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Google Pixel 3a: The cheaper Pixel 3 alternative

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Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s wallet-friendly version of the Pixel 3

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Release date and price

The Pixel 3a was released on 8 May, a day after its announcement, and true to its claim its price was set at roughly half that of the Pixel 3 – the only power/storage option of 4GB RAM and 64GB will set you back around £399.

Design

The Pixel 3a looks very similar to the Pixel 3, the body sporting rounded edges and a two tone design – however, the Pixel 3a’s rear is made from plastic as opposed to the glass used on the Pixel 3. This means the phone is lighter, despite being slightly bigger than the Pixel 3 so some users might feel the end result is less ‘premium’.

The position of the rear camera and flash stays the same, as does the volume, power buttons and the charging port, the Pixel 3a also has a headphone jack – reportedly rare on mid-range handsets.

The Pixel 3a falls short when it comes to speakers, only having one front facing speaker compared to the two on the Pixel 3, meaning the quality of audio is somewhat lower on the budget version.

The phone’s display measures at 5.6 inches, which is relatively small – if this is a concern, you might consider the Pixel 3a XL. It’s full HD+ and OLED, and its resolution sits at 2220x1080, making the overall display clear and suitable for higher detailed images – but still falls short of the Pixel 3.

Features

Like the Pixel 3, the 3a includes Active Edge technology which lets you bring up the Google Assistant by squeezing the phone’s edge – but it might require slightly more force than its older cousin.

In terms of the camera, the overall image quality is close to what you’ll get with the Pixel 3 – the 3a sports a 12.2MP f/1.8 single camera on the rear. However what the 3a doesn’t have is the Pixel Visual Core imaging chip – this means the phone is slightly slower at processing images and not quite as smart when it comes to optimising.

Overall however, for the price of the phone the rear camera is more than decent – it also has features like Top Shot and Night Sight, again keeping it mostly in line with the Pixel 3.

The selfie camera clocks it in at 8MP, but there is only one compared to the Pixel 3’s two front-facing lenses. It’s not a huge difference, considering the far lower price of the handset.

Tech specs

The Pixel 3a uses the Snapdragon 670 chipset, downgraded from the Pixel 3’s Snapdragon 845 – as a result the phone does feel slightly slower in general compared to high-end options. But having said that, it’s not ‘slow’ – holding up well in its own right and clocking in at 2.0GHz + 1.7GHz.

The battery in the 3a weighs in at 3,000mAh, and the battery life is impressive – possibly even better than the Pixel 3 thanks to the less demanding chip set. However it won’t benefit from wireless charging capabilities – even though the plastic material used could technically still support it.

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Pixel 3a specs

General
Manufacturer Google
Operating System Android
Release Date
Sim Card Type Nano
Sensors
Accelerometer Yes
Proximity Yes
Compass Yes
Barometer Yes
Gyroscope Yes
GPS No
Size & Weight
Form Factor Candy Bar
Thickness 8.2 mm
Size 70.1mm x 8.2mm x 151.3mm
Weight 147 g
Battery
Battery Type Lithium Polymer
Capacity 3000 mah
Standby hours
Talktime hours
Display
Display Size 5.6 inches
Screen Type AMOLED
Resolution 1080 x 2220 inches
Pixels Per Inch 441 ppi
Touch Screen Type Capacitive
Processing power
CPU 2000 mhz
Processor Cores Octa Core Cores
Memory 4000 MB
Storage
Internal Storage 64
External Storage No
Camera & Video
Primary Camera 12 MP
Flash Yes
LED Flash
GEO Tagging Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Fixed Focus Yes
Touch Focus
Face Detection Yes
Smile Detection
Image Stabilisation Yes
Video Quality 2160p
2nd Camera 8 MP
Data
Generation 4G
Frequency Dual-band
NFC No
Wi-Fi No
Wi-Fi Hotspot No
Wi-Fi Direct No
Bluetooth No
USB No
Sound
Loudspeaker Yes