[I/O 2019] Google’s more affordable Pixel 3a/3a XL officially announced


There was a time in the past when Google’s Nexus line brought quality and premium features at an affordable price. Unfortunately, while quality and premium features are a mainstay of Google’s Pixel line, the price has jumped and kept in line with other flagship devices. Until now. Rumoured for months now, the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL were officially unveiled at Google I/O 2019.

The biggest feature that the Pixel 3a/3a XL will sport is the exact same camera that is in the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. That’s right, the same camera with HDR+, Portrait Mode, Super Res Zoom, and Night Sight is standard across all Pixel 3/3a devices. The new devices also feature a 5.6-inch and 6-inch OLED display as well, very similar in size to their premium counterparts.

Google did cut back on some features though. For starters, the new devices will be sporting the newer, but less powerful, Snapdragon 670 processor. However, like their counterparts, both the 3a and 3a XL will have 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Features like Active Edge (squeeze to invoke Google Assistant) and front stereo speakers are also included, as is the latest Android 9.0 Pie and a guarantee of 3 years of updates.

The smaller device will pack a 3,000 mAh battery (slightly larger than its premium counterpart) and the larger will have a 3,700 mAh battery. While the 3a devices have a USB-C port for charging and data, the 3.5mm jack returns on both devices — something missing from the Pixel 3/3 XL.

While the headphone jack made its return to the budget Pixel 3 line, the cheaper phones are also losing water resistance and wireless charging. Instead of the aluminum frame/glass body, the new devices feature a polycarbonate unibody. To be honest, that should provide more resilience for users over a glass body. For those interested in the Pixel 3a XL, something else is noticeably missing — the notch!

The Google Pixel 3a front view.
The Google Pixel 3a XL — sans notch!

Even though the processor isn’t as powerful as the Pixel 3/3 XL and the 3a/3a XL lack wireless charging and water resistance, these devices should really be more than good enough for the average user. As most users stick to social media, email, calls, and photography related endeavours, the inclusion of the top-notch Pixel 3 camera is definitely a bonus.

The best part is the price. While the Pixel 3/3 XL is priced at US$799/CA$999 and up, the Pixel 3a will retail for US$399/CA$549 and the 3a XL at US$479/CA$649. The new devices are available in Just Black, Clearly White, and Purple-ish. In addition, if you purchase from the Google Store (at least in Canada), you’ll receive a CA$150 credit to use in the Google Store as well as 3 months of YouTube Music Premium.

What do you think of the Pixel 3a/3a XL? Do you think this could be a suitable replacement for the Nexus line? Are you going to be picking one up instead of a 3/3 XL? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook, or MeWe.

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Last Updated on February 3, 2021.


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