Google Pixel 3a: All you need to know

Google Pixel 3a

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, the latest members of the growing Pixel line of devices and spiritual successors to the highly impressive Google Nexus 5, are less than high-end but with a good chunk of the features we see on their premium counterparts, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. As the names suggest, the two sets of devices have some similarities, but Google is obviously pushing the 3a to a totally different market – a market that is willing to walk home with lesser specs and cheaper build materials as long as they pay a lower price.

If you are the person looking to buy any of the two Pixel 3a phones, this page has everything you need to know about the two devices, be it the latest news, specs, software updates, tips and tricks, cases, screen protectors and other accessories, and so on.

Let’s dive right in.

Latest news

May 14, 2019: Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL are capable of running the latest Android Q beta, but the search giant says the pair will only be eligible for the OTA update as from next month. We don’t have a specific date, but it’s likely to be the same update that brings Android Q beta 4 to current beta testers.

Google-Pixel-3a-Q-beta

Also, it has been noted that the Pixel 3a pair will remain on the current March 2019 security patch based on Android Pie until then, when we expect them to be updated to a combined May and June 2019 security patches.

May 9, 2019: Like other Google phones released recently, the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL are slated to receive regular software updates until May 2022. These are both monthly security patches and major Android OS upgrades, meaning the pair are likely to receive up to Android S somewhere in 2021.

Specifications

Google Pixel 3a

  • 5.6-inch 18.5:9 FHD+ (2220×1080) OLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB non-expandable storage
  • 12.2MP main camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 9 Pie

Google Pixel 3a XL

  • 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

Some of the extra features you get on both phones include Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, Active Edge, 18W fast charging, AR Core, etc.

Google Pixel 3a features

Hands down, the standout feature got to be the return of the 3.5mm audio jack. It’s a feature that disappeared with the Pixel 2 but it’s now back. This one should get many excited about getting the Pixel 3a.

Although not a feature per se, the $400 price tag is the best you can get for any phone that offers what the Pixel 3a has to offer. Also, the widespread availability of the Pixel 3a makes it the first from the search giant to be sold through multiple U.S. carriers at launch. The premium Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have also left the confines of Verizon Wireless.

Google-Pixel-3a-carriers-1
The good stuff the Pixel 3a borrows from the Pixel 3
  • The best one is got to be the camera. The same 12.2MP unit is used on all four Pixel 3 variants. This lens has the same qualities all through, including optical image stabilization and 4K video recording, however, the fact that the Pixel 3a has a weaker processor means photo processing takes a couple or so seconds longer. Of course, this doesn’t affect the quality of the photos. It’s also worth noting that the Pixel 3a taps all the software capabilities of the Pixel 3 camera app, including Night Sight, Portrait Mode as well as others like Depth editor and Color pop.
  • We all know Google phones get the best software support for any Android device. This is what the Pixel 3a has to offer, with Google promising software support until May 2022. This means Pixel 3a buyers will receive Android OS updates to Q, R, and S.
  • Speaking of software, the search giant has also been adding some cool exclusive features to the Pixel lineup – features the Pixel 3a also gets to enjoy. We are talking things like Call Screen, Google Duplex, unlimited cloud storage for photos, and so on.
  • Active Edge, which made its debut with the Pixel 2 and lets users squeeze the edges to execute actions like launching the Google Assistant, also makes its way to the Pixel 3a. Since its launch, this feature has basically remained a reserve for premium phones.
  • The same 18W fast charging technology used in the Pixel 3 is also used in the Pixel 3a. With this, Google says you only need 15 minutes of charging to get 7 hours of battery life. Like the Pixel 3, charging happens through a USB Type-C port.

Google-Pixel-3a-Clearly-White

The good stuff the Pixel 3a doesn’t borrow from the Pixel 3
  • The Google Pixel 3a doesn’t have the same premium design as the Pixel 3 thanks to the use of plastic in place of glass.
  • Although it can still withstand some minor water splashes, the Pixel 3a doesn’t have IP6X rating for dust and water resistance. Taking the phone through the necessary IP6X certification tests would have attracted extra costs and thus increase the asking price.
  • For selfie lovers, losing the second wide-angle lens for group selfies could be a deal breaker. But at half the price, you are still getting one hell of a good selfie camera with a field of view of up to 84 degrees, which is still great.
  • Ditching the premium Snapdragon 800 series in favor of the Snapdragon 600 series was obviously needed in order to keep the price in check. This will have a small negative impact on performance, but it can only be noticed when using the phones side-by-side. What are the chances you’ll be using them side-by-side on a day-to-day basis? Yeah, we thought so!

Price, Deals, and Offers

The Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are the most affordable Pixel phones out of the box. The former costs $399 while the latter will set you back an extra $80, however, you don’t have to pay this amount outright when the phone is available for financing through multiple U.S. carriers that include Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

Even better is that there are plenty of deals and offers being thrown around by these carriers and other retailers who have the devices in stock, among them B&H and Best Buy. If interested, you can find everything about price, deals and offers of the Pixel 3a and 3a XL in the link below.

While at it, you may also want to check out the 7 reasons to buy the Pixel 3a and 6 reasons not to.

Tips and tricks

For their prices, the Pixel 3a duo doesn’t come with mindblowing hardware, but there are a good number of features that you might want to know about in order to get the most out of your handset.

To help you get the best out of either Pixel 3a handset, check out the below tips and tricks:

Software update

The biggest selling points of any Google Pixel phone is the camera and software. While the former heavily relies on the latter to deliver the best photography experience, it is Google’s ability to keep the latter up to date that keeps many hooked to Pixel phones.

To keep an eye on all the software updates and related news with respect to the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, check out the pages below:

Speaking of software updates, Android Q beta 3 is available for manual installation on either phone. However, once you go down this route, your Pixel 3a or 3a XL will no longer receive future OTA updates to Q beta. It also means you’ll have to manually install the stable update once released in August. Alternatively, you can wait for the OTA update to Q beta to arrive in June 2019.

Interested users can download the Android Q factory image from this page and install it using the guide here.

Best Accessories

Check out some of the best accessories that are available for the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL handsets below.

Also, check out our coverage on some of the coolest accessories you can buy for your Pixel 3a phone here → Best accessories for Android.

Google-Pixel-3a-XL

Best screen protectors

Here are some suggestions that will help you buy a solid screen protector that protects your screen well.

Best Cases

Below are a collection of the best cases you’ll need to keep your Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL safe from cracks, scratches, and other minor damages.

Problems and solutions

Like every other phone, the Google Pixel 3a pair aren’t perfect. From time to time, users may face problems here and there – problems that can be fixed via software updates or by applying some of the tips and tricks below.

Related:

What are your thoughts on the Pixel 3a? Let us know in the comments below.

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