Now that Google’s Pixel 6 is here, does it still make sense to buy a Pixel 3, 4 or 5?

Which Google phone makes sense to buy now between Pixel 3, Pixel 4A, Pixel 5 and Pixel 5A?

Angela Lang / CNET

This summer, I faced a dilemma: Min Google Pixel 3 XL was on his last legs. Its battery was a pale shadow of its former self. Its USB-C port could not carry a charge half the time. Both sides of the phone, the screen and the glass back, were one spiderwebbed root of cracks and chips. And according to Google, the phone no more Android updates are guaranteed. I needed a new phone, pronto.

At the time Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro with Google’s new Tensor chip was months away. However, I did not really want to wait. And even with Google autumn launch event behind us, there are always price reductions that draw people to older models. A few months ago, my options looked straightforward. A long time ago, I had thrown myself over Google’s pure Android platform back in time Nexus 5. Since then, I have moved on to the original Pixel XL and Pixel 3 XL. So the thought of switch to an iPhone as the new one iPhone 13 was ridiculous. And the idea of ​​using one Samsung Galaxy phone was just as foreign.

Read more: CNETs Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro reviews

My plan was to go with another Pixel – the problem was to choose which. Scoring a renovate Pixel 3 XL was a way to go. But there was also Pixel 4A and Pixel 5. That Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 5A with 5G were also interesting opportunities. Confused yet? I’m not blaming you. But in the end, I chose the right Pixel for myself. If you’re like me and need a Google handset right now, read on. The phone I chose (and why I chose it) may also make sense to you.

Current Pixel phones should get the latest software first.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Just Android, no chaser

After I went for pure Android, which Google intended, I could never go back. Duplicate apps and tons of non-removable bloatware are just a remote memory. Pixel phones are also the first to get Android OS and security updates. This is not usually the case with Samsung or OnePlus devices. And the fact that I’m a mobile subscriber to Google Fi often narrows down the possibilities for replacing my phone. All it does get one Pixel, any Pixel, my chosen path.

Read more: Google Pixel 6 vs. 6 Pro vs. Pixel 5 vs. 5A and what is Pixel Pass?

It’s time for me to move on from Pixel 3.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Option 1: Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL

Google is no longer officially selling Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL. That said, you can find both models on Amazon. However, to replace my (then) current Pixel 3 XL (128 GB), I would have had to pay $ 470. Now it costs $ 452. Either way, it’s too much to pay for an older processor (Snapdragon 845) and measly 4GB of RAM. More importantly, Google will soon finalize guaranteed software updates. Therefore, this phone is not worth it no matter how much the price has dropped since or may drop in the future.

Read more: Google Pixel 3 vs. 3 XL

Google Pixel 4A.

Juan Garzon / CNET

Option 2: Pixel 4A

That Pixel 4A comes with Snapdragon 730G, a better processor than 3 XL. You also get 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal memory and promised software updates from Google until August 2023. Not a bad deal for $ 349 – it’s a compelling option. Still, I could do better.

Google Pixel 5

Juan Garzon / CNET

Option 3: Pixel 5

Representative last year’s ultimate Google-branded Android phone is Pixel 5. It is powered by a respectably muscular Snapdragon 765G processor along with a robust 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Google will also keep the device’s software fresh until October 2023. Other welcome features include wireless and reverse wireless charging plus IP68 water and dust protection. Pixel 5 also links to 5G mobile networks.

During the summer, the price was $ 699, which was way too expensive. Now with the arrival of the Pixel 6, the Pixel 5 is priced at a comfortable $ 449. By comparison, the Pixel 6 starts at $ 599, while the Pixel 6 Pro costs at least $ 899. Still, it would not have been a wise move to pay the highest dollar in June last year for the 2020 model. That’s why I passed on the Pixel 5 back then. At its new lower price, though it is much more tempting.

Pixel 4A 5G offers a good compromise between price, power and potential.

Pixel 4A 5G

Option 4: Pixel 4A 5G

This is the phone I ultimately chose because at the time it was a perfect compromise of price, performance and potential. I ordered my Pixel 4A 5G back in June 2021. With the launch of the Pixel 6 and the price drop on Pixel 5A, however, all bets are off. (More on that below). At the time, I was able to grab a Pixel 4A 5G for $ 500 through Google Fi.

With the same Snapdragon 765G processor as the Pixel 5, 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, the Pixel 4A also fills 5G. It supports 5G wireless and also has a larger battery than the classic Pixel 4A.

Google expects to deliver Pixel 4A 5G software updates until November 2023. All that made this phone the clear choice for me – until recently. Google has now officially stopped 4A 5G and no longer sells the handset.

Google Pixel 5A is a great Android deal.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Option 5: Pixel 5A

What a difference a few months make. Now that Google has revealed Pixel 5A and Pixel 6, my calculation has changed big time. If I had to pick today, I might get the Pixel 5A 5G. It’s the clear budget Pixel choice.

Priced to $ 449, this new phone is essentially about $ 50 less than what I paid for the Pixel 4A 5G. Still, the 5A just like the Pixel 4A 5G comes with a powerful Snapdragon 765G processor. Likewise, it is decked out with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. You also get 5G mobile comparability with Pixel 5A.

What really sets the Pixel 5A apart, at least for now, is its 4,680 mAh battery and 6.34-inch screen (2,400 x 1,080 pixel resolution). Both are larger than either the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G offer. Even better, Google plans to provide the phone with software updates until August 2024. All of that currently makes the Pixel 5A the best Pixel deal.

Of course, I’m very tempted by the new Pixel 6 phones. The starting price of $ 599 for the basic Pixel 6 is more expensive. That said, everything about the Pixel 5G is superior. Maybe if I take advantage of Google’s new Pixel Pass and swapping with my current Pixel 4A 5G, I could swing it. And boy, is that a complex topic that is best left to a whole new post.

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Pixel 5A with 5G: Google surprises us once again


For more, here’s how to choose between one Pixel 5, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL, that Pixel 5 vs. Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 5 vs. iPhone 11, Galaxy S20 FE and OnePlus 8. Plus, six reasons to buy a Pixel and how does Pixel 6 compare to Pixel 5.

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