Can't be beat

Google Pixel 3a

Cheaper alternative

Nokia 7.1

With the Pixel 3a, you're essentially getting 80% of the experience found on the $800 Pixel 3 for half the cost. The Pixel 3a has a truly unbeatable camera for its price, an OLED display, and a stock build of Android Pie with guaranteed updates for three years.

$399 at B&H

Pros

  • Phenomenal camera
  • Vivid OLED display
  • Android Pie w/ Google customizations
  • Three years of guaranteed updates

Cons

  • Plastic construction
  • Larger bezels
  • More expensive

The Nokia 7.1 isn't as impressive of a package as the Pixel 3a, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it. For $50 less, the 7.1 has a more premium design than the 3a, along with a display that supports HDR10. Just be prepared for a slower processor and less impressive cameras.

$349 at Amazon

Pros

  • Modern glass + metal design
  • Display supports HDR10
  • Expandable storage
  • Android One

Cons

  • Slower processor
  • Cameras are just OK

Overall, the Pixel 3a is the phone we'd recommend most people buy. For just $50 more than the Nokia 7.1, it delivers a substantially better camera, newer processor, and more. However, if $400 is too much for you to spend and/or you really need expandable storage, the Nokia 7.1 is still a solid option.

It's worth paying extra for the Pixel 3a

We've recommended the Nokia 7.1 quite a lot over the last few months as one of the very best mid-range phones you can buy in the United States. The Nokia 7.1 is still a really great phone, but now that the Pixel 3a has arrived, it's quickly become the new "budget" king in the country.

There are a few things that help the Pixel 3a stand out, but without a doubt, its biggest strength is its rear camera. The Pixel 3a uses the exact same 12.2MP camera found on the $800 Pixel 3, and more importantly, uses the same post-processing techniques. In real world use, this means the Pixel 3a captures some of the best pictures of any smartphone you can buy — regardless of price.

If that alone hasn't sold you on the Pixel 3a, that's far from the only thing it brings to the table.

The phone ships with a clean and smooth build of Android 9 Pie out of the box, and since this is a Pixel phone, it's guaranteed to receive fast software updates and security patches for the next three years. The Snapdragon 670 CPU is also quite a bit faster than the Nokia 7.1's Snapdragon 636, allowing for improved performance across the board.

Google Pixel 3a Nokia 7.1
Operating System Android 9 Pie Android 9 Pie
Display 5.6-inch
2220 x 1080
OLED
18.5:9
5.84-inch
2220 x 1080
LCD
19:9
HDR10
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
Storage 64GB 64GB
Expandable Storage Up to 400GB
RAM 4GB 4GB
Rear Camera 1 12.2MP
f/1.8 aperture
1.4μm pixel width
12MP
f/1.8 aperture
1.28µm pixel width
Rear Camera 2 5MP
f/2.4 aperture
1.12µm pixel width
Front Camera 8MP
f/2.0 aperture
8MP
f/2.0 aperture
Battery 3,000 mAh 3,060 mAh
Charging USB-C USB-C
NFC ✔️ ✔️
3.5mm Headphone Jack ✔️ ✔️
Security Rear fingerprint sensor Rear fingerprint sensor

Why you may still want the Nokia 7.1

The Pixel 3a is our top recommendation between these two devices, but there are some instances where we'd suggest you still check out the Nokia 7.1.

For starters, its $50 less than the Pixel 3a. That difference in price might not matter a whole lot to some people, but if you're on a particularly tight budget, the Nokia 7.1 will be the more appealing of the two options.

It also has a much more premium glass and metal design compared to the Pixel 3a's polycarbonate body, and if you like storing a lot of local files, the Nokia 7.1 gets big points for having microSD card expansion up to an additional 400GB. On the Pixel 3a, you're stuck with the 64GB that's available out of the box and that's it.

Can't be beat

Google Pixel 3a

The new U.S. mid-range king.

Google's first mid-range Pixel smartphone has turned out to be a smashing success. The Pixel 3a is rocking a solid OLED display, the latest available version of Android, and is guaranteed to be updated for the next three years. Plus, if you care about camera quality at all, absolutely nothing comes close to it.

Cheaper alternative

Nokia 7.1

Still good for tighter budgets.

As smitten as we are with the Pixel 3a, the Nokia 7.1 continues to be a rock solid phone that's still worth taking a closer look at. Its camera and processor may be weaker compared to the Pixel 3a, but it has a more premium design, great battery life, and a gorgeous LCD screen that supports HDR10.

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