Notebookcheck

Google Pixel 3a XL Smartphone Review

Mike Wobker, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Andrea Grüblinger (translated by Alex Alderson), 05/28/2019

Google's return to the midrange. Google has, until now, released flagship smartphones under its Pixel series. The 3a and 3a XL change this with their midrange pricing. The premise of these devices is flagship cameras on a budget, but how well has Google executed this idea? Read on to find out in this detailed review.

Google Pixel 3a XL

Until now, Pixel smartphones have been synonymous with high prices. According to our database, Google launched the Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL all for at least €800 (~$894), with prices creeping up with every new generation. The Pixel 3a and 3a XL buck this trend though and are a return for Google to the more affordable pricing of its Nexus smartphone series.

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL have a different focus to their Nexus predecessors. While the latter came with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series SoCs, Google has opted for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 with the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. The chip integrates an Adreno 616 GPU, which is complemented with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC flash storage. By contrast, Google equips the Pixel 3 XL with faster UFS 2.1 storage, so you may notice apps loading slightly quicker on the more expensive Pixel, for example. Unfortunately, there is microSD card expansion, so you are stuck with just 64 GB of physical storage minus that which is occupied by the OS and any pre-installed apps.

The Pixel 3a XL is considerably cheaper than the 3 XL, so we shall not be comparing the two in this review. Instead, we shall assess the 3a XL against the Motorola Moto Z3 Play, Nokia 8.1, Sony Xperia 10 Plus and the Xiaomi Mi 9. You can add other smartphones that we have tested into our comparison tables too, for reference.

Google Pixel 3a XL (Pixel Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
Display
6 inch 2:1, 2160 x 1080 pixel 402 PPI, capacitive, OLED, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB eMMC Flash, 64 GB 
, 52 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone jack, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Active Edge, barometer, e-compass,, eSIM
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, GSM/EDGE: 850, 900, 1,800, 1,900 MHz. UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1, 2, 4, 5, 8. CDMA/EVDO: BC0, BC1, BC10. 4G/LTE: Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 40, 41, 66., LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.2 x 160.1 x 76.1 ( = 0.32 x 6.3 x 3 in)
Battery
3700 mAh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Android 9.0 Pie
Camera
Primary Camera: 12.2 MPix 1.4 μm, ƒ/1.8, 76° autofocus, dual-pixel phase detection, optical and electronic image stabilisation
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix 1.12 μm, ƒ/2.0, 84° fixed focus
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: onscreen, USB modular charger, USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable, USB Type-A to USB Type-C adapter, headphones (only for devices sold in Australia, France, Germany, India, Italy and Spain), 24 Months Warranty, SAR values: Body – 1.19 W/kg, Head - 1.17 W/kg., fanless
Weight
167 g ( = 5.89 oz / 0.37 pounds), Power Supply: 81 g ( = 2.86 oz / 0.18 pounds)
Price
479 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The 3a XL retains the styling of its more expensive siblings. The device has a two-tone back, a colour contrasting power button and a single rear-facing camera flanked by an LED flash. The 3a XL has thick display bezels too like the Pixel 3 and Pixel 2 XL. Our review unit also feels like the 3 XL in our hands, but Google has opted for a plastic case rather than the glass and metal one that it used in the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. You would be forgiven for failing to tell the 3a XL and 3 XL apart from the back though, as Google has engineered the plastic back of the former to have to the same two-tone matte and glossy finish that the latter has. The fingerprint sensor on the 3a XL is slightly more recessed than it is on the 3 XL, but the rear-facing camera, LED flash, power button and volume rocker are all in the same place. The physical buttons sit firmly in their housings too, and there are no uneven gaps between materials. Overall, the 3a XL is an impressively well-built device considering that is made from plastic.

The plastic design allows the 3a XL to be lighter than most of our comparison devices though. It is thicker and longer than all but the Xperia 10 Plus too. However, our review unit is roughly as wide as the Mi 9, Moto Z3 Play, and Nokia 8.1 despite its comparatively thick bezels.

Google Pixel 3a XL
Google Pixel 3a XL
Google Pixel 3a XL
Google Pixel 3a XL
Google Pixel 3a XL

Size Comparison

167 mm / 6.57 inch 73 mm / 2.87 inch 8.3 mm / 0.3268 inch 180 g0.3968 lbs160.1 mm / 6.3 inch 76.1 mm / 3 inch 8.2 mm / 0.3228 inch 167 g0.3682 lbs157.5 mm / 6.2 inch 74.67 mm / 2.94 inch 7.61 mm / 0.2996 inch 173 g0.3814 lbs156.5 mm / 6.16 inch 76.5 mm / 3.01 inch 6.75 mm / 0.2657 inch 156 g0.3439 lbs154.8 mm / 6.09 inch 75.8 mm / 2.98 inch 8 mm / 0.315 inch 180 g0.3968 lbs

Connectivity

As mentioned at the start of this review, Google has equipped the 3a XL with a Snapdragon 670 SoC, which integrates an Adreno 616 GPU among other components. There is also 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC flash storage, but no microSD card expansion. Additionally, the device has one single nano-SIM card slot, but there is an eSIM, so it is effectively a dual-SIM device. Your carrier must support eSIMs though, so you cannot use an eSIM with any network.

