Because the creation of Google’s first smartphone, the Pixel branding has been reserved for premium flagships. That ship has now sailed, as the Silicon Valley big is making reasonably priced handsets within the Pixel 3a and 3a XL and selling them by way of virtually every retailer it may possibly.
The addition of lower-specced Pixels to Google’s roster permits it to point out off its hardware-making expertise not to point out its ever-smarter assistant. Due to how the company has positioned the Pixel branding, Google couldn’t just ship two generic finances smartphones and call it a day. The handsets needed to be near their older siblings when it comes to features and efficiency.
Fortuitously for Google, it succeeded with both the Pixel 3a XL and with the Pixel 3a.
This is Android Authority’s Google Pixel 3a evaluate.
Google Pixel 3a evaluation: The huge picture
At first glance, you won’t spot any variations between the budget-friendly Pixel 3a and the premium Pixel 3. However to get the Pixel 3a’s worth point low sufficient to make a big impression available on the market, Google needed to take away some niceties. The Pixel 3a drops the IP score, swaps the glass for plastic, removes wireless charging, and modifications out the high-end CPU for something more middling.
Where Google succeeds in the mid-tier market is by not eradicating core features discovered within the premium Pixels. For example, the search big stored its best-in-class digital camera intact and is offering it to these not prepared (or in a position) to spend almost $1,000 on a tool.
The larger Pixel 3a XL is spec-for-spec virtually equivalent to the smaller Pixel 3a. The most vital distinction is the larger battery and bigger show. Extra juice equals extra power to get you through the day. You may need to contemplate the 3a XL if these are the options you favor.
What’s within the field
- 1m USB-C to USB-C cable (USB 2.0)
- 18W USB-C power adaptor
- Fast change adaptor (USB-C to USB-A)
- Fast start information
Google hasn’t changed up what comes in its phone packing containers a lot because it first began releasing hardware. In addition to the 18W fast charging energy adaptor and USB-C cable, the Pixel 3a features a quick change dongle. This USB-C to USB-A accessory makes it a lot simpler to switch knowledge from an older handset to Google’s handset.
In contrast to its older siblings, the Pixel 3a doesn’t embrace a USB-C to three.5mm headphone jack adaptor within the box. Fortunately, it’s because Google decided to convey the port again on its mid-tier line. The 3a also drops the Google earbuds discovered within the box with the pricier three.
Although the Pixel 3a doesn’t come with a case, Google and different third parties make all kinds of options for you to select from. Because of the plastic backing, a case isn’t very important to protect the handset.
- 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm
- No notch
- Plastic construct
- Single rear digital camera
- Imprint fingerprint sensor
- Stereo speakers (one downward firing)
- three.5mm headphone jack
As talked about, the Pixel 3a is the spitting picture of the Pixel 3 collection. This consists of Google’s iconic dual-tone design, except that things had to be switched up a bit.
Price range phone means cheaper constructing supplies. In the Pixel 3a’s case, this came right down to Google building the phone out of plastic as an alternative of glass. This variation is extremely noticeable whenever you maintain the three and 3a aspect by aspect, however the plastic doesn’t break the experience in any respect.
Identical to the premium models, the Pixel 3a appears to be made out of a single piece of plastic with a glossy texture up prime and matte texture masking the bottom two-thirds of the handset. This provides a soft-touch feel to the somewhat grippy phone.
The Pixel 3a only comes in one spec configuration, nevertheless it does function a brand new shade. In addition to the normal Just Black and Clearly White, the two mid-tier fashions are available Purple-ish. As you possibly can see from the pictures, the phone only exhibits a slight tint of purple. This feature also comes with a neon-green power button that I am keen on.
We’re glad to see the reappearance of the headphone jack. The company ended up putting the 3.5mm gap on the top edge of the phone. I might have most popular the port on the underside based mostly on how I put the Pixel 3a in my pocket, however I don’t use wired headphones typically, so it finally didn’t make a distinction for me.
Google decided to put the Pixel 3a’s second speaker on the underside edge, good of the USB-C port. The placement provides the phone a uniform look, as an similar cutout could be found on the left aspect of the port for a microphone.
The rest of the phone is pretty much equivalent to the Pixel 3 when it comes to design. Google continues to stack the facility and volume buttons on the appropriate aspect of the phone. The fingerprint sensor is properly situated in the prime middle portion of the system’s rear panel, and the first digital camera is stored within the prime left corner of the handset.
- 5.6-inch OLED
- 2,220 x 1,080 Full HD+ decision
- 18.5:9 facet ratio
- All the time-on display
- 100,000:1 contrast ratio
The display on the Pixel 3a is incredible. I by no means once appeared on the phone in the course of the evaluation interval and thought I used to be wanting down at a phone that value $399.
