Google launched the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL as its budget devices offering premium Pixel experience at I/O 2019 last night. The devices have been rumored since late last year, and they are now official. With the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, Google seems to be finally resurrecting the Nexus lineup, which stood for quality hardware and updated software that did not cost a lot of money. During the first quarter earnings for 2019, Google confirmed that Pixel 3 is not selling as well as it wanted due to higher price and general slowdown in smartphone sales and upgrade. With the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, Google is pitching the lower price as the biggest advantage but it is any better compared to Pixel 3, which has received multiple price cut since launch. Here is a look at how the Pixel 3a compares to Pixel 3 in terms of design, display, cameras, specifications and price.
Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3: Cameras
The Pixel 3a, like Pixel 3 before it, should be even considered by consumers for its camera. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, almost seven months after its launch, still set the benchmark for smartphone photography. The Pixel 3a is no different. It has the same 12.2-megapixel rear camera as the Pixel 3 and produces almost identical images as well. If you thought the Pixel 3 camera samples were great then the Pixel 3a will leave you with similar feeling as well. Like the regular Pixel 3, the Pixel 3a’s main camera sensor also supports dual pixel autofocus for fast autofocus and relies on the same software.
However, it does make some trade-off in order to reach the mid-range price tag. The Pixel 3a drops the Pixel Visual Core, a dedicated image processing engine seen on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. This means, the Pixel 3a is slower to process HDR images than its premium sibling. It also uses a slower Qualcomm processor with less powerful image signal processor. There is a noticeable difference in speed when you press the shutter button but the results are identical enough to look past these small issues. While the rear camera is identical, the same cannot be said about the front cameras.
With the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL last year, Google added dual camera to the front of the device. The Pixel 3a, however, comes with a single selfie shooter. The sensor is the same 8-megapixel unit seen on the Pixel 3 and an 84-degree field of view but lacks the ultra wide-angle 8-megapixel camera. The ultra wide-angle 8-megapixel selfie camera on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL is a neat implementation that allows you to squeeze more people into the frame and that novel feature is dropped from the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
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Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3: Design and Display
Google has reached that mid-range pricing with the Pixel 3a mainly by changing the choice of materials and display panel. The Pixel 3a features a 5.6-inch Full HD+ OLED display, which is a bit taller than the Pixel 3’s 5.5-inch Full HD+ OLED display but it uses an Asahi Dragon glass as opposed to Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 seen on its premium sibling. In comparison, the display on the Pixel 3a is less sharper than the one seen on the Pixel 3. It won’t be obvious immediately but is an area where Google has cut corners.
The Pixel 3a does not scream cheap immediately but it is not as premium as the Pixel 3 either. The Pixel 3a has dual tone finish on its back like the Pixel 3 but uses a polycarbonate. Since Google is dropping glass back with Pixel 3a, it lacks wireless charging and also does not offer any form of water or dust resistance. It comes in white and black colors and there is also a third color called Purple-ish in the US. Flipkart is not offering the Purple color variant in the country just yet.
Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3: Specifications
With Pixel 3a, Google has retained the same camera seen on the back of Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL but has changes the quality of materials and specifications. The Pixel 3a comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage and there is no 128GB storage variant. It also lacks expandable storage, meaning if you run out of storage there is no rescue. It also uses Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 670 mobile platform, which is a slower processor than the Snapdragon 845 that sits under the hood of Pixel 3.
This processor definitely hampers the performance of camera but it is also slower while launching apps. Google Pixel 3, which was launched in October last year, has already become slower for a number of years. It is not clear how the Pixel 3a will perform months from now when it have Android Q and not Android Pie. If it does not slow down then it will a device worth buying in this price segment. It packs a 3,000mAh battery, and supports dual SIMs with one being an e-SIM.
Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3: Pricing
Google Pixel 3a is priced at $399, and costs Rs 39,999 in India. It will be available for sale online via Flipkart starting May 15. At Rs 39,999, the Pixel 3a competes with excellent mid-range premium devices like OnePlus 6T and Honor View20. While it promises security with dedicated Titan M chip, faster updates and security patches for three years, it may not be enough to convince someone to pick the Pixel 3a over a premium flagship device from OnePlus, Honor or Asus.
|Features||Google Pixel 3a||Google Pixel 3|
|Display||5.6-inch Full HD+||5.5-inch Full HD+|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
|Front Camera||8-megapixel||8-megapixel + 8-megapixel|
|Connectivity||4G LTE, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth||4G LTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth|
|Android OS||Android 9 Pie
|Android 9 Pie
|Price||Rs 39,999 (4GB/64GB)||Rs 56,999 (4GB/64GB)
Rs 65,999 (4GB/128GB)