During the opening keynote of Google I/O 2019, Google went ahead and unveiled the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. These handsets have leaked numerous times over the last few weeks so their announcement is not going to take anyone by surprise.
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are mid-range offerings from Google. They aim to offer the best of the Pixel 3 series in a cheaper and smaller form factor. With the Pixel 3 sales failing to set the sales chart on fire, Google is hoping the cheaper Pixel 3a handsets are able to make a dent.
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL sacrifice the glass rear panel in favor of a unibody plastic. The displays are also smaller — the Pixel 3a comes with a 5.6-inch FHD+ OLED display while the 3a XL comes with a 6-inch FHD+ OLED display, and they both feature Always-On Display.
Contrary to rumors, both Pixel 3a handsets are powered by a mid-range octa-core Snapdragon 670 chipset.
Apart from the difference in display size, the Pixel 3a series have the same specs. This includes 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Active Edge, Wi-Fi ac, rear fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth 5.0, headphone jack, stereo speakers, and 18W fast charging. The Pixel 3a comes with a 3000mAh battery, while the Pixel 3a XL comes with a 3700mAh battery — yes, the Pixel 3a XL has a bigger battery than the Pixel 3 XL. Both phones lack wireless charging due to their plastic build.
The highlight of the Pixel 3a series is that they offer the same rear camera as the more expensive Pixel 3 series. This means we are looking at a 12.2MP shooter with OIS, f/1.8 aperture, and 1.44um large pixels. This is the same sensor that Google uses on the Pixel 3 series.
While the weaker ISP of Snapdragon 670 on the Pixel 3a series will have an impact on overall image quality, the difference should still be limited in most cases. All the main camera features as found on the Pixel 3 including Super Res Zoom, Portrait mode, and Night Sight are found on the Pixel 3a series.
At the front, there’s an 8MP selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture and an 84-degree field of view. There’s no secondary ultra-wide angle shooter here for groupfies. There are stereo speakers on the phones, though the bottom speaker is now a downward firing one.
The handsets are running on Android 9.0 with Google experience on top of it. This means you get some Pixel-exclusive features like AR walking directions in Google Maps, Google Duplex, Call Screening and more. The handsets are also guaranteed to get updates for 3 years.
All the compromises mean the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL carry a notably lower price tag than the Pixel 3 series. The Pixel 3a starts from $400, with the Pixel 3a XL coming in at $479. In the United States, the Pixel 3a series will be available on T-Mobile, US Cellular and Sprint as well. They will be available in 13+ markets from today itself.