Aside from having a slightly lower pixel density than its premium counterparts, the Pixel 3a’s display was great to take a look at. I did are likely to maintain the display brightness up all through the day, bumping it up to 100 % when outdoors. It will have been nice to have a brighter display, notably for outside use.
Google lets you tweak the color tone of the display. I stored the default Adaptive setting enabled because I discovered it probably the most true-to-life, even when colours have been a bit over-saturated at occasions.
It’s arduous to point out in footage, however the Pixel 3a’s show has a blue tint to it. You probably gained’t discover it in individual, but I did once I held the phone up to an iPhone XS with True Tone turned on. Fortuitously, it isn’t anyplace almost as dangerous as the Pixel 2’s show.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
- 2.0GHz + 1.7GHz, 64-bit octa-core
- Adreno 615 GPU
- Titan M security module
- 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage
- No expandable storage
To deliver the cost of the Pixel 3a down, Google had to go together with a mid-tier processor: the Snapdragon 670. Paired with the Adreno 615 GPU, the phone felt simply as responsive as some premium handsets. The Pixel 3a checked by means of just about each activity I threw at it, including some mild gaming similar to Asphalt 9.
Aspect-by-side with the Pixel three, you’ll be able to spot longer load occasions on the Pixel 3a. But if you take away the opposite handset from the equation, those slight differences go away. Throughout my assessment interval, I by no means felt like I was standing there waiting ages for the phone to do something.
You would easily go a full day on a single charge, however not much longer than that
Photograph processing was the one place that I persistently saw the Pixel 3a take its time. Regardless of if I snapped a daily photograph or a portrait, the handset took an additional two to five seconds to render the ultimate picture.
Identical to with other Pixels, the Pixel 3a suffers from poor RAM management. I didn’t have as many bottlenecks as I did with the Pixel 3 XL and its further horsepower, but I did notice the 3a almost all the time maxing out.
Spotify wouldn’t get killed off within the background, however I might hardly make it previous 20 posts on Reddit before autoplaying GIFs and movies began to lock up the phone. Such a conduct is predicted on a lower-specced gadget, but some further work on Google’s half would go a great distance.
Identical to with other storage minimums through the years, it may be time to retire 64GB as the default. Should you install apps with giant file sizes by the dozen, you’ll discover the Pixel 3a’s storage shortly fills up.
- 18W fast charging
- No wi-fi charging
The Pixel 3a comes with a three,000mAh battery and it will get the job completed. That is near the bottom of the expected battery measurement in trendy smartphones.
From my testing, I used to be capable of get via most days without having to prime off before going to mattress. I don’t are likely to do too many battery-consuming tasks throughout the day, but I do watch YouTube videos and scroll by way of social media, which drain the battery quicker than some might like.
As you’ll be able to see from the screenshots, I might simply get five to perhaps six hours of display utilization before the phone would die. Thankfully, the 18W quick charger that comes in the box can get the Pixel 3a again up to 100 % in nearly an hour and a half.
If battery life is a precedence and simply making it to the top of the day doesn’t minimize it, go together with the Pixel 3a XL. It has a slightly bigger 3,700mAh battery that helps the phone get closer to eight hours of display time.
My largest disappointment with the Pixel 3a is its lack of wireless charging. Now that all the major players in the phone market make phones that help the Qi commonplace, I’ve grow to be accustomed to putting my units down on a charging pad.
Because the handset is made out of plastic, there must be nothing holding Google back from including wi-fi charging aside from worth. Right here’s hoping that Google makes the function obtainable with the Pixel 4a.
- Rear: 12.2MP dual-pixel
- ƒ/1.8 aperture, 76 degree subject of view
- Optical + electronic image stabilization
- Selfie digital camera: 8MP
- f/2.zero aperture, fastened focus
- 84 degree area of view
If there’s one cause why you should purchase the Pixel 3a over some other mid-tier smartphone, it’s the digital camera. Following in the footsteps of all Pixel handsets before it, the Pixel 3a’s rear shooter captures a few of the best-looking pictures on the market.
On paper, the rear digital camera on the Pixel 3a matches the Pixel 3’s spec for spec. When evaluating pictures, although, the Pixel 3a does present a slight loss in high quality.
The Pixel 3a’s digital camera is best than the competition, however worse than the Pixel three
Regardless of being a budget-friendly handset, the Pixel 3a continues to be capable of outshooting many flagship-level smartphones.
The Pixel 3a consists of the varied capturing modes found on its premium siblings. This consists of Night time Sight, Photobooth, sluggish movement, and a brand new time lapse mode.
Looking at Night time Sight, the low mild digital camera mode works simply as properly on this finances handset. Above, you’ll be able to see it pull in additional mild across the wall with out blowing out the person gadgets. Under, you’ll be able to see the digital camera brightening up scenes, bringing a more even publicity to a lot of the shot.
