Google’s Pixel smartphones are always at the forefront when it comes to innovations brought about by the company’s own mobile operating system. That is why they are the first ones to receive the new version of Android when it is officially launched every year.
Aside from getting software updates, you can also expect amazing photography and videography capabilities thanks to the powerful camera hardware, as well as seamless integration and processing power on the software side of things.
Now that Google has released a substantial number of Pixel devices, I think that it is just right to create an article that compares all of the popular ones.
Today, I am going to compare the Google Pixel 4a against the Pixel 3a and I will also make a comparison between the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL.
My aim with this article is to help get the best pixel device for you by outlining some of the best qualities of each of them.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Google Pixel 4a vs Google Pixel 3a
Aesthetically speaking, the Google Pixel 4a looks more modern than its predecessor. It borrows the same design elements as its older brothers (Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL) by having a square that houses the camera lens and LED flash situated at the top-left corner at the back.
The Google Pixel 3a just has a single camera lens at the top-left corner and it looks kind of like a smartphone that was done a couple of years ago. It is okay, but in terms of aesthetics, I would go for the newer device.
They both have polycarbonate bodies but the only thing going for the Pixel 3a is that you get to choose from 3 different color options. If you are going to buy the Pixel 4a, you only have one option and that is black.
For measurements, the Google Pixel 4a is slightly smaller with dimensions of 144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm. It also weighs only 143 grams.
The Pixel 3a, on the other hand, has dimensions of 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm and weighs 147 grams.
As you can see, the Pixel 3a is slightly larger, though, in the next section, you will find that the Pixel 4a is better when it comes to proportions.
As mentioned above, the Google Pixel 4a actually has more screen real estate. That is because of the slimmer bezels and the 90% screen-to-body ratio. I really love what Google did here as you can enjoy your content more.
The Google Pixel 3a looks like it was made from 5 years ago. It has thick bezels both at the bottom and the top- the latter, in particular, houses the sensors, as well as the front camera.
While you will grow fond of the thicker bezels, the difference is night and day when you get a hold of the Pixel 4a and watch your favorite online shows.
The Pixel 4a is packed with a 5.81-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 2340 x 1080, has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The Google Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch gOLED panel with a resolution of 2,220 x 1080, an aspect ratio of 18.5:9, and is protected by Dragon Trail glass.
Even though they both have OLED displays, I would lean more towards the Pixel 4a thanks to the bigger screen real estate and more premium look.
The Google Pixel 4a is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chip while the Pixel 3a comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor. Both of them are mid-range SoCs, but the newer Pixel device does provide better performance across the board (but not by a lot).
The older device has 4GB of RAM and just 64GB of onboard storage which is non-expandable by the way. The newer model bumped the RAM up to 6GB and internal storage to 128GB which should provide adequate performance and storage space for modern use.
Both the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 3a all have only single camera lenses at the back. The former has a 12.2-megapixel shooter with an aperture of f/1.7 and also includes optical and electronic image stabilization technologies.
The Pixel 3a has the same number of megapixels on its sensor, albeit its aperture is f/1.8, has a 76-degree field of view, has dual-pixel phase detection, and both OIS and EIS enabled.
To be honest, both of them are pretty good, though you might like the newer Pixel model simply because of the new features that are added.
For instance, the Pixel 4a supports the new astrophotography mode which can be enabled in pitch-black environments- allowing you to take a nicer photo of the stars at night.
With some processing magic on the software side, both of them perform admirably well, despite only having one camera lens at the back.
As for selfie cameras, both of them have 8-megapixel shooters with pretty much the same specs. As you can tell, both of them perform nearly identical to each other, though again, the newer device has a slight edge thanks to the new camera features.
Google Pixel smartphones are not really well-known for their amazing battery life, however, the Pixel 4a does have a much faster charger than its predecessor.
Aside from that, you also get a slight bump in battery capacity because the successor has a 3,140 mAh battery while the predecessor only has 3,000 mAh battery capacity.
Both of them do not support wireless charging though, so you might take this as an inconvenience.
