Google Pixel 3a XL: All you need to know

Prior to the Pixel line of phones, Google had the Nexus phones that were popular for their affordability, coming in with solid performance specs coupled with great software support and photography. With prices of $800 and beyond for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, Google definitely lost this plot, but the search giant is getting back on track with the launch of the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.

We’ve detailed all you need to know about the smaller Google Pixel 3a here but on this page, we talk about the bigger Google Pixel 3a XL and the important stuff you should know about it.

Google Pixel 3a XL specifications

  • 6.0-inch 18:9 FHD+ (2160×1080) OLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB non-expandable storage
  • 12.2MP main camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 3700mAh battery
  • Android 9 Pie
  • Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, Active Edge, 18W fast charging, AR Core, etc.

Like the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, the latest Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL have the same specs sheet with minor differences that are primarily brought about by their physical sizes. In fact, other than the screen size, battery capacity, and price, the 3a and 3a XL are the same phone.

Still, there are things that make the Pixel 3a XL stand out, although they don’t necessarily make it a better phone than the Pixel 3a. Let’s take a quick look at them.

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Android Q beta

Initial reports suggested that Google Pixel 3a XL users could join Android Q beta program right away, but the search giant has updated the beta page to indicate that Q will arrive in June 2019.

The Pixel 3a XL is powered by Android 9 Pie out of the box and March 2019 security patch. Even though other Pixels are currently on May patches, the new kid on the block will reportedly have to wait until next month to be updated to a newer security patch. Presumably, this update will arrive concurrently with the Q beta.

The standout features of the Pixel 3a XL

  • The Google Pixel 3a XL is the first from Google to be backed by a massive 3700mAh battery unit. This is even bigger than the 3430mAh unit found in the Pixel 3 XL, the current flagship phone from Google.
  • The 6-inch OLED screen isn’t the most premium around. But for a sub-$500 phone, you are getting a panel that easily fits between compact phones and phablets with a decent resolution. You also get extras like true black level and D67 Whitepoint to combat any of those burn-in issues and color complaints we saw affecting the Pixel 2 XL.
  • The 3.5mm audio jack is a no-brainer. This is one feature that should help attract Pixel 3a XL buyers. BTW, it’s the first time a Pixel phone is getting this port since the first-generation Pixels.
  • The Pixel 3 XL isn’t the best overall smartphone out there, but it’s your best photography companion. This is what you get with the Pixel 3a XL, only that it’s more affordable compared to its $900 counterpart.
  • Speaking of which, the asking price of $479 is the best you can get for a phone that offers what the Pixel 3a XL has in store. That is, a photography king that guarantees timely software updates until May 2022.
  • Unlike the Pixel 3 XL and others before it, the Pixel 3a XL can be purchased through more than just Verizon Wireless and Google from day 1 of availability.

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There is more to the Pixel 3a XL

Being a Google phone, the Pixel 3a XL has more up its sleeve other than just the above standout features. Since Google’s strength is software, this is where the Pixel 3a XL excels even more.

  • Overall, the Pixel 3a XL ships with the same software experience as the premium Pixel 3 XL. This means that all the software-based goodies that are usually exclusive to the Pixel line of phones are available for Pixel 3a XL buyers. Some of them include Call Screen, Google Duplex, unlimited storage for your photos, and of course, the powerful Google Assistant and all the little nifty additions the virtual assistant gets every now and then.
  • The Pixel 3a XL has the same 12.2MP dual-pixel lens used in the Pixel 3, but to ensure the former delivers the same quality of photos, Google has included the same camera app. This means the likes of Portrait Mode and the game-changing Night Sight are also present. Great, just great!
  • Active Edge is also present, allowing users to launch apps like the Google Assistant by simply squeezing the edges. This feature made its debut with the Google Pixel 2.
  • To fast-charge the huge 3700mAh battery, Google Pixel 3a XL ships with a USB-C port backed by 18W fast charging technology, the same one used in the Pixel 3 XL. For affordability reasons, wireless charging isn’t supported.

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Where to buy Google Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3a XL can be purchased from four of the five major U.S. carriers namely Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular. The same phone is also available through Best Buy, B&H Photo and Visible, which relies on Verizon’s network.

As usual, Google is also stocking the Pixel 3a XL via its online store and Google Fi, where a financing option is also available for those who can’t pay $479 outright.

Here are the purchase links for each retailer. Others like U.S. Cellular and Visible should be published soon.

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