Portrait mode additionally makes its option to the Pixel 3a and it’s exhausting to beat. The AI-driven bokeh impact brings an object into the foreground while properly blurring out the background. That is still a tremendous feat with a phone with one rear digital camera, let alone a handset with decrease specs.
If the bokeh look is an excessive amount of for your taste, Google still lets you dig into Pictures and regulate the depth impact.
The front-facing digital camera on the Pixel 3a dived in quality compared to the dual-camera setup discovered on the Pixel three. Not considering the shortage of a wide-angle lens, the 3a’s selfie shooter has this bizarre flat really feel to it. Regardless of the lighting circumstances, the 8MP digital camera never captured the best-looking photographs.
- Android 9 Pie
- Two years of firmware updates
- Three years of security patches
There isn’t much new to say concerning the software on the Pixel 3a. Google is serving up its similar great inventory Android Pie expertise that many view as the right model of Android. Weirdly, the phone launched with the March security patch, but once June hits the handset must be getting month-to-month updates alongside Google’s different Pixel phones.
As with all of Google’s hardware, the corporate promises at the least two years of firmware or major model updates and three years of safety patches. This ensures that you’ll get help by means of the life of the gadget.
The Pixel 3a will hit its stride as soon as Android Q is accessible
I am excited for Android Q. I used to be only capable of run the beta firmware for a couple of days, but the general expertise was unbelievable. Android Pie’s gesture navigation system is atrocious, however that may soon be fastened. Google is implementing new gestures, in addition to permitting users to maneuver again to the three-button format.
- Headphone jack
- Stereo audio system (one downward dealing with)
- Two microphones, noise suppression
Google seemingly did the inconceivable and introduced again the headphone jack. We’ve already confirmed that wired headphones are better than Bluetooth options, so that is good news for any audiophile wanting on the Pixel 3a.
Despite the jack’s return, I don’t anticipate it to point out up in any of Google’s future premium handsets. The jack will probably be reserved for the finances telephones.
Surprisingly, the stereo audio system on the Pixel 3a sound unimaginable. The sound is loud and clear with minimal distortion. The bass was lacking a bit, nevertheless it surpassed a handful of phones that I used for comparison.
Google Pixel 3a specs
|Google Pixel 3a|
2,220 x 1,080 decision
18.5:9 facet ratio
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 670|
No microSD slot
12.2MP f/1.8 sensor, 1.4µm pixels, 76-degree field-of-view, autofocus with dual-pixel part detection, optical + digital picture stabilization
No wi-fi charging
|IP score||No IP score|
|Other options||Stereo speakers (one downward dealing with), Lively Edge, USB Sort-C, single nano-SIM|
|Software program version||Android 9 Pie|
|Colours||Simply Black, Clearly White, Purple-ish|
|Dimensions and weight||151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm|
Worth for the cash
- Google Pixel 3a: 4GB RAM, 64GB ROM — $399
When compared to similarly-priced flagship telephones, Google’s Pixels have all the time lagged a bit in the spec department. The firm says the actual worth for clients is in the software program department.
Google followed the identical components with the Pixel 3a. The Snapdragon 670 processor and 4GB of RAM are on par with different mid-tier smartphones, but the 3a’s $399 price ticket is $50 to $100 larger than other budget-friendly phones just like the Moto G7. Again, Google makes up for that with its software program expertise and stellar digital camera.
To economize, many OEMs drop certain features and slack on software updates. With the Pixel 3a, you not solely get NFC for things like Google Pay, however you get a digital camera that outpaces most flagships and the security of monthly software updates.
Because the phone first went on sale, Google and other retailers have been discounting the worth of the system or providing up to $100 in credit, bringing the price of the handset right down to roughly $299. At that worth, it matches some of its fiercest rivals. With this in mind, the worth of the Pixel 3a is obvious.
Google Pixel 3a evaluation: The verdict
That is the phone that ought to work for everyone. The Google Pixel line has long been referred to as one of many biggest Android experiences available on the market. Now, the search big has a phone that’s rather more accessible for a larger portion of the market.
For $399 (or much less), you get the most effective options from the Pixel 3: digital camera high quality and consistent Android updates. No phone in the Pixel 3a’s class comes near capturing as nice of photographs or matching its replace schedule.
There are some trade-offs, though, by going the budget-friendly route. You don’t get waterproofing, wi-fi charging, or premium glass, but you do nonetheless get a strong all-around package deal. As a bonus, it comes with a headphone jack.
Google has finally made a phone that includes virtually every function that makes the Pixel lineup so widespread in a budget-conscious package deal. Toss in the truth that nearly each service (aside from AT&T) will sell the phone in their stores, and this phone ought to be an immediate success.