Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review
Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review

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The Google Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL are affordable compared to the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, but does the lower pricing result in a lot of compromises?

When Google discontinued its Nexus smartphone lineup, it left a zero in the market which is difficult to fill. People did not really have a powerful option that is running powerful hardware and stock Android software.

Many smartphone makers have tried to make something like the Nexus smartphone, but have diminished. Google tried to offer an option with the redesigned Android One program, from which participating manufacturers offered stock Android experience on their devices, but it is still not the same.

Finally, Google wants to re-address the same segment with two new smartphones, Google Pixel 3a, 39,999 and Pixel 3 XL. These smartphones promise to give the same pixel experience as the flagship Pixel 3 (review) and Pixel 3 XL (review), but at low price points. 

These are relatively cheap smartphones powered by mid-range processors, which are eligible for a pixel name? We put new pixel 3A devices for testing to find out.

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL design

The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL ₹ 44,999 are the company's first attempts at making relatively affordable Pixel smartphones. In order for the new devices to look as though they belong in the Pixel family, Google designed them to look just like the Pixel 3. 
Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review
Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review

From the back, it is hard to distinguish between the Pixel 3a models and their Pixel 3 equivalents. However, to keep costs down, Google has opted for polycarbonate bodies instead of the glass and metal combination of the premium Pixels. 

The difference is evident when you hold one of each family in your hands, as the Pixel 3 models feel more premium.

Google's idea of affordable price points is still a lot higher than most people would like. Priced at Rs. 39,999 and 44,999 respectively, the Pixel 3a and the bigger Pixel 3a XL are still premium smartphones. 

The Asus ZenFone 5Z (Review) and OnePlus 6T ₹ 32,999 (Review), which are priced lower, are made of glass and metal and feel better in comparison. 

Google has at least attempted to make these phones' polycarbonate bodies look premium by giving them a partially frosted look, but they lack that high-end in-hand feel

The Google Pixel 3a is smaller than the Pixel 3a XL and more manageable in the hand. It sports a 5.6-inch OLED display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. 

The Pixel 3a XL, on the other hand, has a 6-inch OLED display. Interestingly, neither model sports a notch, which the Pixel 3 XL was criticized for. Instead, they stick with 18:9, full-HD+ resolution displays.

However, the bezels on the Pixel 3a models are quite thick, making the phones look a little dated. These bezels aren't symmetrical either as the space on the bottom is thicker than the space above the screen. 

This might put some people off, and the difference is further accentuated when the black navigation bar pops up. There's Asahi Dragontrail glass for protection.

The Pixel 3a phones sport stereo speakers, but unlike on their premium equivalents, these aren't front-firing. On both phones, the earpiece sits in the top bezel along with the selfie camera, while the second speaker is bottom-firing, positioned to the right of the USB Type-C port.

A surprising addition to the Pixel 3a series is a 3.5mm headphone jack, which sits on the top along with a secondary microphone. Google first removed the headphone jack from its Pixel 2 (Review) devices, and it was missing on the Pixel 3 models as well. You do get a pair of in-ear earphones in the box.

Both Pixel 3a models sport a single 12.2-megapixel rear camera with a single-LED flash. While other manufacturers offer multiple sensors, Google is relying on its software and AI expertise to do the magic. 

There's also a rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner that is within reach when holding the phone in one hand. It is worth noting that the OnePlus 6T, which is priced slightly lower than than the Pixel 3a, offers an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The battery capacity of the Pixel 3a is 3000mAh while the Pixel 3a XL packs in a 3700mAh battery which should help it deliver better battery life. Just like the Pixel 3 series, Google ships the 3a series smartphones with 18W chargers and USB Type-C to Type-C cables.

You also get a USB Type-C to full-size USB Type-A adapter in the box, which can be used to transfer data to the Pixel 3a from your previous smartphone. 

There is no USB Type-C to full-size USB cable in the box, so you'll have to buy one separately to transfer data to and from a computer.

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL 

specifications and software

At lower prices than the PIxel 3 models, the Google Pixel 3a devices get slower hardware. Both models share the same specifications, starting with a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC. 

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review
Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review

This is an octa-core processor with two performance cores clocked at 2GHz and six efficiency cores clocked at 1.7GHz. It's a slight upgrade over the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 and is based on a 10nm process. 

The Pixel 3a phones also get the same Titan M Security module as the Pixel 3 devices, which Google says helps strengthen OS integrity and secure sensitive data such as fingerprints saved on the device.

The Pixel 3a devices both come in one configuration only, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is not expandable unless you use cloud services. 

The amount of storage seems too little, and we think Google should have offered 128GB variants as well. Google offers some relief in the form of unlimited photo storage on Google Photos but there is still a catch here. 

Unlike with the Pixel 3 series where you get unlimited photo storage at full resolution, with the Pixel 3a you can only save compressed (but still high-res) photos.

Google has used the OLED display, both have full HD resolution (2220x1080 and 2160x1080 pixels pixel 3A and pixel 3a XL, respectively) and an 18: 9 aspect ratio. They remember the HDR support, which is the pixel 3 siblings. 

