Pixel 3a XL standing on a tableSource: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

If there's one thing Google's Pixel series is known for, it's the camera performance. The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL capture some of the best photos of any smartphone we've ever seen, and when you combine that with a clean software package and guaranteed software updates, you end up with a really solid phone. Unfortunately, a starting price of $800 is just too much for some people to fork over.

Enter the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. With these two phones, Google aims to offer the same core experience found on its flagship Pixel phones but with much lower prices thanks to cheaper materials and specs.

Whether you're eager to buy the Pixel 3a or just want to learn more about it, here's everything you need to know!

Mid-range master

Google Pixel 3a

80% of the flagship Pixel experience for half the cost.

Whether you get the Pixel 3a or larger 3a XL, these are two of the best mid-range Android phones we've seen in 2019. The camera performance is no competition for anything in this price range, and when you add that together with a great software package, smooth performance, and solid OLED displays, you end up with two pretty great handsets.

Take a look at our review!

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL look and feel exactly like what Google intended — cheap versions of 2018's Pixel 3 series. The build quality isn't as fancy, and you miss out on wireless charging and a proper IP rating for water resistance, but all-in-all, these are two fantastic phones entering price brackets that have virtually no competition in the United States.

Even a year after the Pixel 3a first hit the scene, it continues to be one of the best Android values around. Below, you'll find our initial and one-year later reviews to give you a better idea of how the Pixel 3a has held up over time.

There are two models — normal and XL

Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XLSource: Alex Dobie / Android Central

Just like the Pixel 3 and 4 series, there are two phones to choose from with the Pixel 3a lineup — the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.

Both phones are nearly identical to one another, featuring the same design, processor, RAM, storage, and camera. However, with the Pixel 3a XL, you get the benefit of a larger display and a bigger battery.

These two things do come at a cost, however. The Pixel 3a XL is $80 more expensive than its smaller sibling, but even with that increased price in mind, we think most people should spend a few more dollars and get it over the petite Pixel 3a.

Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3a XL: Which should you buy?

Here are the specs

Google Pixel 3a XLSource: Android Central

Where the Pixel 3 and 4 are flagship phones, the Pixel 3a series is decidedly mid-range.

In regards to specs, this means Google went with lower-res displays, a slower processor, and ditched some features like wireless charging in order to reach the price points that it did. Some of the highlights include:

Category Google Pixel 3a Google Pixel 3a XL
Operating System Android 10 Android 10
Display 5.6-inch
2220 x 1080
OLED
18.5:9
6.0-inch
2160 x 1080
OLED
18:9
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
2.0GHz + 1.7GHz
Octa-core
64-bit
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
2.0GHz + 1.7GHz
Octa-core
64-bit
RAM 4GB
LPDDR4
4GB
LPDDR4
Storage 64GB 64GB
Rear Camera 12.2MP
Dual-Pixel Sony IMX363
Optical + electronic image stabilization
f/1.8 aperture
76° field of view
1.4μm pixel width
12.2MP
Dual-Pixel Sony IMX363
Optical + electronic image stabilization
f/1.8 aperture
76° field of view
1.4μm pixel width
Battery 3,000 mAh
18w fast charging
3,700 mAh
18w fast charging

To check out the full specifications, hit up the link below 🤓.

Pixel 3a & Pixel 3a XL Specifications

How the Pixel 3a compares to other handsets

Pixel 3a XL and OnePlus 7 ProSource: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are both excellent smartphones, but they're far from living in a bubble. There are a ton of other handsets on the market that are also begging for your time/money, meaning you have some decisions to make.

In an effort to make your quest to buy the perfect phone a bit easier, we've compared both the 3a and 3a XL to some of their closest competitors.

Pixel 3a

Pixel 3a XL

Google used plastic instead of glass

Pixel 3a XL in Clearly WhiteSource: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

Google's premium glass design for the Pixel 3 and 4 are pretty great, but that's something that couldn't stick around for their mid-range cousin. Instead, the Pixel 3a is made out of polycarbonate.

While not as flashy as glass, the polycarbonate used for the Pixel 3a series still looks really good and has almost the exact same design on the back as the flagship Pixel 3 — including the subtle two-tone finish with a colored power button.

