Google Pixel 3a smartphone review: Nexus return?

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⇣ Content

The change from Nexus to Pixel happened three years ago — and it happened quite painfully. The reference smartphone on Android has become much more expensive and in an instant lost its status as a popular one. At the same time, however, he came close to the iPhone and sat on his tail. And with such and such guidelines, Google could not help but react to the gradual bloat of the Apple smartphone product line — the Pixel 3a was an 8-month late reaction to the release of the iPhone XR. Noticeably more inexpensive and with other priorities — if the simplified iPhone got a screen and a simpler camera while maintaining the hardware platform, then in the younger «pixel» they just sacrificed power while maintaining the main values ​​- a great camera and an OLED display.

And at the same time, the Pixel 3a was released for sale for $400 (in the regular version) and for $480 (in the XL version, which differs only in battery capacity and display diagonal), while prices for the «people’s» iPhone start at $750. So you can talk about the return of Nexus — albeit with assumptions.

We tested the base version of the Pixel 3a, with a 5.6-inch display (incredibly small these days! But 0.1 inches larger than the Pixel 3) and a 3,000 mAh battery. From the main Pixel, this device differs in design from 2017, without any attempts to remove the bezels from the front panel, and a plastic rather than glass back. As well as the budget Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 platform with a simpler modem, lack of support for wireless charging and moisture protection, but with a mini-jack. “Pure” Android, which receives updates in the forefront, and a branded camera with all the wonders of software processing are in place. The old, but unkind tradition of not officially selling the Pixel in Russia is also in place — you can find it here only in gray retail. We took our test sample from Big Geek, where the Pixel 3a retails for $320 and the Pixel 3a XL retails for $420. It’s still not too expensive, but he’s no longer aiming for “people’s smartphones”. Nevertheless, let’s still check how successful the experiment was to return to the ideas of Nexus?


Google Pixel 3a Google Pixel 3XL Apple iPhone XR Xiaomi Mi 9 One Plus 7 Pro
Display 5.6 inches, OLED, 2220 × 1080 pixels, 441 ppi, capacitive multi-touch 6.3 inches, P-OLED, 2960 × 1440 pixels, 523 ppi, capacitive multi-touch 6.1″ IPS
1792 × 828 dots, 326 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
6.39″ AMOLED
2340 × 1080 dots, 403 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
6.67″ Fluid AMOLED
3120 × 1440 dots, 516 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
Protective glass Asahi Dragontrail Glass Corning Gorilla Glass 5 No information Corning Gorilla Glass 6 Corning Gorilla Glass (version not specified)
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 670: two Kryo 360 Gold cores, 2.0 GHz + six Kryo 360 Silver cores, 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Quad-core Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.8GHz + Quad-core Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7GHz Apple A12 Bionic: Dual Vortex Cores @ 2.5GHz + Four Tempest Cores @ 1.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: One Kryo 485 Gold core 2.85GHz + three Kryo 485 Gold cores 2.42GHz + four Kryo 485 Silver cores 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: One Kryo 485 Gold core 2.85GHz + three Kryo 485 Gold cores 2.42GHz + four Kryo 485 Silver cores 1.8GHz
Graphics controller Adreno 615, 700 MHz Adreno 630, 710 MHz Apple GPU (4 cores) Adreno 640 Adreno 640
RAM 4 GB 4 GB 3 GB 6/8/12 GB 6/8/12 GB
Flash memory 64 GB 64/128 GB 64/128/256 GB 128/256 GB 128/256 GB
Memory card support Not Not Not Not Not
Connectors USB Type-C, 3.5mm USB Type-C Lightning USB Type-C USB Type-C
SIM cards One nano-SIM One nano-SIM Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs
Cellular 2G GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
CDMA 800 MHz
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
CDMA 800 MHz
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
CDMA 800 / 1900 MHz
Cellular 3G HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
CDMA 2000 MHz
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
CDMA 2000 MHz
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
Cellular 4G LTE Cat. 11 (600Mbps): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 40, 41, 66 LTE Cat. 16 (1024Mbps): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 66, 71 LTE: bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 30, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66 .71 LTE: bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20, 28, 38, 39, 40 LTE Cat.18 (up to 1200 Mbps): bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 34 , 38, 39, 40, 41, 66
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
NFC There is There is Yes (Apple Pay) There is There is
Navigation GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
Sensors Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), barometer Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), barometer Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)
The fingerprint scanner There is There is No (has a Face ID system) Yes, on screen Yes, on screen
Main camera 12.2 MP, ƒ/1.8, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash, OIS 12.2 MP, ƒ/1.8, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash, OIS 12.2 MP, ƒ/1.8, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash, OIS Triple module: 48 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + 16 MP, ƒ / 2.2 + 12 MP, ƒ / 2.2, hybrid autofocus, dual LED flash Triple module: 48 MP, ƒ/1.6 + 8 MP, ƒ/2.4 + 16 MP, ƒ/2.2, hybrid autofocus, dual LED flash
Front-camera 8 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus Dual module: 8 + 8 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + ƒ / 2.2, autofocus with the main camera 7 MP, ƒ/2.2, fixed focus 20 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus 16 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus
Nutrition 11.4 Wh non-removable battery (3000 mAh, 3.8 V) 13.03 Wh (3430 mAh, 3.8 V) non-removable battery Non-removable battery: 11.18 Wh (2942 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 12.54 Wh (3300 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 15.2 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V)
The size 151.3×70.1×8.2mm 158×76.7×7.9mm 150.9×75.7×8.3mm 157.5×74.7×7.6mm 162.6×75.9×8.8mm
Weight 147 grams 184 grams 194 grams 173 grams 206 grams
Hull protection Not IP68 IP67 Not Not
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie iOS Android 9.0 Pie, MIUI shell Android 9.0 Pie, OxygenOS shell
Current price 320$ $420 for 64GB version, $520 for 128GB version $520 for 64GB version, $520 for 128GB version, $620 for 256GB version $220 for 6/64 GB version, $320 for 6/128 GB version $420 for 6/128 GB version, $420 for 8/256 GB version