Google has included an NFC chip too for use with services such as Google Pay. iFixit has confirmed that the 3a and 3a XL retain the Titan M security chip that the company used in the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. This chip integrates with Verified Boot to protect the device from having its bootloader, payment functions, passwords and more compromised by attackers. Titan M is a dedicated chip that sits separately from the SoC, which theoretically makes it harder to crack than those that are integrated within the processor, such as Apple’s Secure Enclave or ARM’s TrustZone.

The headphone jack makes a surprise return, with Google having omitted it from previous Pixel smartphones. The company has explained its reasoning for this, which we have covered here. There is also a USB 2.0 Type-C port for charging and data transfer, along with Widevine DRM L1 certification for streaming DRM protected content from the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Netflix in HD. The device only supports Level 3 Camera2 API, for some reason.

Top: 3.5 mm jack, microphone
Top: 3.5 mm jack, microphone
Left-hand side: nano-SIM card slot
Left-hand side: nano-SIM card slot
Bottom: Speaker, USB Type-C port
Bottom: Speaker, USB Type-C port
Right-hand side: Power button, volume rocker
Right-hand side: Power button, volume rocker

Software

The 3a XL currently ships with Android 9.0 Pie, while our review unit had 5 March 2019 security patches installed at the time of testing. The device runs stock Android as previous Pixel devices have, which is free of any third-party bloatware.

Google guarantees that it will release security patch updates to the 3a XL for the next three years. Likewise, it will roll-out system updates for the next two years.

Some people online have reported experiencing sporadic shutdowns with the 3a and 3a XL. We experienced no such issues with our review sample during our tests.

Default home screen
Default home screen
Default app drawer
Default app drawer
Quick Settings customisation
Quick Settings customisation
Quick Settings
Quick Settings
Storage information
Storage information
Device information
Device information

Communication & GPS

As expected, the 3a XL supports GSM, 3G and LTE networks. The device utilises LTE Cat 11 for up to 600 MBit/s download speeds and LTE Cat.5 for 75 MBit/s upload speeds.

The 3a XL also supports Bluetooth 5.0 along with all modern Wi-Fi standards up to IEEE 802.11 ac, which allows it to connect to 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. Our review unit achieved excellent results in our iperf3 Client Wi-Fi tests, with it trading blows with the Mi 9 at the top of our comparison tables. The 3a XL leaves our other comparison devices in its wake here and is around 3 times faster than the class average.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Xiaomi Mi 9
Adreno 640, 855, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
678 (min: 549, max: 725) MBit/s ∼100% +1%
Google Pixel 3a XL
Adreno 616, 670, 64 GB eMMC Flash
668 (min: 617, max: 692) MBit/s ∼99%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Adreno 509, 636, 64 GB eMMC Flash
317 (min: 163, max: 343) MBit/s ∼47% -53%
Nokia 8.1
Adreno 616, 710, 64 GB eMMC Flash
312 (min: 273, max: 341) MBit/s ∼46% -53%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Adreno 509, 636, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
232 MBit/s ∼34% -65%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=397)
220 MBit/s ∼32% -67%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Google Pixel 3a XL
Adreno 616, 670, 64 GB eMMC Flash
580 (min: 548, max: 602) MBit/s ∼100%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Adreno 640, 855, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
534 (min: 430, max: 578) MBit/s ∼92% -8%
Nokia 8.1
Adreno 616, 710, 64 GB eMMC Flash
300 (min: 169, max: 367) MBit/s ∼52% -48%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Adreno 509, 636, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
237 MBit/s ∼41% -59%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=397)
210 MBit/s ∼36% -64%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Adreno 509, 636, 64 GB eMMC Flash
153 (min: 133, max: 180) MBit/s ∼26% -74%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø667 (617-692)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø580 (548-602)
GPS test: Inside
GPS test: Inside
GPS test: Outside
GPS test: Outside

The 3a XL uses GALILEO, GLONASS and GPS, including A-GPS, for location services. Our test device found a satellite fix with up to 8 metres (~26 ft) accuracy when we tested it indoors and 4 metres (~13 ft) when we moved outside. These are both decent values for a midrange smartphone.

We also took our review unit on a bike ride to test its location accuracy against a bike computer, the Garmin Edge 500. Surprisingly, the 3a XL plotted a more accurate route than the Garmin, examples of which you can see below. Generally, the Pixel could keep up with us better in corners than the Garmin. In short, the 3a XL is accurate enough even for demanding navigation tasks.

