In a world where high-end smartphones easily cost $1,000, it seems like there’s no way to get a decent phone for a budget price. Google is trying to break the mold. The newest Google Pixel 3a promises a high-end feel for a budget price. I spent a week with the 3a to see if it could live up that promise.
First, let’s set the stage. I use a Samsung Galaxy S9 for my daily smartphone. It’s last year’s model but it cost $720 when it was first released and was Samsung’s top of the line phone in March of 2018. I decided to swap out my S9 for the Pixel 3a to see if it could be replaced by a phone that costs $320 less.
The first thing I noticed about the Google Pixel 3a is high nice it feels when you hold it. It’s very similar to the high-end Pixel 3a but Google used polycarbonate on the back instead of glass. This may feel cheap to some but it didn’t bother me. In fact I like the feel and look of it and it makes the phone feel sleek and light.
On the inside the phone runs on a Snapdragon 670 instead of the much faster Snapdragon 845 that powers the Pixel 3 and the Galaxy S9. Surprisingly, I didn’t notice a huge slowdown in my daily use. Granted, I’m not a huge mobile gamer but using Chrome, Amazon and other typical apps, the 3a was smooth.
It’s All About The Camera
It’s safe the so that the most important feature for most smartphone users is the camera. Google made a smart move with the 3a and packed in the same amazing camera they use in the Pixel 3. Honestly, it’s one of the best, if not THE best camera you’ll find a smartphone. Google’s AI software makes it even better, providing some of the best low-light photos I’ve ever seen. If you want a phone for pictures, the 3a does an awesome job, just like it’s big brother the Pixel 3.
When you chop the price of a phone in half, there are definitely going to be some trade-offs. I talked about the slower processor and the less expensive material on the back. The 3a doesn’t have a water resistant rating although it likely can hold up to a splash. Wireless charging is packed into the Pixel 3 but NOT a feature on the 3a. Some people may like the addition of a headphone jack on the 3a where Google chose not to include that jack on the 3.
I love the Google Pixel 3. I couldn’t believe how much I loved the 3a too. For $400 less you get a phone that, despite the trade-offs, is almost as good as it’s big brother. Switching from the Samsung Galaxy S9 for a week proved to be an almost painless process. The only feature I found myself wishing the 3a had is wireless charging. For $400 in savings, I could live without wireless charging. The 3a is easily the best budget smartphone in 2019. The camera is as amazing as the 3a and most users will feel like they’re using an $800 smartphone.