Provides three color modes to display. Our Pixel 3a test units were set on adaptive color modes by default, which says that Google offers a vivid yet natural looking output. If you like muted colors, you can switch to natural color mode. Boosted mode collides with the opposite.

Since Pixel 3a devices sport OLED displays, they support the Always-On Display feature which shows incoming notifications. Like the Pixel 3 model, these new pixels also feature a no playing feature, which displays a song and artist name on the home screen if there is no music playing around you.

Both phones have a nano-SIM slot but provide dual-sim functionality using an eSIM. Currently, eSIM functionality is provided by Airtel and Reliance Jio only in India, and if you are using any of these carriers, you can convert your physical SIM to eSIM.

Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL offer dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. Compared to the Pixel 3 model, low-cost options do not have an IP68 waterproof rating or QE wireless charging.

On the software front, Pixel 3a phones are running the latest version of Android Pie. The software is similar to Pixel 3 devices, and we can not tell any difference. 

Our Pixel 3a review units were running a March security patch, while our resident Pixel 3 unit was running an April Patch. With both Pixel 3a devices, Google offers three-year guaranteed Android and security updates.

The Pixel 3a phone has an active edge feature similar to its more powerful siblings. The sides of the phone are sensitive to pressure, so you can squeeze them to call Google Helper. 

Digital Velbying helps you track the time you spend on these smartphones. Gesture navigation is available, such as on the Pixel 3 series.

There is also a call screen feature that uses Google's duplex technology to respond to incoming calls, although it is currently only available in the United States and Canada. 

Other features include Flip to Shake, which puts the phone in DND mode upon flip. You can read more about other features in our Google Pixel 3 review in detail.

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL 
performance, battery life, and cameras

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review
Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL Review

The fingerprint scanner works well on Pixel 3a duo, and the phones are quick to unlock. Google's offer does not offer surprisingly facial recognition, which is less secure but more convenient and is available on many other smartphones in the market. We do not complain because the fingerprint scanner is easy to reach.

Both phones have good viewing angles in the OLED screen and were generally bright enough to be seen out in our experience. Since there are no traces on the way, you can enjoy the content without blocking a portion of the display.

While watching videos on a device the stereo speakers are adequate, but full volume sound tune The bottom-firing speaker is easy to flush, so you will need to make sure that you do not block them while holding the device. At this price point, many smartphones have a lack of stereo speakers so that Pixel 3a phones get a small win.

The quality of the call is good and clear, the earpiece is enough to listen to the call. Bundled earphones are good and some are bass-heavy, some of whom we appreciate.

We had some reservations about the display, looking at the middle-of-the-road processor at Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, but they managed to provide a comfortable user experience 

We did not report any interval or stutter while using them and was as good as day-to-day, which we would expect from the powerful pixel 3 model. Yes, launching apps and loading files take a little longer, but as long as you do not have a pixel 3a, you will not actually notice it, unless the exact job is done just like Pixel 3a.

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL performed the expected performance in the benchmark we ran. Beginning with the big of both, it scored 1,665,5 points in AnTuTu and 1,661 and 5,194 points respectively in single-core and multi-core trials in GeekBench. In GFXBench T-Rex, Manhattan 3.1 and Car Chase. It manages 53fps, 19fps, and 11fps respectively.

Our Pixel 3a gave 1,57,584 points in AnTuTu and equivalent results with 1,632 and 5,188 points in Geekbench's tests. The results in the same GFXBench graphics test were approximately equal to 53fps, 19fps, and 10fps respectively.

The Pixel 3a phone scored higher than the CPU benchmark compared to Realme 3 Pro, which is powered by Snapdragon 710 SoC, but with its Snapdragon 675 SoC Redmi Note 7 Pro is less than 4,64,499 (review).

In the graphics benchmark, this was the opposite result, the Pixel 3A phone is still among the other two smartphones. Both Realme 3 Pro and Redmi Note 7 Pro cost Rs. 13,999, almost a third pair of Pixel 3A

Since the phones we are testing today, they have scored well in the graphics benchmark, we saw PUBG Mobile at Pixel 3a XL how it will work. 

The game is the default in high settings with graphics set for HD and the frame rate is set to high, and the pixel 3A XL was able to play games without any fudge on these settings. 

We played some matches for nearly an hour, and we recorded a 14 percent battery drop at the end. The device was hard to warm by the touch of the air-conditioned room in which we were playing.

Of the two new Pixel 3a devices, the Pixel 3a XL has a larger battery of 3700mAh. In our HD Video Loop Test, Pixel 3a XL managed to last 13 hours and 9 minutes, while its 3000mAh battery, Pixel 3a gave us only 11 hours, 3 minutes. 

Pixel 3XL manages approximately 10 hours in a single trial, so what we are seeing here is a low-resolution screen in the efficient Snapdragon 670 SoC and Play.