GPS test: Google Pixel 3a XL – Overview
GPS test: Google Pixel 3a XL – Overview
GPS test: Google Pixel 3a XL – Cycling around a lake
GPS test: Google Pixel 3a XL – Cycling around a lake
GPS test: Google Pixel 3a XL - Loop
GPS test: Google Pixel 3a XL - Loop
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Cycling around a lake
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Cycling around a lake
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 - Loop
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 - Loop

Telephone Functions & Call Quality

Dialler
Dialler

The 3a XL comes with the standard suite of Google telephony apps. These apps function just as well on our review unit as they did on other devices that we have tested.

Our review unit has decent call quality too. Our call partner remained easy to understand throughout our test calls, while the microphones reliably filtered out any background noise that would have otherwise overpowered our voice. The earpiece also gets loud enough to comfortably make calls from noisy environments.

The 3a XL supports voice over LTE (VoLTE) Wi-Fi calls (VoWiFi). However, your carrier must provision the device on its network before either of these technologies will work. Hence, VoLTE and VoWiFi will not work on every network.

Cameras

Taking a selfie with the Pixel 3a XL
Taking a selfie with the Pixel 3a XL

Google equips the 3a XL with a 12.2 MP rear-facing camera, the same one that it uses in the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. The sensor has a pixel size of 1.4 μm, an ƒ/1.8 aperture and a 76 ° field of view. The camera also supports autofocus along with electronic and optical image stabilisation.

By contrast, the front-facing camera is an 8 MP sensor with a narrower ƒ/ 2.0 aperture, a smaller pixel size of 1.12 μm and an 84 ° field of view. The sensor also only supports fixed focus and is not optically stabilised. Overall, the selfies look detailed, while the sensor preserves fine details and structures. Likewise, colours look vivid, and objects are clearly demarcated.

The default camera app has several modes including portrait, panorama and night sight among others. Moreover, there is an option to retouch selfies, which Google sets to “Natural” by default. You can further soften selfies with the “Soft” mode or turn it off altogether. The default camera app has a timer, an HDR mode, white balance options and can take a “motion photo”, which captures a short video and allows you to choose between shots. There is no manual or professional mode though.

The rear-facing camera is one of the main talking points of the 3a and 3a XL. It creates impressively detailed photos for a sensor in a midrange smartphone, and we can only notice image blur when we zoom in closely. Macro photos are detailed, and colours stand out well. Likewise, the sensor clearly delineates objects and fine structures even at high levels of zoom.

The 3a XL also does a great job in low-light, as demonstrated below by scene 3. Our review unit captures more details than the Galaxy S10+ and Mi 9 do, which is unsurprising considering that it is the same sensor as the one in the 3 XL. Colours are slightly off though, and there is noticeable image noise. Please keep in mind that we photographed scene 3 using the automatic camera mode and not Night Sight. The latter would have probably taken a more detailed and better-exposed photo, for reference. The default camera app also integrates features such as Google Lens, which can bring up contextual information about your surroundings, for example.

The cameras do a decent job at recording videos too. Our review unit has no problems with tracking fast moving objects or adjusting focus levels. The electronic and optical image stabilisation also compensate well for any camera shaking while recording with the rear-facing sensor.

The default camera app can shoot video at up to 4K at 30 FPS. You can use 60 FPS and 120 FPS at lower resolutions though.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
ColorChecker Passport: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour
ColorChecker Passport: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour

We also subjected the rear-facing camera to further tests under controlled lighting conditions. Our review unit generally reproduces colours more brightly than ColorChecker reference colours, although one grey tone looks perfect.

The 3a XL does a great job at reproducing our test chart. Details and fine structures are easily recognisable, while colours stand out from black and grey. Contrast levels drop off in the lower corners of the image, but that is also the case for many modern smartphones, so it is not a specific gripe of the 3A XL.

A photo of our test chart
A photo of our test chart
Our test chart in detail

Accessories & Warranty

The 3a XL comes with an 18 W USB charger, a matching Type-C cable, a Type-A to Type C adapter and a SIM tool regardless of the region in which you buy it. You will also receive a quick start guide along with two stickers. However, only versions sold in Australia, France, Germany, India, Italy and Spain come with headphones, for some reason.

Google affords the 3a XL a 24-month limited warranty. Please see our Guarantees, Return Policies & Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices & Operation

The 3a XL comes with Google GBoard pre-installed as its default keyboard. The app works just as well on our review unit as it does on other devices that we have tested.

The touchscreen responded well during our tests and delivers a pleasantly precise vibration by default. The Dragontail glass covering the touchscreen has a smooth finish that makes performing multi-finger gestures such as pinch to zoom easy.

Google also includes its Active Edge technology, which we have seen on other Pixel smartphones. Active Edge allows you to bring up the Google Assistant by squeezing the lower sides of the frame. You can customise the pressure required to trigger Active Edge. However, you cannot currently configure it to activate anything other than Google Assistant, which is a shame.

The 3a XL has a fingerprint sensor too, which worked well during our tests. The sensor unlocked our review unit quickly and consistently recognised our saved fingerprints.

Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode

Display

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array

The 3a XL has a 6-inch OLED panel, which operates at 2,160x1,080 in a 2:1 aspect ratio. You may see 2:1 referred to as 18:9 elsewhere, for reference. Our review unit achieved an average maximum brightness of 410 cd/m² in our tests according to X-Rite i1Pro 2, which puts it on par with the 3 XL. However, our comparison devices get between 10% and 43% brighter than the 3a XL. Activating the brightness sensor increases maximum luminosity to 416 cd/m², although the more practical APL50 test claims that the display can reach a maximum of 539 cd/m². Our review unit can also reach a minimum of lowest 2.35 cd/m², which makes it suitable to be read at night or in a dark room without fear of suffering eye strain.

Unfortunately, the 3a XL uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) to regulate display brightness, which looks like flickering to some people’s eyes. The display in our review unit oscillates at 249 Hz when set below 99% brightness, which may cause health issues such as eye strain and headaches for those who are PWM sensitive.

407
cd/m²
415
cd/m²
414
cd/m²
400
cd/m²
409
cd/m²
406
cd/m²
405
cd/m²
418
cd/m²
414
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 418 cd/m² Average: 409.8 cd/m² Minimum: 2.35 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 96 %
Center on Battery: 409 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.3 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6.1
ΔE Greyscale 1.5 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
100% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.22
Google Pixel 3a XL
OLED, 2160x1080, 6
Xiaomi Mi 9
AMOLED, 2340x1080, 6.39
Nokia 8.1
IPS, 2246x1080, 6.18
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
AMOLED, 2160x1080, 6
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
IPS, 2520x1080, 6.5
Screen
22%
-102%
-158%
-170%
Brightness middle
409
593
45%
567
39%
446
9%
572
40%
Brightness
410
587
43%
547
33%
451
10%
580
41%
Brightness Distribution
96
94
-2%
92
-4%
93
-3%
96
0%
Black Level *
0.61
0.4
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.3
0.9
31%
4.39
-238%
6.58
-406%
4.5
-246%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
2.3
2
13%
7.28
-217%
11.94
-419%
12.2
-430%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.5
1.5
-0%
4.9
-227%
3.6
-140%
7.9
-427%
Gamma
2.22 99%
2.27 97%
2.248 98%
2.199 100%
2.16 102%
CCT
6621 98%
6548 99%
7642 85%
7116 91%
8726 74%
Contrast
930
1430

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 242.7 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 242.7 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 242.7 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9524 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

OLED panels typically produce pure blacks because they can switch off pixels individually, as the display in the 3a XL can. Blacks look rich and help the display achieve a theoretically infinite contrast ratio, which makes colours look sharper than they do on devices with IPS panels, such as the Nokia 8.1 and Xperia 10 Plus.

Google includes three display colour modes, which it calls “Adaptive”, “Natural” and “Boost”. The company enables Adaptive by default, which vividly reproduces colours at the cost of slightly increased blue and green tones. Switching to “Boost” or “Natural” makes colours look more muted, although the latter is the most colour accurate of the three modes.

CalMAN: Colour Accuracy – Adaptive colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy – Adaptive colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy – Natural colour mode, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy – Natural colour mode, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy – Boost colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy – Boost colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Adaptive colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Adaptive colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Natural colour mode, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Natural colour mode, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Boost colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Boost colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Adaptive colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Adaptive colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Natural colour mode, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Natural colour mode, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Boost colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Boost colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Adaptive colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Adaptive colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Natural colour mode, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Natural colour mode, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Boost colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Boost colour mode, DCI P3 target colour space

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
2.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 1.6 ms rise
↘ 1.2 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 0 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
3.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2 ms rise
↘ 1.6 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 0 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (40.4 ms).

The 3a XL is easy to use outdoors thanks to its bright and contrast-rich display. Bright sunlight will overwhelm the screen, though.

Using the Pixel 3a XL outdoors
Using the Pixel 3a XL outdoors
Using the Pixel 3a XL outdoors
Using the Pixel 3a XL outdoors

The 3a XL has excellent viewing angles thanks to its OLED panel. We experienced no brightness, colour or image distortions even at oblique viewing angles, nor did we notice the green glow that usually affects OLED panels. Overall, you should be able to read the display on the 3a XL from practically any angle.

Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles

Performance

As mentioned earlier in this review, Google has equipped the 3a XL, with a Snapdragon 670 SoC and 4 GB of RAM. Qualcomm introduced the chipset in August 2018, but the 3a XL is only the second device we have tested to be powered by it.