Perhaps the biggest letdown in these regards is the lack of wireless charging. While phones made out of polycarbonate can technically support it, Google chose to omit it.

Does the Pixel 3a support wireless charging?

Purple-ish is the color to get

Google Pixel 3aSource: Android Central

Speaking of the Pixel 3a's design, there are three colors to choose from — Just Black and Clearly White from the Pixel 3, along with a brand new color called Purple-ish.

All three options look really good, but being the new kid on the block, we're quite smitten with Purple-ish. It's a subtle paint job that adds a good bit of pop without being too boastful, and to go along with the purple/violet hue, you'll find a yellow-clad power button that contrasts really well.

Just Black and Clearly White are great options as well, but they're identical to what we've seen from Google before.

What color Pixel 3a should you buy?

The camera is the same as the Pixel 3's

Pixel 3a XL using the camera appSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL have all the makings of really solid mid-range Android phones, but the aspect that'll help them stand out from just about everything else is its cameras.

We boastfully praised the Pixel 3 as having one of the best smartphone cameras of 2018, and wouldn't you know it, Google took that amazing camera and threw it right on the Pixel 3a lineup despite its considerably lower pricing.

So, what can you do with the Pixel 3a's 12.2MP single rear camera? In addition to capturing truly beautiful photos, you can also use Google's Night Sight mode to take great pictures in lowlight environments and take advantage of popular features such as Time Lapse and Photobooth Mode.

For the price, you'll be really hard-pressed to find anything that even comes close to the Pixel 3a's camera performance. If that's important to you in a phone and the Pixel 3a is within your budget, that should make up your mind right there.

Here are our first Pixel 3a XL camera samples

Android 10 is now available

Pixel 3a XLSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

In addition to industry-leading cameras, another highlight for Google's Pixel series is its software experience.

The Pixel 3a shipped with Android 9 Pie, but it's now running the latest available version of Android 10.

This is the same Android 10 you'll find on any other Pixel phone, meaning it's super clean, fast, and doesn't bog you down with unnecessary bloat. And, as time goes on, you can relish in the fact that you have three years of guaranteed OS updates and security patches (through May 2022).

The Pixel 4a is coming soon

Google Pixel 4a leaked renderSource: 91Mobiles / @OnLeaks

Even though we're still happy to talk about and recommend the Pixel 3a, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention its upcoming successor — the Pixel 4a.

Google's expected to launch the 4a any day now, with the latest rumors suggesting an announcement in early June. The phone looks to be a solid upgrade to the Pixel 3a, offering a faster processor, more internal storage, and a fresh design.

If you want to get up-to-date on all of the latest Pixel 4a rumors and news, check out our big roundup 👇.

Google Pixel 4a: News, Leaks, Release Date, Specs, and Rumors!

Don't forget the accessories!

Pixel 3a XL with a caseSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

No phone is complete without a few accessories, and the Pixel 3a and 3a XL aren't exceptions.

Whether you're in the market for the best screen protectors, cases, or anything else in between, here are the accessories we recommend picking up for your new gadget.

Pixel 3a

Pixel 3a XL

When and where can you buy it?

Google Pixel 3a and 3a XLSource: Android Central

The Pixel 3a is the most affordable of the duo with a retail price of $400. If you want to upgrade to the larger Pixel 3a XL with its bigger screen and battery, you'll be asked to hand over $480.

You can buy the Pixel 3a right now, and in addition to being sold on Verizon and Google Fi like past Pixel phones, you can also pick it up at T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular. Furthermore, now that both phones have been out in the wild for a while, it's not uncommon to find sales and discounts to lower their price tags even more.

Where to Buy the Pixel 3a

Mid-range master

Google Pixel 3a

80% of the flagship Pixel experience for half the cost.

Whether you get the Pixel 3a or larger 3a XL, these are two of the best mid-range Android phones we've seen in 2019. The camera performance is no competition for anything in this price range, and when you add that together with a great software package, smooth performance, and solid OLED displays, you end up with two pretty great handsets.

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