Google Pixel 3a — information about the filling according to the CPU Z application

⇡#Design, ergonomics and software

The beauty of the third generation Google Pixel is no different at all. The older version «shines» with perhaps the ugliest unibrow of all. The younger one is spared this dubious design element, but saddens with huge frames around the screen. There is a hefty “chin” and a solid gap above the display, where the speaker and front camera are inscribed. Yes, and on the sides of the screen free space in bulk. Looks Pixel 3a, frankly, out of date.

The back panel with a branded glossy overlay at the top and a fingerprint scanner notch is familiar and at first glance does not differ from what we saw in Pixel 3/3 XL, but other materials are used here — glass is replaced by plastic. You can find out, however, only by reading the press release — it is difficult to notice the differences by sight and touch. But plastic rather than metal faces are recognized very easily — just pay attention to the absence of layers for the correct operation of the antennas. Here they are simply not needed.

  Google Pixel 3a, front panel: above the display are the earpiece, ambient light sensor and front camera

Google Pixel 3a, front panel: above the display are the earpiece, ambient light sensor and front camera

The Pixel 3a comes in three colors: boring black (Juck Black), pleasant white (Clearly White) and excellent purple (Purple-Ish). Probably, if I got the purple “pixel”, the design impressions would be different. But it turned out the way it did, so the feeling is somewhat dreary.

  Google Pixel 3a, rear panel: on the glossy insert we see the main camera and dual LED flash, below is the fingerprint scanner

Google Pixel 3a, rear panel: on the glossy insert we see the main camera and dual LED flash, below is the fingerprint scanner

Even despite the large bezels, the smartphone with a 5.6-inch display has retained relatively small dimensions. By today’s standards, this is an ultra-compact gadget, it just falls into your pocket. This is especially impressive, of course, against the backdrop of the giant Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, which just got to us for a test (wait for a detailed review soon). The Pixel 3a sends a lot of greetings from the past — and we’re only too happy for that.

  Google Pixel 3a, left side: slot for a single nano-SIM card

Google Pixel 3a, left side: slot for a single nano-SIM card

  Google Pixel 3a, right side: lock / power on the gadget and volume keys

Google Pixel 3a, right side: lock / power on the gadget and volume keys

How happy and one more artifact of the past — a mini-jack. Yes, the policy of Apple and everyone who joined this locomotive led to a very rapid take-off of wireless headphones — in Moscow transport there are already more people with wireless headsets than those equipped according to the classics, but still, the opportunity to choose is always more pleasant than a totalitarian solution for us.

