Phone Comparisons: Google Pixel 4a vs Apple iPhone 12 Mini December 21, 2020 – Posted in: Smartphone news

In this article, we’ll compare the Google Pixel 4a vs Apple iPhone 12 Mini. These two smartphones are amongst the most compelling compact smartphones in the market at the moment. Truth be said, the two phones are quite different in comparison, which makes comparing it even more interesting. If you ask for a compact smartphone recommendation, these are the two names you’ll likely hear… at least if the person you’re talking to knows what he / she is talking about.

Compact smartphones are not exactly easy to find these days, at least not good ones. That makes these two devices even more interesting. Before we start with this comparison, do note that the two phones are not in the same price range (the iPhone 12 Mini costs twice as much). The Google Pixel 4a is a budget phone, while the iPhone 12 Mini is technically a flagship. That being said, this comparison is for those of you who are not locked into one ecosystem already. It’s also for those of you who are considering switching sides. Having said that, let’s compare the Google Pixel 4a vs Apple iPhone 12 Mini, shall we.

Google Pixel 4a Apple iPhone 12 Mini
Screen size 5.81-inch fullHD+ OLED display (60Hz) 5.4-inch fullHD+ Super Retina XDR OLED display (60Hz)
Screen resolution 2340 x 1080 2340 x 1080
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G Apple A14 Bionic
Storage 128GB, non-expandable 64GB/128GB/256GB, non-expandable
Rear cameras 12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS) 12MP (f/1.6 aperture, 26mm lens (wide), 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)
12MP (ultra-wide, f/2.4 aperture, 13mm lens, 120-degree FoV)
Front cameras 8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size) 12MP (f/2.2 aperture, 23mm lens)
SL 3D (depth/biometrics sensor)
Battery 3,140mAh, non-removable, 18W fast battery charging 2,2227mAh, non-removable, 20W fast battery charging, 12W Qi wireless charging
Dimensions 144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mm
Weight 143 grams 135 grams
Connectivity LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C 5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, Lightning (USB 2.0)
Security Rear-facing fingerprint scanner Advanced facial scanning
OS Android 10 (upgradeable) iOS 14.1 (upgradable)
Price $349 $699
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Google Pixel 4a vs Apple iPhone 12 Mini: Design

These two phones are immensely different when it comes to the design. The Google Pixel 4a is made out of plastic, and its back curves towards the sides. The iPhone 12 Mini, on the other hand, comes with a frame made out of metal, and a glass back. To make things even more different, the sides of this phone are completely flat. The same goes for its top and bottom as well.

The in-hand feel is completely different because of it, it all depends on what you prefer. It’s hard to deny that the iPhone 12 Mini feels more premium, though. The Pixel 4a does feel plasticky. The iPhone 12 Mini does have that unseemly notch, though, which is just huge, especially on a phone so small. The Pixel 4a has a much more aesthetically pleasing solution, a display camera hole in the top-left corner.

Bezels are quite thin on both phones, though on the Pixel 4a, the bottom bezel is a bit thicker than the rest. The iPhone 12 Mini includes two cameras on the back, while the Pixel 4a sports one. It also includes a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, while the iPhone 12 Mini doesn’t include a fingerprint scanner at all. Apple’s offering ships with advanced facial scanning instead of a fingerprint scanner.

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The iPhone 12 Mini is shorter, narrower, and thinner… on top of being a bit lighter. It does have a smaller display, though. Both of these phones do look quite nice. The iPhone 12 Mini definitely feels more premium in the hand, while the Pixel 4a looks more modern, at least from the front, as it doesn’t have such a huge notch. It’s all a question of taste, what you prefer more.

Google Pixel 4a vs Apple iPhone 12 Mini: Display

Both of these phones ship with flat displays, and both of them are OLED. On top of that, both offer the same resolution, a fullHD+ (2340 x 1080) resolution with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. That’s where the similarities end, though. The Google Pixel 4a includes a larger, 5.81-inch OLED display with HDR support. The iPhone 12 Mini sports a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with HDR10 support. The Pixel 4a offers a higher screen-to-body ratio, by the way.

