As the title suggests, I picked up a Google Pixel 3A as a backup android phone and the camera blows me away. Literarily I thought the iPhone X / XR had a good camera, but the Google Pixel’s single cam blows the iPhone X’s dual / XR’s single away in night mode / low light conditions. There are a few downsides though (part of the reason maybe because I have been used to iOS for the last few years).

Cons

  • Plastic back (which maybe a plus side as well as it is one less glass piece to break compared to iPhones), also doesn’t bother me since I put mine in a case
  • Stock keyboard seems prone to auto correct mistakes (more so than the stock iOS keyboard, again it may just be me). I make a lot more typos on this phone then any other phone (again it maybe just me)
  • Image processing when viewing them for the first time is rather slow (it takes a few seconds for the image to process for the first time to view them)
  • No wireless charging (this is ok since it has fast USB C charge)
  • No face unlock, the thumb print seems like a huge step backwards after using face unlock for the last 1.5 years

Pros

  • Amazing camera (even with the processing lag while viewing for the first time, I have to say the images are very nice out of this mid tier phone)
  • USB C – fast charge – amazing charge speed, I got about 15-20% charge in about 15 minutes (even includes the fast charging cable/plug in box – take note Apple! – who sells it as a separate option for their phones)
  • Battery life is awesome, I would say the battery life is on par with the new iPhone XR
  • Plastic back (again this is a pro and a con, some people don’t like the feeling of plastic, but I think it is good to have a plastic back which won’t shatter when you drop the phone)
  • OLED screen, I know I said I didn’t notice the difference between OLED and LCD before when switching to the iPhone XR from the X, but damn now I am starting to notice it, which means I might have to go back to the X or XS at some point. The blacks on screen are just really noticeable especially when viewing the screen in a dark room. Also for the $400 price point of this phone, the OLED screen (manufactured by Samsung) is just amazing, I would say this screen rivals the iPhone X OLED screen and is way above the iPhone XR screen quality
  • Android operating system (everything can be customized, unlike iOS)

Overall at the $400 price point, the Google Pixel 3a is a steal. You get one of the best cameras , OLED screens , fast USB C charging and overall great Android experience for a mid tier price point. This isn’t $750 for the iPhone XR or $1000 for the iPhone X/Xs (when new), yet performance wise it does some things a lot better. If you are in a market for a new phone and don’t want to shell out $750+ for a new phone, give the Google Pixel 3a a try, it may blow your mind how much $400 can buy today. (Note I am calling this a “mid-tier” phone as this is not a $100 phone, which is what I would consider “cheap”).

A few images also contain the original black Google Pixel for compare (images shot with iPhone XR)

Update 5/31/2019 . – Here is a real life test when I had a chance to compare the iPhone XR Versus Pixel 3a in low light … the difference is astounding (left is Pixel 3a, right is iPhone XR), I had to resize the photos but even before the resize the difference in details is obvious, cannot see the audience with the iPhone XR or the detail of the side stage