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Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3: An in-house competition

14 May 2019 5

After tons of leaks and rumors, Google finally took the stage to unveil the budget-friendly Pixel 3a lineup phones at the I/O developers conference 2019. As expected the Pixel 3a lineup kept few goodies of the premium Pixel 3 series but also compromises on few aspects to reduce the price tag. The mid-range phones from Google are always quite exciting since Nexus lineup phones.

A few years ago Google introduced a new Pixel brand for premium Google phones running on the stock version of Android OS with great cameras setup. Ahead of Pixel lineup, Google used to release Nexus-branded phones with solid mid-range hardware, vanilla Android experience, and a great value for the money. The new Pixel 3a lineup will certainly excite Nexus lineup fans who don't want to spend hefty amounts to enjoy the stock Android OS experience.

The new Pixel 3a lineup brought tons of features which will excite buyers looking for a mid-range phone. It brought almost everything you can expect from a true mid-range phone at $400. We already compared the Pixel 3a lineup against a number of phones. Today we will put the latest Pixel 3a against the standard Pixel 3 to know in detail the real differences and similarities between the two phones. We are hopeful this comparison will help you better understanding whether the latest Pixel 3a is worth buying or not?. Without any further ado, let's kick off with the design.

70.1 x 151.3 x 8.2 mm
5.6 inches - 2220x1080 px
68.2 x 145.6 x 7.9 mm
5.5 inches - 2160x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Design

With the Pixel lineup, Google introduced a new design language with a two-tone finish. Google retained the same design language since the original Pixel phone. Like most of the latest phones, Pixel 3 has glass and metal sandwich design. The device has significant bezels at the top and bottom of the display. Google utilizes the thick bezels for dual front-facing speakers. It lacks the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. The Pixel 3 has single snapper on the top left corner with LED flashlight. The upper portion comes in glossy finish whereas the bottom portion has a matte finish. The fingerprint scanner is on the rear side.

The Pixel 3a retains the design language of the Pixel 3. The only difference is it comes with polycarbonate rear instead of glass. The two-tone finish isn't changed and the rear design also remained the same. The Pixel 3a brought back the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. The Pixel 3 is an IP68 certified phone which means it can resist under 1.5 meters deep water for 30 minutes without any damage whereas the Pixel 3a is splash and dust resistance but lacks the IP-ratings.

The Pixel 3a dimensions are 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2 mm and weigh 147g. The Pixel 3 is slightly less tall, wider and thinner at 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9 mm. It weighs 148g. In terms of color options, the Pixel 3a is available in Purple-ish, Clearly White and Just black colors. On the other hand, the Pixel 3 can be grabbed in Not Pink, Just Black, and Clearly White options.

Display

Although Google compromised in the design department, fortunately, the Pixel 3a comes with a premium gOLED display. The Pixel 3a features a 5.6-inches display with Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2220 pixels. The display pixels density is 441 pixels-per-inch. The display aspect ratio is 18.5:9.

On the other hand, the Pixel 3 comes with a 5.5-inches OLED display with Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. The display aspect ratio is 2:1 and the pixels density is 443 pixels-per-inch. Even though both the devices don't have Quad HD+ screen resolution but due to OLED panel both have great colors reproduction, saturation level is pretty good and above all both have deep blacks. So no matter which smartphone you opt both have pretty good displays.

Hardware

In the hardware section, the Pixel 3 is a flagship phone that's why it is packed with premium level hardware whereas the Pixel 3a comes with mid-range hardware. The Pixel 3 is packed with the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset. The Pixel 3a is powered up by the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 670 chipset.

Both the phones have 4GB RAM. The Pixel 3a is available in 64GB storage only whereas the Pixel 3 can be grabbed in either 64GB or 128GB storage. Both the phones lack support for memory expansion via MicroSD. In terms of raw power, the Pixel 3 definitely has an upper hand, however, both the phones are super smooth in handling daily tasks and multi-tasking.

Specs Pixel 3a Pixel 3
Display 5.6-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution 1080 x 2220 pixels 1080 x 2160 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 670 Snapdragon 845
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 64GB Non-Expandable 64GB, 128GB Non-Expandable
Rear camera 12.2MP 12.2MP
Front camera 8MP Dual 8MP
USB Type-C Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack Yes No
IP68 Splash and dust resistant Yes
OS Android Pie Android Pie
Battey 3,000mA 2,915mAh
Battery

The Pixel 3a is a mid-range phone but it is packed with larger battery cell than the Pixel 3. This is a clear indication Google gradually increasing the battery capacity. The Pixel 3a lights are kept on by a 3,000mAh battery cell whereas the Pixel 3 has slightly smaller 2,915mAh battery. Both the phones support 18W fast charging. Thanks to glass rear the Pixel 3 supports Qi wireless charging.

Camera

Although Google Pixel lineup phones yet to have dual snappers on the rear still the single snapper on the Pixel 3 is considered as one of the best cameras in the market. Both the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3 has 12.2MP snapper with f/1.8 aperture on the rear side. Google utilizes the AI prowess to capture portrait mode shots with accurate depth of field info. Other goodies include Night Sight and Top Shot. The Night Sight allows the user to capture shots in low-light conditions whereas, in the Top Shot mode, the device captures few shots and then merge to produce the one final best shot.

Being the flagship phone the Visual Core feature on the Pixel 3 works more efficiently that's why its capturing speed and camera performance is superior. Up front the Pixel 3 has dual snappers, the primary sensor is a normal lens with f/1.8 aperture whereas the secondary wide-angle 8MP sensor to capture wide-angle shots. The Pixel 3a has single 8MP selfie snapper. The Pixel 3 has an advantage of secondary selfie snapper and better performing Visual Core. Overall both phones are great performers.

Software

Being the Pixel lineup phones both are packed with the latest Android Pie straight out of the box. The UI skin is exactly the same on both the phones, no matter which smartphone you choose. As far as new updates are a concern Google is exceptionally fast in rolling new updates for the Pixel phones. Both the phones will be getting major software updates for the next couple of years and software updates for the next three years.

Special goodies

Mostly goodies on the Pixel phones are software based and the new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3 are no exception. Both the phones have the Active Edge feature to access the Google Assistant by simply squeezing the body. Other goodies are Call Screen and Google Duplex features. The Pixel 3 was the first phone to support Pixel Stand whereas the Pixel 3a is pre-loaded with AR mode of Google Maps.

Price

The Pixel 3a is available at half of the price tag of the premium Pixel 3. It is widely available from a number of retailers and carriers in the US. Though it isn't available from AT&T, it supports AT&t network. The Pixel 3 base model can be grabbed at a hefty price tag of $800. On the other hand, the Pixel 3a is offering a great value for the money at $400.

Conclusion:

Usually, the latest phones emerge as the winner in comparisons but that's not the case here due to the difference in the pricing department. Being a cheaper phone the Pixel 3a compromises in the design, hardware, and camera section. The Pixel 3 takes lead due to its premium glass and metal sandwich design, best-in-class cameras, last year's flagship-level hardware.

However despite being almost half pricing the Pixel 3a competes well in the display, battery and software section. Last but not least the Pixel 3a price tag will play a vital hole. The $400 will be quite tempting for many Google fans. In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts regarding the Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3 in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more comparisons.

  • The Google Pixel 3a isn't still available online. To be notified when it becomse available click here.
  • The Google Pixel 3 isn't still available online. To be notified when it becomse available click here.

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