Pixel 3a overview: the individuals’s Google telephone? | Know-how


Google’s newest telephone, the Pixel 3a, provides the agency’s incredible digital camera and software program for lower than £400, chopping a number of corners on the way in which.

The pitch for the Pixel 3a is easy: every part that made the £739 top-end Pixel Three good, however at a lower cost.

From the skin it’s not instantly apparent what has modified. Google ported the appear and feel of its costlier glass and steel telephones into high-quality plastic. It even has the matt again panel with a gloss window on the prime, and the identical giant bezels on the prime and backside of the display.

Gone are the front-facing stereo audio system and the twin selfie digital camera, leaving a extra fundamental look on the entrance. The 5.6in FHD+ OLED display is superb for the cash, rivalling that fitted to the costlier Pixel Three if not fairly reaching the standard of telephones reminiscent of Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ or Huawei’s P30 Professional.

Google Pixel 3a review

You need to actually scrutinise the again of the Pixel 3a to understand it isn’t frosted glass just like the costlier Pixel 3. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The highest of the telephone heralds the shock return of the headphone socket, whereas the again has the identical glorious fingerprint scanner as fitted to the Pixel 3. There’s no face recognition or different biometric unlock choice.

The Pixel 3a is a light-weight and pretty small telephone by at the moment’s requirements, making it one of many best fashionable smartphones to carry and use one-handed. Weighing 147g it’s 1g lighter than the Pixel Three and significantly lighter than the 180g Honor View 20, one among its primary rivals.

Total the Pixel 3a feels effectively made and pretty sturdy, if not fairly as premium as equally priced steel and glass rivals. When most individuals will put it in a case, that time is probably going moot.


  • Display: 5.6in FHD+ OLED (441ppi)

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 670

  • RAM: 4GB of RAM

  • Storage: 64GB

  • Working system: Android 9.zero Pie

  • Digital camera: 12.2MP rear digital camera with OIS, 8MP front-facing digital camera

  • Connectivity: 3.5mm headphones socket, LTE, wifi, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS

  • Dimensions: 151.Three x 70.1 x 8.2 mm

  • Weight: 147g

Mid-range efficiency

Google Pixel 3a review

The USB-C port within the backside helps quick charging, however solely USB2.zero knowledge switch speeds. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Pixel 3a is available in three colors however just one model, which has one among Qualcomm’s current mid-range processors, the Snapdragon 670, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

To make this completely clear: in contrast to the costlier Pixel 3, the Pixel 3a just isn’t a top-performing smartphone. The Snapdragon 670 is considerably slower than the flagship chips such because the Snapdragon 845/855 or Huawei’s Kirin 980, and the Pixel 3a makes use of slower eMMC storage too.

On the entire the Pixel 3a performs much better than its paper specs would possibly counsel, which works to indicate how necessary optimisation of the software program is to a telephone’s efficiency.

Swiping between house pages is easy. Switching between just lately used apps is pretty fast too, and as soon as loaded apps run effective. It’s solely whenever you strive doing one thing a little bit taxing, reminiscent of capturing a burst of images, putting in a brand new giant app, or loading an app not just lately used that you just see the Pixel 3a’s efficiency dip.

It performs effective for a lower-end telephone, however at £400 it isn’t that low-cost, that means there are considerably sooner telephones with flagship parts accessible within the UK and Europe costing the identical or much less.

Battery life is disappointing too, coming in at slightly below 24 hours between costs when used as my major gadget, with a whole lot of emails, messages and push notifications, 4 hours of Spotify by way of Bluetooth headphones, 45 minutes of Netflix and 10 images a day.

The Pixel 3a would make it from 7am to 11pm with about 10% battery left, however then would usually be useless by the morning. Turning off the always-on show added about two hours of life, nevertheless it nonetheless received’t have the endurance to get you house after an evening out with out being topped up throughout the day.

