Pixel 3a — Google’s affordable phone with high-end features

Google has officially announced its Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones on 7 May at its annual Google I/O developer event in Mountain View, California.

The announcement confirmed rumours that the new smartphones would have a similar exterior design to the Pixel 3, but with a scaled back chipset.

Pixel 3a also uses a single front camera rather than the dual front camera system that the more expensive Pixel 3 has, and does not have the IP68 water and dust resistance rating on the Pixel 3.

It still has a 12.2 megapixel dual-pixel rear camera with a f/1.8 lens, and all the camera features the high-end Pixel has. This includes Google’s HDR+ technology with features like Portrait Mode, Super Res Zoom, and Night Sight.

“You’ll never want to use flash again with Night Sight,” Google said. “It lets you capture rich detail and colour, even in the dark.”

The Pixel 3a will also receive a time lapse feature, allowing you to capture events that stretch over a lengthy period in a few seconds of video.

As with other Pixel devices, the Pixel 3a comes with free, unlimited high quality storage for your pictures in Google Photos.

Google announced that the entire Pixel range, including the Pixel 3a, will get a preview of augmented reality in Google Maps.

“The next time you’re getting around town, you can see walking directions overlaid on the world itself, rather than looking at a blue dot on a map,” the company said.

This will help you know precisely where you are, and exactly which way to start walking, provided that you are in an area covered on Street View and where you have a good data connection and good lighting.

Pixel 3a will launch running the latest Android 9.0 Pie and will receive updates for three years, including an upgrade to Android 10.

The devices are available in three colours: Just Black, Clearly White, and Purple-ish.

It is also available in two sizes with 64GB of storage. In the United States the 5.6-inch model is $399, while the 6-inch model sells for $479. Prices exclude sales tax.

The key features of the Pixel 3a are summarised in the table below.

Specifications Pixel 3a Pixel 3a XL
Dimensions 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm 160.1 x 76.1 x 8.2mm
Weight 147g 167g
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie
Display 5.6-inch OLED FHD+ (1080×2220) 6.0-inch OLED FHD+ (1080×2160)
Rear camera 12.2MP dual-pixel f/1.8 76-degree FOV 12.2MP dual-pixel f/1.8 76-degree FOV
Front camera 8MP f/2.0 84-degree FOV 8MP f/2.0 84-degree FOV
Storage, internal 64GB 64GB
Storage, expandable
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (2.0GHz + 1.7GHz octa-core) Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (2.0GHz + 1.7GHz octa-core)
Graphics Adreno 615 Adreno 615
Battery 3,000mAh 3,700mAh
Cellular data LTE-A 3CA 4×2/2×2 MIMO LTE-A 3CA 4×2/2×2 MIMO
SIM type Single + eSIM in select markets Single + eSIM in select markets
Biometrics Fingerprint, face Fingerprint, face
RRP $399 $479

Pixel 3a - Clearly White
Pixel 3a – Clearly White
Pixel 3a - Purple-ish
Pixel 3a – Purple-ish
Pixel 3a - Just Black
Pixel 3a – Just Black

Jan Vermeulen is a guest of Google at I/O 2019 in Mountain View.

Now read: Google switches to a Samsung display for the Pixel 3 XL

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Pixel 3a — Google’s affordable phone with high-end features