The Snapdragon 670 is an ARMv8-based midrange chip that Qualcomm claims can deliver 15% better CPU performance than the Snapdragon 660 and up to double the AI performance. The Snapdragon 670 integrates the Kryo 360 CPU, an octa-core processor that has two performance cores and six power saving cores, which can clock up to 2 GHz and 1.7 GHz respectively. These are slightly lower than the clock speeds of the Snapdragon 660, which also has two additional performance cores and two fewer power savings cores. Qualcomm has built the Snapdragon 670 on a 10 nm FinFET process though, which should make it a more efficient chipset than the 14 nm process on which it built the Snapdragon 660. The Snapdragon 670 also integrates an Adreno 616 GPU, which it complements with 64 GB of eMMC flash storage.

Our review unit achieves decent synthetic benchmark scores, which place it in the midfield of our comparison devices. Overall, the Snapdragon 670 is no match for the Snapdragon 855 in the Mi 9, and it generally falls around 10% short of the Snapdragon 710 in the Nokia 8.1. Surprisingly, the Snapdragon 660 in the Samsung Galaxy A9 occasionally outscores the Snapdragon 670 by up to 20% depending on the benchmark. Overall, the 3a XL and Snapdragon 670 deliver worse performance than the Snapdragon 710 and Snapdragon 855, but it edges out SoCs such as the Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 636.

