The only drawback to Google’s stellar Pixel 3 smartphone is the high price tag. That means that the budget-friendly Pixel 3a was high on our radar. Does the handset stack up to the pedigree of its namesake, or has Google cut too much from this budget handset? Let’s get into it.
Google Pixel 3a
The Pixel 3a is a $400 smartphone with a $1,000 camera. The camera that the Pixel series is so well-known for is here and it looks great. Google wisely cut only the most expensive features and left a pared-down, lean and powerful smartphone with the features all users can enjoy.
Essentially, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL function as throwbacks to about three years ago. There’s no in-display fingerprint scanner, no Face ID unlocking, no wireless charging. Instead, this is a bare-bones smartphone that sticks with traditional bezels, a normal fingerprint scanner and even a 3.5mm headphone jack.
If these features all sound like welcome returns to you, then you’re probably the right person for the 3a. While the features that the 3a lacks are certainly cool on top-of-the-line phones, they’re largely unnecessary. And what new features it brings, it brings well.
What You Get
Picture quality on the 3a is incredible, easily matching the earlier phones in this line for capturing beautiful images. The screen is also wonderful, sporting an HD+ OLED panel that’s big and vibrant. While you might not have the most elaborate housing for the screen, it’s still a wonderful smartphone screen.
You do, however, have some trade-offs. The Snapdragon 670 under the hood is a notably wimpier chip than the Snapdragon 845 found in the normal Pixel 3. However, most users won’t even notice the decrease in power. Also, the phone has a plastic casing, which feels cheap and slippery compared to the glass-and-steel construction of modern flagship phones.
If you’re in the market for a new phone and don’t want to spend $1,000, but still want the best you can get, the Pixel 3a is a very good deal. It’s hard to knock the budget smartphone, as it brings a ton of value for its low price. This is truly the best budget Android device on the market.