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Cheap phones are about to get really, really good. That’s because the OnePlus Nord and Google Pixel 4a — two affordable yet powerful Android phones  — are set to release in the coming weeks, offering premium designs and features for a budget price.

Or, at least, “soon,” was what we were led to believe. After much teasing, OnePlus will finally fully reveal the Nord before the end of this month. Meanwhile, every time we heard anything new about the Pixel 4a, it was seemingly tied to a delay. Fortunately, it appears as though Google's midrange handset will debut at last by the start of August.


Even though we're not entirely sure when you’ll be able to buy either of these attractively-priced smartphones, we do know enough about them based on leaks to help you decide which you should probably look forward to buying once they finally break cover. Hopefully, this OnePlus Nord vs Google Pixel 4a face-off can shed some light on that question.

OnePlus Nord vs Pixel 4a: Release date and price

Again, forecasting precisely when either of these devices will be available is easier said than done. Our best guesses have been dashed repeatedly — especially in the case of the Pixel 4a, which was at one point rumored to miss summer 2020 entirely in favor of a fall launch.

Google’s handset is reportedly complete and ready to ship — we’ve seen a number of rumors and leaked shots of finished devices suggesting as much — and yet it’s still missing in action. That’s especially disappointing, considering Apple’s excellent iPhone SE could use some healthy competition, and Android fans could use an alternative to Apple’s cheapest handset. The Pixel 4a has even been rumored to cost as little as $349, which would make for a $50 savings over the iPhone SE.

Lately, we've heard the Pixel 4a could emerge on August 3, thanks to intel from FrontPageTech's Jon Prosser. Now that the Pixel 3a's been discontinued and Pixel 4a images have lead on Google's own online store, it seems this date could actually be the one — fingers crossed.

The OnePlus Nord, theoretically, could ship a couple weeks before the Pixel 4a — perhaps as soon as this month. OnePlus has confirmed the Nord will be revealed on July 21.

It could also be a fair amount more expensive than the Pixel. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has confirmed that the OnePlus Nord will be priced under $500. Chances are this is merely a favorable way of saying for $499, but we won't know for sure until OnePlus announces the Nord in full. And even so, that figure probably won't be in dollars, at least initially; OnePlus says the Nord will miss the U.S. at first, though it may see limited release in North America later on.

You can expect the Pixel 4a to be offered through a variety of carriers. As it stands, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint all offer the Pixel 3a, and of course the latter two carriers are in the midst of merging. Should the OnePlus Nord ever ship in earnest in the U.S., its carrier prospects are harder to ascertain, though Verizon and T-Mobile’s partnerships with the Chinese phone maker hint at possibilities for the entry-level device.

OnePlus Nord vs Pixel 4a: Design

OnePlus Z render

OnePlus Z render (Image credit: 91Mobiles and @OnLeaks)

Both the OnePlus Nord and Pixel 4a look to incorporate aspects of the aesthetics OnePlus and Google have respectively developed for their premium phones, albeit in a more affordable package.

For the OnePlus Nord, that could translate to a metal-and-glass design with the same kind of gradient finish OnePlus lavishes over for its high-end products, except with a boxier footprint and a fully-flat display that doesn’t pour over the sides of the phone.

The Pixel 4a will echo the design of the existing Pixel 4 in many ways, while simultaneously making a few noticeable changes. Outside of an all-polycarbonate design for the least-expensive Pixel, everything we’ve seen of the phone suggests Google will trim the top bezel and extend the display all the way up to the upper edge, while stashing a front-facing camera into the panel’s upper-left corner, hole punch style.

Google Pixel 4a

A Pixel 4a render, reportedly sourced from the Google Store site (Image credit: Google Store)

A capacitive Pixel Imprint fingerprint sensor will handle authentication duties at the back, while the rear camera housing will take the form of a square, in keeping brand identity with the Pixel 4, except it’ll house just one lens rather than two. The Pixel 4a may lose the brand’s Active Edge functionality, however, which allows you to squeeze the device’s sides for instant access to the Google Assistant.

There’s one final distinction between these two devices that will likely earn Google some points back in the Pixel 4a’s favor. While the 4a has been rumored to carry a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, the OnePlus Nord hasn’t. Of course, OnePlus will gladly recommend its OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 headphones for those inconvenienced by this design decision, but for some users, there’s simply nothing better than tried-and-true wired buds and that trusty old connector.

OnePlus Nord vs Pixel 4a: Display

The OnePlus Nord’s display will measure 6.4 inches from corner to corner, and the panel itself will be OLED, with a 90Hz refresh rate just like the OnePlus 8 has. It'll be a full-HD panel in terms of resolution.

The Pixel 4a’s screen is expected to be sized at 5.8 inches, and utilize OLED technology just like its predecessor’s. Unfortunately, it will likely miss out on the Pixel 4a’s 90Hz refresh rate, putting it at a disadvantage compared to OnePlus’ handset at least where animations and smoothness are concerned.

OnePlus Nord vs Pixel 4a: Cameras

Based on what we’ve heard in the run up to launch, the cameras inside the OnePlus Nord and Pixel 4a couldn’t be more different.

The Pixel 4a’s rear shooter is expected to continue the tech that’s underpinned shooters in the last several generations of Pixel handsets. Buyers will get a 12.2-megapixel, ƒ/1.8 single-lens camera lavished with Google’s latest computational photography tricks, whatever those may be.

We expect Night Sight and Super Res Zoom to make appearances once again, perhaps joined by Live HDR+, which allows users to witness HDR processing results through the viewfinder in real time. That particular feature missed the Pixel 3a, because Google's current cheap phone isn’t powerful enough to pull it off.

