More Google Pixel 3a details revealed, including a surprisingly high-quality screen

More Google Pixel 3a details revealed, including a surprisingly high-quality screen
Google Pixel 3a CAD-based render

We've known for quite some time that Google is looking to break with its tradition of unveiling just two phones every fall by releasing a lower-end Pixel duo at some point this spring. But it was only recently that the somewhat confusing Pixel 3a and 3a XL names started making the rumor rounds, replacing the long-expected Pixel 3 Lite and 3 Lite XL monikers.

According to several reliable sources, that's how Google plans to market these mid-range devices after all. While we have no idea what the "a" stands for and exactly when the two new stock Android handsets are supposed to see daylight, the key specs and features of the smaller model were "confirmed" less than 24 hours ago by a trusted 9To5Google source "familiar with the phones."

But the website's managing editor, Stephen Hall, is back with even more details about the Google Pixel 3a after purportedly gaining direct access to a pretty much commercial-ready unit.

A mid-end variant with a top-notch, no-notch screen


When Google was first rumored to be working on lower-cost Pixel 3 models, some people immediately assumed that meant lower-quality displays in addition to lower-end processors. But although the Pixel 3a is indeed expected to pack a Snapdragon 670 SoC that would represent a major downgrade over the 845 inside the "regular" Pixel 3, the latter's 5.5-inch P-OLED panel could go largely unchanged.

That Pixel 3 screen is a beaut

That Pixel 3 screen is a beaut


After spending quite a bit of time examining the 5.6-inch screen of the Pixel 3a, Stephen Hall is all but certain he's looking at an OLED affair with decent 2220 x 1080 resolution and no "modern" method (read gimmick) to slim down its bezels near the point of invisibility. Now, the Pixel 3 display is obviously far from perfect, basically competing in a lower league compared to Samsung's sensational Super AMOLED "Infinity" panels on the Galaxy S10 and S10+.

Still, our in-depth review found the 5.5-incher was fully capable of producing brightness, contrast, and color temperature levels similar to some of the world's best high-end phones. If Google indeed plans to offer that at a lower price point, we must admit we're impressed. Then again, LCD technology would have helped drive production costs way down while possibly having only a moderate impact on display quality.

Sounds like the search giant was faced with a pretty tough choice. Unfortunately, we won't find out if Google made the right call until seeing the official retail prices of the Pixel 3a and 3a XL.

More features, more reasons to be excited (and a little worried)


Seeing as how the Pixel 3 started at an arguably excessive price of $799, your concern about the 3a and 3a XL not exactly being what we'd normally call affordable is definitely justified. After all, the Pixel 3a is expected to "borrow" the state-of-the-art rear camera of its forerunner in addition to the aforementioned high-quality OLED screen. But don't worry (too much), as a series of compromises will be made to slash at least a couple hundred bucks off.

Leaked hands-on photo of the Pixel 3 Lite, aka Pixel 3a

Leaked hands-on photo of the Pixel 3 Lite, aka Pixel 3a


For instance, you will lose the water resistance rating of the Pixel 3, although on the bright side, you should win back the beloved headphone jack. From a build quality standpoint, the Pixel 3a is allegedly not looking to make a great impression, ditching the premium glass/metal combo to rely primarily on plastic. But for what it's worth, the device is described as light and not too cheap-feeling.

Wireless charging support is another pretty big thing eliminated to help reduce the retail price, but the battery is actually slightly larger than the one powering the 5.5-inch Pixel 3, at 3,000 mAh. Last but not least, the secondary front-facing shooter is out of the equation, leaving a single 8MP wide-angle lens in charge of selfie action. Oh, and the rear camera is apparently noticeably slower, even though it's unclear if that's caused by another cost-cutting measure or just unpolished, pre-release software.

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

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19 Comments

1. emjoigently

Posts: 146; Member since: Aug 22, 2017

If the camera is great. If it has at least 64Gigs of storage. And if the screen is decent. If the price is bearable. I'd seriously consider it. I don't fuss over bezels. A bit top and bottom is fine. I actually want plastic (it'll get a case anyway) A 670 is a pretty good chip.

