Overview & Price
In this Google Pixel 3a review we go over everything you need to know about the phone, as well as showcasing the best Google Pixel 3a contract deals here in the UK.
The Google Pixel 3a release date was back on May 8th of the 2019, and since then it has been a key player in the mid-range market.
The Pixel 3a is the king of budget camera phones, so if its camera quality you want, then this could be the one for you.
The Google Pixel 3a is currently priced at £399 here in the UK, making it an affordable handset that has lots on offer.
Check out the cheapest Google Pixel 3a contract deals here..
Here are some of the Google Pixel 3a specs;
• 4GB RAM
• 3000mAh battery
• 5.6-inch OLED display
• Snapdragon 670 chip
• 64GB internal storage
As you can see this phone covers a lot of bases, although for this cheap price, Google has had to make some compromises.
Lets take a closer look at what this phone has to offer..
Design & Display
The first thing we noticed when looking at the Google Pixel 3a, is that it looks incredibly similar to the more expensive Google Pixel 3.
It has the same two tone design where as the bottom is a matte finish and the top is more reflective, as well as having the same rounded edges.
The Pixel 3a comes in three different colours, White, Black or Purple as opposed to the Pink variant you find on the Pixel 3.
We were lucky enough to get our hands on the Black colour to carry out this Google Pixel 3a review, and we have to say it looks great.
The Google Pixel 3a weighs in at 147g, which is almost exactly the same as the more expensive Google Pixel 3.
This weight gives it a premium feel, and ensures it feels good to hold in one hand.
The Pixel 3a has almost exactly the same button placement too, with the power button and volume rocker along the right hand side and the USB-C port at the bottom, alongside the speaker.
As well as this the Pixel 3a has a welcomed 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning you wont need to purchase wireless headphones with your phone to listen to music.
Flip the phone over and you see the single rear camera, alongside the flash.
Then slightly underneath this is the fingerprint sensor, which is surprisingly fast and works well to store passwords.
One thing we should note with the phone is that it doesn’t have an IP rating, which mean you will need to be careful when using this device around water as if you drop the phone in water, it will surely damage.
The Pixel 3a dimensions are 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm, meaning this phone is perfect for those who prefer a smaller phone or have small hands.
Other than this the Google Pixel 3a is almost identical to the Google Pixel 3, apart from one other area, the display.
The Google Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inches Full HD+ OLED display with a resolution of 2220 x 1080, which is average for a mid-range device.
Don’t get me wrong this display is impressive, with 441ppi, however it is certainly not the same as a Google Pixel 3.
One thing we noticed is that brightness levels do lack when compared to the more expensive pixel 3, as in direct sunlight you may struggle to see the display, even when on the highest brightness setting.
We also noticed that the Google Pixel 3a does start to look a little strange when looking at the phone on an angle.
With the colour going a lot cooler and even green at some points. The Pixel 3a display is simply decent, its not going to win any gold medals or blow you away when binge watching Netflix.
Although when you take into account the price of this phone, it really doesn’t seem that bad.
As a whole the display is fine for the average user, but if you are someone who really loves a great display to watch HD movies or do movie editing on.
Then you may want to opt for a phone with a better display, as the pixel 3a does lack a little in this department when compared to its competition.
The Google Pixel 3a specs are impressive, but one thing we immediately noticed when comparing the phone to the Pixel 3, is that it has downgraded its speaker setup.
The Pixel 3a still has the front firing speaker at the top of the device, however it has lost the secondary speaker that is at the bottom of the normal pixel 3, which does make the phone a little quieter when listening to music without headphones.
There is still a bottom-firing speaker next to the USB-C charging port at the base of the phone, but regardless we found it considerably softer than the one on the Pixel 3.
So the Google Pixel 3a runs from the mid-range Snapdragon 670 chipset, which is used in a couple of OPPO devices.
Now we weren’t expecting a lightning fast processor when we seen the price of the Pixel 3a, so it was a surprise to see how smooth the phone really is.
Backed with 4GB of RAM the Pixel 3a performs just fine, its not going to blow you away with lightning fast response times but it is certainly fast enough for the average user.
We did test the phone on a couple of our favourite games and found it struggles on the likes of PUBG when in high graphic settings, but when bringing these settings down the phone handles the game just fine.
Most games from the app store run perfectly fine without any lag or fps drops.
The Pixel 3a comes with 64GB of internal storage, which is fine for most of us but if you are someone who stores a lot of music and videos on your phone then you may want to opt for something with bigger storage.
We were surprised to find that this phone doesn’t have a microSD slot ether, meaning there is no way to up the storage on this device unlike some of the competition.
When it comes to software the Google Pixel 3a runs from Android 9.0, which is essentially a super clean UI with no crazy overlays.
This ensures that the phone is easy to use; with apps tucked away neatly in the app drawer and settings like gesture navigation and adaptive battery are present too.
The Google Pixel 3a software has some pretty cool features, with ‘Call Screen’ to help you deal with unidentified callers. Alongside ‘Active Edge‘ which allows you to squeeze your phone to activate the Google Assistant.
This works well but we did find you need to squeeze it harder than on the Google Pixel 3, but this isn’t always a bad thing as you don’t have the Google Assistant popping up every time you gently squeeze your phone by accident.
The Pixel 3a even comes with three years of guaranteed software updates and monthly patches, this ensures your phone is as up to date as possible, and secure as possible.
As a whole when it comes to the Google Pixel 3a specs, we were delighted to find that the phone runs smoothly when gaming and using the device intensely.