No less than the 18W quick charging is pretty speedy as much as about 80%. There’s no wi-fi charging.

Google’s Android 9 Pie

Google Pixel 3a review

Android 9 Pie on the Google Pixel 3a is a pleasure to make use of – good, appears to be like good and is effectively optimised all spherical making the perfect of the mid-range {hardware}. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Whereas efficiency and battery life is barely disappointing, the software program on the Pixel 3a is something however.

The software program is strictly the identical as working on the Pixel 3, together with Google’s numerous Pixel-first options reminiscent of AR navigation in Google Maps, Now Taking part in ambient music recognition and squeeze-to-activate Google Assistant.

It’ll additionally get at the very least three years of each Android model updates and month-to-month safety updates, making it one of many only a few Android smartphones to take action. Whereas updates aren’t a whizz-bang characteristic, they’re crucial and one thing on which third-party producers lag far behind. The Pixel 3a will even get Android Q earlier than virtually the rest.

Digital camera

Google Pixel 3a review

The Pixel 3a has among the finest cameras accessible on a smartphone at any worth. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Past software program, the digital camera is the first promoting level for the Pixel 3a and for good purpose. It has the identical stellar, competition-beating digital camera because the Pixel Three with all of the bells and whistles connected. Level, shoot and get incredible photographs practically each time.

Prime Shot, HDR+, Tremendous Res Zoom, Google’s glorious motion-tracking auto-focus and the good Evening Sight are all included. New for the reason that launch of the Pixel Three is a timelapse characteristic, which works surprisingly effectively.

Whereas the Huawei P30 Professional has bettered Google’s digital camera in zoom, flexibility and low-light efficiency, the digital camera on the Pixel 3a nonetheless tops any telephone costing any amount of cash on effective element and HDR.

The selfie digital camera can be excellent, as is video seize efficiency. Merely put: you must spend actually twice as a lot on a P30 Professional to get a greater digital camera than this.


Google Pixel 3a review

Squeeze the perimeters of the telephone to set off Google Assistant. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
  • The matt plastic appears like vinyl whenever you run your nail over it

  • Haptic vibrations are a lot better than the competitors at this worth

  • The stereo audio system work pretty effectively with one firing out the underside of the telephone

  • The display is roofed by the cheaper Dragontail, not Gorilla Glass

  • There’s no water resistance, twin sim or expandable storage


The Google Pixel 3a is available in three colors and prices £399.

For comparability, the larger Pixel 3a XL prices £469, the Pixel Three prices £739, the Honor View 20 prices £399, the OnePlus 6T prices £499, the Samsung Galaxy S10e prices £669 and the Apple iPhone XR prices £749.


The Pixel 3a is an important product to Google. It marks a return to cheaper however good telephones, and it brings most of the glorious options from the £739 Pixel Three to beneath £400.

The digital camera is just higher than the rest at this worth and so is the software program. You additionally get a full three years of month-to-month safety and Android model updates, and entry to Google’s options first together with the upcoming Android Q.

However in getting all the way down to the £400 worth level Google has needed to lower a number of corners. A plastic physique with giant bezels and an excellent display is okay. Poor battery life and slower {hardware} is much less so.

It’s not that utilizing the Pixel 3a is like treacle, it’s simply that for a similar cash within the UK and Europe you may get smartphones with a lot sooner, flagship {hardware} and considerably longer battery life. That’s not the case within the US, which makes the Pixel 3a rather more tempting throughout the Atlantic.

So the Pixel 3a is an efficient begin, however a chance missed to grow to be the king of the mid-range.

Execs: nice digital camera, good display, nice software program and help, headphone socket, comparatively small, pretty cheap, squeezable sides

Cons: poor battery life, common efficiency, no wi-fi charging, no water resistance, no expandable storage or dual-sim help, giant bezels

Google Pixel 3a review

The fingerprint scanner on the again of the Pixel 3a works nice, lining up completely together with your index finger when holding the telephone usually. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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