  Google Pixel 3a, top: headset/headphone mini-jack and microphone

Google Pixel 3a, bottom edge: microphone, speaker and USB Type-C port

  Google Pixel 3a, bottom edge: microphone, speaker and USB Type-C port

Google Pixel 3a, top: headset/headphone mini-jack and microphone

The body of the Pixel 3a is non-slip, and, thanks to its acceptable dimensions, it is convenient to use the smartphone — you can even manage to manage it with one hand. But the disease of all the last “pixels” has spread to the younger one: a large glossy area in the upper part of the back is not only very easily soiled, but also easily scratched, and, as usual, there is no cover in the kit. I recommend getting them immediately after purchase. Well, or stock up on patience and aesthetic stoicism.

Another echo of bygone times is the fingerprint scanner on the back. The capacitive sensor is located in a good place and works without failures, better than the vast majority of trendy under-screen scanners, but it is impossible to unlock the smartphone without taking it from the table. Yes, and relevance suffers — this, however, the creators of the Pixel 3a was clearly the last thing to worry about. The face recognition system with the help of a lonely front camera is also in place, it works fine.

The Google Pixel 3a is running the latest version of Android 9 Pie with a branded (almost invisible) Pixel Launcher shell — and you can count on the transition to Android Q to happen quickly and without problems, and all further updates will come extremely quickly. «Pure» Android with some additional features is just one of the main reasons to buy a Pixel. Unfortunately, the most interesting feature — a smart caller ID with a custom answering machine — does not work outside the US and Canada.

But the Active Edge system, which allows you to turn on the Google Assistant by squeezing the case, works quite well. Another question is how often will you use this method, and not call the assistant with your voice or long touch the virtual Home key? Also noteworthy are flexible themes that adapt to the current desktop wallpaper, and additional gestures (swiping left from the central navigation key instantly returns to the previous screen). Differences from the older «pixels»: photos in the Google cloud are still saved in unlimited volume, but already with compression, and the vibration motor is also nice, but still not as much as in the flagship. There must be small compromises, this is the law of the genre.

⇡#Display and sound

Google Pixel 3a received a 5.6-inch P-OLED panel with a resolution of 2220 × 1080 pixels (18.5: 8 format). The pixel density is sufficient to not notice any signs of «ladders» either when reading, or when playing games, or in video — 441 ppi. You just don’t need more.

Google did not save on the panel and installed, apparently, the same display as in the Pixel 3. Viewing angles are free, the user experience is very pleasant. All the necessary layers (polarizing, oleophobic, and so on) are in place. Although the oleophobic coating can be scolded a little — the smartphone actively collects fingerprints, and they are not rubbed off too easily.

Display color is adjustable. There are three operating modes to choose from: vivid, natural, or adaptively adjusted based on the information displayed on the screen. By default, the adaptive mode is enabled, but I measured the color reproduction only in two “manual” ones — for the purity of the experiment (so that the readings do not depend on the situation). Other options are basic, except for the customizable Always-On Display mode, thanks to which the clock and notification icons can be displayed even on the locked screen — the smartphone warns of increased power consumption in these conditions, but in fact you will hardly notice the overrun.

The maximum measured brightness level is higher than the Pixel 3 XL, which, however, has a larger panel, at 424 cd/m2. For an OLED display, this is a very decent figure. This level is enough to safely use a smartphone on a sunny day and not suffer even when reading text, and not just in navigation mode. It is not worth paying attention to the fact that the figure is much inferior to the brightness of LCD displays — organic LEDs win back due to increased contrast. But compliance with the HDR standard, unlike older Pixels, is out of the question.

