major updates, perhaps I’m the one being naive about its longevity and futureproofness. Also, when the hell is Google going to do something about it’s video taking abilities? Also, OnePlus Nord is $500 and the same SoC is going into the Pixel 5. Google is using a far inferior SoC for the Pixel 4a 5G at that same $500 price point. So value-wise, if you don’t need 5G, get iPhone SE. If you do want 5G, get the OnePlus Nord or wait.


What are you expecting 5g to do for you that 4g won't?

Personally I'm pretty much expecting the only perceivable difference from going 5g to be the little 5g logo in everything.

It's really nothing but cellphone carrier marketing hype.
 

CHANG3D

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What does 4G do for you that 2G won’t? Why can’t you use your hand instead of wasting toilet paper? You going to wash your hand for 20 seconds, right? Silly questions for silly questions.

Just in case you’re just ignorant about 5G. 5G is 20x faster than 4G. It has a theoretical peak at 20 Gbps vs 4G’s 1 Gbps. Sure, none of the carriers are delivering close to that theoretical rate right now. But T-Mobile for example is readying a network that could easily deliver 5Gbps once they start using sprint’s spectrum. What’s your internet speed at home again?
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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What does 4G do for you that 2G won’t? Why can’t you use your hand instead of wasting toilet paper? You going to wash your hand for 20 seconds, right? Silly questions for silly questions.

Just in case you’re just ignorant about 5G. 5G is 20x faster than 4G. It has a theoretical peak at 20 Gbps vs 4G’s 1 Gbps. Sure, none of the carriers are delivering close to that theoretical rate right now. But T-Mobile for example is readying a network that could easily deliver 5Gbps once they start using sprint’s spectrum. What’s your internet speed at home again?

Yep, and it's a huge farce because all of the speed benefits come in the millimeter wave spectrum, which has a range limit of 100-200 yards and needs clear line of sight. Any wireless tech that requires clear line of sight is essentially useless.

Typical 5g experience will be ~LTE Advanced + ~20% maybe?

5g is the biggest marketing hype farce ever. In theory capable of amazing things, but in practice will be a very small bump over what we already have today.

And even so, for what phones are used for (web browsing / text messages / email / youtube?) even if you got the full overhyped marketing speeds from 5g, would you even notice?

I mean, for everything I could even imagine doing on my phone, the 150Mbit down / 25mbit up I just benchmarked (because I was curious) is more than fast enough that even if it got 100 times faster I don't think I'd notice. Things are already seamless.

Webpages load instantly, youtube never buffers, even at high quality, even large emails send so fast that I barely notice. This was never the case with 2g or 3g which is why 4g was necessary, but with everything we can do with 4g already I literally don't see what added bandwidth buys us, even if 5g delivered on the marketing promises, which it won't. (Physics says so)

We are already doing high resolution video chats on the go. What else do you need?
 
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KarsusTG

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No 5G means this phone is not for me. But then considering that this phone will only get two major updates, perhaps I’m the one being naive about its longevity and futureproofness. Also, when the hell is Google going to do something about it’s video taking abilities? Also, OnePlus Nord is $500 and the same SoC is going into the Pixel 5. Google is using a far inferior SoC for the Pixel 4a 5G at that same $500 price point. So value-wise, if you don’t need 5G, get iPhone SE. If you do want 5G, get the OnePlus Nord or wait.

I know the OnePlus phones are not supported on US networks. At least not officially. They get this BS generic provisioning that demotes you to a lower priority on the networks and denies you 5g access.
 

biggles

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Best things about the Pixel devices are the software updates and the camera. While I have never been a fan of them, the 4a should be a big sales success:
https://9to5google.com/2020/08/06/pixel-4a-amazon/

This review does a good job of analyzing its strengths and weaknesses:

For the OP, given the slower cpu in the 4a this does not look like a smart upgrade. Probably want an 800 series Snapdragon in order to outperform the iPhone 8.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I know the OnePlus phones are not supported on US networks. At least not officially. They get this BS generic provisioning that demotes you to a lower priority on the networks and denies you 5g access.

And then there's the security risk of using a China designed phone...

It would be better to not have a phone at all.
 
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And then there's the security risk of using a China designed phone...

