The Google Pixel 3a trades off some of the premium features of the Pixel 3, but these scale-downs are not noticeable in day-to-day usage, says Khalid Anzar.
I used the Nexus 4 smartphone, a product of LG and Google, six years ago.
Its stock Android operating system, capable hardware, refreshing design and a lower price tag left a lasting impression.
The Nexus line was replaced by Google’s flagship Pixel series in 2016, which had top-of-the-line hardware and software but came with a premium price tag.
The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL (‘a’ for affordable) are its younger cousins that promise to bring back the same, spectacular Nexus experience.
Put the Pixel 3a next to the flagship Pixel 3 and it will not be easy to tell one from the other.
Though a tad bigger, the 3a’s 5.6-inch OLED screen has a similar 18:9 aspect ratio with thick bezels on the top and bottom.
Due to its conventional screen type, the phone looks a generation old.
But people with small hands will like its compact design.
At the back, the phone has a glossy top and a matte film covering the rest of its plastic body.
The film protects the body from fingerprints but is susceptible to scratches.
The phone boasts a 12-megapixel primary camera sensor, which is taken directly from the Pixel 3.
From portrait shots with enhanced blur effect to shots in low light, the camera is top quality.
The 8MP selfie camera is decent, too.
But, because of the absence of a secondary lens, unlike in the Pixel 3, the field of view in the 3a works only for self-portraits and not for group pictures.
The phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC, mated to 4GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage.
Its light, stock Android Pie operating system runs without hiccups.
Opening apps and switching windows is a breeze.
The phone also handles graphic-intensive games like any other premium smartphone.
The processor’s limitations, however, come to notice when you click a picture and move to the gallery to see it.
It seems like the 3a lacks the dedicated image processing unit of the premium Pixel 3 and images take some time to process.
The phone, at times, slows down abruptly and apps are force-closed to free up processing power.
The 3,000 mAh battery with 18W fast-charging delivers a decent on-battery time of around 14 hours and a screen-on time of six to seven hours.
Not everyone likes a big phone and the Google Pixel 3a is the only premium smartphone with a compact design.
To keep the price low (Rs 39,990), a few premium features of the Pixel 3 — such as IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, a more powerful processor, glass body and wireless charging — have been done away with.
But these trade-offs don’t affect its day-to-day performance, making the Google Pixel 3a a compelling choice in its price segment.
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