It’s the much-awaited smartphone war once again and this time around its between the newly announced “flagship killer” the OnePlus Nord and the affordable best camera smartphone which is the Google Pixel 4a 5G both of which are affordable devices with great values and interesting features making them interesting and worth your consideration in 2021.
Though the Pixel 4a 5G was released back in 2020, it still, however, has some pretty great features that still make it relevant in 2021 especially when placed right next to a device on its level, the OnePlus Nord.
First of all, both devices fall within the same price range and have nearly identical specifications and while the cameras on the Nord 2 5G might mean a lot, the dual-camera setup on the Pixel 4a 5G is definitely great and gets all the job done from taking wide-angle shots to great portraits while the triple setup on the OnePlus Nord 2 5G has some extra feature even though on the paper, you might be wowed but in action, the story is different.
OnePlus Nord 2 vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Design
- Nord 2 5G’s sandwiched glass and plastic vs Pixel 4a 5G’s polycarbonate
- Nord 2 5G’s underdisplay fingerprint scanner vs Pixel 4a 5G’s rear fingerprint scanner
Google’s design signature is usually user-focused and simple in every way possible and that is something that gets carried on to the design of the Pixel 4a 5G – with its unibody design and the squared out camera bump right at the back of the smartphone.
One interesting thing is the fact that Google placed the fingerprint scanner of this device right at the back where fingerprint scanners are supposed to be while in the case of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G, the fingerprint scanner is right underneath the display because it is what every company that makes use of OLED panel on their smartphones do nowadays.
Both devices have a flat-screen with the Nord 2 5G being slightly bigger with a 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate while the Pixel 4a 5G is slightly smaller with only a 6.2-inch display FHD+ OLED display and a disappointing 60Hz refresh rate however, Google compensates for this with the screen resolution of about 2340 x 1080p while the OnePlus Nord 2 5G has a 2400 x 1080p resolution.
I’d say that’s simply due to the fact that the Nord 2 is a newer device and so it has some pretty newer features that gave it a slight bump over the others especially those released back in 2020.
Still, on designs, both devices house their front-facing cameras within a tiny hole-punch cut-out at the top-left corner of the display and feature pretty slim bezels to give you the immersive experience.
In terms of build quality, the Nord 2 5G is a sandwich of glass and plastic frame while the Pixel 4a 5G is made of a unibody polycarbonate which makes up for a good grip thanks to the roughened build quality. And when it comes to thickness, both smartphones are quite similar and the Nord 2 5G weighs quite heavier than the Pixel 4a 5G – 189 grams and 168 grams respectively.
And yeah, the camera modules are different on both devices with Google adopting a squared design that houses the dual cameras on the Pixel 4a, OnePlus opted for a rectangular shape on the Nord 2 5G much like its flagship, the OnePlus 9 series.
OnePlus Nord 2 vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Display
- Nord 2 5G’s 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED panel vs Pixel 4a 5G’s 6.2-inch OLED panel
- Nord 2 5G’s90Hz refresh rate vs Pixel 4a 5G’s 60hz refresh rate
Away from the design and to the display, both devices make use of the OLED technology with the OnePlus Nord 2 5G having a 6.43-inch FHD+ fluid AMOLED display with a 2400 x 1080p resolution and offer support for a 90Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ contents.
It’s protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 with a tall aspect ratio of 20:9. The display is pretty great for a mid-range device and that definitely gave a slight edge over the Pixel smartphone.
As for the Pixel 4a 5G, you get a 6.2-inch FHD+ display with 2340 x 1080p which also has support for HDR content. Unlike the Nord 2 5G, this one came with the Gorilla Glass 3 and has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 which makes it slightly shorter than its competitor.
On paper, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G has all the numbers but the difference between the display of both devices in real life isn’t much of a big deal. One thing though is the fact that the Pixel 4a 5G only has a 60Hz refresh rate which was quite disappointing for an Android phone from Google in 2020.
OnePlus Nord 2 vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Performance
- Nord 2 5G’s Dimensity 2100AI vs Pixel 4a 5G’s Snapdragon 765G
- Nord 2 5G’s 8GB of RAM vs Pixel 4a 5G’s 6GB of RAM
Now the key part of both devices is their performance and both smartphones nailed it well in this department. This year, OnePlus made use of the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI chipset which is the biggest offering from the company in 2021 while Google employed Qualcomm’s mid-range chipset – Snapdragon 765G.
