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Pixel 4a leaks point to a return of the fingerprint reader

While we had a lot of time for both the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, they weren’t without their drawbacks. If you’re a regular user of banking apps, then one of these will undoubtedly be the lack of fingerprint reader, but new leaked renders of the Pixel 4a suggest both fingerprints and the 3.5mm headphone jack are coming back for the lighter version.

Leaks have appeared both on Twitter and Reddit showing the return of the circular fingerprint reader on the back of the handset which, like the Pixel 3a, appears to be a matte plastic. Also visible on the back is a single rear camera, albeit one housed in a raised square section like its siblings.

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The single camera on the front, meanwhile, is now a hole-punch style snapper tucked away in the top left-hand corner of the screen, disposing of the forehead bezel that was present on the 4.

These images don’t capture much by way of specs – barring a screen showing 64GB of internal storage – but previous rumours point to a phone with a 5.7-inch screen and a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Given the complaints about battery life on the regular Pixel 4, a less power-hungry chipset might be a sacrifice people are willing to make.

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The Pixel 3a was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2019, keeping the best aspects of the Pixel experience and jettisoning parts that people don’t need for a £399 handset. Crucially, despite losing the glass back, one of the front-facing cameras and the top-end Snapdragon processor, the Pixel 3a kept the best-in-class camera experience and early access to Android updates.

All this combined to make an easy recommendation, and actually led to Max arguing that the Pixel 4a would be more exciting than the Pixel 4 ahead of the latter’s release.

While the Pixel 3a emerged six months after the original Pixel 3, it’s hard to know when the 4a will appear. The Coronavirus continues to affect handset manufacturing supply chains and has already led to the cancellation of Google I/O where a new smartphone launch might occur. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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