The Pixel 4a comes with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, while Apple is using scratch-resistant ceramic glass. Dolby Vision is supported on the iPhone 12 Mini’s display. So, as you can see, these two displays are fairly different. You’ll also get fairly different real-life experience with both, as colors are different. Still, both offer punchy colors, with deep blacks, as you’d expect out of OLED displays. On top of that, viewing angles are also excellent on both.

The iPhone 12 Mini’s display does look better on paper, and in real-life… well, it does get brighter outside, quite a bit brighter. Other than that, both look really good, though there are much better panels out there. Both of these displays also run at 60Hz, so they’re not high refresh rate displays, in case you were wondering.

Google Pixel 4a vs Apple iPhone 12 Mini: Performance

What about the performance? Well, as far as internals are concerned, the iPhone 12 Mini is more powerful… considerably more powerful. The device is fueled by the Apple A14 Bionic, a new 5nm processor. This is a flagship-grade processor, unlike the Snapdragon 730G in the Pixel 4a. That chip will almost certainly keep performing at that level for longer than the Snapdragon 730G will. At the moment, though, they’re both quite good in regular usage.

To the vast majority of people, both of these phones will be powerful enough. They can do everyday smartphone things with ease, do it smoothly. You won’t notice any lagging or anything on either phone. The iPhone 12 Mini will run games better, and other processor-intensive tasks, though, as expected. The Apple A14 Bionic is a much more powerful processor. For everything other than graphically-intensive tasks, both phones will suffice.


That goes for consuming multimedia, browsing, opening / closing apps, multitasking, etc. You really won’t notice much difference in those, everyday tasks. The Google Pixel 4a really managed to surprise with the level of performance it offers. Google really managed to optimize Android 11 well on that device.

Google Pixel 4a vs Apple iPhone 12 Mini: Battery

If you’re a true power user, chances are neither of these two phones will provide enough battery life for your needs. Still, the battery life on them is not bad, not at all, especially on the Pixel 4a. We managed to get around 6 hours of screen-on-time during rather long days, with no gaming, though. The iPhone 12 Mini falls below that, but the battery life doesn’t seem to be as bad as initially thought. Still, there are far better options if battery life is of utmost importance to you. Gaming will kill the iPhone 12 Mini battery really fast. That processor can really drain it fast when under pressure.

Now, both devices support fast charging. The iPhone 12 Mini comes with 20W fast wired charging, while the Pixel 4a supports 18W fast wired charging. Wired charging is the only form of charging the Pixel 4a supports. The iPhone 12 Mini, on the other hand, offers 12W wireless charging as well. So, the iPhone 12 Mini wins the charging comparison, kind of. Neither of them break any records when it comes to charging, as charging speeds on both seem pretty dated in this day and age.

Google Pixel 4a vs Apple iPhone 12 Mini: Cameras

Both of these phones are excellent in the camera department. They both include fairly competent 12-megapixel cameras, which come with great software processing. Google’s sensor is a bit more dated, but Google’s algorithms do wonders with images. Apple also did a great job with image processing, so the iPhone 12 Mini can produce excellent stills in all conditions. The Pixel 4a still does a slightly better job in low light, though both are excellent. Both can capture quite a bit of detail, and offer really sharp images with great dynamic range.

The iPhone 12 Mini has the advantage of that second camera on the back, though. That’s an ultra-wide camera which is fairly competent, just don’t use it in low light, it doesn’t do that well in such conditions. Video recording is better on the iPhone 12 Mini, and the device offers 4K at 60 FPS recording, unlike the Pixel 4a. You can’t go wrong with either of these devices when cameras are concerned.

If you’re still using wired earphones / headphones, the Google Pixel 4a may be a better choice. Why? Well, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack, unlike the iPhone 12 Mini. Having said that, the sound via headphones is not that different between the two. It’s okay, and well-balanced, but we’ve heard better. Still, both will do more than a good job in that department for the vast majority of you, as long as you have a decent pair of earphones / headphones. The same goes for wireless connection as well, as both support Bluetooth 5.0.

Now, when it comes to speakers, both offer stereo speakers. Both setups are good, but not excellent. In fact, the iPhone 12 Mini can provide a bit sharper sound, at least that’s what it seemed like. The distortion is minimal at the very highest of volumes, and both setups get loud enough. We’ve heard better speakers than those, that’s for sure, considerably better.