Google Pixel 4A India Review

I have been using Google Pixel 4A for a few weeks now. I bought it from Flipkart on the launch day and got it shipped very fast.  During the launch, the price was Rs 29,999 + Instant Discount with SBI Cards. Now the price has gone up to Rs 31,999.

Initial Impressions

When you get the phone out of the box for the first time, the first thing you would notice is how compact and small this smartphone is. It’s so easy to carry around in your pocket and can be used with one hand. If you are coming from bigger phones with bigger displays, it will take some getting used to the elements on the screen as the texts and icons would look a bit small for your eyes. You can go to the display settings and change these settings to get the look that suits you.

Performance

Pixel 4A is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G Octacore processor. This is a mid-range 4G chipset and offers good performance overall. This is not made for high-end gaming and hence I wouldn’t recommend you buy this phone for a great gaming experience. During my day to day tasks, I didn’t encounter any lags or issues.

Does Pixel 4A Overheats?

I got an overheat warning on my 4A twice. The first time it was when I was setting up my phone for the first with a lot of apps downloading and installing in the background, while I got out and took lots of photos non-stop. The warning message told me some of the functionalities in the camera won’t be available. So I let it cool for a few mins, and everything was back to normal. It didn’t shut down or rebooted. The second time I got the overheat warning was again using the camera non-stop. 

Stock Android Experience

Many buy Pixel phones from the Stock Android Experience and camera. On the Pixel 4A, I got the update to Oct 2020 security updates immediately and updated it to it without any issues. Apart from some small bugs here and there, Stock Android 11 experience is great. This version of Android ships with Night mode and some great battery optimizations. 

How good are the cameras on the Pixel 4A?

If you have a Pixel 3, 3A, or 4, you are getting almost the same experience from the 4A. The hardware hasn’t changed, so the image quality is almost the same. How good is it? It is really good. HDR+ and Nightscape offer better images than your regular 30K smartphone offers. If you are an old Pixel owner and are buying 4A for the camera alone, I would recommend you wait for the next generation with a better camera sensor as the image quality difference is not that big. 

The Pixel 4A portrait mode works not just on faces, so you can take bokeh shots on any subject you like. The edge detection is often good, but it’s not always perfect. You can readjust the depth and blur using the Google Photos app if you are not satisfied with the end result. 

Astrophotography mode is another great feature Pixel phones come with. In order to capture the milky way, you would need to be in a very dark place, far away from city lights. If you live in the city, you can’t get a clear night sky due to light pollution. 

Pixel 4A can take 4K @ 30fps videos. The quality is good, but not that great. iPhone 11 series take much better videos than the 4A for sure, and it supports 4K @ 60fps as well. 

How good is the battery life on the Pixel 4A?

Older generation Pixel phones had terrible battery life, however, the newer models perform much better. Pixel 4A has a smaller battery comparing to the Pixel 5 and many other Android smartphones in this price range. However, thanks to the Android 11 optimizations Google made, I was able to get 4-5 hours of daily screen on time with the 4A. If you want to get better idle battery usage out of the pixel, I would recommend you disable the Mobile hotspot when not in use.

It does come with a fast charger in the box. If you have used an OnePlus 8 series or Oppo flagship smartphone, you would consider this charger a bit slow. In other words, it’s not that fast. 

What about the Pixel 4A display?

It’s not exceptional, but it’s an OLED screen. If you have never used an OLED screen before, you would be very happy to see the deep blacks and better colors on the OLED screen. Under the direct sunlight, the screen got bright enough, and I had no difficulty in seeing the text or photos on the screen. 

Overall, I am very happy with the purchase of Pixel 4A. In India, you get many other phones in this price range with better overall specs for sure, but if you are an Android fan and want to get fast updates, Pixel 4A is currently the best phone you can buy right now in India. 

What i like about the Pixel 4A

  • Good Camera
  • Stock Android Experience
  • Headphone jack
  • Decent battery life ( wish it had a 4000mAh one )
  • Compact and Easy to carry around size.

What i don’t like about the Pixel 4A

  • No Ultra-wide-angle Camera
  • No 4K @ 60fps support

Sony A7II – is it worth buying in 2020?

Sony Alpha A7II ( ILCE-7M2K/BQ IN5 ) now sells for a much lower price in India online. During the Big Billion Days 2020 sale on Flipkart, it was available for the lowest ever Deal price of Rs 69,999 ( regular selling price is Rs 84,999 ). This is currently the cheapest Full Frame Mirrorless Camera you can buy in India.

This camera has been out for a while now. Sony A7II was launched way back in 2014 and has the same 24MP sensor as the original A7. It is a Full Frame camera and supports E-mount lenses.

