The Pixel 3a made a “soft surprise” release today. The general public knew pretty much nothing about it’s existence, but there were many leaks on the internet if you knew where to look. A week ago pictures surfaced of boxed Pixel 3a and 3a XL’s in a Best Buy (an American electronics chain), as well as spec leaks here and there. Most of the leaks were confirmed true with the actual release of the device, and now we are able to do a complete comparison between the base model Pixel 3 and the new 3a.
The Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL are budget models of Google’s flagship phones. Much like the iPhone 5c and XR, Google has stripped away some of the fat off the product to create something new that users on a budget can pick up much easier. However, where the iPhone XR costs about 75% the price of the superior XS model, the Pixel 3a costs roughly HALF as much as the base Pixel 3. Obviously, that is a huge chunk of change that consumers can keep in their pocket.
Spec-wise, there are some slight differences between the 3a and 3. the 3a maxes out at 64 gb storage, where the 3 goes up to 128 gb. They both have 4 gb of RAM, but the 3a has a slightly slower processor with it’s 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, while the base Pixel 3 has a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. Most users won’t notice the processor difference, unless you’re a user like me who likes to make custom themes and interfaces that are always resource hogs, or someone who likes to play graphically intensive games like the new Elder Scrolls: Blades (side note: do not play this game. It is a money-grubbing micro-transaction riddled mess that barely resembles the skeleton of a true Elder Scrolls experience).
Oddly enough the Pixel 3a isn’t water resistant. As someone who repairs phones professionally, I wonder how and why they made this change, especially since from what I’ve seen water resistance in phones tends to just mean excessive levels of adhesive everywhere. They’ve also removed wireless charging, another change in an effort to get the price-point down.
Now we’ve come to the debatabley positive change – both the 3a and 3a XL have no display notch! A lot of people don’t mind the fact that all new phones have these notches; some even like the increased screen real estate. Personally I think they’re incredibly ugly and wish smart phones would go back to having the full bezels or switch to a “pop top” method, much like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 or the Oppo Find X.
And finally we get to acknowledge the best change made with the Pixel 3a and 3a XL… THERE’S A HEADPHONE JACK! Why Google decided to actually add a function to a budget model is beyond me, but you definitely won’t find me whining about it. This is a fantastic change, and I hope to see the same thing happen with the Flagships Pixel 4 and 4 XL later this year.
So as you can see there are some positive and some negatives, but the thing is half the price! It’s really hard to argue against this device when the price difference is so incredibly wild. Personally, I hope these new models do well for Google, as I’d like to see other companies follow suit by releasing their own actual-budget models. When you start calling a $1300 device a budget phone (cough Apple cough) you have to know something is wrong. Good for Google, and I can’t wait to see what else they do in the future.