Here’s the thing about Google’s Pixel 3a in India — it is obnoxiously expensive in India at a starting price of Rs 39,999. Yes, that’s like a Rs 10,000 markup on the US price of $399 which comes to around Rs 28,000. But despite this unreasonable mark up, this remains a phone which I’m going to be recommending for a large audience that usually ends up buying a OnePlus or an older iPhone fully knowing well that’s outmatched in many ways like the processing power. Here’s why.

  • The one feature most people are looking at is the camera. And the Pixel 3a has a crazy good camera which it inherits from the Pixel 3. More importantly, this wouldn’t be a camera that phones like the OnePlus 7 Pro will be able to match. That’s almost wishing for a miracle. Let’s not even talk about older iPhones considering even the latest one can’t keep up with even the Pixel 2.
  • People will harp on the fact that the Pixel 3a has the Snapdragon 670 processor which is a mid-range processor and its performance could be a problem. The reality is that Android performance has come a long way. In addition, this Snapdragon processor is an offshoot of the Snapdragon 845 with a focus on better power efficiency. Day to day usage will be solid on this phone for a long time as it comes with stock Android.
  • Sticklers for compact smartphones will appreciate the rather diminutive size of the smaller Pixel 3a. If you’re looking for a phone which is robust all around and compact to boot, then the Pixel 3a isn’t only decent in look and feel considering it doesn’t have the notch, but it is also a rather compact gadget. Even the larger one is a very light phone for its class.
  • Battery life could be the biggest USP of the new Pixel 3a outside of its camera. I’ve been clocking regularly around 35 hours of usage on the phone on a single charge. It also comes with fast charging which is nice. This is an area where most expensive phones falter — this Pixel 3a delivers.
  • Just because the phone has a mid-tier chipset doesn’t mean it can’t game. If you’re into playing PUBG occasionally, this phone will just do fine. It is also one of the few Snapdragon series 600 chipsets which has a GPU that can sustain PUBG on “High” settings. In addition, its killer battery life is a bigger boon.
  • This is going to be a phone which will be very well accepted in corporate environments. Phones from Chinese vendors aren’t accepted easily by IT managers at US based MNCs, but considering this is the Google phone, it will be. Giving more credence to its corporate credentials is the inclusion of Google’s enterprise grade Titan M security chip and fast Android security updates.
  • It has a very decent screen. It is on par with the one on the OnePlus 6T and certainly up there if not superior to the one on the iPhone 8 while being larger in a smaller package. It is great for watching videos and reading text. Heck, it is great for getting things done.
  • Sometimes the simplest of things can be the everything. In the case of the Pixel 3a is it is the inclusion of the headphone jack. In addition, its vibration motor is also top class which means its a delightful phone to type on.

At the end of the day, this phone focuses on the essentials. And it hits the nail on the head with them. This isn’t a cutting edge phone by any measure. Perhaps, its failing is that it’s touching a price band which demands some element of cutting edge, but then again, the competition is pushing the envelope of the price even further. Like I said in my previous post — if you just want a phone that works and has a great camera, then this is going to be one of the best choices because it isn’t trying to dazzle with features that most people don’t even use or leverage — it focuses on the basics.

More so, this phone harkens back to the days of the Nexus smartphones which were co-designed by Google. The only difference here is that those phones had really bad cameras and the latest processors while this phone has the most cutting edge camera technology but a mid-range processor. If it is being critiqued because of that fact then it is unfair as mid-range processors have come a long way as has Android as an operating system — so performance for most people will be NOT be a problem. People also care more about cameras today than ever before. Google has just gone where the users have wanted it to go.


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