Here’s a first look at official renders of both the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL.
Neither of these phones have been announced yet, although they have been widely reported on during the last year with Google’s own website even recently confirming the “Pixel 3a” name.
In spite of this heightened degree of attention, there’s been little in the way of eyes-on material. That’s until now.
Some renders have come forward in recent months but these have typically come through from accessory-makers and are therefore obscured to some degree by a case, or have been created based on known information. In either scenario, they are third-party interpretations and not necessarily exactly representative of the vision Google wants to promote.
Equally, some hands-on images have also surfaced recently. Although it is never always clear what stage of development the phone on show in such depictions represents. For example, some of the best of these images came through last November. Again, making it unclear if they are representative of the final Google end product.
Android Headlines is confident in these renders being official end product images of the next two phones from Google.
In other words, these images do accurately depict the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL.
Launching in a matter of weeks
The first thing to note is Google recently sent out a teaser that said “On May 7, something big is coming to the Pixel universe.” Leading many to assume that’s when the Pixel 3a series will launch.
That assumption seems to be correct considering both renders do actively display a "May 7" date.
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL will be unveiled on May 7, 2019.
Familiar, but also different
There’s been a lot of coverage on these phones, with many of their included (and missing) features highlighted. Some of these can be clearly seen in these images.
For example, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL does include a headphone jack. A notable omission from the Pixel line of the last two years. The headphone jack is positioned on the top of the phones as previously indicated.
Bezels are back in fashion. Unlike the standard — well, premium — Pixel 3 line which includes the XL and its unfathomably large notch, the Pixel 3a series is completely uniform when it comes to the top bezel.
There is no notable difference between the Pixel 3a and 3a XL in this respect. They both adopt the same bezel — no notch, no cutout — that houses the earpiece and the single (most likely 8-megapixel) front-facing camera.
They both also seem to contain the same-sized bottom (chin) bezel housing a single speaker.
Previous leaks had pointed to the two being different-sized phones due to the Pixel 3a adopting a 5.6-inch display along with a 2220 x 1080 resolution and the Pixel 3a XL equipped with a 6-inch display accompanied by a 2160 x 1080 resolution.
While not immediately apparent in these images, if you look closer, you can see there is certainly a difference in the overall size/shape with the Pixel 3a appearing slightly thinner than the Pixel 3a XL.
For reference, the Pixel 3a supposedly comes with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio compared to the Pixel 3a XL’s 18:9 aspect ratio.
Lastly, both models come running on Android 9 Pie from launch – as to be expected.
The fuller picture
Although this is largely the extent to the information confirmed in these fresh images, there’s plenty of leaks and reports to work with to paint a fuller picture of what the Google Pixel 3a line will offer.
For starters, these are mid-tier devices and this not only means a reduction in price but also a reduction in the overall product on offer. This can be understood as a lesser build overall with a greater focus on plastic compared to glass.
That reduction does not include size, however, with the Pixel 3a and 3a XL literally filling in the size gaps between the 5.5-inch screen on the Pixel 3 and the 6.3-inch screen included with the Pixel 3 XL.
So while these are more “affordable” options, they are not smaller ones at all, with their sizes almost strategically chosen to offer a size option for everyone beyond the 5.5-inch marker.
Equally, the reduction does not show in the RAM department as both Pixel 3a phones are expected to come loaded with 4GB RAM – as much as the standard/premium Pixel 3 phones. This is in addition to 64GB storage bases.
This also seems to be true for the battery as while the Pixel 3 features a 2915 mAh capacity battery, the 3a is expected to be powered by a 3,000mAh solution. There's been little word on the Pixel 3a XL’s battery but considering this is a larger phone, and the similarities between the two smaller models, it might be wise to expect the 3a XL battery to fall in around the 3 XL’s 3430 mAh capacity.
Where there is likely to be an obvious ‘on paper’ downgrade is in the SoC department with the Pixel 3a expected to rely on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 – there has been suggestions the Pixel 3a XL will differ here due to the inclusion of the Snapdragon 710.
The Snapdragon 670 was announced mid-way through 2018 and looks to bridge the gap between mid-range phones and the upper echelons. The Snapdragon 710 launched a couple of months before the 670 and also looks to straddle the mid/premium barrier. While either might be considered a downgrade when compared to the Pixel 3's Snapdragon 845, how much either will affect overall performance on these particular phones is less clear.
In addition, a similar overall Pixel-ness experience is expected to be in play. For example, a number of Pixel 3 premium features including the use of squeezable “Active Edge” sides are understood to have been ported over to the Pixel 3a line offering a like-for-like experience.
This also extends to the cameras with indications pointing to the Google Pixel 3a adopting the same 12.2MP dual-pixel rear camera found on the Pixel 3 line. In fact, the same overall camera experience is likely to be what Google mostly focuses on with these phones considering it is now the product brand’s signature feature.
Only thing left to know is the price
Between the wealth of information that had already come through and these new images, there’s effectively not much left to unveil other than the price.
It is already clear Google is looking to position these at lesser price points than the Google Pixel 3 line and although some pricing information has already been suggested, those suggestions have mainly come through based on international figures. There’s no guarantee they are directly equatable to the U.S. market.
Google is certainly likely to release both 3a models in the U.S. and very recent reports have pointed to both of these phones (the Pixel 3 series overall) becoming available through T-Mobile for the first time.
This essentially would mean the end of what has been a lengthy Verizon exclusivity period.