It’s been one the year since Google debuted Pixel 3A, its first affordable Pixel, and there are still not many Android phones in its price range that can compete. The phone, which is available in two sizes, was originally launched at $ 399 (and $ 479 for the XL model), but now with a successor rumored to be around the corner, you can get it for a small starting price of $ 280.
Pixel 3A (9/10, WIRED recommends) has one of the best cameras on a phone under $ 500, partly because of a feature called Night Sight. It takes multiple exposures of a scene and joins them for a better, well-lit photo. In addition, artificial intelligence is used to add some color to what may be an otherwise muted image. Most phones in this range, including the iPhone SE, do not do well in low light photography. 3A has a 5.6-inch screen while 3A XL comes in at 6-inches. This means that the latter has a larger battery, but both will last a full day.
Google is expected to launch a successor named Pixel 4A this summer, which is probably why 3A sees such low prices. It is rumored to have a more modern looking screen with narrow frames around, a more powerful processor and a similar system with a camera. Although the Pixel 4A is launched next week, 3A at its discounted price remains a fantastic value.
Is Pixel 3A right for you?
Be sure to read our best guides for Android phones and best cheap phones to see how Pixel 3A joins the competition. Here̵
WIRED: Pixel 3A retains the best part of Google’s flagship Pixel phones: a great camera. By using its software smarts, Google’s image processing helps one rear camera take pictures that jump better than the competition, especially at night.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor inside along with 4GB of RAM keeps it running relatively smoothly, more than several newer budget phones I’ve tested like the Samsung Galaxy A51 and Moto G Stylus. The battery life is also good, you get a headphone jack and don’t forget, because it’s a Pixel, you get three years of upgrades of Android versions and security updates (it will stop getting updates around May 2022). This kind of support for a budget phone cannot be found anywhere other than Android One phones from Nokia or iPhone.