6. Cheezwiz

Posts: 496; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

alternatively, if the Samsung a90 is priced at $500 or the A60 is priced at $400, I think they'd be more compelling offerings in this general price area. Arguably, even the OnePlus 6T is more interesting. It's $559 now, but will probably hit $499 on sale when the OnePlus 7 launches (which, at this rate, will be BEFORE these pixel models).

8. androiduser

Posts: 504; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

You can get the pixel 3 for around 500$ due to discounts. I think you may be able to get it for cheaper on ebay.

7. androiduser

Posts: 504; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

I bought a used pixel 2 with a cracked camera lens for 125 usd, ill easily and cheaply replaced the lens and also if needed will replace the phones battery, the phone costed me 191 usd in total because shipping costs 31 usd and import tax through ebay costs 35usd. Thats crazy cheap still, and for an american it would cost 125 usd plus 10usd shipping at most. The pixel 2 has a 1080p oled display, a camera thats almost as good as the one on the pixel 3, stock android ui that will receive android 11, good front facing stereo speakers, good battery life, good performance and a compact design.

13. emjoigently

Posts: 146; Member since: Aug 22, 2017

I'm on an original Pixel XL now. I love the camera so much that I wouldn't buy anything else. For me personally, the camera is a deal maker or breaker. So, in a few months when I have a bit more money... pixel 2XL, 3XL or 3aXL. I'll see what things cost then.

2. User123456789

Posts: 400; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Spectra of Snapdragon has its role in image processing. Same device with different cpu won't give same results. Even if this phone has same imx363 and software, the flagship will still deliver better photos.

3. Venom

Posts: 3012; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Looks like Google has beat Nokia to the punch with an affordable stock Android phone in the US and more than likely it will be available for ALL carriers.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 21345; Member since: May 28, 2014

False. HMD has had Stock Android Nokia branded smartphones at affordable prices in the U.S. since they released their first Android smartphone in 2017, and they look better, with no doubt better build quality.

11. Venom

Posts: 3012; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Look better is entirely subjective, but of course you would try to twist your biased opinion into a fact. Sorry, not really, but it doesn't work that way. And for the record, technically Google was first if we were to use the Nexus program as an example but of course you obviously went against it because I said it.

14. meanestgenius

Posts: 21345; Member since: May 28, 2014

I never said the looks weren’t subjunctive, but of course you would try to twist the facts to support your false narrative. Sorry, not really, it doesn’t work that way, lol. For the record, the Nexus line no longer exists, and neither did HMD nor Nokia Android smartphones at the time that the ill-fated Nexus line was out. But of course you obviously are going against what I said because I said it.

16. Venom

Posts: 3012; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I'm not even going to bother giving a proper response since you lack the intellect to come up with your own response without mirroring what I said. I understand if it's a challenging ordeal for you but seriously.

20. meanestgenius

Posts: 21345; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lmao that’s because you can’t. You lack the mental acumen to deal with me, and it shows. I understand that my comments wound you deeply, but get over it now.

4. Cat97

Posts: 1726; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

...and surprisingly huge bezels.

5. Juarizs

Posts: 44; Member since: Jan 22, 2019

Very ugly and dull design

10. meanestgenius

Posts: 21345; Member since: May 28, 2014

I'm not a fan of the dated design or the small battery, but I do like the fact that Google is attempting to compete in the midrange segment. They just need to make sure that they get the software right for the most part, as they would be shooting themselves in the foot if these midrange Pixels mirrored the bugs / issues of their high end brethren. If Google gets that right, I may check out the Pixel AXL.

12. Venom

Posts: 3012; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

A lot of users that have actually used their high end brethren haven't encountered any problems that you continue to exaggerate but never clarify after being questioned about them.

15. meanestgenius

Posts: 21345; Member since: May 28, 2014

More users that have actually used their high end brethren HAVE encountered problems than not, and that’s a verifiable fact. But of course you continue to deflect from the issues that actual Pixel users are having, even though you don’t own one yourself.

17. Venom

Posts: 3012; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

You don't get to dismiss the people who have actually not encountered any problems with the Pixel phones just because it goes against your biased agenda.

18. meanestgenius

Posts: 21345; Member since: May 28, 2014

You don’t get to dismiss the people who are actually having the problems with Pixel smartphones, especially when they outnumber those who don’t, just because you favor them and have like to spread propaganda.

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