If you've been following the smartphone market even remotely close for the last couple of years, you'll likely have picked up on a few trends. Manufacturers are overly eager to commit to glass/metal designs, reduce display bezels as much as possible, and increase price tags as high as they can.

This has resulted in some pretty phenomenal smartphones, such as the Galaxy S10 and Pixel 3 XL, but unless you've got heaps of cash to burn through, devices like that are probably out of your budget.

And, just like it's been for a while, the mid-range smartphone market in the U.S. is embarrassingly lacking. The Moto G7 and Nokia 7.1 bring good value to the table, but compared to what's offered in a lot of other markets, leave a great deal to be desired.

Cyber Monday may be over but these Cyber Week deals are still alive

This results in customers with only a few hundred dollars to spend on a new phone with not many options, but Google's looking to change that with its Pixel 3a series. Announced at Google I/O 2019, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL promise to offer a great overall experience with one of the best cameras of any smartphone you can buy with a starting price of just $400. We've already expressed a lot of love for the phones, but I wanted to take a minute to explain why I'm personally so excited for them.

I absolutely love finding a good deal. My fiancé might call me a cheapskate, but I prefer the phrase "penny-pincher." I do like to splurge on some things here and there, but for the most part, I'm always on the hunt for some promo code or coupon that can help me spend as little as possible.

$400 phone with a flagship camera

With phones, however, that's proven to be a bit of a different story. As someone that values great software, display, and cameras I can rely on for gorgeous shots no matter what, finding that combination without spending $600 - $1000 has proven to be pretty much impossible. Looking specifically at cameras, no matter what "budget" phone you bring up, there's about a 100% chance that its camera will be fine. For some people, that's enough, but as someone that wants to ensure I'm saving my memories in the best quality possible, I've always been intrigued by more expensive devices.

The Pixel 3a totally changes that.

The rear camera on the phone is the exact same one found on the $800 Pixel 3, and more importantly, uses the same post-processing techniques and software features. Not even considering price, this results in the Pixel 3a having one of the very best cameras you can find on any smartphone right now. Period. I think that's pretty damn cool.

First-in-class camera

I really hope the 3a causes other OEMs to reconsider their "budget" phones.

Some corners obviously had to be cut with the Pixel 3a to get the price where it's at, mainly the polycarbonate (aka plastic) build, Snapdragon 670 processor, and just 4GB of RAM.

All day long, people will mock the Pixel 3a and compare it to something like the Pocofone F1. The Pocofone costs less than the 3a, has a much faster Snapdragon 845 chip, and considerably more ram at 6GB. In real-world use, however, I'm willing to bet people would rather have a really good overall phone with an industry-leading camera compared to something that gets big numbers on a benchmark test.

That goes against pretty much every other standout mid-range phone we've ever seen, and that's why the 3a is so exciting.

It doesn't concern itself with trying to offer the very latest silicone or an outrageous amount of RAM. Instead, its greatest strength is the thing that's often the biggest weakness for phones around its same price. Even when compared to "lite flagships" like the Galaxy S10e and iPhone XR, the Pixel 3a straight up dominates them.

And on that note, it's really refreshing to see a company as big as Google take the time to create and launch a genuinely great smartphone that's actually affordable. It's kind of disgusting we consider phones that cost $750 to be a good deal, so I'm all for gadgets like the Pixel 3a and the wrench it's likely throwing at the Samsungs and Apples of the world.

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