Google’s new budget smartphone labelled impressive

May 27, 2019

As expected, Google has released a budget option to the Pixel 3, and if initial reviews are anything to go by, it’s more impressive than many anticipated.

Known as the Google Pixel 3a, for all intents and purposes it is a Pixel 3, but with slightly lower specs and with a price tag that comes in at roughly half the price of Google’s top-end model.

Here’s what’s available with the Pixel 3a.

Introducing the Pixel 3a

Launched at the recent Google I/O 2019, the Google Pixel 3a is a surprise addition to Google’s smart phone line-up. It fills a previously vacant niche in the tech co.’s stable with an affordable phone option that retails at just US$399.

So, what’s in the box?

Design

As Tech Radar notes, the Pixel 3a looks remarkably similar to the Pixel 3 and comes with a host of features many weren’t expecting in a mid-range device.

It has the same rounded edges and corners as the 3 and the same positioning of the cameras but is slightly larger than its premium cousin.

The 3a features a 5.6-inch display, which is full HD+ and OLED, with a resolution of 2220 x 1080 or 441ppi.

In a bid to cut manufacturing costs, Google has also opted for a plastic rather than glass rear panel, which Tech Radar says offers a “slightly less premium feel”.

Cameras

The Pixel 3 cameras have been widely acclaimed, and the 3a offers only a marginally downgraded option.

It has a 12.2MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing option, but not the wide-angle front selfie found on the 3.

Meanwhile Tech Radar notes the absence of the Pixel Visual Core imaging chip in the 3a makes photography less intuitive.

“…in the Pixel 3 this powered the phone’s impressive image processing functionality, and its absence here means the various optimizations applied when you take pictures aren’t as intelligent as they could be,” Tech Radar reflects.

Speakers

Another small difference to the 3 is the number of speakers the 3a offers. Rather than two, the 3a features just one front facing speaker, but The Verge claims: “it still gets plenty loud and sounds all right”.

Headphone jack

In what many may note is a welcome move, the Pixel 3a features a 3.5mm headphone jack allowing for more options when it comes to listening to music.

Active Edge

Active Edge is a nifty little feature that sees Google Assistant summoned when you squeeze the edges of the phone. It was something made available in the Pixel 3 and is also a solid addition to the 3a.

Battery life and tech specs

Google has opted for a 3000mAh battery in the 3a, which is actually a step up from the Pixel 3. However, wireless charging is not available. 9to5 Google notes the 3000mAH battery coupled with a lower power CPU should see the 3a last longer than its more expensive counterpart.

And when it comes to the CPU, the 3a features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 with the Adreno 615 GPU. It runs the latest version of the Android 9 Pie operating system.

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General consensus

Only days after its release, the Pixel 3a is attracting widespread praise. 9to5 Google labels it a “Pixel 3 at half the price”, The Verge comes right out and says: “if you want to buy a new smartphone that costs between $300 and $500, you should buy a Pixel 3A”, and Tech Radar claims the “Pixel 3a blows its competitors out of the water”.

Price

The Pixel 3a is only available with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage and comes with a price tag of US$399. That’s a pretty good deal considering the flagship Pixel 3 launched with a price of US$799 for the 64GB option.

Release date

The Google Pixel 3a is already available in numerous countries including the US and Australia.

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