17 votes

Google Pixel 3a: high-end features at a more affordable price ($399 USD, $479 for XL)

20 comments

  1. [7]
    9000 (edited ) Link
    For those that are curious, you can compare the Pixel 3a with the 2 and 3 here. Interestingly, you get a headphone jack with the 3a. Main differences appear to be: No waterproofing Lower end CPU...

    For those that are curious, you can compare the Pixel 3a with the 2 and 3 here. Interestingly, you get a headphone jack with the 3a.

    Main differences appear to be:

    • No waterproofing
    • Lower end CPU
    • Less max storage
    • No wireless charging
    • Yes headphone jack
    11 votes
    1. Grand0rbiter Link Parent
      Having a headphone jack is better than any downside. I still can't understand this trend. I will not buy a jackless phone.

      Having a headphone jack is better than any downside. I still can't understand this trend. I will not buy a jackless phone.

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      smoontjes Link Parent
      Thanks for writing this out! I don't know anyone that cares about these two. I feel like they're features for no reason other than for the sake of innovation - so the companies can say they made...

      Thanks for writing this out!

      No waterproofing

      No wireless charging

      I don't know anyone that cares about these two. I feel like they're features for no reason other than for the sake of innovation - so the companies can say they made something new. As for the other three points, the headphone jack is a major plus. Less storage and worse CPU is not an issue personally, so this very much looks like my next phone..!

      3 votes
      1. weystrom Link Parent
        Waterproofing is neat though, you can take pictures underwater.

        Waterproofing is neat though, you can take pictures underwater.

        1 vote
    3. [3]
      lepigpen Link Parent
      I love a 3.5 as much as the next guy, but value wise there is no reason to get this phone instead of the Pixel 2's that go for under 400 everywhere I look. That said I currently use an LG V20 with...

      I love a 3.5 as much as the next guy, but value wise there is no reason to get this phone instead of the Pixel 2's that go for under 400 everywhere I look. That said I currently use an LG V20 with headphone jack, but I would trade it for a Pixel 2 XL with a dongle in an instant. Wouldn't touch a Pixel 3A. Plastic body with no removable battery?? Sealed battery but not waterproof? What's the point...

      1. [2]
        apoctr Link Parent
        I don't know if you're including it under 'value' or not, but I'd assume as this is a newer phone it will get OS (and after that security) updates for longer than the Pixel 2. So not a reason to...

        I love a 3.5 as much as the next guy, but value wise there is no reason to get this phone instead of the Pixel 2's that go for under 400 everywhere I look.

        I don't know if you're including it under 'value' or not, but I'd assume as this is a newer phone it will get OS (and after that security) updates for longer than the Pixel 2. So not a reason to switch perhaps, but a reason to get the 3a over the 2 if you're already looking for a new phone.

        3 votes
        1. lepigpen Link Parent
          As someone who has used a Samsung Note 4 recently and is currently using an LG V20. Software updates are pretty overrated as far as selling points go. And even then, Android still isn't amazing at...

          As someone who has used a Samsung Note 4 recently and is currently using an LG V20. Software updates are pretty overrated as far as selling points go.

          And even then, Android still isn't amazing at software updates like Apple is anyway. People who are concerned about software viability should probably be in Apple's closed garden anyway.

          I can take a Pixel or various other Android devices and install custom OS into them via rooting. The big concern is hardware and value per dollar.

  2. [9]
    Nmg Link
    Just curious, does anyone use, and pay for the high end features? I feel like, for me, what a phone needs to be plateaued years ago. Out of necessity, I bought a new phone recently: a Moto G6,...

    Just curious, does anyone use, and pay for the high end features?

    I feel like, for me, what a phone needs to be plateaued years ago.

    Out of necessity, I bought a new phone recently: a Moto G6, open box from Best buy, ~180 bucks.

    While I am enjoying the fingerprint sensor to unlock my banking apps, there is nothing else this phone can do for me that couldn't be done with phones 4 years ago.

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      Deimos Link Parent
      A lot of people care quite a bit about the camera quality. The "Night Sight" feature that the new Pixels have is pretty amazing too, though I think there's a way to activate it on other phones.

      A lot of people care quite a bit about the camera quality. The "Night Sight" feature that the new Pixels have is pretty amazing too, though I think there's a way to activate it on other phones.

      8 votes
      1. rkcr Link Parent
        Camera is definitely the real dilemma. My wife's phone was on the fritz recently, and the problem was that she doesn't want any of the high end features except a decent camera. And the only way to...

        Camera is definitely the real dilemma. My wife's phone was on the fritz recently, and the problem was that she doesn't want any of the high end features except a decent camera. And the only way to get a decent camera is to spend lots of money.

        I'm so glad a device like the 3a is coming out. Let's put all the money into the camera!

        7 votes
      2. mat Link Parent
        Camera quality is probably my third biggest consideration when buying a phone. Only price and size (both should be small) matter more. When the 3a is a bit cheaper it might be my next phone,...

        Camera quality is probably my third biggest consideration when buying a phone. Only price and size (both should be small) matter more. When the 3a is a bit cheaper it might be my next phone, especially after my Samsung A3, which started out bloatware free, has sneakily installed a fuckload of Samsung apps I neither want nor can uninstall.

        There's often APKs kicking around for Google's Camera app but they can be a bit flaky and/or tricky to install depending on your hardware or android version.

        6 votes
    2. [3]
      edenist Link Parent
      To me it appears that high-end phones [and their associated high-end features] are mere fashion accessories. I'm a developer by trade and a very tech-heavy user in my daily life. I have a nexus 6...