It would be better to not have a phone at all.

Having mobile radio alone makes any phone insecure. You can build a functional IMSI Catcher/Stingray device for less than $100 and with basic commands (from a step-by-step internet guide) force all GSM/CDMA phones in 50 foot radius to connect to it, allowing you to eavesdrop on calls and text messages, which are plaintext. ISMI Catchers simply downgrade 5G/4G, etc. to basic levels. They don't even need to break encryption for that.

Most people just don't get it and don't know that even their local hospitals use such Stingrays to monitor hospital employees to make sure those employees don't unlawfully disclose protected patient data (health information). That may seem like a positive aspect meant to enhance patient privacy, but it isn't because such Stingrays force everyone's GSM/CDMA radios in the area to connect to them. That means patients' phone radios are also monitored. The tiny details make matters even worse because such monitoring scans for specific words related to health information to make sure only possible law violators' data is looked at by security folks, but the patients in hospitals are the ones who discuss health information on their mobiles the most. Patients can do that lawfully and it is patients' text messages that get flagged with "possible privacy violation" label the most. That allows security to take a closer look and become privy to medical and other types of patient information.

Bascially, I would suggest being concerned about what is going on in your own backyard, city, county or immediate area before worrying about China or other countries.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Having mobile radio alone makes any phone insecure. You can build a functional IMSI Catcher/Stingray device for less than $100 and with basic commands (from a step-by-step internet guide) force all GSM/CDMA phones in 50 foot radius to connect to it, allowing you to eavesdrop on calls and text messages, which are plaintext. ISMI Catchers simply downgrade 5G/4G, etc. to basic levels. They don't even need to break encryption for that.

Most people just don't get it and don't know that even their local hospitals use such Stingrays to monitor hospital employees to make sure those employees don't unlawfully disclose protected patient data (health information). That may seem like a positive aspect meant to enhance patient privacy, but it isn't because such Stingrays force everyone's GSM/CDMA radios in the area to connect to them. That means patients' phone radios are also monitored. The tiny details make matters even worse because such monitoring scans for specific words related to health information to make sure only possible law violators' data is looked at by security folks, but the patients in hospitals are the ones who discuss health information on their mobiles the most. Patients can do that lawfully and it is patients' text messages that get flagged with "possible privacy violation" label the most. That allows security to take a closer look and become privy to medical and other types of patient information.

Bascially, I would suggest being concerned about what is going on in your own backyard, city, county or immediate area before worrying about China or other countries.

In my industry we are constantly under attack from Chinese industrial espionage.

It is literally a constant threat to our jobs and success of our companies.

Whenever I see someone use a Chinese designed brand as a BYO device for work, I cringe.

I agree with you though. Stingrays are a huge concern and ought to be illegal. In this day and age it is inexcusable that wireless communication doesn't use some sort of crypto-authentication to avoid this man in the middle bullshit. This - however - I cannot do anything about. I dio have control over which phone I choose though. Just because there are more security concerns than one, doesn't mean I should ignore the ones that are in my control.
 

Vengance_01

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MKBHD said the Pixel 4a was a little laggy. And since that’s exactly why I want rid of my Note 9 then I’ll be aiming for something higher.
Your note 9 is laggy due to sammmy's bloat. Wait for the 5g 4a with the 765g
 

kirbyrj

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What does 4G do for you that 2G won’t? Why can’t you use your hand instead of wasting toilet paper? You going to wash your hand for 20 seconds, right? Silly questions for silly questions.

Just in case you’re just ignorant about 5G. 5G is 20x faster than 4G. It has a theoretical peak at 20 Gbps vs 4G’s 1 Gbps. Sure, none of the carriers are delivering close to that theoretical rate right now. But T-Mobile for example is readying a network that could easily deliver 5Gbps once they start using sprint’s spectrum. What’s your internet speed at home again?

I didn't think it was a silly question at all. No one is denying that 5G is faster, but when you're talking about a battery powered handheld device with limited processing capabilities and limited monthly bandwidth the question of "Do you need 5G?" is legitimate IMO. Certainly more legitimate than some rambling toilet paper nonsense.

