Google’s annual developer event I/O 2019 has started, and we’ve already seen the announcement of Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. With this, Google has entered the budget smartphone segment. Pixel 3a did suffer the same fate as Pixel 3 which was leaked to an extent where Google’s event seemed like a mere formality.
Prior to the launch of the Pixel 3a, a series of leaks already provided us a sneak peek of the specs sheet and leaked rendered images gave away the physical appearance of the smartphone. Now that the smartphone has been launched officially, let’s take a look at how Pixel 3a is different from the flagship Pixel 3.
Before this, it is important to know why Google has launched Pixel 3a and 3a XL.
Why Pixel 3a and 3a XL?
The main reason why Google has launched Pixel 3a and 3a XL is the slumping sales of Pixel 3. The search giant acknowledged in its recent earnings call that Pixel 3 is a sales disappointment. It was revealed that year-on-year sales of Pixel are falling and Pixel 3 is selling worse than Pixel 2.
Moreover, the competition in the premium smartphone is mounting on Google. Companies like OnePlus and Huawei are making an incredible impression on users when it comes to phones between $300 and $600.
Difference Between Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a
Here is the specs comparison between the recently announced Pixel 3a and the existing Google flagship Pixel 3.
Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3a
1080 x 2160
1080 x 2140
Android 9 Pie
Android 9 Pie
8 megapixels + 8 megapixels
Snapdragon 845 (2.5GHz and 1.6GHz, octa-core)
Snapdragon 670 (2.0 GHz and 1.7GHz, octa-core)
Super Res Zoom
3.5mm headphone jack
Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a look identical when it comes to appearance. Both sport polycarbonate bodies and have almost the same screen size. There are no front firing speakers on the Pixel 3a as compared to Pixel 3. And no, Pixel 3a XL doesn’t have the ‘bathtub’ notch.
When it comes to the processor, Pixel 3a carries Snapdragon 670 which is a year old processor, and that is how Google managed to keep the price below $500. Phones in the similar price bracket at least carry Snapdragon 710 and the current leader in this price segment — OnePlus 6t has SD 845 which makes Pixel 3a an unfavorable option amongst those who are willing to spend $400. It could be a deal breaker for many.
Pixel phones are known for their remarkable camera quality, and Google has played its cards right by retaining the camera specifications of Pixel 3 in 3a and 3a XL. Please note that Pixel 3a does not feature dual front cameras but a single 8MP camera.
Moreover, the budget Pixel phones also lack Google’s custom Pixel Visual Core processor, and therefore the images are processed on the phone’s CPU and GPU. The remaining camera features like Top Shot, Nightsight and AR cartoons are supported by both 3a and 3a XL.
Amongst the other misses are wireless charging, IP rating and no free backups on Google photos.
Something positive — Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL have the 3.5mm jack which was absent from the Pixel 3.
To sum up, I would say that if your priority is a decent camera, there is now a clear winner in the mid-premium segment. (We’re yet to see the camera of the upcoming OnePlus 7 series).