  Google Pixel 3a, gamma in

Google Pixel 3a, gamma in «natural colors» mode. The yellow line is the Pixel 3a performance, the dotted line is the reference gamma

  Google Pixel 3a, color temperature in

Google Pixel 3a, color temperature in «natural colors» mode. Blue line is Pixel 3a readings, dotted line is reference temperature

  Google Pixel 3a, color gamut in

Google Pixel 3a, natural color gamut. Gray triangle is sRGB coverage, white triangle is Pixel 3a coverage

The display is set up very well — a pleasant impression is already formed from the adaptive mode, but for the ultimate naturalness, you can immediately switch it to the «natural colors» mode. In this case, the picture will be very close to the sRGB standard. The gamma is 2.20 and the curves are pretty stable. The color temperature is close to the standard — it ranges from 6,300 to 6,900 K with a median of about 6,800 K. The average Delta E deviation for the extended Color Checker palette (grayscale + a wide range of color shades) fits exactly into the norm — 2.99. The colors are moderately warm, very close to the standard.

  Google Pixel 3a, gamma in

Google Pixel 3a, Gamma Vivid. The yellow line is the Pixel 3a performance, the dotted line is the reference gamma

  Google Pixel 3a, color temperature in

Google Pixel 3a, color temperature in Vivid Colors mode. Blue line is Pixel 3a readings, dotted line is reference temperature

  Google Pixel 3a, color gamut in

Google Pixel 3a, color gamut in «vibrant colors» mode. Gray triangle is DCI-P3 coverage, white triangle is Pixel 3a coverage

In the «vivid colors» mode, the color gamut expands and fades approximately in the middle between the sRGB and DCI-P3 standards. Given this behavior, I decided to evaluate the color reproduction according to the DCI-P3 standard — and the display did not let us down. The gamma is exactly the same, the temperature also corresponds to the norm (although someone does not consider cold colors to be mandatory!), But the average deviation of Delta E in the Color Checker palette is already 3.38 and jumps out of the norm, but slightly. However, this is expected, given the slight lack of color gamut. Fans of more saturated colors and a wide range can safely use this mode.

Google Pixel 3a pleases with stereo speakers — the manufacturer did not cut down on sound capabilities along with lowering the price. But instead of two speakers brought forward, the Pixel 3a has a slightly odd configuration: located on the lower edge of the speaker looks down, and the second — the classic colloquial — forward. However, if this affects the sound quality, it is very insignificant. The absence of the need to use an adapter in order to listen to music over the wire is already a big plus for the Pixel 3a, and I can’t make any claims about the sound quality either. Everything is fine. Without wires, everything is also in order — there is support for all the necessary profiles (aptX, aptX HD and LDAC).

⇡#Hardware and performance

Pixel 3a is not a Chinese (at least at the place of development) smartphone, so there was no need to count on any anomalous characteristics for its price category. Since the camera, display and software capabilities are plus or minus the same as the flagship, then somewhere something should have become weaker. In this case — in the column «hardware characteristics».

The Pixel 3a uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 platform, designed for mid-range smartphones and introduced back in August 2018, but almost no one was interested. There were active rumors that it was the 670th platform that would appear in the Redmi Note 7 Pro, but Xiaomi preferred the slightly more powerful Snapdragon 675 for its $ 100 smartphone. Well, you understand. Here are the characteristics of the Snapdragon 670: eight Kryo 360 computing cores, two of which (Kryo 360 Gold) operate at a clock frequency of up to 2.0 GHz, the other six (Kryo 360 Silver) operate at a frequency of up to 1.7 GHz. Plus the graphics accelerator Adreno 615. The production rate is 10 nanometers. There is a special module responsible for working with neural network calculations, and the lack of support for more than two-camera systems, in principle, does not interfere with the “pixel” — it has one rear camera, but which one.

Synthetic tests, in principle, do not need comments: Google Pixel 3a is officially the lowest-powered smartphone in its price category. This is not very noticeable in everyday tasks — the operating system is well optimized, and the platform has enough capabilities to adequately cope with basic applications and open them quickly. But there is no need to talk about any speed advantage over competitors, as in the case of older Pixels. Gaming capabilities are severely limited — you can run more or less any game on the Pixel 3a, but you will have to regularly fiddle with graphic settings and endure low frame rates. Yes, this is a «state employee» in the body of a respectable middle class smartphone.

What’s more, the Pixel 3a also has issues with throttling. Overheating is not noticeable to the touch, but the CPU Throttling Test benchmark recorded a decrease in frequency to 63% of the maximum with an average performance of 95 GIPS. These are very weak indicators.