The Pixel 3a brought a stellar camera to midrange phones in 2019, and exceeding its capabilities will be a tall task for Google and OnePlus.

The Pixel 3a brought a stellar camera to midrange phones in 2019, and exceeding its capabilities will be a tall task for Google and OnePlus. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The OnePlus Nord, on the other hand, will sport four lenses on the back according to Android Central, headlined by a 48-MP main shooter alongside an 8-MP ultrawide one, a 5-MP sensor to assist with portraits and a 2-MP macro lens. On the front, there will be two selfie lenses: a 32-MP primary shooter and an 8-MP one for ultrawide-angle group shots.

For what it’s worth, early renders of the OnePlus Nord — back when it was known colloquially as the OnePlus Lite or OnePlus Z — depicted a device with two cameras on the back. But no matter how many lenses OnePlus ultimately stuffs in its next device, the firm will need to tune up its post-processing and software if it has any hope of delivering a camera experience on par with Google and Apple’s flagships — something the Pixel 3a and iPhone SE achieve quite effortlessly already.

OnePlus Nord vs Pixel 4a: Specs (rumored)


Pixel 4a (rumored)

OnePlus Nord (rumored)

Starting Price

Likely under $400Under $500


5.81-inch OLED (2340x1080)6.4-inch OLED (2400x1080; 90Hz)


Snapdragon 730Snapdragon 765G


6GB8GB, 12GB

Storage / Expandable

64GB, 128GB / No128GB, 256GB / No

Rear Camera

12.2MP (ƒ/1.8)48MP wide (ƒ/1.75), 8MP ultrawide, 5MP depth (ƒ/2.4), 2MP macro (ƒ/2.4)

Front Camera

8MP (ƒ/2.0)32MP (ƒ/2.45) and 8MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.45)

OnePlus Nord vs Pixel 4a: Performance

While both the OnePlus Nord and Pixel 4a appear as if they’ll incorporate Snapdragon 7-series power, the OnePlus Nord should have a slight spec advantage. That’s because OnePlus’ device has been tipped to include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G chipset, which will also allow it to connect to 5G networks.

The Pixel 4a, conversely, is said to use the Snapdragon 730 chipset. That’s still formidable silicon for a midrange phone, though it’s not quite as capable as the Snapdragon 765, and it also lacks 5G connectivity.

The Pixel 4a should see a bump in RAM to 6GB, up from the 4GB allotted in the Pixel 3a to 6GB in the new model. We've heard the OnePlus Nord will launch with 8GB and 12GB RAM options, likely tied to 128GB and 256GB storage configurations, to keep parity with other, more premium OnePlus hardware. In all honesty, though, if it keeps the price of the phone down, 8GB seems fine enough.

OnePlus Nord vs Pixel 4a: Battery and wireless charging

The Pixel 3a benefitted from solid battery life last year, lasting just a minute shy of the 12-hour mark in Tom’s Guide’s custom web-surfing test over LTE. That phone had a 3,000-mAh battery, and the Pixel 4a has been tipped to carry a 3,080-mAh unit, at least according to a report from 9to5Google back in April.

Pixel 4a wireless charging render

This mockup from case maker ESR shows a wirelessly-charging Pixel 4a, but we don't buy it. (Image credit: ESR)

One thing the Pixel 4a probably won’t have is wireless charging. That’s a feature on pricier Pixels, but one scrapped on last year's Pixel 3a, and oftentimes lacking from cheaper handsets in general. One render of a wirelessly-charging Pixel 4a leaked courtesy of case maker ESR a few weeks back, though all other rumors we’ve heard to date would appear to suggest this was an error. While case makers are often eager to advertise that their accessories don’t impede wireless charging, that particular detail might not be relevant in the case of the Pixel 4a.

With the OnePlus 8 Pro, OnePlus introduced 30-watt wireless charging — a first for its handsets. However, given that the less-expensive OnePlus 8 lacks wireless charging, we don’t see the feature making a  jump to the OnePlus Nord. We’ve seen OnePlus’ upcoming midrange device linked to a 4,115-mAh battery, which seems sufficient — though we won’t know for sure until the device is launched.

In terms of charging speed, the Pixel 4a is expected to continue the 18-watt USB Power Delivery charging system introduced on the very first Pixel phone, and present in the Pixel 3a. The OnePlus Nord, conversely, is tipped to utilize OnePlus’ proprietary Warp Charge 30T wired technology.

OnePlus Nord vs Pixel 4a: Outlook

The OnePlus Nord and Pixel 4a look like a pair of compelling midrange handsets with premium designs and features. However, they’re quite different.

Although we can’t recommend one handset over the other for certain until we’ve actually had a chance to test them, our hunch is that power users who want the most speed for their buck — from gaming performance to downloads and even display refresh rates — will probably gravitate toward the OnePlus Nord.

On the flip side, buyers that aren’t as chiefly concerned with performance, who perhaps prioritize photography above all else, will likely find more to like with the Pixel 4a. Google’s phone is also quite certain to be cheaper, with a more playful design and likely a longer period of software update support than you’d probably get from the OnePlus Nord — all factors which work in the Pixel 4a’s favor.

It’d be nice to say that we’ll have confirmation on these educated guesses soon, but the reality of the matter is that we don’t know when we’ll be able to compare these two phones in earnest, side-by-side with real analysis and testing. That seems to depend in large part on whether Google can get the Pixel 4a before the summer ends. The coming weeks will be crucial in determining when these highly-anticipated handsets will see the light of day.

Source : https://www.tomsguide.com/news/oneplus-nord-vs-google-pixel-4a

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