Google Announces Pixel 3a, 3a XL

Posted on May 7, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 16 Comments

After months of leaks, Google has made the Pixel 3a and 3a XL official. The new mid-range handsets start at $399, with the 3a XL starting at $479.

And that’s the point: Today’s flagship smartphones pack a lot of power and functionality, but prices have skyrocketed in recent years. And this is especially problematic for Google, which has so far not had much traction with wireless carriers while its phone hardware has suffered from major reliability issues.

So the search giant is hoping to solve these problems with the Pixel 3a lineup, which costs about half as much true flagships while providing similar power and functionality. Of particular note is the camera system, which carries forward unchanged from the more expensive Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

Google saved money in various ways, some of which will be obvious.

From a form factor perspective, the Pixel 3a and 3 XL more closely resemble the 2017-era Pixel 2 handsets than they do the other Pixel 3 family members, with their large bezels and non-glass bodies. Internally, they pack mostly modest hardware, with a mid-level Snapdragon 670 processor, 4 GB of RAM (oddly, an improvement over the Pixel 3 and 3 XL) and a maximum of 64 GB of storage.

The Pixel 3a lineup is not water resistant. And it does not support wireless charging.

But the most important change here might just be the phones’ availability. Where previously Pixel handsets were only available from Google directly and from Verizon in the United States, the 3a lineup will also be sold by Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. That should help spread Pixel to a wider audience.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Google Announces Pixel 3a, 3a XL”

  1. codymesh

    Almost unbelievable but it looks like they kept the same camera, making this phone the best camera on a phone that people can buy, and it's $400. And they even put the headphone jack back!


    Water resistant phones are still not common at the $400 price point, so that's okay. But they're using a different type of scratch-resistant glass that isn't corning's gorilla glass.

  2. dspeterson

    64 gig with no expansion is a bummer :(

  3. m_p_w_84

    yeah.... but where is sonos on google assistant?


    the real story from this event is zero mention of this

  4. BoItmanLives

    Come to daddy. Looks like I'll finally retire my LG V30

  5. wolters

    Having the same camera as the primary Pixel Phones makes this a huge deal.

  6. Pbike908

    It's sort of like a laptop with an I5 processor vs. and I7. I've been buying I5 processor laptops for years that are plenty powerful enough for me. I've been waiting for a phone manufacturer to come out with something like this. The things I like most about a phone are an excellent camera, a headphone jack, expandable memory, and good battery life. This has three out of four -- I may be able to get by with 64GB.


    The first smartphone I ever purchased, an Iphone 5, was plenty fast enough for me. I always felt that the latest top of the end processors combined with ultra high res display was overkill and probably a battery drain. I will be watching for reviews of this.


    Hopefully, this will kick off an entire new category of smartphone -- good enough for 80%-90% of users.

  7. lvthunder

    Couldn't they of come up with a better name then the Pixel 3a?

  8. karlinhigh

    Ah, the carriers are all the ones for Google Fi. Makes sense.

  9. bill_russell

    While I prefer smaller phones over the last couple years (and always used ones from eBay), a bigger battery is a bigger battery and if you don't do much screen on time, that might make the most sense.

    So, I might get a 3a XL next year used when <= $200, if the kinks are ironed out (I'd no way I'm getting the 3 XL with that huge notch and the 2XL was the one with the grainy OLED panel, but maybe).

  10. Divodd

    4 GB RAM is not an improvement, it is the same as the regular Pixel 3/XL lineup.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Divodd:

      Yep.

      Although the processor uses 4 Kyro 630 Gold cores @ 2Ghz and 4 @ 1.7Ghz, whereas the original 3 uses 4 Kyro 280 Gold cores @ 2.5Ghz and 4 @ 1.6Ghz. The 3a is about 32% slower in single thread and 36% slower in multithread modes than the 3 (Coremark 9324 / 48803 against the 3's 13709 / 75844). The graphics are the real drop-off, coming in at under 50% of the orignal (https://www.heise.de/ct/artikel/Google-Pixel-3a-XL-das-Spar-Pixel-im-Test-4412684.html)

      And the modem in the 3a is only Cat 11/5 LTE and not Cat 16/5 of the 3.


  11. Yaggs

    My wife ordered the 3a yesterday and Google has a promotion giving you $100 credit on their hardware store. That makes this phone $299!!! Unreal... this is what Google should have done from the beginning with the Pixel line of devices... kind of like the Nexus line!

  12. Lordbaal

    I can get a $200-$300 phone with better specs.

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