Google Pixel 4 vs Google Pixel 4 XL
The Google Pixel 4 and the Google Pixel 4 XL are both flagship phones made by Google and were released back in 2019.
This is a much easier comparison to make because the only differences they have are that the Pixel 4 XL has a bigger display, better screen resolution, and bigger battery life. The rest of the specs are virtually the same.
As just mentioned, the Google Pixel 4 is the smaller device. Its dimensions are 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2mm while its bigger brother has measurements of 160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2mm. The former weighs 162 grams while the XL version is 31 grams heavier at 193 grams.
Both of them look exactly the same when it comes to overall aesthetics. They both have glass backs, three different color options, and the square that houses the camera lenses situated on the top-left corner. You also get the ‘G’ logo at the bottom as well.
They both have IP68 ratings which means that you can have peace of mind while using this device in the pouring rain or if you are near the pool.
It is also worth noting that they do not have headphone jacks which means that you will have to use any pair of wireless headphones if you intend to listen to music without disturbing your neighbors.
In terms of display, both the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL have OLED panels, though it would be nice to consume media content on the much bigger device.
That is because the Pixel 4’s screen only supports Full HD resolution while the bigger Pixel phone supports 1440p. Although the difference is almost negligible for casual users, you will definitely spot the difference if you have a keen eye.
The higher resolution also means that there are more pixels packed per inch. The Pixel 4 XL has 537 PPI while the smaller Pixel 4 has only 444 pixels per inch.
The Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL both have the same processing package. They are both equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC and they also have 6GB of RAM as well.
You can play even the most demanding Android games out there and the nice thing about them is that they do not heat up when you are gaming.
I do have to point out, though, that their smaller battery capacity might yield poor endurance across the board. That means that if you play games for hours, you might end up reaching for the charger after 5 or 6 hours of gaming.
Both of these phones are equipped with the same camera lenses. At the back, you will find a 12-megapixel main shooter (wide-angle lens), as well as a 16-megapixel telephoto lens. The latter allows you to use its 2x optical zoom that doesn’t present any graininess or degradation to the overall quality.
When combined with the Super Res Zoom feature that can be enabled in the camera app’s settings, you can go further with minimal loss in detail which is pretty nice.
I would also like to point out that you can also enable Live HDR+ as well. Basically, what you see on the phone’s screen will be an actual representation of the resulting photo or video once everything is done processing. This feature is unlike any other and I hope that other phone manufacturers will follow suit.
Both of them support Night Mode which allows you to take stunning photos even in dimly-lit environments and you also get to enable the astrophotography mode mentioned earlier in the article as well.
For the selfie camera, the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL are both equipped with 8-megapixel front cameras that allow you to shoot 1080p or 720p videos if you desire.
Again, do not set your expectations too high as both the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL both have subpar battery life and endurance.
The smaller Pixel phone only has a 2,800 mAh battery, while the bigger model comes with a 3,700 battery capacity. The latter definitely holds up much better than the former, but when you compare it to the best phones on the market, you will definitely find that it is a mediocre performer.
They do come with 18-watt fast chargers and you have the ability to wirelessly charge these devices thanks to its Qi charging capabilities.
Now that you know all of the modern Pixel devices, which one should you choose? Well, in the budget category, I would definitely recommend the new Google Pixel 4a. It has considerably better performance, a better screen-to-body ratio, and its design looks more modern than its predecessor.
For the flagships, I would definitely recommend the Pixel 4 XL. Not only does it have a longer battery life, but it also has a bigger screen that packs more pixels. Watching any online content and playing any games on it provides a much better experience than its smaller brother.
The Google Pixel 4a is priced at $349 and you can get the Google Pixel 4 XL at a discounted price of $599 (down from $899 last year).
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes
Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.
It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.
Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?
One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.
The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.
Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.
You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.
Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.
The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.
I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.
Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.
An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.
So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.
3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.
I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.
To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.
The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.
You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.
Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.
Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball.
For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.
You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.
You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.
Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.
The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.
You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.
Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?
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