Geekbench 4.3
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
6479 Points ∼87%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
7482 Points ∼100% +15%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
6813 Points ∼91% +5%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
4501 Points ∼60% -31%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
4278 Points ∼57% -34%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
5542 Points ∼74% -14%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (6090 - 6479, n=2)
6285 Points ∼84% -3%
Average of class Smartphone
  (663 - 21070, n=299)
4513 Points ∼60% -30%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
5172 Points ∼47%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
10999 Points ∼100% +113%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
5856 Points ∼53% +13%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
4941 Points ∼45% -4%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
4804 Points ∼44% -7%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
5826 Points ∼53% +13%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (5172 - 5742, n=2)
5457 Points ∼50% +6%
Average of class Smartphone
  (1174 - 11598, n=353)
4479 Points ∼41% -13%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
1616 Points ∼46%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
3523 Points ∼100% +118%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
1799 Points ∼51% +11%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1330 Points ∼38% -18%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1346 Points ∼38% -17%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
1601 Points ∼45% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (1616 - 1712, n=2)
1664 Points ∼47% +3%
Average of class Smartphone
  (758 - 4824, n=355)
1325 Points ∼38% -18%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
7377 Points ∼82%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
9035 Points ∼100% +22%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
6887 Points ∼76% -7%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
5640 Points ∼62% -24%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
6018 Points ∼67% -18%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
5789 Points ∼64% -22%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (6698 - 7377, n=2)
7038 Points ∼78% -5%
Average of class Smartphone
  (3227 - 11440, n=349)
4937 Points ∼55% -33%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
9397 Points ∼86%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
10985 Points ∼100% +17%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
8309 Points ∼76% -12%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
6457 Points ∼59% -31%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
7181 Points ∼65% -24%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
6338 Points ∼58% -33%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (8126 - 9397, n=2)
8762 Points ∼80% -7%
Average of class Smartphone
  (4096 - 14439, n=517)
5401 Points ∼49% -43%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (Vulkan) Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2314 Points ∼70%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
3288 Points ∼100% +42%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2282 Points ∼69% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2288 - 2314, n=2)
2301 Points ∼70% -1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (1849 - 15735, n=37)
2434 Points ∼74% +5%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (Vulkan) Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
1416 Points ∼25%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
5723 Points ∼100% +304%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
809 Points ∼14% -43%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (1408 - 1416, n=2)
1412 Points ∼25% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (209 - 14536, n=37)
2303 Points ∼40% +63%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (Vulkan) Unlimited (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
1550 Points ∼32%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
4914 Points ∼100% +217%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
944 Points ∼19% -39%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (1540 - 1550, n=2)
1545 Points ∼31% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (260 - 14786, n=40)
1997 Points ∼41% +29%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2532 Points ∼67%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
3754 Points ∼100% +48%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2534 Points ∼68% 0%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2384 Points ∼64% -6%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2345 Points ∼62% -7%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
2774 Points ∼74% +10%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2424 - 2532, n=2)
2478 Points ∼66% -2%
Average of class Smartphone
  (573 - 4535, n=363)
1813 Points ∼48% -28%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
1612 Points ∼23%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
7076 Points ∼100% +339%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
1845 Points ∼26% +14%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
865 Points ∼12% -46%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
862 Points ∼12% -47%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
1268 Points ∼18% -21%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (1612 - 1612, n=2)
1612 Points ∼23% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (76 - 8206, n=363)
1548 Points ∼22% -4%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
1754 Points ∼30%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
5913 Points ∼100% +237%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
1964 Points ∼33% +12%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1008 Points ∼17% -43%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1003 Points ∼17% -43%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
1433 Points ∼24% -18%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (1742 - 1754, n=2)
1748 Points ∼30% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (94 - 6312, n=366)
1445 Points ∼24% -18%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2495 Points ∼66%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
3788 Points ∼100% +52%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2516 Points ∼66% +1%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2384 Points ∼63% -4%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2352 Points ∼62% -6%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
2645 Points ∼70% +6%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2413 - 2495, n=2)
2454 Points ∼65% -2%
Average of class Smartphone
  (375 - 4493, n=377)
1782 Points ∼47% -29%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2537 Points ∼25%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
10291 Points ∼100% +306%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2855 Points ∼28% +13%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1400 Points ∼14% -45%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1397 Points ∼14% -45%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
1757 Points ∼17% -31%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2534 - 2537, n=2)
2536 Points ∼25% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (131 - 14951, n=377)
2118 Points ∼21% -17%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2528 Points ∼34%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
7449 Points ∼100% +195%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2772 Points ∼37% +10%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1541 Points ∼21% -39%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1536 Points ∼21% -39%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
1898 Points ∼25% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2506 - 2528, n=2)
2517 Points ∼34% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (159 - 7980, n=378)
1805 Points ∼24% -29%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2466 Points ∼66%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
3758 Points ∼100% +52%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2514 Points ∼67% +2%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2327 Points ∼62% -6%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2351 Points ∼63% -5%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
2073 Points ∼55% -16%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2436 - 2466, n=2)
2451 Points ∼65% -1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (486 - 4262, n=439)
1740 Points ∼46% -29%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
1487 Points ∼23%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
6355 Points ∼100% +327%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
1702 Points ∼27% +14%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
815 Points ∼13% -45%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
808 Points ∼13% -46%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
1185 Points ∼19% -20%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (1451 - 1487, n=2)
1469 Points ∼23% -1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (65 - 6362, n=441)
1280 Points ∼20% -14%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
1631 Points ∼30%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
5509 Points ∼100% +238%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
1834 Points ∼33% +12%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
953 Points ∼17% -42%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
946 Points ∼17% -42%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
1354 Points ∼25% -17%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (1594 - 1631, n=2)
1613 Points ∼29% -1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (80 - 5734, n=449)
1225 Points ∼22% -25%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2489 Points ∼69%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
3614 Points ∼100% +45%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2467 Points ∼68% -1%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2337 Points ∼65% -6%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2349 Points ∼65% -6%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
2741 Points ∼76% +10%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2456 - 2489, n=2)
2473 Points ∼68% -1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (512 - 4240, n=471)
1645 Points ∼46% -34%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2428 Points ∼24%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
9963 Points ∼100% +310%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2763 Points ∼28% +14%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1333 Points ∼13% -45%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1327 Points ∼13% -45%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
1918 Points ∼19% -21%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2357 - 2428, n=2)
2393 Points ∼24% -1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (43 - 10008, n=471)
1735 Points ∼17% -29%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2441 Points ∼34%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
7166 Points ∼100% +194%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2691 Points ∼38% +10%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1474 Points ∼21% -40%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1469 Points ∼20% -40%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
2054 Points ∼29% -16%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2378 - 2441, n=2)
2410 Points ∼34% -1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (55 - 7673, n=479)
1491 Points ∼21% -39%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
14631 Points ∼58%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
25339 Points ∼100% +73%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
14820 Points ∼58% +1%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
16939 Points ∼67% +16%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
Points ∼0% -100%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
18523 Points ∼73% +27%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (13055 - 14631, n=2)
13843 Points ∼55% -5%
Average of class Smartphone
  (4811 - 45072, n=631)
13525 Points ∼53% -8%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
35596 Points ∼33%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
106534 Points ∼100% +199%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
39655 Points ∼37% +11%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
20908 Points ∼20% -41%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
Points ∼0% -100%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
29065 Points ∼27% -18%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (22381 - 35596, n=2)
28989 Points ∼27% -19%
Average of class Smartphone
  (3585 - 162695, n=631)
19546 Points ∼18% -45%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
