A familiar design language, but in plastic form
Taking a peek at the Google Pixel 3a XL for the first time without holding it in your hand, you’d be hard pressed to tell it apart from the more expensive Pixel 3 XL. The most noticeable difference here is that the glass meets metal construction has been replaced simply with a polycarbonate one, blending a mostly matte looking finish on the back with a polished looking frame. It’s exceptionally lightweight in the hand, so it that degree we appreciate its better handling. Since it’s sporting a polycarbonate construction, it doesn’t receive the same water-resistant properties as its sibling – nor does it feature wireless charging.
While we do appreciate how Google has kept a firm stance with its signature design using lower quality materials, we’ve seen other phones in this price range with better designs. We’re talking about premium looking things comprised out of metal and glass. For most people, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker, just because at the end of the day, it’s going to be the performance and experience that’ll be highly sought out among users.
Google made a point to really emphasize the cameras used by its new Pixel 3a line. They break down to a 12.2MP f/1.8 sensor in the rear with Night Sight, along with an 8MP f/2.0 one in the front. These are the pixel crushing numbers we see in other newer smartphones, but it’s not about having what looks best on paper. Instead, the Pixel 3a XL’s camera is said to be comparable in terms of performance to that of the higher priced Pixels – and that’s because these are the same cameras found in them!
Naturally, it’s the AI image processing and tweaks that will propel the Pixel 3a XL to deliver the same unparalleled results we’ve seen put out by the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a XL. We’re hoping that all the talk is true about the performance of the camera here, but we’re really eager to put it to the test with some real-world situations. We’re confident that it’ll get the job done, but only time will tell if it can match its siblings in this area!
The $479 is still tough for many to wrap their heads around the fact that it’s so much lower than the Pixel 3 XL, which starts at $899. Most people after Google’s Pixel smartphones look forward most to getting the most up-to-date Android experience, and the Pixel 3a XL is no exception. In fact, looking at it now, it doesn’t differ at from what we see in the Pixel 3 XL! The Snapdragon 670 and accompanying 4GB of RAM may not be all that imposing, but in our short time checking out the Pixel 3a XL, it still manages to deliver tight and instantaneous responses.
All of this leads us to the inevitable thing about why should people even bother getting the Pixel 3 XL (or even the Pixel 3 over the Pixel 3a)? That’s something we’ll surely investigate more intimately in detail, as we put them through the paces to really uncover their worth. In the meantime, we can agree that it’s difficult to take the new Pixel 3a line out of the conversation when it comes to what are the best smartphones right now. If they can knock it out of the park, defying the odds in delivering all the goods we want in a smartphone, we may have a substantial shift in the industry going forward.