• 02:36 Aug 22, 2019

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Google Pixel 3a XL First Impressions: Okay, Google! Was it necessary?

By: Rohan Pal, The Mobile Indian, New DelhiLast updated May 08, 2019 12:02 am

Google Pixel 3a XL First Impressions: Okay, Google! Was it necessary?

We spent some time with the device and here are our first impressions.
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Google has finally announced the launch of its latest mid-premium smartphones, the Pixel 3a XL and Pixel 3a. The latest smartphones from the search engine giant come loaded with almost all the features, which are present on the flagship, Pixel 3 lineup. The Google Pixel 3a XL comes with a price tag of Rs 44,990 in India.


However, there are some stark differences in terms of display and hardware. The company has positioned the products in a fashion that makes its arch rival to the likes of OnePlus and Samsung. However, will Google’s latest products be able to create some ripples in the mid-premium category? We spent some time with the device and here are our first impressions.


Design and Display

 

Google Pixel 3a XL



Google has played it safe when it comes to designing the new Pixel 3a series of smartphone. This is because both the models, especially the Pixel 3a XL looks quite identical to its big brother. The company has added the same dual-tone design at the back panel, though it has decreased the quality from glass (present in Pixel 3 XL) to polycarbonate in the Pixel 3a XL. There is not notched display at the front of the device, just some thick bezels on the top and bottom. However, it is worth mentioning that the smartphone is quite lightweight in nature and it does not feel as heavy as other smartphones present in the same price band.


Quickly briefing about some ports placement of the device, the right side of the device is equipped with volume control and just above it is power on/off button. We felt that the power button is placed a bit higher than our liking. The left comes loaded with a SIM slot, while the base of the device is equipped with a USB Type-C port, which is flanked between stereo speakers. Probably the best thing about the Pixel 3a XL is the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack, which now resides at the top of the phone.

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Google Pixel 3a XL



Coming to the back panel, the phone is loaded with a single camera along with an LED flash and there is a fingerprint sensor as well. That said, it is not one of the beautifully designed smartphones in this price range, but it is definitely not slippery or heavy in nature.


 the Pixel 3a XL is loaded with a 6.1-inch gOLED Full HD+ display. The company claims that the display delivers some outstanding contrast ratio of 100,000:1. In our testing, we found out that the display delivers some results as the colours are quite close to the source and look vibrant, while the viewing angles are quite good. However, we noticed that the display is a bit reflective in nature. We will talk more about this in our upcoming review.


Hardware and Software

Google Pixel 3a XL


On the hardware front, the Google Pixel 3a XL is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor along with Adreno 615 GPU. The phone is backed by a 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Google has added the same Active Edge feature to the Pixel 3a XL, which is present in the Pixel lineup. This means that users can simply squeeze the edges of the phone to activate Google Assistant. Sadly, it is not re-mappable in nature.


That said, it is too early to comment on the performance of the smartphone, but looking at the chipset, it is quite shocking that Google has settled with a such SoC. At a time when we are seeing brands like OnePlus and Samsung offering much better proposition with its latest products. Even LG has understood the market dynamics and offered products like LG V40 ThinQ and more at this price point. Opting for a much lower processor might backfire the company. However, Google is known for providing some heavily optimised experience with its hardware and it would be interesting to see whether the same is reflected in the mid-premium Pixel lineup or not.

 

Google Pixel 3a XL



On the software front, the Pixel 3a XL is meant to be crowned prince of the Android ecosystem. The phone comes loaded with pure Android experience, which comes straight from Google. Interestingly, the company has announced that it will get three years of confirmed Android OS updates along with regular security patches.


Camera


On the camera front, the Google Pixel 3a XL is loaded with a single 12.2-megapixel rear camera with 1.4-micron pixel size, autofocus with dual pixel phase detection, optical and electronic image stabilization, f/1.8 aperture and LED flash. For the front, there is an 8-megapixel selfie shooter with 1.12-micron pixel size, f/2.0 aperture and 84-degree viewing angle.

Google Pixel 3a XL


Google has basically added the camera power, which is present in the original Pixel 3 smartphone. We got the chance to click some photos with the new Pixel 3a XL and was quite impressed with the performance. The star of the show, in our briefing testing, was none other the Portrait mode. The phone is also loaded with a Night Sight mode for improved low light condition. We will talk in depth about the camera of the new Pixel 3a XL pretty soon.


Battery and Connectivity


The phone is loaded with a 3,700mAh battery and the company has bundled an 18W fast charger with it as well. Furthermore, the company has also bundled earphones with the new device, which is a good thing. It would be interesting to see how well the battery will perform in our testing period.

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Verdict

Google Pixel 3a XL comes loaded with an identical design as seen in the original Pixel 3 series. The display is sharp and the viewing angles look. The cameras look quite interesting in our brief testing, though we are sceptical of the performance of the latest Pixel 3a XL as the Snapdragon 670 cannot deliver results like the Snapdragon 845 SoC (present in OnePlus 6T).

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