Google I/O, the tech giant’s annual developer conference, has become one of the most important events of the year. While it has been the norm for the company to make software-related announcements at I/O events — and this year was no different — there were also some exciting hardware announcements. At Google I/O 2019, which took place in Mountain View, Calif., earlier this week, Google announced the much-anticipated budget-friendly Pixel handsets in the form of Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL. The company also launched Nest Hub, made some announcements about the upcoming Android Q operating system, and unveiled updates to Google Maps, Google Lens, and more. This article will focus on the two new handsets launched by Google. But there will be another article coming soon to cover the other highlights and important announcements made at this year’s Google I/O.
Google Pixels are considered to be the face of Android smartphones. Both the hardware and software on the Pixel handsets are manufactured by Google and these are the first in-line handsets to get the latest Android updates. However, all the handsets launched in the Pixel’s lineup previously have been flagship-graded devices, making them far from being budget-friendly.
Google has finally decided to buck the $1,000-plus smartphone trend and has introduced Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL at Google I/O 2019. With the low- to mid-range smartphone market having the most number of users worldwide, Google seems to have launched these handsets to attract the masses. Although these handsets are priced at about half of the original Pixel 3 handsets, they still have a lot in common. Here is everything you need to know about these newly launched handsets.
Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL at Google I/O 2019
Both the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL come with an “almost” similar set of features and innards as that of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Both these handsets are meant to provide Google’s core smartphone experience at an affordable price point. These handsets come in three color options: Just Black, Clearly White, and an all-new Purple-ish hue variant.
Just like the previous Pixel handsets, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL differ in terms of dimensions and battery backup. Here is a detailed overview of both these handsets.
Design and display
Both the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are made using polycarbonate chassis unlike the all-glass built on the Pixel 3 series of smartphones. This obvious change is to accommodate the budget-friendly price tag of the devices. Speaking about the dimensions and form-factor, both these handsets are almost similar to that of the Pixel 3 handsets and are meant for ease of usage with good ergonomics.
The Pixel 3a sports a 5.6-inch Full HD OLED display with a resolution of 2220 x 1080 pixels. On the other hand, the larger Pixel 3a XL sports a 6.0-inch full HD OLED display with a similar resolution. Both devices come with always-on display allowing the user to have time, date, and other key notifications displayed on-screen.
Specifications and hardware
As for the specs, both the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL are powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 mobile processor. The processor on these devices is paired with Adreno 615 graphics coprocessor. For multitasking and app handling, these handsets are provided with a 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. As far as storage is concerned, both these devices come with 64GB of onboard storage.
Although the Snapdragon 670 is not as powerful as the Snapdragon 845 offered in the Pixel 3 handsets, it is still an able mid-range processor. The trade-off here is obvious considering the price-point of these new affordable Pixel 3 handsets.
Both devices house all the set of sensors that we’ve seen in the Pixel 3 lineup of devices. This includes accelerometer, gyrometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, barometer, haptics, and Android sensor hub. Both the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL sport a fingerprint sensor at the rear panel similar to that of the older Pixel devices.
These affordable devices also offer similar connectivity options including WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, Google Cast, and Galileo.
Both handsets will be running on the latest Android 9.0 Pie, and being a Pixel handset, you’re guaranteed to get a minimum of three years of regular OS updates. Also, users can taste the beta version of the upcoming Android Q on these handsets.
Imaging is one of the unique selling aspects of the Pixel series of smartphones. These devices are baked with the best imaging sensors and thanks to Google’s imaging algorithms, Pixel handsets have always managed to attract the crowd with its imaging capabilities. While there are a few trade-offs made for the reduced price tag of these devices, the imaging capabilities remain the same.
Yes, these affordable new Pixel devices can capture images as good as the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL. Speaking about the specifications, both handsets come with a 12.2-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixels front-facing camera. Both handsets can capture HD, full HD, and even 4K video recordings at 30fps using its primary camera. The interface, camera features, filters, manual adjustments, and other aspectd are similar to what we see on the Pixel 3 handsets.
Fortunately, not all features had to be compromised to accommodate the lower price tags. The Pixel 3a stays juiced up with a 3,000mAh battery, whereas the Pixel 3a XL comes with a 3,700mAh battery. The battery capacity on the Pixel 3a XL has been improved when compared with the 3,430mAh on the previous Pixel 3 XL.
Both handsets come with a USB Type-C 18W fast charging but unlike the Pixel 3 handsets, these devices do not support Qi wireless charging.
Pricing and availability
Both the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL are currently available for users to buy. The Pixel 3a is priced at $549 while the larger Pixel 3a XL is available for $649. These devices can also be bought in contract with various mobile operators such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile at affordable plans.
With Google launching its first-ever handsets in the mid-range segment at Google I/O 2019, it is evident that the tech-giant is up against the already-established and existing smartphone makers such as the Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi that already offer handsets in this price range. However, considering the fact that Pixel handsets are the first to receive Android OS updates and offer best-in-class Android experience, these devices can very well be a game-changer for Google.