After months of leaks and rumors, Google officially unveiled the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones at its I/O conference on Tuesday. The premium Pixel phones struggled during the latest quarter. The relatively affordable Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL have retained the best of their premium siblings to attract consumers. Here is all you need to know about the search engine giant’s new smartphones.
The new phones will help Google compete with ‘affordable premium’ devices from vendors like OnePlus, Samsung, Xiaomi, and Huawei. Are these phones good enough to sway buyers away from brands like OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Samsung?
Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL design
The new handsets retain the core design philosophy of the premium Pixel 3 models. The Pixel 3a measures 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm and weighs 147g while its bigger sibling measures 160.1 x 76.1 x 8.2mm and weighs 167g. The company has brought back the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is missing from the premium Pixel models.
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Google has made some compromises to reduce the cost. For instance, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL feature a polycarbonate body instead of a glass one. They don’t offer any kind of water resistance. Though the plastic body does feel cheaper and shinier, Google has kept the same dual-tone finish. The plastic body also makes the new phones lighter.
The budget-friendly Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL have thick bezels at the top and bottom of the screen, as well as on the sides. The bezels could turn off many potential buyers as the market is flooded with mid-range smartphones with a nearly bezel-less design.
The phones get stereo speakers. The fingerprint sensor is located on the back panel, just like on the premium models. Google has launched the new handsets in Just Black, Clearly White, and Purplish color options.
The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL run Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 670 processor. They offer 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage. The storage might not be sufficient for many users, but Google offers unlimited free cloud storage of photos and videos via Google Photos.
The company has retained the Titan M security chip but has removed the custom Pixel Visual Core that’s found inside the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The devices support AR Core framework for augmented reality (AR) apps. They also get the Active Edge support, allowing users to summon Google Assistant by squeezing the frame.
The standard Pixel 3a features a 5.6-inch gOLED display with Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2220 pixels. It has an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The larger Pixel 3a XL sports a 6-inch gOLED screen with 18:9 aspect ratio and Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. The screen on both devices is protected by Dragon Trail glass.
The Pixel 3a packs a 3000mAh battery while its larger sibling gets a 3700mAh battery, delivering up to 14 hours of video playback. They offer 18W fast charging, which delivers up to 7 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes of charging.
They run the stock version of Android 9 Pie out of the box with no bloatware. Google promises at least three years of software updates and security patches. They also feature Google’s call screening functionality, which allows Google Assistant to answer calls for you to see if the call is a spam or not.
This is the most exciting part of the new phones. They feature a single 12.2-megapixel lens with f/1.8 aperture on the back. Google has used the same Sony IMX363 that you’ll see on the premium Pixel 3. The rear camera offers OIS, EIS, and 76-degree field of view. It is capable of recording 120fps videos at 1080p and 30fps videos at 4K. On the front, they get an 8-megapixel selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture.
The Pixel 3a duo is loaded with Google’s AI smarts to enhance the photography experience. They offer HDR+, Night Sight feature that enhances low-light photography, Top Shot, Portrait Mode, and Super Res Zoom. In short, the new Pixel phones bring the same camera as the premium Pixel 3 for people who can’t afford to spend upward of $700 on a phone.
Pricing and availability
The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL bring a brilliant camera, bloatware-free software, and an impressive battery life at an affordable price. Google has priced the Pixel 3a at $399 and the Pixel 3a XL at $479. They cost far less than Apple’s iPhone XR or Samsung’s Galaxy S10E.
The smartphones have become available for order in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, and a few other countries. In the US, the Pixel 3a duo will be available on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular. Unlike the premium Pixel 3 series, these devices won’t be exclusive to Verizon.
In India, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL have been priced at Rs 39,999 and Rs 44,999, respectively. They will be exclusive to Flipkart in India. Flipkart has already started accepting pre-bookings, and will start selling them on May 15.