Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are now finally official: here's all you need to know

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are now finally official: here's all you need to know
Google has just officially lifted the cover off its first truly affordable Pixel phones that promise to bring an incredible camera and years of software support: welcome the Google Pixel 3a and its larger sibling, the Pixel 3a XL.

While the new Pixel 3a family looks quite conservative in terms of looks with those big bezels, it carries one feature that you never see on other affordable phones: a flagship-grade camera. The single 12-megapixel camera on the Pixel 3a and the XL comes with the impressive Night Sight feature and should be able to capture similarly great photos as the flagship Pixel 3 series.

Not just that, these two phones are special among affordable phones in ways that the specs sheet that you will see below will not tell you, and that is the unique promise for years of timely software updates. Google promises that the new Pixel 3a series will get three major software updates (Android 10 Q, Android 11 R, and Android 12 S) and unlike other brands where you have to wait for months for new software, the updates here will come the very moment when Google releases them.

With this short intro in mind, let's take a look at the specs sheet for the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL:

How are the 3a series different from the flagship Pixel 3 family?

Cheaper materials, no water-proofing and slower processor 

Looking at the spec sheet above, there is one thing that stands out and that would be the processor powering these two phones. Or the lack of a high-end processor we should say: instead of the commonly used in flagships Snapdragon 855 chip, these new devices will run on upper mid-range chips and not the absolutely fastest silicon.

The Pixel 3a family is powered by the Snapdragon 670, a new chip by Qualcomm and when you look at the benchmarks for the processor, you understand that it delivers performance comparable to that of the Snapdragon 835 used in phones like the Pixel 2 XL in late 2017. Is that a dealbreaker? Provided the excellent optimization by Google, chances are that it's not.

There are a few other things you will find missing on the 3a when compared to the flagship 3 series: the frame of the budget model is made from plastic and the screen is protected with Dragontrail Glass rather than the popular Corning Gorilla Glass. You also don't get a stereo speaker and instead have just a single loudspeaker.

There are two more omissions: you get no special water resistance, and these budget Pixels don't support wireless charging. But that commonly requested headphone jack is here!

Flagship-grade Camera

One thing we have never seen on a budget phone

While some phone makers insist on putting two, three, four and more cameras on their phones, Google has proven that you don't need more than one camera to get great images.

And the new Pixel 3a series are no different in their approach: you have a single, 12-megapixel camera on the back. And if that sounds familiar, it's because that is the same camera that you have on the flagship Pixel series.

How often have you seen a true flagship-grade camera on a mid-range phone? We know we haven't! You also get the impressive Night Sight feature on the 3a series as well, so you can get a bright photo even at night, when human vision can barely see.

Price, Release date and Carriers

No longer exclusive to Verizon!

The Pixel 3a family starts at just $400 for the smaller 3a model and $479 for the larger Pixel 3a XL, both prices nearly half that of other flagship devices.

But the best news is that the devices are no longer Verizon Wireless exclusive in the United States! The new Pixel 3a and XL are now available on Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, as well as Google Fi, and all of that in addition to availability on Verizon.

And the release date is set for... today, May 7th.

Final Words

Easy recommendation!

The new Pixel 3a is a brand new take on the very concept of an affordable phone.

While currently most phone makers focus on bringing the looks of a flagship without the substance of a great camera and solid performance, Google is doing something completely different with unimpressive looks, but a great camera and a superbly well optimized user experience.

Add to that the promise for three years of software updates, unprecedented among Android budget models, and nice extras like unlimited Google Photos storage space, and we can see the Pixel 3a family quickly carve a niche for itself in a very competitive market.

Related phones

Pixel 3a
  • Display 5.6" 1080 x 2220 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3000 mAh
Pixel 3a XL
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 2160 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3700 mAh



1. chris2k5

Posts: 283; Member since: Nov 17, 2012


6. Victor.H

Posts: 1078; Member since: May 27, 2011


9. Cheezwiz

Posts: 500; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

It's debatable. Right now, it's pretty easy to make the case that the much better equipped OnePlus 6T is worth the jump to $549. Had Google priced the XL at $429, it would be a clearer winner.

19. TBomb

Posts: 1572; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Not everyone can use the OnePlus 6T (I don't believe it would work on Verizon). I'd argue that if 100% of people knew what an iPhone was, 30% might know what a OnePlus is. The other issue is that the people this phone is geared towards is a demographic that probably doesn't buy their phones directly and still goes to their carrier's stores to purchase. Like you said, debatable, but I'd probably go P3a over OP6T assuming the target audience asking me, matched.

10. skips

Posts: 482; Member since: Oct 04, 2015

nowadays people want their phones to have sd855, 4tb ssd's, 10k mAh batteries in paperthin bodies, 50K displays, megapixel count with numbers more than pi itself, capabilities to warp space and time and make universe implode on itself at any given command, serve beer and give massages and have a button to delete every drunk text they've sent to people whose memories of it get erased afterwards for FREE. anything higher than that and it's the WORST and companies are SO GREEDY, how dare they want profits for themselves.

