Google Pixel 3a XL: OWNER REVIEW

by Pritish Samantaray

I’m a tech-savvy guy who like to get his hands on the new smartphones when they are released on the market. I’ve been an Android OS user from the very beginning and I firmly believe the Android OS is getting better over time. I’m also a photographer, and carrying the camera all the time can be a little hectic sometimes. Therefore, I invest my resources on the camera eccentric smartphones to get the most out of the moments. The only reason why I bought the Google Pixel 3aXL is because of the AI-Powered camera, affordability, and branding. A Pixel Device will get Android updates first and the Stock Android experience never goes out of style. The affordable Pixel 3aXL features the same camera as its expensive sibling’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL. It was heartbreaking for most of the Nexus users when Google put an end to the lineup. I still miss the commercial where the background song of the LG Nexus 5X was Dj Snake’s Lean on feat MO. However, the smartphone industry has been through a significant amount of changes and upgradation since 2014. Google’s decision to curate its Flagship phone did massively profit the company. So, a person who has a budget of $480 can opt for the affordable pure Android device, just like I did. There is also the Android One program smartphone if people want to opt for cheaper stock Android smartphones. I also have a Nokia 6.1, which received the Android Pie update in India, three days after Google released the OS to its Pixel devices. Now, moving on the latest phone from the search giant, Google, the Pixel 3a which was released in May. The only reason why I bought the smartphone is because of the camera and regular updates. There is absolutely no other reason to buy this smartphone. Most of the smartphones with a $300-budget have better specs than Google Pixel 3a XL. Well, the worst part is that the phone has got a lukewarm response from the audience. So, yes, it is a good phone but not a great phone as compared to its older siblings and the previous generation.

Weight & Size of Google Pixel 3a XL

Google Pixel 3a XL

When I first held the smartphone in the palm of my hand, It felt like a feather. The phone weighs around 20g. Yes, another significant setback of the phone is that it comes with a distinctive polycarbonate body. Moreover, the device measures around 160.3 x 76.1 x 8.2 mm. However, Google didn’t change the two-tone colour combination that comes with 3 XL, and this is a wow factor for the device. When I first saw the smartphone for the time, I thought that Pixel 3a XL has a metallic body design.

Build Quality

By the looks of it, the Pixel 3a XL is built out of polycarbonate material. There is no gap between the back and the front side of the phone, which can easily fool a person by making him think that 3a XL has a metallic unibody buildup. The smartphone is sufficient enough to fool the people by making them think that the phone is made out of glass or metal materials. If a phone has a budget of $480, then it should at least have a metal body. Most of the devices in this price range come with either an aluminium body or metal body. I’d conclude that plastic is much more durable than both glass and metal body types. I have a habit of dropping my smartphone now and then; the polycarbonate body didn’t disappoint me. The plastic material doesn’t scatter like a glass body or it dents and bends like metal body. However, Pixel 3a XL doesn’t have a dust or water resistivity when put into contrast with its expensive older siblings.

Notch-less OLED 6-inch display and a powerful camera

If I put the camera aside, there is one more thing that I liked about the 3a XL, and that is its display. The Pixel 3a comes with a massive 6-inch display. On the other hand, it also has a resolution of 2160x1080px. There is one downside to the display of the phone, and that is the display doesn’t sport a Corning Gorilla Glass display which is used in the flagship smartphones. Instead, the display sport Asahi’s Dragontrail protection panel. When I put the phone alongside Pixel 3XL, I was disappointed as the display is a little shorter and has significantly lower resolution. In addition to this, the screen of Pixel 3a XL doesn’t come with an HDR10 video codec support. The lack of HDR display might be a minor setback. However, a lot of video content across the internet comes with HDR support. I finally found a smartphone with the best camera, which didn’t cost me a hefty price tag. The phone comes with 12.2 MP with 28mm wide lens. I used the 3a XL to record a video while I was moving, the OIS didn’t allow the video recording to shake a lot. The front-facing camera has a 24mm, 8MP.

Battery Life and Performance

Google Pixel 3a XL

I did not mention earlier, but the battery capacity of Pixel 3a is around 3,700 mAh, which is better than its older sibling the 3 XL. I also found that a mid-range powered processor of Pixel 3a consumes a lot less battery. So, the battery drainage of the device will also be significantly less. There is a highly likely chance that the smartphone will last a day with a single charge. The 3a XL also supports fast-charging with USB-Type C charging port. As far as the power of the devices is concerned, the phone is powered with a 10nm Snapdragon 670 processor. The GPU of the phone comes with a robust Adreno 615. Pixel 3a XL comes with a 4GB RAM and 64GB internal memory. The strong point of buying the phone is that it comes Android 9.0, and it can be upgraded to the forthcoming Android 10. The fingerprint sensor at the back of the device was a delight. It didn’t stutter or slug-like my Nokia 6.1. Google Pixel 3a XL comes with a headphone jack, so I didn’t have to buy a pair of Bluetooth headphones. The audio output of the device is exceptionally punchy; however, after I put in a couple of Sennheiser 275s earphones, the songs felt like an ultimate bliss to me. I took an excellent decision in buying this phone has it comes with decent specs. Moreover, I’ll also get Android updates for a couple of years at the very least. I would like to give the phone a rating of 7.5 out of 10 because of the outdated processor and under-powered performance. When it comes to the primary camera of the phone I’d give a rating of 10 out of 10.