26999 Points ∼43%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
62225 Points ∼100% +130%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
28895 Points ∼46% +7%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
19873 Points ∼32% -26%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
Points ∼0% -100%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
25783 Points ∼41% -5%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (19315 - 26999, n=2)
23157 Points ∼37% -14%
Average of class Smartphone
  (4164 - 83518, n=632)
16333 Points ∼26% -40%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
58 fps ∼35%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
167 fps ∼100% +188%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
65 fps ∼39% +12%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
36 fps ∼22% -38%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
35 fps ∼21% -40%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
46 fps ∼28% -21%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (46 - 58, n=2)
52 fps ∼31% -10%
Average of class Smartphone
  (6 - 251, n=659)
34.1 fps ∼20% -41%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
53 fps ∼88%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
60 fps ∼100% +13%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
57 fps ∼95% +8%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
35 fps ∼58% -34%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
30 fps ∼50% -43%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
50 fps ∼83% -6%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (32 - 53, n=2)
42.5 fps ∼71% -20%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.8 - 120, n=662)
26.5 fps ∼44% -50%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
29 fps ∼29%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
100 fps ∼100% +245%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
32 fps ∼32% +10%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
16 fps ∼16% -45%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
16 fps ∼16% -45%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
23 fps ∼23% -21%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (29 - 29, n=2)
29 fps ∼29% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (2.7 - 132, n=578)
18.7 fps ∼19% -36%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
28 fps ∼47%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
60 fps ∼100% +114%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
31 fps ∼52% +11%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
15 fps ∼25% -46%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
13 fps ∼22% -54%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
21 fps ∼35% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (17 - 28, n=2)
22.5 fps ∼38% -20%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.4 - 115, n=583)
17.4 fps ∼29% -38%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
20 fps ∼29%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
69 fps ∼100% +245%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
23 fps ∼33% +15%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
10 fps ∼14% -50%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
10 fps ∼14% -50%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
15 fps ∼22% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (19 - 20, n=2)
19.5 fps ∼28% -2%
Average of class Smartphone
  (1.6 - 88, n=440)
15.5 fps ∼22% -22%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
19 fps ∼33%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
58 fps ∼100% +205%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
22 fps ∼38% +16%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
9.8 fps ∼17% -48%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
8.4 fps ∼14% -56%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
14 fps ∼24% -26%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (6.9 - 19, n=2)
13 fps ∼22% -32%
Average of class Smartphone
  (3.4 - 110, n=443)
14.8 fps ∼26% -22%
GFXBench
High Tier Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
7.2 fps ∼30%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
24 fps ∼100% +233%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
8.2 fps ∼34% +14%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
3.2 fps ∼13% -56%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
3 fps ∼13% -58%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (4.3 - 7.2, n=2)
5.75 fps ∼24% -20%
Average of class Smartphone
  (0.86 - 59, n=143)
8.76 fps ∼37% +22%
2560x1440 High Tier Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
4.5 fps ∼28%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
16 fps ∼100% +256%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
5 fps ∼31% +11%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2.2 fps ∼14% -51%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
4.8 fps ∼30% +7%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (4.4 - 4.5, n=2)
4.45 fps ∼28% -1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (0.26 - 31, n=143)
5.99 fps ∼37% +33%
Normal Tier Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
11 fps ∼30%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
37 fps ∼100% +236%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
13 fps ∼35% +18%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
4.9 fps ∼13% -55%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
7.5 fps ∼20% -32%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (6.8 - 11, n=2)
8.9 fps ∼24% -19%
Average of class Smartphone
  (1.8 - 59, n=145)
13 fps ∼35% +18%
1920x1080 Normal Tier Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
12 fps ∼29%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
41 fps ∼100% +242%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
14 fps ∼34% +17%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
6.1 fps ∼15% -49%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
8.6 fps ∼21% -28%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (12 - 12, n=2)
12 fps ∼29% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (0.94 - 63, n=144)
14.4 fps ∼35% +20%
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
11 fps ∼26%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
42 fps ∼100% +282%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
13 fps ∼31% +18%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
6.3 fps ∼15% -43%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
6.3 fps ∼15% -43%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
9.1 fps ∼22% -17%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (8.5 - 11, n=2)
9.75 fps ∼23% -11%
Average of class Smartphone
  (0.89 - 54, n=369)
10.4 fps ∼25% -5%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
11 fps ∼29%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
38 fps ∼100% +245%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
12 fps ∼32% +9%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
6 fps ∼16% -45%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
5.1 fps ∼13% -54%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
8.3 fps ∼22% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (6.4 - 11, n=2)
8.7 fps ∼23% -21%
Average of class Smartphone
  (1.6 - 58, n=373)
9.41 fps ∼25% -14%
Basemark GPU
1920x1080 OpenGL Medium Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
13.79 fps ∼37%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
37.41 fps ∼100% +171%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
14.3 fps ∼38% +4%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (13.1 - 13.8, n=2)
13.4 fps ∼36% -3%
Average of class Smartphone
  (3.09 - 651, n=60)
25.9 fps ∼69% +88%
Vulkan Medium Native (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
11.62 fps ∼36%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
32.2 fps ∼100% +177%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
12.1 fps ∼38% +4%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (7.67 - 11.6, n=2)
9.65 fps ∼30% -17%
Average of class Smartphone
  (6.62 - 606, n=55)
23 fps ∼71% +98%
1920x1080 Vulkan Medium Offscreen (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
12.45 fps ∼35%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
35.63 fps ∼100% +186%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
13 fps ∼36% +4%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (12 - 12.5, n=2)
12.2 fps ∼34% -2%
Average of class Smartphone
  (0 - 739, n=55)
27.6 fps ∼77% +122%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
158868 Points ∼42%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
374820 Points ∼100% +136%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
169262 Points ∼45% +7%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
115656 Points ∼31% -27%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
117574 Points ∼31% -26%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
140878 Points ∼38% -11%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (156772 - 158868, n=2)
157820 Points ∼42% -1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (52607 - 380913, n=260)
127050 Points ∼34% -20%
VRMark - Amber Room (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
1473 Score ∼30%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
4964 Score ∼100% +237%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
1681 Score ∼34% +14%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (1423 - 1473, n=2)
1448 Score ∼29% -2%
Average of class Smartphone
  (552 - 5025, n=57)
1909 Score ∼38% +30%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
1186 Points ∼86%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
1378 Points ∼100% +16%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
1077 Points ∼78% -9%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1052 Points ∼76% -11%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1046 Points ∼76% -12%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
1105 Points ∼80% -7%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (1144 - 1186, n=2)
1165 Points ∼85% -2%
Average of class Smartphone
  (7 - 1731, n=590)
734 Points ∼53% -38%
Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2815 Points ∼30%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
9270 Points ∼100% +229%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
3086 Points ∼33% +10%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1625 Points ∼18% -42%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1611 Points ∼17% -43%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
2332 Points ∼25% -17%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2815 - 2816, n=2)
2816 Points ∼30% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (18 - 15969, n=590)
1889 Points ∼20% -33%
Memory (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
3316 Points ∼82%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
4031 Points ∼100% +22%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2947 Points ∼73% -11%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2208 Points ∼55% -33%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1236 Points ∼31% -63%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
2393 Points ∼59% -28%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2894 - 3316, n=2)
3105 Points ∼77% -6%
Average of class Smartphone
  (21 - 6661, n=590)
1413 Points ∼35% -57%
System (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
5507 Points ∼65%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
8441 Points ∼100% +53%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
5681 Points ∼67% +3%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
4628 Points ∼55% -16%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
4342 Points ∼51% -21%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
5063 Points ∼60% -8%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (5315 - 5507, n=2)
5411 Points ∼64% -2%
Average of class Smartphone
  (369 - 12202, n=590)
2799 Points ∼33% -49%
Overall (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
2794 Points ∼61%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
4595 Points ∼100% +64%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
2731 Points ∼59% -2%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
2044 Points ∼44% -27%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Adreno 509, 4096
1734 Points ∼38% -38%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512, 6144
2364 Points ∼51% -15%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (2653 - 2794, n=2)
2724 Points ∼59% -3%
Average of class Smartphone
  (150 - 6097, n=594)
1389 Points ∼30% -50%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel 3a XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Adreno 616, 4096
447 Points ∼32%
Xiaomi Mi 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640, 6144
1415 Points ∼100% +217%
Nokia 8.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616, 4096
482 Points ∼34% +8%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  (444 - 447, n=2)
446 Points ∼32% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (35 - 2754, n=98)
701 Points ∼50% +57%

