Pixel 3a and 3a XL: Do the missing features justify the savings?


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The newly-announced midrange Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL reduce a number of corners to succeed in a pretty price ticket. TechRepublic explores how this impacts enterprise customers.

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The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are extremely succesful “midrange flagships” from Google, aimed squarely on the market Google vacated in 2016 with the discontinuation of the Nexus 5X and 6P. At $399 for the Pixel 3a, and $479 for the Pixel 3a XL, the duo present largely the identical Pixel expertise because the comparatively dearer Pixel three and three XL.

Nonetheless, there are some key variations and minor compromises made to succeed in that worth level. TechRepublic types out the variations that will help you in your smartphone buying and mass deployment plans.

How do the Pixel 3a and 3a XL evaluate to the Pixel three & XL?

The midrange Pixel 3a and 3a XL are largely the identical cellphone by way of expertise. The 4 Pixel three fashions available on the market share the identical highly-regarded rear digicam, which Google is closely touting in ads as outperforming that discovered within the $999 iPhone XS. The cheaper Pixel 3a and 3a XL lack the “Pixel Visible Core,” a co-processor first seen on the Pixel 2 that assists within the post-processing of pictures, pushing this job onto the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, which is modestly slower than the Snapdragon 840 discovered within the premium Pixel three. The front-facing wide-angle “selfie digicam” is lacking on the cheaper Pixels, although the usual front-facing digicam stays.

SEE: Wi-Fi 6: An insider’s information (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Different minor adjustments embody the dearth of wi-fi charging, using AGC Dragontail X Glass to guard the show slightly than Corning Gorilla Glass, a polycarbonate again, and one front- firing and bottom-firing speaker, slightly than twin front-firing audio system. The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are solely obtainable in a 64 GB mannequin, with no microSD slot, whereas the Pixel three and three XL have a 128 GB mannequin (however nonetheless no microSD slot.) Google Photographs backups assist solely “Excessive High quality” however not “Unique High quality” with out additional storage charges.

The budget-friendly Pixel 3a & XL have some constructive adjustments, with the return of the three.5mm headphone jack, and the Pixel 3a XL is just a bigger model of the Pixel 3a—eschewing the extremely criticized notch from the Pixel three XL. Each launch with Android 9 Pie, and can obtain the identical software program assist—the Pixel 3a and 3a XL will obtain the Android Q Beta subsequent month, and each would be the first to obtain Android Q (10) upon the beginning of normal availability.

How do the Pixel 3a & XL evaluate to different midrange smartphones?

To place it succinctly, they evaluate extraordinarily favorably.

Typical midrange Android smartphones typically make tough compromises to succeed in a specific worth level. HMD World (Nokia), maker of common Android smartphones, was compelled to seek out new manufacturing companions after complaints about poor margins from FIH Cellular. The Nokia 7.1 is a commendable try at a $350 cellphone, however the last-generation Snapdragon 636 struggles even with low-bloat Android One builds, and reviewers have complained of display screen backlighting being uneven.

Due to Google’s proprietary image post-processing, no midrange Android cellphone—even with the identical sensor—will be capable to match the Pixel 3a & XL.

Software program assist can be considerably shaky amongst Android OEMs. Regardless of initiatives to make it simpler on smartphone producers to construct new OS photographs, the power to virtually achieve this continues to be uneven, with many OEMs offering solely quarterly safety updates, and fewer main model updates than Google.

Which is correct for me?

If you’re buying a smartphone for your self, take into account in case you have the funds to spend just a little extra on a premium smartphone. For a tool you may use for a pair hours per day, minor inconveniences can add up shortly. If wi-fi charging is a must have, the Pixel 3a is just not for you. Moreover, for private use—notably video games—the slower Snapdragon SoC could also be a supply of frustration.

Nonetheless, for company deployments, look no additional—the 3a & XL efficiency for worth is the very best within the Android ecosystem. Insurance coverage adjusters, compliance inspectors, and people in building will profit from the solid-quality digicam, as minute particulars that may be misplaced in high-noise cameras on cheaper smartphones will come by means of cleanly right here. Likewise, Pixel telephones obtain longer-lived software program assist than different Android smartphones; they’ll stay safer and up-to-date for an extended time period.

For extra, try “Google Pixel 3a specs, worth, and options have near-perfect timing given 4G to 5G transition” and “Google Pixel vs. Samsung Galaxy: Which is best for enterprise?”

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Picture: Angela Lang/CNET

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