Personally, I see 5G as more of a threat to home broadband than a cell phone necessity at this point.
 

kirbyrj

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I pre-ordered a 4a to replace my 3a. I don't really see the Nord as a viable competitor because it's $150 more, not available in the US, and has a larger form factor. The biggest selling point to me is the size. It's shorter than my 3a.
 
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In my industry we are constantly under attack from Chinese industrial espionage.

It is literally a constant threat to our jobs and success of our companies.

Whenever I see someone use a Chinese designed brand as a BYO device for work, I cringe.

I agree with you though. Stingrays are a huge concern and ought to be illegal. In this day and age it is inexcusable that wireless communication doesn't use some sort of crypto-authentication to avoid this man in the middle bullshit. This - however - I cannot do anything about. I dio have control over which phone I choose though. Just because there are more security concerns than one, doesn't mean I should ignore the ones that are in my control.

Yeap, but since most phones are made in China, how do you know that most of them don't come with some Chinese exploitation? You think it is safer to buy the ones that say "Made in Korea" ? BTW - U.S. Government Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Yeap, but since most phones are made in China, how do you know that most of them don't come with some Chinese exploitation? You think it is safer to buy the ones that say "Made in Korea" ? BTW - U.S. Government Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones

"Made in" is a concern, but nowhere near as big of a concern as "designed in". While they can sneak something in in the manufacturing process, it is much more difficult to do than if you have complete control of the design process.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Your note 9 is laggy due to sammmy's bloat. Wait for the 5g 4a with the 765g

The stronger CPU to me is the biggest benefit of the 5G, not that it has 5g.

It should address some concerns of future proofing.

For me personally my Pixel 3 will likely be OK for some time to come. Performance wise it is fine, and will be for at least a couple of years I think. Support ends in October next year though, so once it no longer gets security updates it is useless to me. At that point I will have to make a decision. I wonder if the potential future 5a will be desirable, and will be out by then.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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I didn't think it was a silly question at all. No one is denying that 5G is faster, but when you're talking about a battery powered handheld device with limited processing capabilities and limited monthly bandwidth the question of "Do you need 5G?" is legitimate IMO. Certainly more legitimate than some rambling toilet paper nonsense.

Personally, I see 5G as more of a threat to home broadband than a cell phone necessity at this point.

I have no doubt someone will think of applications that require higher bandwidths when available.

Probably won't be on the market immediately though. No need to jump on 5g right off the bat.
At some point in the future it may be a required feature due to new applications but probably not until well after my 2 year phone upgrade cycle, at which point getting a new non-5g phone probably won't be an option.

All that said, I'm still convinced that 5g is mostly hype and won't deliver the performance that has been bandied about. See my previous post on this.
 

Vengance_01

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The stronger CPU to me is the biggest benefit of the 5G, not that it has 5g.

It should address some concerns of future proofing.

For me personally my Pixel 3 will likely be OK for some time to come. Performance wise it is fine, and will be for at least a couple of years I think. Support ends in October next year though, so once it no longer gets security updates it is useless to me. At that point I will have to make a decision. I wonder if the potential future 5a will be desirable, and will be out by then.
The 5a and 6 will be out. Seems Google is set of this release cycle. By then 5g will be standard. I agree skip them if you have the 3 or 3xl if your battery is decent
 
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mls1995

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unless camera is super important to you then a Oneplus 7t ($399 or $379 with easily-done student discount) is the way to go
 

kirbyrj

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unless camera is super important to you then a Oneplus 7t ($399 or $379 with easily-done student discount) is the way to go

It's a somewhat larger phone. I am sure that I am in the minority, but a major consideration for me is the physical size of the phone.
 
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mls1995

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It's a somewhat larger phone. I am sure that I am in the minority, but a major consideration for me is the physical size of the phone.

I'm switching from Note 9s so yeah, I'm fine with a big phone. I've never worried about a phone being too big.
 

kirbyrj

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I'm switching from Note 9s so yeah, I'm fine with a big phone. I've never worried about a phone being too big.

