Mobile Devices

Google Pixel 3a – Google Returns as the Budget King?

When I sold off my Galaxy A20 to a good friend of mine I needed to offload my information to a new device and after looking around at Best Buy and was playing with the Pixel 3a, It seemed to be an interesting device so I decided to try one out. This is a very interesting phone in a few ways.

Before we get into this we get into what we think of it lets run down the specs 

The CPU is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 which while not the newest is perfectly adequate for everyday use and never really had me complaining. 

An Arduino 650 again while not top of the line the type of customer after this isn’t gonna care and is more than capable for most things.

4GB Ram which easily can handle multitasking better than some phones with far more memory. 

64GB of Non Expandable Storage being the only option however does offer lifetime google photos backup free of charge but I find the thing that takes the majority of my storage is apps and with no way to counter this and no way to upgrade the storage even if you are willing to pay extra can be a little bit off putting however an area that we will need to see if it needs to be a point for concern is the use of EMMC based flash storage I myself in the past have had issues with speed and reliability of poor EMMC Devices however the speed is okay on this unit but only time can tell if the reliability can be the same 

The screen is a 5.6” OLED Panel @1080p which looks very nice if a very minorly bit yellow to my eye but nothing that will bother you it’s hard to notice unless you hold it upto a screen that is a bit cooler. I worry about burn in as Pixel devices have had a hard reputation but much like the EMMC we will see how this plays out it is a good thing to note that samsung has found a way to prevent burn in on the newer Galaxy A, S and Note Devices but I still believe it is too soon to call to see what we are dealing with. 

The Camera on the phone is rather average however is helped with the amazing software and post processing that goes on inside the phone so while in the viewfinder photos can appear to have something to be desired when on the actual screen they can be quite amazing much like the portrait mode and the 4K video recording that I didn’t find too bad it was actually a very nice camera and it is the first camera on an android I tested that is in the same league as the iPhone.

The Device shipped with Android 9.0 but recently got an upgrade to Android 10 and now with Android 11 being confirmed the support of the device is not an area of concern which is a nice change of pace looking at you LG they are usually no the greatest. I have been playing with the beta of Android 11 on the Pixel 3a and while at the time of writing this they didn’t seem to add a lot it does seem to be a fairly stable update, ya know for being android and all 😉 

Some neat pixel exclusive features that are on the device are 

Google Call Screening – There will be a button as your getting a call on to have the google assistant screen the call it will find out who is calling, Why and it will print out what is being said and will give you the choice to take the call or to hang up this is especially useful with the war on Robo calls or from people that you sorta recognize the number but don’t want to pick it up as well as to determine how urgent the call is. 

This was By far one of the coolest features they added to the Pixel and as much as I love iOS even I had to admit that this is cool 

The next cool little feature was on the Always on Display if the assistant recognized the song playing around you say if your out and about and you hear a song that you really like but just don’t know what its called and typing “That song that goes do do dooo do dooo” in to google is turning up no results this is a really cool bonus however I cannot tell someone to buy the device because of this because in all honestly it only worked a small percentage of the time. 

Another feature I was fairly neutral about was the squeeze to summon the assistant. I mean the gesture worked okay.. (With the exception of the case I got that somewhat affected the assistant summoning) but the issue I have is with the google assistant itself. I much rather the assistant on the iPhone because for what I use it for which primarily is setting timers so I don’t stay on my break too long at work. I thought that this finally being a google device the google assistant would finally be a little better with functions like dealing with apps inside the operating system but I instead feel I need a syntax manual in order to have anything useful done and I am not sure If that is from a review I saw already I can’t seem to find it anymore if it was but quite annoying at times but still a bit better than the other devices I used

I couldn’t really figure out why but I like the default widget on the home screen it felt the most personal   

But an area that google could have really won me over was with the battery, But sadly they did not I mean it wasn’t as bad as the Nexus 5 & Nexus 4 days. But let me tell you it is far from the Galaxy and iPhone devices which was upsetting It mostly got me through the day but in the back of my mind I always wondered if it was gonna last the day I am thankful that it charges quickly but at the same time they lose a few points for the phone lacking wireless charging. Now I get that this is a luxury that should only be on higher end devices but at the same time it confuses me that the back is made of plastic and they leave a feature that has had be flat out decide against using a phone as my daily driver because it lacked this. 

I am happy to report that google has brought the headphone jack back on this devices and I can actually respect that they left the notch out even if it looks like a last gen device it wasnt to the point I felt it was an older phone 

But the thing that attracted me the most was the price of the phone it is a really fair deal 

I think the thing that drew me to this phone was the fact that it reminded me of the old Nexus Devices I had such a good experience with I mean sure they were by no means the top of the line and neither is this but it is what I would describe as good enough to the point where it slides by with a recommendation from me… HOWEVER this is on the condition google can improve the battery with the next gen, they continue this line because it’s finally getting hesitant nexus 5 members to finally look at something newer and they add wireless charging 

Congratulations Google, This one wasn’t too bad 🙂