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The Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL: Plans, Prices and Features

The newest budget-friendly smartphone has arrived, with Google officially unveiling its Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL devices. A value-focused spin-off of last year’s popular Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, the 3a range offers high-end specifications at half the price – and is available to buy from today.

Google is the latest smartphone manufacturer to introduce a more affordable option than its premium, flagship handsets. Much like the iPhone XR and Samsung Galaxy S10e, the newly-announced Pixel 3a combines many of the features of a premium device, just in a more affordable package.

Google Pixel 3 vs Google Pixel 3a vs Google Pixel 3a XL

So, what are the main differences between the new Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, and flagship Pixel 3? The price tag is the obvious difference — the Google Pixel 3 starts at AU$1,199, while the Google Pixel 3a starts at AU$649 and the 3a XL at AU$799. The 3a series provides a significant price decrease, especially if you’re looking at buying your phone outright.

When it comes to the display, the Pixel 3 measures at 5.5 inches, while the 3a is slightly larger at 5.6 inches, and the 3a XL 6.0 inches. A major difference is in the type of screen offered, with the Pixel 3 featuring a FHD+ flexible OLED display, compared to the Pixel 3a’s and 3a XL’s FHD+ standard OLED.

Physical design is another point of difference, with the Pixel 3 coming in three colours — white, black and pink — with a soft-touch glass back and water and dust resistance. In comparison, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL both come in either black or white, with a polycarbonate body.

If you love taking photos, the good news is that the 3a and 3a XL include most of the same specifications as the Pixel 3, with a 12.2MP dual-pixel rear camera and features including Night Sight, Portrait Mode, as well as HDR+. However, the Pixel 3 offers the superior selfie experience, featuring a dual front camera and 8MP wide-angle and normal cameras for Group Selfie Cam mode. Both the 3a and 3a XL only include a single 8MP front camera, without the wide-angle lens.

One addition – which will certainly be good news to many – is that the 3a and 3a XL both include a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is notably missing from the Pixel 3. All three devices also offer all-day battery, and although both the 3a and 3a XL feature a higher battery capacity than the original Pixel 3, the 3 is compatible with wireless fast charging.

A quick comparison of the Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, and Pixel 3

Pixel 3a Pixel 3a XL Pixel 3
Price From $649 From $649 From $1,199
Screen size 5.6-inch FHD+ OLED display 6.0-inch FHD+ OLED display 5.5-inch FHD+ flexible OLED display
Battery 3,000mAh 3,700mAh 2,915mAh with wireless charging
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Storage 64GB 64GB Up to 128GB
Rear camera 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel with auto-focus, dual-pixel phase detection, optical and electronic image stabilisation 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel with auto-focus, dual-pixel phase detection, optical and electronic image stabilisation 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel with auto-focus, dual-pixel phase detection, optical and electronic image stabilisation
Front camera 8-megapixel 8-megapixel Dual 8-megapixel wide-angle and normal cameras
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie
Colours Just Black, Clearly White Just Black, Clearly White Just Black, Clearly White, Not Pink

Can I get the Google Pixel 3a on a plan?

Vodafone had previously offered Google Pixel 3a phones on a plan, however these devices are no longer available from the telco. Instead, you you’ll need to buy it outright from Google, or retailers such as JB HiFi, Harvey Norman, and Officeworks.

Is a Google Pixel 3a worth it?

With the growing popularity of brands such as OPPO and Huawei, both of which produce quality smartphones for a fraction of the price asked by Apple and Samsung, more of us are looking for a new device without the huge price tag. For example, Apple’s iPhone XR – the more budget-friendly device of the new phone series – is proving to be a more popular phone than the pricier XS.

If you’re a fan of the Google Pixel, this latest budget offering is certainly enticing. It includes many of the same features that you’ll find with the Pixel 3, and at a much more affordable outright price. This is certainly a competitive release from Google, and looks to be not only a competitor to the Pixel 3, but also to other mid-range devices.

While Google’s smartphones aren’t as popular as devices from Apple and Samsung, the company has a history of releasing excellent devices with great software, and so far the 3a looks to be no exception. If you’ve been considering the Pixel 3, you might find the 3a to be a tempting offer – especially if you’re not too fussed on having a glass design, or extras like wireless charging and wide-angle cameras.

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