In the Ludashi AI Mark benchmark, which, with a certain (rather large, unfortunately) degree of assumption, allows us to evaluate the capabilities of smartphones in operations related to machine learning, the younger “pixel” showed itself to be average – well, at least it didn’t lose face here.

But this smartphone will not wait for kind words about the hardware stuffing from me. If the lack of power, in principle, can still be tolerated — you just need to accept that this gadget is not for gamers — then the fact that the Pixel 3a is offered exclusively with a 64 GB drive, without the possibility of expansion, does not climb into any gates . Even taking into account the unlimited volume of merged (and compressed, I repeat) photos in Google Drive, this is very small by today’s standards. In six months or a year, you will be scratching your head, choosing which application to delete in order to make room for the next one. At the same time, the RAM here is the same as in the Pixel 3 – 4 GB LPDDR4x.

⇡#Communications and wireless communications

Pixel 3a also moves away from the people another point — a single slot for a nano-SIM operator card. Americanism. At the same time, the smartphone works confidently with LTE (category 11, the theoretical data download speed is 600 Mbps), all the bands necessary for the correct operation of 4G in Russia are available. I did not notice the problems that I had with the Pixel 3 XL, which now and then fell off the networks and unstablely caught the LTE signal.

  Google Pixel 3a: nano-SIM card slot

Google Pixel 3a: nano-SIM card slot

All key wireless modules are in place: dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0 and full-fledged NFC (of course, there is support for Google Pay). The navigation module works with GPS (A-GPS), GLONASS and Galileo. The smartphone performs its duties well in this regard.


Somewhere it has gone, but somewhere it has arrived — if everything is sad with the hardware characteristics of the Pixel 3a, then with the camera it is the other way around. The smartphone received exactly the same module as the Pixel 3/3 XL, and this is great news. If in the flagship segment the “pixel” camera looks just good, but does not outperform its competitors (see our comparative test of flagship smartphone cameras), then in the middle class this is a claim to victory.

Interestingly, it is now August 2019, and the module, in terms of its declared characteristics, does not differ from what we saw in Pixel 2 at the beginning of 2018: a 12.2-megapixel 1/2.6″ sensor with an aperture lens ƒ/1.8 + optical stabilizer + plenoptic system with clusters of two pixels. In this generation, the Dual Pixel system is also used for autofocus — and it does it great. As I already wrote in the Pixel 3 XL review, the main feature of this smartphone’s camera is the combination of the simple “physics” of the “sensor + lens” bundle and a whole range of additional tricks, from continuous shooting even before you press the shutter (a side effect is the ability to shoot «live photos»), to a special Pixel Visual Core processor that works directly with the sensor. The camera in all modern «pixels» works very quickly and gives a powerful result in the first place when software processing is turned on — HDR + or Extended HDR + during the day and in a special night mode in low light.

HDR + technology is, in fact, what the Google Pixel camera is loved for. Multi-frame exposure, combined with smart fusion algorithms, allows you not only to expand the dynamic range, but to add saturation, detail and character to the picture. Sometimes a smartphone, of course, tries too hard (in particular, there are too many errors with white balance) — all modern “smart” modes sin with this, but the picture is still impressive. True, on a 5.6-inch smartphone display, it is much more impressive than on a monitor screen — when viewed on a monitor with a decent diagonal, a lot of flaws are noticeable. But it is in any case a high level. HDR + mode, by the way, is enabled by default — and you just don’t see this gluing, it happens instantly. In the settings, you can bring this option to the screen of the camera application, where it is proposed to both disable it and activate the «advanced mode». In the latter case, the effect becomes even more noticeable, but both shooting and gluing require a little more time.

Another application of essentially the same system is night mode. Here the smartphone necessarily needs a few seconds to take a picture (on average from three to five), and a few more to process the picture. As a result, at night you can get a relatively quiet image with good detail and a decent dynamic range.

Examples of Shooting with Program Zoom

Plenoptics, combined with smart algorithms, is also used for zooming — there is no actual zooming option in the Pixel 3a, but there is a software method that allows you to zoom in five times closer to the subject. Losses in quality in this case will already be catastrophic, but a two-fold zoom, for example, is very good, and even a three-fold zoom is combat-ready under normal lighting conditions.