Now with that said, you get a faster 128GB UFS 3.1 storage paired with 8GB of RAM on the Nord 2 5G while the Pixel 4a 5G comes with a 6GB of RAM and a 128GB UFS 2.1 storage which cannot be expanded using a microSD card.
With those numbers above, you’ll be convinced already that the OnePlus Nord 2 5G is a better smartphone and that can be true because once again, the Pixel 4a 5G was released back in 2020, and the OnePlus being the “flagship killer” always want to surprise its customers since the invention of the Nord product line.
OnePlus Nord 2 vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Battery
- Nord 2 5G’s 4,500mAh battery vs Pixel 4a 5G’s 3,885mAh battery
- Nord 2 5G’s 65W fast charging vs Pixel 4a 5G’s 18W fast charging
OnePlus Nord 2 5G also knocks out the Pixel 4a 5G here as well packing a bigger 4,500mAh battery – the kind you get on mid-range smartphones lately because for whatever reasons unknown, smartphone makers, but more in their cheaper devices than the high-end smartphones – you get chargers, 3.5mm headphone jack, SD card slot and so forth – features you would normally hope for on the bigger and more expensive devices.
The Pixel 4a 5G gets a smaller 3,885mAh battery which might not be able to compete with the bigger 4,500mAh battery in the Nord 2 5G. One thing for sure is that both devices have different battery management technology and that might impact the lifespan of the battery as well as daily usage of the battery.
Also, the user of either device has a big role to play concerning how long their device’s battery will last. Although both devices offer fast charging, the OnePlus took it steps further with the 65W ultra-fast charging capacity compared to the 18W fast charging on the Pixel 4a 5G.
OnePlus Nord 2 vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: Cameras
- Nord 2 5G’s triple camera setup vs Pixel 4a 5G’s dual camera setup
The camera department is another important part of thee devices because as we all know, Google Pixel smartphones are like the king of camera phones on the market and the same extends to the affordable Pixel 4a 5G as well despite that, the OnePluis Nord 2 5G still performs great at the camera department also.
Both devices comes with ultra-wide lenses to make up for the dual setup (Pixel 4a 5G) while OnePlus Nord 2 5G took it a step further with a triple setup which gives the user more option.
Even both devices perform perfectly under good lighting, I believe the best might still be subjective. OnePlus didn’t partner with Hasselblad on this one or at least didn’t place the camera maker’s badge on the device so we can’t expect it to perform in the range of the OnePlus 9 series.
In low light, both devices also did great and they’re able to pull great detail from the little light that can go through their lenses to produce stunning images. While Pixel 4a 5G remained very consistent both in daylight and night shots, the fact that they both can shoot great pictures with less noticeable noise is interesting.
Specs of OnePlus Nord 2 5G and Pixel 4a 5G
|OnePlus Nord 2
|Google Pixel 4a 5G
|6.43-inch fullHD+ Fluid AMOLED flat display (90Hz refresh rate)
|6.2-inch fullHD+ OLED display (60Hz)
|2400 x 1080
|2340 x 1080
|MediaTek Dimensity 1200
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
|128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1); non-expandable
|50MP (f/1.9 aperture, wide lens, 1.0um pixel size, PDAF, OIS)
8MP (f/2.3 aperture, 119-degree lens)
2MP (f/2.4 aperture, monochrome)
|12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)
16MP (ultra-wide, f/2.2 aperture, 1.0um pixel size, 107-degree FoV)
|32MP (f/2.5 aperture, 0.8um pixel size)
|8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)
|4,500mAh, non-removable, 65W wired charging
|3,800mAh, non-removable, 18W fast battery charging
|158.9 x 73.2 x 8.3mm
|153.9 x 74 x 8.2mm
|5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
|5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
|In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)
|Rear-facing fingerprint scanner
Nord 2 5G vs Pixel 4a 5G: Winner?
Seriously it depends on what you want but out of the paper, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G definitely beats the Pixel 4a 5G in many categories and that’s because it’s a new device made in 2021.
Both devices have 5G capabilities even though the network isn’t anywhere the hype it received from the media two years back but you definitely get more with the Nord 2 because you’ll also be paying slightly more for these great features.
A better camera, faster processor, and other cool additions like a 3.5mm headphone jack, a solid audio output and so much more are just a few of the things you get with the Nord 2 5G but that’s not to rub off the Pixel 4a 5G here.