That being said the phone won’t win any medals for being lightning fast like you might find with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus or OnePlus 7 Pro.
For the most part this device is more than fine for the average user, and will breeze through the UI effortlessly without lag or stutters.
Now on to the main event, the Google Pixel 3a camera, this is the meat of the phone with the most hype surrounding it.
We have to say we were delighted when first using the Pixel 3a as its camera is simply amazing. Google deserves serious credit for bringing all of its camera components from the Google Pixel 3, over to the Pixel 3a.
The Pixel 3a comes with a 12.2-megapixel lens with an f/1.8 aperture that is capable of producing some stunning images.
Photos from the Google Pixel 3a come out extremely detailed and have tons of dynamic range.
When taking photos with this phone you really do forget how much the phone is, its images are flagship level.
Colours look fantastic and are super accurate especially when in low light.
So how does the Pixel 3a camera perform in low light?
Well it has a neat feature called ‘Night Sight’ which adjusts the camera settings to draw in as much natural light as possible to enhance your shot, and it does a fantastic job too.
Images in the dark, even pitch black come out more than visible with an impressive amount of detail for an image shot in the dark.
This is great for those that take photos in the club, or simply out under the stars as the Pixel 3a enhances low light images dramatically.
Another area of the camera we love is the ‘Portrait Mode’; this is great for shooting up close and personal shots ready for Instagram, as it has Bokeh to enhance the detail of the subject.
Bokeh essentially blurs out the background to give the subject as much detail as possible, so images come out social media ready with little to no effort.
‘Top Shot’ is a feature that ensures you get a group photo with everyone’s eyes open, as it takes a couple of images before hand too and lets you pick which image is best suited for the gram.
The only real difference between the Google Pixel 3 camera and the camera found in the 3a is that the 3a lacks the Pixel Visual Core image-processing chip, and uses its Snapdragon 670 chip instead.
In use we found this made absolutely no difference on image quality, however images do take slightly longer to process when you snap the photo.
We borrowed a friends Nokia 7.1 to compare images between as these phones are roughly the same price, and the results were drastic to say the least.
The images produced from the Nokia 7.1 simply were a million miles away from the ones produces on the Pixel 3a, the quality and dynamic range here were extremely apparent.
It really puts into perspective how good the Pixel 3a camera is when comparing it to a device in the same price bracket.
Around the front of the phone there is a single selfie camera that is 8mega-pixel with an f/2.0 aperture, it is somewhat ultra-wide but we wouldn’t give it that title confidently.
The selfie cam does raise some issues when trying to take group photos, as you don’t get the luxury of being able to get all of your friends in without bunching everybody up.
As well as this the Pixel 3a camera can’t autofocus, meaning you will need to be careful how you position your face to the camera in those instances as you may come out looking like Shrek a couple of times.
For the most part the camera does well to produce great selfies, especially when in good lighting.
The Pixel 3a can record in 2160@30fps (4K) or 1080@30fps by default, video is generally strong with good quality.
Video footage in low light does struggle a lot more, and HDR+ can only do so much for the camera but unfortunately it doesn’t translate over onto the video side of the Google Pixel 3a.
For the average user we found the video footage to be fine for most people, we were happy with it but when compared to the likes of the Huawei P30 it does struggle.
Taking into account the price of this phone and some of the deals that are available now for the Google Pixel 3a, we really do think this is one of the best value for money phones you can buy if you’re someone who demands a strong camera.
The Google Pixel 3a comes with a 3000mAh battery, which is more than capable of getting you through a full day of use.
The battery here is actually slightly bigger than the 2915mAh you will find in the more expensive Pixel 3.
The phone lasts so long because the device only has 1080p display, it doesn’t use all of its juice on keeping the display going or helping the internals keep things going.
This means that you can expect so much longer out of the Pixel 3a battery because it doesn’t have components that require it to work super hard.
We found that 5-7 hours is the average screen on time for this device, which is refreshing, as at this price bracket we have seen much worse.
Unfortunately the Pixel 3a doesn’t have wireless charging, which to be honest is expected for a phone in this range.
Thankfully the device does charge quickly though and you can expect to go from 0-100% in around 1.15 hours.
As a whole the Google Pixel 3a battery is impressive, and it is definitely one of the main selling points of this phone alongside its fantastic camera.
You may also be interested in our Google Pixel Stand review, as it can be a great accessory for you Google Pixel 3a.
So should you buy the Google Pixel 3a?
Well if you are a fan of the Google Pixel 3 design and its camera capabilities, but don’t want to fork out for such an expensive device, then yes!
The Google Pixel 3a design is extremely similar to the Pixel 3, almost identical. As well as this the camera on the 3a is amazing, and it blows away any of the competition in the same price bracket.
We love how detailed the low light shots come out and the dynamic range is excellent. Battery life is also superb on the Google Pixel 3a; you can expect the phone to keep you going for over a full day easily, even with intense use.
This is amazing as it even has a bigger battery than its big brother the Pixel 3.
When it comes to performance the Google Pixel 3a does lack a little, with only 4GB of RAM we would have liked to see a little more.
64GB of internal storage is also a little naff too, but because of this mid-range power it enhances the battery endurance and ensures the phone keeps you going for longer.
We hope you have enjoyed our Google Pixel 3a review, feel free to comment and give us some feedback as it helps us enhance our content.
You can check out the best Google Pixel 3a contract deals at the top of the post too, we ensure you get the best deal possible by refreshing them every single day.