      To me it appears that high-end phones [and their associated high-end features] are mere fashion accessories. I'm a developer by trade and a very tech-heavy user in my daily life. I have a nexus 6 which I have had since 2015, currently on it's third screen and second battery.

      I have Lineage OS 16 [android 9] with regular updates, and it handles everything I throw at it without problem. Why spend money and contribute to e-waste when I can keep this one going just fine? The way in which phones are treated as disposable is horrifying, not only from the e-waste perspective but also in the way in which people take for granted the technology in their pocket. They just jump to the next one every two years when their carrier renews their contract.

      The camera is important to me, as this device is used regularly for picture/video taking duties. But I've never felt the N6 to be lacking for my needs, though I am aware there is a lot of cool features on newer devices, particularly with low-light environments. Still not worth my money though.

      Granted, the N6 was a high-end device at launch, so it has allowed it to last a bit longer. But in all truthfulness, my Nexus 4 that I keep as a backup/test device still handles perfectly fine for almost everything. The only problem it has is a completely awful camera.

      The other feature all of the carriers seem to harp on is bandwidth... 3G then 4G [marketing term], then real 4G [LTE], then 4G+, now everyone's flogging the future of 5G. Granted, yes eventually you will need to upgrade as both our usage of bandwidth does increase and carriers do decomission old bands, it's still nothing to worry about for most users with a device < 6 years old at least. I live in a well-serviced area and have benchmarked 100mbit up/down on my phone. There's zero use-case for my phone which requires that much bandwidth... especially as data caps are a thing here [I can blow through a months worth of data in about 45 minutes]. Frankly, the 3G capabilities of my Nexus 4 still outpace any actual usage requirements [20-40mbit up/down]. The main reason for the carriers wanting to get users on to the next-great-thing is because they can cram more users into the same amount of spectrum, and while this is a consideration for the end user to some extent, it isn't worth purchasing a new device over. Ironically, when I'm in areas with a very dense concentration of people [public events etc], I find manually switching my phone back to 3G improved bandwidth considerably, as it's much less congested than the 4G band.

      Hmmm... ok this turned into a bit of a rant. ;-)

      So to answer your question, I suspect while many people pay for the high end features, they don't actually use them in any sort of necessary manner. And I personally do not participate at all where possible.

      5 votes
      1. smoontjes Link Parent
        This is the comment I could have written if I knew what I was actually talking about. All of what you're saying (the parts I understand anyway) also apply to my Nexus 5 from 2013. Still works...

        This is the comment I could have written if I knew what I was actually talking about. All of what you're saying (the parts I understand anyway) also apply to my Nexus 5 from 2013. Still works perfectly fine, albeit rather slow at times and occasionally new large apps crash. But I can only echo the statement that the newest flagships are like fashion accessories - so true.

        3 votes
      2. Shahriar Link Parent
        Definitely agree, on the same page with my Xperia Z3. Only reason I'm looking to upgrade is due to the camera!

        Definitely agree, on the same page with my Xperia Z3. Only reason I'm looking to upgrade is due to the camera!

        2 votes
    3. Heichou Link Parent
      I bought a midrange Xperia a few months ago and it's been pretty great. I really only need battery life and storage space/Micro SD storage on a phone. I don't take pictures very often at all, and...

      I bought a midrange Xperia a few months ago and it's been pretty great. I really only need battery life and storage space/Micro SD storage on a phone. I don't take pictures very often at all, and I don't play super intensive games. But those things that I don't care for (CPU/GPU, Camera) are what's being improved and put into newer phones constantly, driving the price up. I don't need much, but I can't just pic and choose what I'd like. It's why I'll likely always go for midrange phones, and the Pixel 3a seems really neat

      1 vote
    4. babypuncher Link Parent
      I like the fact that high end phones are water resistant. Camera and speaker quality are also big deals for me.

      I like the fact that high end phones are water resistant. Camera and speaker quality are also big deals for me.

      1 vote
  3. anowlcalledjosh Link
    Oh for goodness' sake, the prices in GBP in the UK are essentially just 1:1 with the USD prices. That makes the 3a significantly less appealing to me, since a Pixel 2 (which is in several ways...

    Oh for goodness' sake, the prices in GBP in the UK are essentially just 1:1 with the USD prices. That makes the 3a significantly less appealing to me, since a Pixel 2 (which is in several ways superior) can be found for less than £300.

    6 votes
  4. [3]
    krg Link
    I'll probably pick one up at Best Buy today. Comes with a $100 gift-card, effectively making the phone $299.

    I'll probably pick one up at Best Buy today. Comes with a $100 gift-card, effectively making the phone $299.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      Deimos Link Parent
      Oh nice, looks like there are a few deals like that, with $100 gift cards available from the Google Store, Best Buy, or B&H Photo. In Canada, the Google store is offering $150 credit with one as well.

      Oh nice, looks like there are a few deals like that, with $100 gift cards available from the Google Store, Best Buy, or B&H Photo.

      In Canada, the Google store is offering $150 credit with one as well.

      3 votes
      1. Shahriar Link Parent
        If only Canada received a $100 gift card at Best Buy like the US counterpart. There's nothing much to buy from the Google Store if you don't want their IoT home devices.

        If only Canada received a $100 gift card at Best Buy like the US counterpart. There's nothing much to buy from the Google Store if you don't want their IoT home devices.

        3 votes