As predicted, Google launched its highly anticipated midrange smartphones in its 2019 I/O. And as predicted, this phone might be one of the best phones you could buy under $500 in 2019.
Named Google Pixel 3a and Google Pixel 3a XL, there are two different versions of these midrange smartphones. And, for the most part, the difference between them is only their size and price. Pixel 3a costs $399, So, unless I state the difference, what I say about the Pixel 3a works for 3a XL too.
Pixel 3a, to the untrained and many trained eyes, looks very similar to the Pixel 3. Pixel 3a XL looks like an enlarged version of Pixel 3a; there’s no notch at the top. Even the backs of these phones look the same as that of Pixel 3 and 3 XL. But those more expensive phones were made out of the glass; here its all polycarbonate. But people have said that this is a good finish and the feel in the hand is not that bad. Besides the design is the same.
The screen, unlike most of the phones in this price range, is a FHD+ OLED screen on both the phones. This means deeper blacks and punchier colors. It is rare to see an OLED screen at this price bracket (at least for the international market, Samsung Galaxy A series have OLED screen well below this price point). The display is covered with Asahi Dragontrail glass instead of Gorilla Glass.
Inside, the phones are powered by Snapdragon 670 processor. This is a good mid-range processor from Qualcomm which should perform slightly better than the Snapdragon 660. And that is fine for most people. Combine this processor with 4GB of RAM that comes standard and a super clean and optimized version of Android, you have got a phone that can handle pretty much anything you throw at it with relative ease. It won’t be as snappy as Snapdragon 855, but it won’t be sluggish either. You can nearly all the games you want to and if you play them at medium settings, you won’t lose a frame either.
Okay, until now, the phone looks decent for the price. But it’s not exciting by any measure except for the clean, optimised Android experience that it provides. Well, that ends when we talk about the cameras. As far as we know, this is the same camera found on Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, phones that cost twice the price of these phones.
And while most of you may already be gasping in excitement, some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal if this is the same camera found on the Pixel 3?” The answer is that Pixel 3 and 3XL have the best smartphone camera in the business and you are getting that amazing camera quality with these phones at half the price. Most disruptive budget-flagship smartphones packed power under the hood but their cameras have never been at the level of flagship phones. But things change with the Pixel 3a and 3a XL.
It gives you a smooth but not that snappy pure Google Android experience with the best damn camera you can get at that price or at any price on a smartphone. If this doesn’t turn your heads, I don’t know what will. If cameras are your priorities when buying a smartphone and you have 50K to spend on your phone, I can’t recommend any other phone than the Pixel 3a and 3a XL to you.
Now moving on, Pixel 3a and 3a XL probably won’t be battery champs. 3a has a 3000mAh battery, 3a XL has a 3700mAh one. This will probably last you through a day but no more. Both of these phones support 18W fast charging. Both the phones have stereo speakers but they aren’t front-firing like on Pixel 3. They are using the earpiece and a speaker at the bottom like on Samsung phones. Also, the headphone jack makes a return. Hurray! Sadly, there’s no IP rating. That’s a bummer.
Overall, Pixel 3a and 3a XL are fantastic phones with the best cameras on the whole smartphone land. If you like that clean Android experience but were underwhelmed by OnePlus’s cameras, Pixel 3a and 3a XL are the phones for you. They won’t be as snappy but they will give you a better camera experience and, who knows, a better Android experience.
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