Google on Tuesday announced its latest pair of smartphones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. The phones are nearly identical, with screen size and battery life being the biggest differences. But that’s been the story for all of Google’s Pixel phone releases.
With the launch of the Pixel 4 and 4 XL — available for preorder right now, starting at $799 or $899 — Google’s smartphone lineup includes the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, along with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. The prices range from $399 to $999. Trying to decide between the different Pixel models can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s take a closer look.
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are Google’s entry-level version of the Pixel 3. In exchange for removing features like wireless charging, reducing the display size and using a mid-tier processor, Google is able to sell the Pixel 3a and 3a XL at a lower cost than the Pixel 3 XL.
That said, Google didn’t completely gut the Pixel 3a. The core experience that a Pixel phone provides, with routine software updates and one of the best cameras on a smartphone, is still very much intact.
Both phones use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 670 processor and 4 GB of memory. Neither phone is as fast as the Pixel 3 or Pixel 4, but the performance difference is minimal. On the back of the phone, you’ll find Google’s 12.2-megapixel rear camera, the same one that’s on the Pixel 3.
Google gives Pixel 3a users unlimited Google Photos storage for pictures and videos in high quality. That’s the same quality Google offers free backup for any user who installs the Google Photos app; even iPhone users.
The Pixel 3a is ideal for a tween or teen, or someone who doesn’t care about having the fastest phone but wants the Pixel’s high quality camera and photo quality.
The Pixel 3 is actually older than the Pixel 3a. Google first released the Pixel 3 last October and the 3a followed in May.
As with the rest of the Pixel lineup, the Pixel 3 comes in two sizes. The Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch display, and the 3 XL measures 6.3 inches. Both models are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor and can be configured with 64 GB or 128 GB of storage.
The smaller model has a 2,915mAh battery with a 3,430mAh battery taking up space in the larger version. Wireless charging is possible with a Qi-compatible charging pad.
There’s a dual front-facing camera setup on the Pixel 3, allowing for wide-angle selfies and videos. But a potential downside is that some don’t like the look of the camera cutout — also called a notch — at the top of the Pixel 3 XL’s display.
The rear-facing camera is the same as the Pixel 3a, but instead of limiting photo backup to high quality, Pixel 3 owners get unlimited photo and video backup at original quality.
A year after release, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL are respectable phones with solid performance and a camera that’s sure to impress.