The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are now official, offering the same great camera as the Pixel 3 series at a much more affordable price point. The Pixel 3a is available for $399 in the U.S., with the larger 3a XL retailing at $479. Both phones are now available in India, and there's the usual premium involved — the Pixel 3a starts off at ₹39,999 ($575), whereas the Pixel 3a XL will go on sale for ₹44,999 ($650).

That 25% differential in pricing isn't anything new — the Pixel 3 debuted at ₹71,000 ($1,023) and the Pixel 3 XL at ₹83,000 ($1,195). Most of it is down to the fact that Google doesn't manufacture its devices locally in India, and as such is levied heavy import duties, which are passed onto customers. That has been the case from the first-gen Pixel, and it doesn't look like things will change anytime soon.

You're getting the same great camera as the Pixel 3 series for half the price.

The main selling point with the Pixel 3a and 3a XL is the camera. Both phones share the same 12.2MP rear camera sensor from the Pixel 3 series, and what's truly astonishing is the image quality on offer.

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I used the Pixel 3a XL side-by-side with the Pixel 3 XL, and I could not make out any major differences in the quality of images that came out of both phones. If you're looking for an affordable flagship with the best camera, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL are now the default choices.

The camera interface is unchanged from the Pixel 3 series, and you also get Night Sight, Photobooth, and slow-motion modes. The portrait mode is also just as good, and overall Google has done a fantastic job bringing camera features from the Pixel 3 series to the Pixel 3a and 3a XL.

Both the Pixel 3a and 3a XL also let you invoke Google Assistant by squeezing the sides of the device, and they have stereo sound. Best of all, the 3.5mm jack is making a return on both devices, and they offer 18W wired charging. They also have the same 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but they sport larger batteries — the Pixel 3a has a 3000mAh unit and the 3a XL has a 3700mAh battery.

Pixel 3a & Pixel 3a XL specifications

Both devices are powered by the Snapdragon 670, and they're sporting FHD+ gOLED panels: the Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch screen, whereas the 3a XL has a 6.0-inch panel. Both screens are protected by Asahi's Dragon Trail. Elsewhere, you have Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, AptX HD, NFC, and a dedicated Titan M security module. There's no wireless charging, and neither device has IP68 water resistance.

Google is also throwing in three months of YouTube Premium for those picking up the new Pixel 3a and 3a XL — provided you haven't subscribed to the service before. I can't help but think that the Pixel 3a and 3a XL would have been standout offerings had they been priced at least ₹5,000 lower, as that would have made them go up against the plethora of affordable flagships in the market today.

That said, either device is roughly half the price of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, so there is some value here, particularly considering the fact that they have the same cameras. Both phones will go up for sale starting May 15 in India, and they're now up for pre-order online in the country.

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