The portrait mode is amazingly good – yes, the Pixel takes a lot of time to blur the background, after taking a picture, the smartphone processes the picture for another 10 seconds, but the wait is worth it. The smartphone again uses multi-frame exposure and plenoptic effect, as well as software image smoothing. There is also a built-in beautifier, and a very delicate one, unlike those we are used to in Chinese smartphones. When portrait mode is activated, the focal length changes slightly — the gadget turns on its smart software zoom, which minimally affects the picture quality.

As usual, there is no manual control mode for settings, but if desired, uncompressed (RAW) images can be recorded along with JPEG for further processing, and photos taken using HDR + technology can also be saved in this format — this is a unique option. The application is quite convenient, but poor in settings — again, there is an increased attention to Apple’s approach. Unlike the iPhone, however, there is at least some variety of shooting modes here: you can create unusual panoramas in Photo Sphere, try (mostly unsuccessfully) to recognize objects in Google Lens, have fun with animated characters in the built-in AR app Playground, make collages.

Google Pixel 3a is a clear contender for the title of the best smartphone in its class in terms of image quality, despite the abundance of very powerful competitors (Honor 20 Pro, OnePlus 7 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 9, the same iPhone XR). This is logical — after all, in fact, this is the flagship level, which was moved down several ranks without changes. The device lacks variability with focal lengths — after all, releasing a serious smartphone today without a wide-angle camera is no longer comme il faut. But otherwise it is very good, it is an elite level of a mobile camera.

The Google Pixel 3a can shoot 4K video at 30fps and Full HD video at a maximum of 60fps. When shooting at up to 30 fps, very high-quality digital stabilization is available. You can shoot in four or eight times slow motion at 1080p or 720p respectively.

The selfie camera in the Google Pixel 3a is already installed in a simpler way than in the Pixel 3/3XL: instead of a double module, there is a single one, 8 megapixels, with ƒ/2.0 optics. There is no autofocus and flash, the focal length is the only one, but there is the possibility of software blurring of the background, and very high-quality blurring, at the level of the rear camera.

⇡#Offline work

The Google Pixel 3a has an 11.4Wh (3000mAh, 3.8V) battery. For a smartphone with a 5.6-inch display, it is normal, but the smartphone lands the battery faster than one would expect. With an ordinary load, it creaks enough for a day, and at maximum — do not expect the gadget to last more than 7-8 hours. Stock up on external batteries.

Even in our traditional HD video playback test at maximum brightness with wireless enabled, which gives an advantage to smartphones with OLED displays, the Google Pixel 3a only lasted 9 hours. This is a weak indicator.

The smartphone supports fast charging when using the included 18-watt adapter – the battery is fully charged in just over an hour and a half.


Perhaps the return of the Nexus still did not work out — the performance gap between the Pixel 3a and its direct competitors is too big to happily recommend the smartphone to everyone. But this entry into the conditional budget area still seems more confident and competent than Apple’s with its iPhone XR — and the price is lower, the talk about affordability does not look funny, and the areas for compromise here are still less significant. The «younger pixel» retained the main advantage of the «older» one — a very progressive and smart camera that feels confident in the dark and is capable of producing almost the best portraits in a mobile photo class.

Other advantages of the Pixel 3a include a high-quality and well-tuned OLED display, pure Android with top-of-the-line updates, and a very pleasant compactness. In fact, even a weak hardware platform is not so embarrassing, but here is the only option with 64 GB of internal memory without the possibility of expansion … This looks to a certain extent a mockery, to be honest, which prevents us from confidently recommending this smartphone. And if not for this very shortcoming, we would definitely recommend it — even taking into account its official unavailability in Russia and the overpriced price associated with it.


  • «clean» Android 9.0 Pie with the latest updates;
  • finely tuned OLED display;
  • compactness;
  • excellent quality of shooting on the main camera;
  • non-slip body.


  • poor performance;
  • little built-in memory + no microSD card slot;
  • one SIM card;
  • mediocre autonomy;
  • there are no official sales in Russia.

For the smartphone provided for the test Google Pixel 3a thank store Biggeek.


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