Even with our heavy use, the Pixel 3A XL has given good battery life in day-to-day use. We took the phone from morning charger, ran all of our benchmarks, had an active Whatsapp account, and used Google Maps for navigation for 2 hours, and still had a battery life of about 45 percent at the end of 24 hours. 

The need to recharge this phone must be at least one and a half days earlier. We would expect a little less than Pixel 3a but still will have full time on a single charge.

As we mentioned earlier, Google supplies 18W chargers with type-c ports and type-c to Type-C cable in both phones' boxes. It was able to charge Pixel 3a XL in 43 minutes and 78 percent in one hour. A full charge was close to 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Google's Pixel smartphones are known for their cameras, and both the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL are some big boots. Google has used the primary camera with the Pixel 3 series, which proves these phones are hardware. 

The Sony IMX363 sensor has been used in it, which has f / 1.8 aperture, dual-pixel autofocus, and 1.4-micron pixels size. Pixel 3a duo also supports the EIS along with the EIS which should help with stability while recording the video.

The Pixel 3 device has only one camera in both phones compared to the dual selfie camera. Google has opted for the 8-megapixel sensor with f / 2.0 aperture and 84-degree view. The Pixel 3a device also lacks Google's Pixel Visual Core chip, which helps the Pixel 3 model in image processing.

The camera software is similar in all models, and features that support Pixel 3 such as night sites, super race zoom, Google lens, playground, and photobooth are all supported. This phone also has the top shot feature of Pixel 3, which captures a motion photo and suggests the best frame.

Since both phones have similar hardware and software, we used only Pixel 3a XL for camera tests. Photos taken with Pixel 3a XL in daylight were the best. The camera was quick to focus but the photos came up with a slightly cool color tone. 

The photos were sharp and were good enough, but while zooming, there was a little bit of grain on the objects. Macros were Sharp, which had accurate color and a good amount of detail.

Pixel 3a XL displays pictures by managing good separation between a subject and background. Edge Detection is good enough, and this phone manages to fully implement Bokeh. 

The Pixel 3a smartphone also has motion autofocus which keeps focus lock on a moving subject, resulting in faster shots when you press the shutdown button.

HDR + is turned on by default and Pixel 3a XL does a great job of setting exposure. You can take manual control by enabling HDR control in the settings menu. This will give you the option of closing HDR or enhancing HDR +. 

Like the Pixel 3 series, the HDR + enhanced option helps shutter shutters for a long time and helps reduce the ISO a bit and capture better details.

Pixel smartphones have a market-leading edge compared to other people, thanks to software-driven night-site mode. Pixel 3a XL also takes full advantage of it to give bright low-light shots. 

Photographs taken without night sites were grainy, especially in deep areas of the frame. With the NightSite enabled, Pixel 3A XL can completely eliminate the grain.

We also tried the Playground feature, which adds an AR letter named Play emoji to the frame. While you can also use this feature with the selfie camera on Pixel 3, Pixel 3a XL can only be used for the rear camera only.

The 8-megapixel front camera is great for selfies, and we found the output faster with good detail. Portrait mode is available to add Bokeh effect to Selfie. The pictures taken in portrait mode had a good edge.

Video recording is 4k 30fps for the primary camera and maximum 1080p for the selfie camera. Google uses a combination of EIS as well as the combination of the EIS and calls it Fused video stabilization. While shooting at the default 1080p resolution, the phone managed to stabilize the video quite well.


The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are the results of Google's effort to offer the Pixel experience at lower price points. Yes, the company has cut a few corners in order to lower the prices and to differentiate this new series from the powerful Pixel 3 devices. 

The polycarbonate bodies look the same but lack the premium experience that the flagship models offer. Google has also opted for a slower processor, missed out on waterproofing, and dropped wireless charging.

With such omissions, do the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL offer a proper Pixel experience? In a way, yes. Google's software does all the magic, and the phones are capable of delivering a smooth user experience even with the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC. 

This processor is also frugal with power, helping the Pixel 3a phones deliver better battery life than the power-hungry Pixel 3 series. Cameras are yet another highlight and do complete justice to the Pixel branding.

What we are not happy about is the pricing. While the Pixel 3a starts at $399 (roughly Rs. 27,922) and the Pixel 3a XL at $479 (roughly Rs. 33,523) in the US, the India pricing is a lot higher. 

The Google Pixel 3a retails for Rs. 39,999 and the Pixel 3a XL at Rs. 44,999. These high prices put the two models up against competitors that are a lot more powerful and are priced lower, making it hard for people to justify choosing them for anything other than photo quality. 

Phones like the Realme 3 Pro (Review) and the Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review) offer similar performance and features — other than their cameras — for significantly less money.

If camera performance is your top priority, the Pixel 3a devices are great options for less than Rs. 50,000. When Google releases Android Q later this year, the Pixel 3a models will also be among the first devices to get all its new features.

The Pixel 3a is more compact and a little easier to handle, but the Pixel 3a XL offers better battery life than its smaller sibling, making it a very tempting option. If you are interested in the Pixel 3a XL or Pixel 3a, you'll

Buy Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL (Rs 39,999) from Flipkart

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