Google Pixel 3A XL Review


The Google Pixel 3a XL is the larger sibling to the new Google Pixel 3a, and was announced alongside it at Google IO 2019. Both phones offer Google’s core experiences at a more affordable price, and each offers an interesting alternative to the original Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL.

The Good : The Pixel 3A XL packs a large screen, a fantastic camera, a long-lasting battery and a headphone jack — all at a more affordable price than the Pixel 3 and 3 XL.

The Bad : The phone doesn’t have water resistance, wireless charging or expandable memory. As a Pixel 3A XL owner, you have unlimited uploads to Google Photos only at high quality, not original.

The Verdict: For the most part, the Pixel 3a XL makes the right compromises to hit a more affordable price point. This is the same Pixel experience you get on the full-fat Pixel 3 right down to the image quality.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

  • 18W USB-PD charger
  • USB-C-to-USB-C cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • USB-C-to-full-size adaptor
  • 3.5mm earphones

DESIGN

At first glance, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the Pixel 3a XL and its more expensive Google sibling. At 6.3 x 3 x 0.3 inches, the 3a XL is only marginally taller than the Pixel 3 XL, and the phone’s share Google’s signature two-tone design. The Pixel 3 XL does pack in more screen real estate than the budget model — 6.3 inches to the 3a’s 6-inch screen — because the 3a features chunkier bezels. On the bright side, no notch, at least.

PERFORMANCE

The Pixel 3a XL uses a 2.0GHz Snapdragon 670 chipset and 4GB of RAM, a less powerful chipset than the Snapdragon 845 which powers most of the leading Android phones that came out in the last year, including the Pixel 3 XL.

The Google Pixel 3a XL measures 160.1 x 76.1 x 8.2mm, making it taller and thicker than the Pixel 3 XL, which actually has a bigger screen, but smaller bezels. A bigger screen requires a bigger battery, and Google has gone with a 3,700 mAh power pack for the Pixel 3a XL.

CAMERA

The headline attraction on the Google Pixel 3a XL is its rear camera – it boasts very similar impressive hardware as the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, which means you can take some stunning shots with this phone.

You get a 12.2MP, f/1.8 dual-pixel Sony sensor which boasts HDR+, OIS (optical image stabilization) and EIS (electronic image stabilization). Add to that the AI software smarts working behind the scenes, and you have a powerful camera at your disposal.

The Pixel 3a XL takes the best of what Google’s flagships have to offer and brings it to a much more palatable price point. For the most part, Google has made the right compromises in delivering a phone that provides a legitimately great user experience, over a beefed-up spec sheet and half-baked software.

The Google Pixel 3a XL is for anyone who doesn’t want to spend the best part of $1,000 / £1,000 on their smartphone, but still wants to be able to take some amazing photos with its rear camera.

Some of the best camera tech we’ve ever seen on a phone is at your fingertips here, and it’s impressive to see it on a device this affordable.

If you’re after the best performance a phone can deliver, the Pixel 3a XL probably isn’t for you, but for most users the fact that they’ll be able to load up and run apps and games quickly and without any problems will be enough.