Google Pixel 3XL vs Pixel 3a XL: What’s New and Different?
Google Pixel 3XL (left) and Google Pixel 3a XL (right). 
Google Pixel 3XL (left) and Google Pixel 3a XL (right). (Photo: Canva/The Quint)

Google Pixel 3XL vs Pixel 3a XL: What’s New and Different?

Google launched Pixel 3a series on Tuesday at the Google I/O 2019, which will be soon available in India as well. The company claims this is an entry-premium device, with prices starting from Rs 39,999 for the base model.

There’s also an XL version of the 3a, which will start selling for Rs 44,999 from 15 May onwards.

At these prices, you would expect us to compare the Pixel 3a with the OnePlus phones, but instead we’re going to tell you the difference between 3a and the regular Pixel 3. And also what’s new with the mid-range flagship phone from Google.

Also Read : Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL Launch in India, Prices Start at Rs 40K

(Photo: Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

Design

You won’t be the first one to say ‘what’s different in the way the Pixel 3a looks’ and definitely not the last. The Pixel 3a looks exactly like the Pixel 3, but instead of glass finish at the back, you’re getting polycarbonate coating.

That doesn’t mean the Pixel 3a looks cheap, the finishing itself has been handled well, but the overall design won’t spark excitement for buyers, something that others in the segment repeatedly manage to. Even at the front, Pixel 3a borrows its design from 2017. The bezel sizes at top and bottom are big, reducing the overall screen space for viewing content.

Pixel 3a XL gets a 6-inch display. 
Pixel 3a XL gets a 6-inch display. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Also Read : Google Pixel 3 User Demands Refund, But Gets 10 New Phones Instead

The power button on the Pixel 3a is orange in colour, while the Pixel 3 series came with a green-coloured power button, both on the right side of the phone.

We also noticed that the Pixel 3a is comparatively taller and easier to use with one hand. Pixel 3 had a wider design footprint which made using it with one hand a bit uneasy. Thankfully, the Pixel 3a XL doesn’t borrow the ugly-looking notch from its big brother, giving it a unified look on the whole.

Display

Google Pixel 3a XL gets a 6-inch display, which is marginally smaller than the size of the Pixel 3XL (at 6.3-inch but with a 1440 pixels screen quality).

This is the next department where Google had to cut corners to bring the price down. At Rs 40,000, you’re getting a 1080 pixel OLED screen that’s bright, crisp and clear enough to hardly bother you with anything but then people might just stare at the price tag and question the use of the display, just for the sake of it.

Pixel 3a doesn’t get the ugly notch of Pixel 3 XL
Pixel 3a doesn’t get the ugly notch of Pixel 3 XL
(Photo: The Quint)

Also Read : Google Pixel Sales Fall Flat, But Nobody Else is Growing Either

All said and done, the display on the Pixel 3a is more than adequate and during our time with the phone, and comparing it with the Pixel 3XL, we could hardly find major issues, especially for the respective screen panels both are equipped with.

Hardware

Google’s choice of processor on the Pixel 3a has raised quite a few eyebrows, and understandably so. The phone packs an octa-core Snapdragon 670 processor with 4GB RAM and is only available in a 64GB variant. This processor is available on phones for under Rs 30,000. Buyers might question this while choosing between the Pixel 3a and others across segments.

The storage is yet again non-expandable, which for the so-called mid-range phone is not acceptable, and definitely not when you’re limiting the model to 64GB onboard storage. The phone offers dual-SIM support, but like its big brother, the second SIM works as an eSIM (built-in).

Can you guess which one of these is the Pixel 3a? 
Can you guess which one of these is the Pixel 3a? 
(Photo: The Quint)
Pixel 3a is not IP68 certified, doesn’t support wireless charging and only comes with USB Type C 2.1 port for charging and data transfer. But Google has brought back the headphone jack on Pixel 3a, so yay! 

In terms of performance, we can hardly fault the Pixel 3a. Having said that, don’t expect the phone to be a reliable workhorse for gaming.

This processor is tuned to perform the basic computing activities and offer a reliable battery life. Which is why the 3700mAh battery unit loaded on the Pixel 3a comes to the fore and does its job really well.

Camera

Same 12-megapixel on the Pixel 3a from its big brother. 
Same 12-megapixel on the Pixel 3a from its big brother. 
(Photo: The Quint)

It was pleasing to hear that Google didn’t change much with the camera on the Pixel 3a from its flagship brother. You get the same 12-megapixel sensor with f/1.8 aperture that has shown impressive results on the big brother.

It also comes equipped with optical and electronic image stabilisation (OIS and EIS) for improved performance in low lighting, as well as shoot videos without a lot of movement.

Google has stripped off the visual core processor on the Pixel 3a camera, but the differences won’t be deal breakers for regular users.

The results of the camera can be seen below:

Slide 1 of 3
  • Photo shot with Pixel 3a XL
    Photo shot with Pixel 3a XL
    (Photo: The Quint)
  • Photo shot with Pixel 3a XL
    Photo shot with Pixel 3a XL
    (Photo: The Quint)
  • Photo shot with Pixel 3a XL in low light
    Photo shot with Pixel 3a XL in low light
    (Photo: The Quint)

Worth Buying Then?

It clearly depends on what you expect from the Pixel 3a. Firstly, for Rs 44,999 you can get phones with 8GB RAM and a lot of storage, with a better processor as well. But that’s never been Google’s take on the Pixel series.

The search giant is trying its luck for the third (and a half) time with the 3a, but this is its first phone after the Nexus series to be priced at launch for under Rs 50,000. If you want power-packed performance, more RAM and storage, Pixel 3a isn’t meant for you. Heck, it doesn’t even support regular dual-SIM slots.

But if you want a phone that doesn’t stand out in the crowd (no glass finish, popup camera), comes with a headphone jack (for starters), and will offer impressive battery life, the Pixel 3a might suit your needs, as long as you’re not a heavy gamer. Also, that camera on the Pixel 3a will give a close fight even to the likes of Samsung Galaxy S10e and iPhone XR. It’s that good!

Google is trying something different, but just because it costs Rs 40,000 and Rs 45,000 in India (owing to taxes and duty), we’re not sure how the company thinks that the Pixel 3a is an entry-premium smartphone in 2019.

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