With the Pixel 3a (XL), Google is introducing two thin and light versions of the Pixel 3 (XL), but which smartphone is the better choice? We’ve compared the different Pixel models and showed you the differences between the Google Pixel 3a (XL) and Pixel 3 (XL).
Pixel smartphones are known for their great photo quality and software. The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are mid-range models, similar to the more expensive Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. In a comparison test, you’ll now find out how the four smartphones differ and which Google Pixel you should get.
Pixel 3 series specs at a glance
For the first overview, you can find the technical specifications of all four smartphones under this paragraph in the table. In this way, you may already be able to identify the first difference and examine the categories that are important to you.
Pixel 3a (XL) vs Pixel 3 (XL): Compare models
After reading the most important technical data, we will show you the test results of the advantages and disadvantages of Pixel phones. You can get a more detailed impression by sreading the detailed test report. Also note that the pros and cons are not intended to be a comparison, but only reflect the main strengths and weaknesses of the respective smartphone at the time of testing.
Pixel 3a (XL) vs Pixel 3 (XL): Differences in detail
In the following paragraphs, we now get into the exact differences between Google’s smartphones. There are some special features between the four mid-range and premium models.
Price: How much cheaper is the Pixel 3a (XL) compared to the Pixel 3 (XL)?
One of the biggest differences between the Google Pixel 3a (XL) and the Pixel 3 (XL) is definitely the price. The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL were priced at 419$ and 499$ respectively at launch. Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will initially be priced at 891$ and 987$, respectively, and versions with more memory will be 996$ and 1100$ respectively.
Meanwhile, the street price of the Pixel 3 (XL) has dropped significantly. Upper models are usually priced between 545 and 619 dollars. On special offers, they’re usually even better. The current price difference from the stripped-down model is just over 100 dollars.
Body: Physical differences between Pixel 3a (XL) and Pixel 3 (XL)
The designs of the two Pixel 3a phones are almost identical to their bigger “brothers.” The size isn’t much different either, but the 3a XL is noticeably lighter than the Pixel 3 XL. In Germany, all four Pixel models are only available in black and white.
The reason for the lighter weight is that cheaper Google phones are made entirely of plastic, while their predecessors were made of glass and metal. Also, the 3a and 3a XL are not waterproof and feel worthless in your hand. All four smartphones offer stereo sound, but only the Pixel 3 (XL) has two speakers on the front. The mid-range model has a headphone jack for this.
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Display: small, large, with and without notch
Google’s four phones have always used OLED screens, but they vary in size and resolution. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a have nearly the same screen size at 5.5 inches and 5.6 inches, respectively, and feature Full HD+ resolution. The Pixel 3a XL display also has a Full HD+ resolution, but is 6 inches in size.
Best of all is the Pixel 3 XL’s display, the largest at 6.3 inches, offers the sharpest resolution in QHD with minimal bezels. But its dual front-facing cameras have a wide and unsightly notch. By the way, more expensive phones have more stable display glass.
Processor: Performance Difference
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, which runs in the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, is a mid-range processor that’s slightly weaker than the chip in the Nokia 8.1. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL rely on the high-end Snapdragon 845 processor, which is a bit slower than the Exynos chip in the Galaxy S9, but still very powerful.
We can’t confirm any speed difference in day-to-day use, but the 3a model doesn’t display demanding games smoothly at the highest graphics settings
Camera: Overall great
The single main sensor on the back is the same for all models. However, the 3a and 3a XL lack the dedicated Pixel Visual Core. There’s still no difference in image processing and photo quality, as Google has now improved the AI processing accordingly.
The main camera is still one of the best on the market, and it’s good for night shots. The Huawei P30 Pro is currently the leader in this category. Pixel devices also lack different focal lengths compared to other smartphones.The Pixel 3 and 3 XL only offer the latter on the front, as one of the two selfie cameras has a wide-angle lens. For 3a (XL) you must do this. Now the selfie camera also (electronically) stabilizes the video.
Battery: Which phones can be charged wirelessly?
Only the Pixel 3 and its XL models can charge wirelessly. Google removed this feature from 3a (XL) for cost reasons. The “Lite model” offers slightly higher battery capacity. The Pixel 3a’s battery now has 3,000 mAh instead of 2,915 milliamp-hours (mAh). The 3a XL has a whopping 3,700 mAh, and the Pixel 3 XL has a whopping 3,430 mAh. All four phones support fast charging via a USB-C cable.
Storage: How big is the storage area?
All models come with 64 GB of device memory, but Google also offers the Pixel 3 (XL) with 128 GB. About 15 GB is occupied at the factory and you cannot expand the storage space. With more expensive Pixel smartphones, Google gives you the option to upload photos and videos to Google Photos in original quality. 4 GB of RAM is installed in each case.
Verdict: This Google Pixel is Best for You
If the difference in processing doesn’t matter to you, and you’re primarily concerned with the camera and software, we’d recommend the Pixel 3a (XL). Considering the price and form factor, the smaller 3a is the best. You can also buy a Pixel 3 (XL) for over €100. The higher-end models definitely offer more features, and by comparison, the device’s price-performance winner is the regular Pixel 3.