Google Pixel 3a XL

· · · Mobile Phone

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL was launched in Singapore on 8th May 2019.

Pixel 3a retails for S$659 featuring a 5.6″ display while its larger sibling, the Pixel 3a XL, retails for S$779 featuring a 6″ display.

Both variants are available in two colors, Just Black and Clearly White.

Unboxing

Google Pixel 3a XL - Box Front
Google Pixel 3a XL – Box Front
Google Pixel 3a XL - Box Back
Google Pixel 3a XL – Box Back
Google Pixel 3a XL - Box
Google Pixel 3a XL – Box
Google Pixel 3a XL - Box Open
Google Pixel 3a XL – Box Open
Google Pixel 3a XL - Box Open
Google Pixel 3a XL – Box Open
Google Pixel 3a XL - Box Open
Google Pixel 3a XL – Box Open
Google Pixel 3a XL - Box Contents
Google Pixel 3a XL – Box Contents

Design
Pixel 3a XL is being priced slightly higher than most mid-range phones but much lower than most premium high-end phones.

Google Pixel 3a XL - Front
Google Pixel 3a XL – Front

Pixel 3a XL sacrifices built materials, wireless charging, and IP rating to get to that price level.

Instead of metal and glass that is found in most premium high-end phones, Google decided to go with all plastic.

I am not sure why Google chooses not to include wireless charging since it is already all plastic. Maybe it is just an additional cost, and wireless charging is still being associated with high-end phones.

Pixel 3 XL has an IP rating of IP68 but not the Pixel 3a XL. This makes the Pixel 3a XL only water resistant and not waterproof. As a mid-range phone, I think it is good enough.

Google Pixel 3a XL - Back
Google Pixel 3a XL – Back

The headphone jack returns to the Pixel 3a. I think it is good news for some people who still use wired earphones/headphones. But I have moved on to wireless earphones/headphones/earbuds many years back, and I am not looking back.

Google Pixel 3a XL - Top
Google Pixel 3a XL – Top

Pixel 3a XL features stereo speakers, one at the bottom and one at the top.

Google Pixel 3a XL - Bottom
Google Pixel 3a XL – Bottom

The Pixel 3a XL has a 3,700 mAh battery, and I managed to get slightly more than a day of usage on it.

For fast charging, it charges at 18W via USB-PD 2.0.

Google Pixel 3a XL - Left
Google Pixel 3a XL – Left

On the left is the nano-SIM tray slot, there are no buttons.

Google Pixel 3a XL - SIM Tray
Google Pixel 3a XL – SIM Tray

On the right is the power button followed by the volume rocker.

Google Pixel 3a XL - Right
Google Pixel 3a XL – Right

Despite being powered by a mid-range processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, I don’t feel any lag or delay in the UI when using the phone.

In terms of memory and storage, it has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage with no expandable storage option.

I thought I would be bothered by the large bezels at the top and bottom of the screen, but somehow I got used to it.

Google Pixel 3a XL - Powered On
Google Pixel 3a XL – Powered On

The camera on the Pixel 3a XL is the same as the Pixel 3 XL.

  • 12.2 MP dual-pixel
  • 1.4 µm pixel width
  • Auto-focus with dual-pixel phase detection
  • Optical + electronic image stabilisation
  • f/1.8 aperture
  • 76° field of view

However, because of the lack of a dedicated image processor (Pixel Visual Core) in the Pixel 3a XL, the processing of an image takes a few seconds. It is evident when you are using it to take photos.

I might be the odd one out, but I am not impressed with the Pixel 3a XL camera.

iPhone XS Max - Bridge - Day
iPhone XS Max – Bridge – Day
Pixel 3a XL - Bridge - Day
Pixel 3a XL – Bridge – Day

For day shots with lots of light, I still like the photos taken by iPhone XS Max.

iPhone XS Max - Building - Day
iPhone XS Max – Building – Day
Pixel 3a XL - Building - Day
Pixel 3a XL – Building – Day

During low-light conditions, Pixel 3a XL does take much better photos than the iPhone XS Max. However, if you compare it with last year’s Huawei P20 Pro, P20 Pro still wins in low-light conditions.

iPhone XS Max - Bridge - Night
iPhone XS Max – Bridge – Night
Pixel 3a XL - Bridge - Night
Pixel 3a XL – Bridge – Night
Pixel 3a XL - Bridge - Night Sight
Pixel 3a XL – Bridge – Night Sight

The area where Pixel 3a XL shines is its Night Sight. When there is almost no light, the Pixel 3a XL still manages to capture something.

iPhone XS Max - Sea - Night
iPhone XS Max – Sea – Night
Pixel 3a XL - Sea - Night
Pixel 3a XL – Sea – Night
Pixel 3a XL - Sea - Night Sight
Pixel 3a XL – Sea – Night Sight
iPhone XS Max - Building - Night
iPhone XS Max – Building – Night
Pixel 3a XL - Building - Night
Pixel 3a XL – Building – Night
Pixel 3a XL - Building - Night Sight
Pixel 3a XL – Building – Night Sight
iPhone XS Max - Downstairs - Night
iPhone XS Max – Downstairs – Night
Pixel 3a XL - Downstairs - Night
Pixel 3a XL – Downstairs – Night
Pixel 3a XL - Downstairs - Night Sight
Pixel 3a XL – Downstairs – Night Sight

Summary
The Pixel 3a/3a XL is a fantastic stock Android phone at the retail price of S$659 and S$779, respectively.

Despite only being made of plastic, the build quality of the phone is not compromised. It is still solid and doesn’t feel like a mid-range phone at all.

The inclusion of the headphone jack might be good news to some people, and the all-day battery life is a nice bonus.

Camera wise, considering it is a mid-range phone, I would say it has the best camera among all mid-range Android phones.

Personally, the only deal breaker for me was the lack of wireless charging, if not it would have been a perfect secondary Android phone for me.

Google Pixel 3a XL
Google Pixel 3a XL

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