Google has introduced the cheapest Pixel smartphones till date; Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, to make its mark in the entry premium segment of smartphones. In its third year, Google is now trying to widen its Pixel family so that it can take on OnePlus in that particular segment. Those who have already used the Pixel smartphones know that the camera quality stands out in the rest of the world. Having said, in India, Google Pixel will also have to battle it out against Asus, Huawei, Samsung and Xiaomi as well to make its mark in the entry premium segment. There are some unique characteristics of Pixel smartphones which make them stand out among the rest such as their brilliant camera and stock Android performance. We have got the Google Pixel 3a for review in White Colour (Clearly White) in 4GB RAM size. Let’s find out how it performs on our parameters.
The Google Pixel 3a which we have got comes in Clearly White colour option. One very remarkable drawback it has is that the back of Pixel 3a is made of polycarbonate material, which is for me a turn off at the moment when whole of OEMs have shifted to glass panel. The back panel is in white colour having single rear camera, a flash, fingerprint scanner and the logo of Google. There’s no gloss, no attractiveness at all and when you look at the present smartphone market in India it’s filled with glossy and attractive design pattern. The screen size is of 5.6 inches at the front having selfie camera and the earpiece as well. The bottom of Google Pixel 3a holds the Type-C port and speaker grille. The left panel houses the SIM tray while the right holds the volume keys and the power button which also acts as dedicated Google Assistant trigger too. Remarkably, the Google Pixel 3a sports the 3.5mm jack on top of it. The fingerprint scanner works fast with a very few failure rate. It opens the screen in just 0.2 seconds. Because of the plastic back cover, Google Pixel 3a weighs 146 grams. The front of Pixel 3a is made of glass, so do not confuse. Overall, the Google Pixel 3a is a dud in design with no shine, gloss or any differentiating factor. It looks like a budget segment smartphone that costs around Rs 5 to 7,000. The smartphone supports single SIM only with no expandable or dedicated card slot. The plastic body appearance makes it an unwanted smartphone at the price bracket in which its operating.
Google Pixel 3a has a 5.6 inches FHD+ OLED screen having impressive resolution of 1080×2240 pixels, 18.5:9 aspect ratio and 441 ppi. The display can produce 16Million colours having 100000:1 Super Contrast Ratio. The black level is perfect that helps in enhancing the viewing. The display is conventional without having any notch, waterdrop, dewdrop, etc. display. Google should also have experimented with its monotonous screen design but, it missed out here as well. A 5.6 inch screen is good for videos and online content consumption but somehow cannot provide that cinematic kind of experience which we have seen in infinity display smartphones. Because of the screen size Google Pixel 3a is compact in size which can be easily held in one hand and can be operated using a single hand as well. The screen remains equally bright, vivid and punchy under sun as it remains under shade. To summarize, the Google Pixel 3a display is compact in size, ambient in different lights and enjoyable to watch.
The cheapest Pixel available till date runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 10nm chipset having eight or octa-core formation. The GPU is Adreno 615 for the gaming support. The Google Pixel 3a processor is not new in town and somewhere it fits into mid-segment smartphones and not into a smartphone priced at around 40K. The processing is smooth without any qualms to say the least but, that’s mainly due to the pure stock Android OS it’s been using. The smartphone does not come pre-loaded with any third party apps like calculator or calendar and you have to depend upon Google for your day to day needs. The Pixel 3a comes in only one RAM and ROM option, i.e, 4GB and 64GB, which is very disappointing for me; neither it has an expandable or dedicated card slot for memory expansion. In a world full of pictures, social media and varied customers Google has missed out providing with a flexible RAM and ROM option whereas the competitors have much to play for. The Google Pixel 3a has Android Pie 9.0 in the pure format which makes the user interface smooth and interactive. The gestures work smoothly which can be only felt once you use the smartphone. Overall, the Google Pixel 3a runs fluently despite having a mid-range processor and you will rarely have any complaints regarding the performance of the device. The day to day tasks are at ease while gaming too isn’t a problem either. But, while using the portrait mode it does take some time to process the image.
The best they have maintained from beginning till date is the camera performances; be it the selfie or the rear lens. Over the years, the camera qualities of Pixel smartphones have remained intact, being awesome and constant. For the record, Google Pixel 3a sports a 12.2MP dual pixel sensor having f/1.8 aperture. The rear lens supports auto-focus with dual-pixel phase detection, optical and electronic image stabilization that comes quite handy in daily use while being in motion. I have been using it since quite some time and believe me, it never fails to amaze. The Portrait mode will always remain my favourite on any Pixel smartphone, period. There’s no smartphone camera on earth which can produce such brilliant edge detection and creating an absolute bokeh to the background. The images are true to life without a doubt. The low light remains equally mature for your likings while using the rear lens. Similarly, the selfie lens is of 8MP with f/2.0 shows equally good results under various circumstances. The Portrait mode creates wonder in selfie mode too. Both the front and rear lenses support Night Sight for low light photography. The rear lens does support 4K video recording at 30 fps. Overall, the cameras of Pixel 3a take it to a different level among its competition. There’s no smartphone camera available which can beat Google Pixel 3a in photography. You would really enjoy using it and never gets bored of it. There are other modes available too such as slow motion, HDR, panorama, etc. Google Pixel 3a is no less than its predecessor in camera department and has maintained the legacy it has earned over the years of being a camera or portrait smartphone.
Google Pixel 3a houses a 3,000mAh battery with a Type-C adaptor and an 18W fast charger. The battery maybe less on paper but, it goes on for a day of moderate usage, do not count the binge watching and non-stop gaming. In a single charge, the 3,000mAh battery sustains all the daily tasks with ease without draining fast. The charger does support fast charging and it takes around 50 minutes to refill the battery. Surprisingly, the battery does not generate heat while charging despite of hot summer days around.
To sum it all, Google Pixel 3a is a decent effort by the ‘czar’ to start its new inning in the ‘entry premium’ segment, as the Google loves to call it. But, if you start comparing it with the present offerings, it fails miserably. The design is not upto the mark of being an entry premium smartphone, the processor is mid-ranged and above all it only comes in only 4GB/64GB variant without any dedicated slot. The far best part of Google Pixel 3a is its cameras. There’s no smartphone in town that can match the camera capabilities of Pixel 3a. The Portrait shots are worth dying for. The Night Sight comes handy in low light pretty well. The battery drains less and can last for a day, easily. Available at Rs 39,999, Google Pixel 3a does not match the price with the kind of specifications it has unless you’re buying it only for camera, brilliant portrait and pure stock Android performance. Google actually needs to think more on the pricing if it’s trying to create a disruption in the smartphone market with this new ‘entry premium ’smartphone.