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Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL offer the same Pixel 3 camera experience for half the price

Google has officially unveiled its new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL which promises to offer the same Google Pixel experience at a much lower price point. While it gets a bump down in specs, Google has retained the same flagship photography experience from the full-fledged Pixel 3 and that includes Night Sight and Portrait Mode.

In terms of hardware, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL are actually quite identical. The only differences are the screen size and the battery. Both feature an OLED Full HD+ panel with the Pixel 3a having a 5.6″ display while the Pixel 3a XL gets a 6.0″ screen. Unlike the Pixel 3 XL, there are no notches on these two new smartphones.

Under the hood, both Pixels are powered by a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor with 4GB of RAM. There’s only a single storage option of 64GB onboard and nope, there’s no option for a microSD card.

For photography, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL feature a single 12.2MP f/1.8 dual-pixel camera at the rear that boasts 1.4-micron pixels along with OIS and EIS. It can shoot 4K videos at 30fps and 240fps slow-mo in 720p resolution. Meanwhile at the front, it comes with a single 8MP f/2.0 selfie shooter that has a 84-degree field of view.

If you loved the camera features on the Pixel 3, you’ll get them as well with the Pixel 3a duo. It retains the same Portrait Mode, Super Res Zoom and Night Sight which takes phenomenal night shots.

However, if you’re the type that takes lots of photos and videos, be warned that the Pixel 3a does not come with unlimited storage for original resolution photos and videos on Google Photos. Instead, you’re limited to unlimited “High Quality” storage like any other device.

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Powering the Pixel 3a is a 3,000mAh battery while the XL mode gets a larger 3,700mAh unit. As a comparison, the Pixel 3 has a 2,915mAh battery while the Pixel 3 XL came with a smaller 3,430mAh capacity unit.

According to Google, you can get up to 30 hours of battery life thanks to its adaptive battery feature. There’s no wireless charging support and both models offer fast wired charging with a bundled 18W USB-PD charger. A quick 15-minute charge on the USB-C cable is rated to provide up to 7 hours of battery life.

Being a cheaper device there are a couple of sacrifices that have to be made. The Pixel 3a and 3a XL get a polycarbonate body instead of glass and it doesn’t come with IP68 rated dust and water resistance. There are no front-facing speakers but unlike the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, the Pixel 3a series still come with a 3.5mm headphone jack on top.

Colour-wise, the devices come in “Just Black”, “Clearly White” and “Purple-ish”. As usual, Google is also promising to provide 3 years of software and security updates for the duo.

In the US, the Pixel 3a is priced at US$399 (about RM1,655) while the Pixel 3a XL is listed at US$479 (about RM1,986). As a comparison, the high-end Pixel 3 is going for US$799 (about RM3,314) and the Pixel 3 XL is priced at US$899 (about RM3,729).

The Pixel 3a series is only available in 13 countries which include Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States. In Singapore, you can place your order starting today and they are bundling a Google Home Mini worth S$169 (about RM514) for free.

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Down south, the Pixel 3a is priced at S$659 (about RM2,006) while the bigger XL model is going for S$779 (about RM2,372). Unfortunately, the new Purple-ish colour option is not available in Singapore.

Google Pixel devices are not sold officially in Malaysia. If you’re interested, you can look out for import sets from local retailers.

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Alexander Wong