I have to fit mine into a shirt pocket at work. So I've had primarily the small Pixels for my last few phones. The S8 was pushing it and the 3A is close. From the case I already have for my 4A, it looks like it is slightly shorter than the 3A which is better for me. The last "big" phone I had was a Note 2 some 7-8 years ago now.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I have to fit mine into a shirt pocket at work. So I've had primarily the small Pixels for my last few phones. The S8 was pushing it and the 3A is close. From the case I already have for my 4A, it looks like it is slightly shorter than the 3A which is better for me. The last "big" phone I had was a Note 2 some 7-8 years ago now.

I'm with you. I always opt for the smaller models for better pocket compatibility (though I've never been tempted to put mine in my shirt pocket...)

I also find the smaller models easier to use single handed. I am able to hold them in the palm of my hand and still reach the opposite upper corner of the phone with my thumb.

I don't find the larger screens really do anything for me. If I really need to I can just hold the phone closer :p
 
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somebrains

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I have to fit mine into a shirt pocket at work. So I've had primarily the small Pixels for my last few phones. The S8 was pushing it and the 3A is close. From the case I already have for my 4A, it looks like it is slightly shorter than the 3A which is better for me. The last "big" phone I had was a Note 2 some 7-8 years ago now.

Nexus 6 was my last big phone.
I'm a back pocket guy.
My 3a and gfs 3axl have 16 payments left so 6a will be my next phone after a year's worth of final support after they are paid off.

There's always that 6mos of the phone becoming glitchy or a major bug when I get my last OS image that may prompt me to go with 5a sooner.

I'll have to see how it goes.

I've been really happy with the cheapie phone so far.
 

somebrains

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Yannow, I just looked at the support table.

4a has a spread of 3 months support coverage in the final year, August stop for 4a vs October stop for xl.

Previous Pixel phones didn't do that btw models in a family.

If the longest support time matters in go xl.
 

narsbars

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What does 4G do for you that 2G won’t? Why can’t you use your hand instead of wasting toilet paper? You going to wash your hand for 20 seconds, right? Silly questions for silly questions.

Just in case you’re just ignorant about 5G. 5G is 20x faster than 4G. It has a theoretical peak at 20 Gbps vs 4G’s 1 Gbps. Sure, none of the carriers are delivering close to that theoretical rate right now. But T-Mobile for example is readying a network that could easily deliver 5Gbps once they start using sprint’s spectrum. What’s your internet speed at home again?
Oh goodie! I can use my whole months data allotment if a few minutes instead of a few hours.
 

somebrains

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Mobile bandwidth providers will need to up their data caps with 5g if they want to promote capability.
I thought 4g data caps at 10gb was excessive until I ripped thru 5gb in a couple days on-site at E3 tethering my phone when I was building out networks to drops back in 2013.
 

Tactlesss

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I've been looking for an upgrade from the pixel 2. I figured I could wait until the 3/3XL would've dropped further in price but it seems I missed the cut off
 

somebrains

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I've been looking for an upgrade from the pixel 2. I figured I could wait until the 3/3XL would've dropped further in price but it seems I missed the cut off

Our pixel 1s got bit by that head jack audio glitch, various batt life issues with android 10, and something else that made me question whether they tested anything before pushing it.

100% should have bailed to pixel 2 on launch but I was thinking with my wallet.
Next time I’ll avoid the daily annoyance.

3a has been a troublefree experience so far.
Let’s see what happens with android 11.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Our pixel 1s got bit by that head jack audio glitch, various batt life issues with android 10, and something else that made me question whether they tested anything before pushing it.

100% should have bailed to pixel 2 on launch but I was thinking with my wallet.
Next time I’ll avoid the daily annoyance.

3a has been a troublefree experience so far.
Let’s see what happens with android 11.

My Pixel 1 I bought at launch was perfect, never a problem. Well, I mean, the battery aged, but I replaced it. Then it suddenly was just dead. Woke up one morning and it would not power on. Black screen, nothing.

Gave me just over 3 years of trouble free use though, which is the longest I've kept a cellphone as long as I've had a cellphone, so I guess I can't complain.

I replaced it with a Pixel 3 when they were selling off the last ones at a discount after the 4 launched in October.

I'll with all likelihood keep this one until support ends, and then poke around at whats available. That should be Pixel 5a time. I hope they keep up the trend of keeping the fingerprint sensor and analog audio jack with the 5a.
 
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