Google has unveiled its first mid-market smartphone, the Pixel 3a, offering many of the same features as the premium Pixel 3 for around half the price.
Physically, the the Pixel 3a is very similar to the Pixel 3, featuring the familiar two-tone unibody design, fingerprint reader on the rear, and brightly coloured power button.
Like the Pixel 3, it has a bright, colourful OLED display, with an always-on function so you can see the date and time even when the phone is in sleep mode.
The Pixel 3a also comes with an 18-watt charger, so you get up to seven hours of battery life on a 15-minute charge and up to 30 hours on a full charge. However, unlike the Pixel 3, it doesn’t support wireless charging.
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You can launch Google Assistant by squeezing the sides of the device, allowing you to send texts, get directions and set reminders using your voice.
As with other Pixel phones, the 3a will get access to new Android features first – including a new augmented reality feature in Google Maps, which allows you to see walking directions overlaid on the world itself, rather than looking at a blue dot on a map.
Most importantly, the Pixel 3a features the same award-winning camera as the Pixel 3 – including Google’s HDR+ technology, with features such as Portrait Mode, Super Res Zoom, and Night Sight to capture clear shots in low light.
Google Photos is built in, so you can save all your photos and videos in high quality with free, unlimited storage.
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In order to bring the price down, Google has had to make some compromises, and the big one is processing power.
The Pixel 3a features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 chip, which is a big step down from the Snapdragon 845 chip in the Pixel 3.
This means it might run a bit slower than a premium smartphone, but Google claims it has done a lot of work on the software side to make sure native apps – including the camera app – run smoothly.
It will also come with a maximum storage capacity of 64GB, while the Pixel 3 comes with 64GB and 128GB storage options.
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Interestingly, while the Pixel 3 followed the lead of Apple’s iPhone and others by removing the 3.5mm audio jack, the Pixel 3a brings it back, meaning you can use both wired and wireless headphones with this device.
The Pixel 3a is available in two sizes and three colours – “Just Black”, “Clearly White” and “Purple-ish”.
Prices in the UK start at £399 for the 5.6-inch display, (compared to £739 for the Pixel 3), and £469 for the 6-inch “XL” model, (compared to £869 for the Pixel 3 XL).
The phones are available now through Google Store, Carphone Warehouse and Curry PC World, and from EE, Argos and Mobile Phones Direct from 8 May.