Right as I was working on a blog about how it’s very shocking I haven’t upgraded from my OG Pixel XL, I got a notification that more leaks had come out about the newest Pixel and it looked…awesome! And so right in time for me to upgrade my phone, here I am, reviewing the Pixel 3a!
TL;DR: For $400, this phone is easy to justify with decent storage and a fantastic camera. Use code B-MSAEVELGQDV3ASO3Q0RFWT8 for $50 off your purchase of a Pixel 3a.
Obviously the biggest draw about the 3a is the price point. At $400, you’d be hard pressed to find a better deal on a pre-owned Pixel 3, which is what this is competing against. And why would you buy a used phone when you can buy a brand new one?! At this price I won’t even feel guilty if I decide to upgrade to the Pixel 4.
With a bigger battery than the Pixel 3, this thing absolutely powers through the day…literally! I consistently get a full day out of it. I might even go so far as to say it competes with my BlackBerry… 😬
One of the features that I really enjoy is Flip to Shhh. You flip the phone facedown to automatically put it into Do Not Disturb mode, and when you pick it back up, DND turns off and shows you your notifications. The response to picking it back up and showing notifications is almost instant, so you aren’t sitting there waiting for it to reboot. A few days after I got my 3a, I was in an all day training session, so I was able to test the feature out for 3 days straight. The phone was quiet when I needed it to be, and I never had to double check, since it vibrates slightly when it goes into DND mode. This makes a huge difference in battery life, and allowed me to go 2 full days without needing to charge.
The camera has the same hardware as the Pixel 3, and it absolutely shows. The pictures are crisp and clear, and with Night Sight, pictures at night are no problem at all. The Pixel line is known for the camera and pictures, and this is the one place where the budget Pixel isn’t a budget Pixel.
The one thing I keep hearing people complain about is the speed. The processor is older and slower, so theoretically it would make the phone slower. I suppose if you’re playing games it would make a difference, but I really haven’t noticed it.
The only thing I was less jazzed about was the size of the internal storage. I opted for the 128GB Pixel XL, and haven’t even had to think about deleting anything, or getting rid of older documents. Since I haven’t had this phone for very long, I haven’t had a chance to fill it up yet, but I had about 45GB used on my XL in 6 months. I’ll report back in a few months to see if I’ve filled the storage and if that changes the speed of the phone.
That Weird Port on the Top
The one strange thing about the 3a is that it has a small hole on the top of the device. It looks like you can plug something into it, but it’s not the size of a USB-C cable. It’s small, around…3.5 mm?? It would be great to use it for something useful. Maybe something you could listen to audio with, while keeping your charging port free for…charging?! I’ll let you know when I find out what this weird port is. 🤔
Overall I would say this phone doesn’t feel like a compromise to me, which is what the 3a is all about. The smaller price tag makes it easy to justify, and I won’t feel nearly as bad whenever I choose to upgrade again.
If you’ve decided, or are maybe still on the edge, here’s a little something extra for you: if you use code B-MSAEVELGQDV3ASO3Q0RFWT8 you’ll get $50 off! That means you could get a brand new 3a for $350, which is almost a cheaper option than buying a used phone on eBay (and if you’re looking to do that, check out my list of tips first)!