26. pogba

Posts: 112; Member since: Jun 13, 2018

I feel you

29. Reviewerofstuff

Posts: 129; Member since: Jun 02, 2018

I agree but I feel like that kind of thinking is exclusive to the tech community. Your average consumer just wants a phone that works.(especially in america) That's why the iphone is so popular, it doesn't really excel in any area besides maybe performance but it just works flawlessly as a phone.

23. fakenewzz

Posts: 133; Member since: Nov 15, 2018

I agree price should be $249

2. Derekjeter

Posts: 1526; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

They should lower the price of the regular Pixel down to $400-500 starting prices. All these phones suck ass. None are worth more than $500. Old tech from every single OEM.

3. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2360; Member since: Apr 18, 2011


4. chris2k5

Posts: 283; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

iPhone XR not looking so bad now. For $300 more you get better processor, similar camera, better glass, wireless charging, IP rating.

5. chris2k5

Posts: 283; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

Add in better speakers

7. skips

Posts: 482; Member since: Oct 04, 2015

wow more money equals more goodies? i am beyond shook! three hundred dollars is a lot of money, but to each their own.

12. libra89

Posts: 2297; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Yeah they are making it sound like it is just a few dollars. lol

15. ScottsoNJ56

Posts: 125; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

Overpriced for what you get. Especially since they are porting the Google camera to a lot of different android phones now

8. Cheezwiz

Posts: 500; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

So, it's available only through carriers? Where can you buy it outright? Is ATT carrying it?

13. libra89

Posts: 2297; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

You can buy it outright from Google directly as well. Nope, ATT is not relevant here.

14. Cheezwiz

Posts: 500; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

yeah, I saw that afterward. I guess AT&T will support them on their network, but won't be selling them in stores.

16. Victor.H

Posts: 1078; Member since: May 27, 2011

I would guess that you could buy it unlocked from the Google Store and bring it to AT&T, but it's not available for purchase at AT&T stores.

11. libra89

Posts: 2297; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Nice! Can't believe that it is $400 for that camera. Whoa.

17. ztkells

Posts: 41; Member since: Jan 26, 2011

Easily the best option for a mid range. The updates is what does it. Problem with most in the class out there, they may get one update. If you’re lucky. When talking a lower end processor, makes it a must if you actually want to have a chance to keep your phone for more than a year.

27. wickedwilly

Posts: 723; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Updates on Android are not half as important as people make out. Most features that they bring are usually present in the OEM versions and app updates anyway. Updating often slows down a phone too. I would rather buy a phone with the features, functionality and speed I want now, than give up some of these for something I may or may not want in the future.


Posts: 442; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

The regular sized 3a is worth the money hands down, but the 3a xl for $80 more doesn't. Google should've opted for the 710 instead.

20. Cat97

Posts: 1933; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

These are actually the first midrange phones without a sh*tty camera, and with OIS. Hopefully this will set a trend for others to copy. To be honest, I'm very tempted by the Pixel 3a, I hate glass backs, phones with countless subpar camera sensors and the water proofing craze. A honest, $400 midrange with a great camera is a bargain given the non-existent competition in the price-to-image-quality ratio.

21. meanestgenius

Posts: 22272; Member since: May 28, 2014

These midrange Pixels are overpriced for what you get. At this price range, you can get smartphones with more RAM, more ROM, expandable storage, better designs/build quality, and better processors. Why not go with the SD7xx series? The only thing good about these midrange Pixels are the camera and the software/updates (which hopefully avoid the bugginess of their older siblings that have plagued them for 3 generations now), but those two things still are not worth the price, IMO. I was finally hoping to try a Pixel smartphone, but I’m let down by Google once again.

22. Whitedot

Posts: 831; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

I don't thing extra $80 fir a XL is worth. $50 maybe. At least google could bump up the base storage to 128GB. For $480 one can get Sony(Xz2), Xiaomi most of the models or Huawei older models but still rocking .

24. fakenewzz

Posts: 133; Member since: Nov 15, 2018

Price should be $249

25. Vogue1985

Posts: 480; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

BORINGGGGGGG. Google this is so Lazy, and as a Pixel annoying i'm annoyed that the new phones Look exactly like the flagships.No water proofing etc, then why the big bezels add more screen,been saying that for a while, . Points on the headphone jack, they could have easly at least give the phone some identity, then again, its an issue of follow Apple. This could have been a killer mid-range phone, too bad. Bold? No, Beautiful? No, Great camera? yes (but so are the others too)

28. iczer

Posts: 160; Member since: Oct 14, 2015

Best midrange for now, class leading camera, Android Q, R and S, buttery smooth performance, unlimited photos backup, good price ($399). Almost 100% of midrange phones have a mediocre camera and bad support for new OS updates. I dont' care bezels, glass back, or even a better processor, good performance is a mix between HW and SW, this google pixel 3a has a decent HW and the better software optimization.

30. jeffpom

Posts: 67; Member since: Dec 11, 2016

Slower Processor - Not a problem. Sad to see no water resistance or wireless charging though. Apple and Samsung put those on their lower phones. Albeit though, at a higher price. This will indeed make things interesting. Seems like they're kind of looking at an Apple SE type. Or Motorola competitor. A decent decent phone, at a lower price.

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