Sony A7II – Is it worth buying in 2020 ? Is it better than Sony Alpha A6500 / A6600 ?

There are some Pros and Cons. The main advantage the A7II has over A6000 Series of cameras like A6600, A6500, A6100, etc is the Full Frame Sensor inside. Even though it’s an old sensor, image quality is still good enough, and you get that Full Frame look – better bokeh aka shallow depth of field than the crop sensor A6600 like cameras.

The newer Sony Cameras on the other hand have much better Auto Focus, Eye AF tracking, Fast burst rates, and far better Video recording capabilities.

Which has the better image quality ? A6600 or A7II ?

In General, a Full-Frame Sensor offers better overall image quality and much better performance in low light. However, the A7II sensor is quite old now. 6 years is a long time in the tech industry. The newer sensors with newer tech on the A6600 / A6500 cameras are now on par with the Full Frame sensor on the A7II. In some areas, A7II has a slight edge, offering better color rendition and sharpness. Check out the DPReview comparison tool to see how much close these cameras are in terms of image quality.

Why did i buy A7II over A6600 / A6500 / A6400 etc

During the Flipkart sale, I did get the Sony A7II for the Rs 69,999 offer price. It came with a 28-70mm lens ( quite good quality ) and a 64GB Sdcard. You also get a carry bag with this camera. When I bought it, I thought this would be old stock, but it is very new – Sept 2020 was the date on the box I got.

I am a Hobbyist Landscape photographer, and I only plan to shoot Nature and Landscape. So for me, A7II is a great buy for the price. But it can’t shoot 4K videos or doesn’t have super fast Auto Focus Sony’s new cameras are famous for. The high ISO image quality on this is not that good. A7II is also not idle for sports or action photography. However, for me, all these issues were not deal-breakers.

So if you are like me, wants that Full Frame look and plans to shoot this in good lighting for Landscape, A7II is a fantastic camera to own. It can also shoot great portraits and the AF works well except when you are at high ISO in low light scenarios. A6600 like cameras also have good overall image quality, but they are not as good as the newer A7M3 or A7C cameras when it comes to overall image quality and high ISO performance.

My buying decision was quite simple – I wanted a decent Full Frame Sony Mirrorless Camera with IBIS ( in-body-image-stabilization ) and the A7II is/was the best value for money camera in that category.

Honor 9X Indian Variant Review

Huawei is gearing up to launch Honor 9X Global Variant in India in coming months. The Huawei ban by US Govt, which prevented shipping devices with Google Apps and Play Store, does not affect Honor 9X as it was launched before the ban.

Honor 9X Indian Variant is same as the Global variant, but is different from the chinese 9X. I have been using Global variant for a while now. Here are my thoughts and review.

It is powered by mid-range Kirin 710 octacore processor and comes with Triple Cameras at the back. The original 9X is powered by faster, better and newer Kirin 810 processor, but only has a single camera at the back.

Honor 9X Pro on the other hand features Triple Cameras at the back like the Indian 9X. The Pro model would probably won’t launch in India. One other feature 9X Pro has and 9X doesn’t is the internal cooling system for better, and longer gaming.

Honor 9X comes with a 48MP main camera with an F1.8 aperture lens. This is a Sony made sensor and offers excellent dynamic range and quality. By default, it takes 12MP photos which is achieved by 4-in-1 Super Pixel ( Pixel Binning ) technology.

From my experience, it’s better to leave the camera at 12MP instead of going for the full 48MP. The image quality is not exceptional, but good for a budget Android smartphone.

The Ultra wide angle 8MP sensor lets you take some really fun wide angle shots. However, the image quality is just average.

The pop-up front camera take good selfies, but is a bit slow to pop out and be ready.

Honor 9X Camera Pros and Cons

  • Good Dynamic Range and Decent image quality
  • Good close-up focusing
  • Feature Rich Camera App with Pro mode, Aperture Mode, Portrait, Light Painting, Night mode etc.
  • No DNG Raw Support
  • No 4K recording support
  • Video Quality is below average
  • Image Stabilization – EIS is only available on 720P videos.
  • Night Mode and Light Painting modes can only take 8MP photos.

This ships with a big 4000mAh battery. Huawei Phones have always known for good battery life thanks to their many optimization features build in to EMUI.

The display on the 9X is a Full HD IPS LCD one with very good Sunlight visibility and brightness. It is much better than my Honor 10. However, the color saturation is bit high and is not accurate. You can tweak this in the Display setting to achieve the color tone you like.

9X currently ships with EMUI based on Android 9. It will get Android 10 based EMUI 10 in future with Google Play store.

Honor 9X Official India Launch Date and MRP price is yet to be announced.