The 3a XL also secures a solid middle place finish in our browser benchmarks. Websites load quickly in daily use, while scrolling always remained smooth. Media content appears promptly too, but with more of a delay than on modern flagship smartphones.

Jetstream 2 - Total Score
Xiaomi Mi 9 (Chrome 73)
57.207 Points ∼100% +78%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (32.1 - 33.6, n=2)
32.8 Points ∼57% +2%
Google Pixel 3a XL (Chrome 73)
32.083 Points ∼56%
Average of class Smartphone (14.7 - 108, n=70)
29 Points ∼51% -10%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus (Chrome 73)
25.96 Points ∼45% -19%
Speedometer 2.0 - Result
Xiaomi Mi 9 (Chrome 73.0.3683.75)
65.7 runs/min ∼100% +102%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (32.5 - 33.7, n=2)
33.1 runs/min ∼50% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (6.42 - 123, n=64)
33 runs/min ∼50% +2%
Google Pixel 3a XL (Chrome 73)
32.5 runs/min ∼49%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus (Chrome 73)
27.4 runs/min ∼42% -16%
WebXPRT 3 - ---
Xiaomi Mi 9 (Chrome 73.0.3683.75)
108 Points ∼100% +74%
Nokia 8.1 (Chrome 71)
72 Points ∼67% +16%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (62 - 66, n=2)
64 Points ∼59% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (19 - 161, n=125)
62.4 Points ∼58% +1%
Google Pixel 3a XL (Chrome 73)
62 Points ∼57%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 (Chrome 70)
59 Points ∼55% -5%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play (Chrome 67)
55 Points ∼51% -11%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus (Chrome 73)
54 Points ∼50% -13%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Xiaomi Mi 9 (Chrome 73.0.3683.75)
24534 Points ∼100% +122%
Nokia 8.1 (Chrome 71)
12717 Points ∼52% +15%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (11056 - 11312, n=2)
11184 Points ∼46% +1%
Google Pixel 3a XL (Chrome 73)
11056 Points ∼45%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 (Chrome 70)
10145 Points ∼41% -8%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play (Chrome 67)
8519 Points ∼35% -23%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus (Chrome 73)
8163 Points ∼33% -26%
Average of class Smartphone (1994 - 43280, n=652)
6115 Points ∼25% -45%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=672)
10898 ms * ∼100% -224%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play (Chrome 67)
4820 ms * ∼44% -43%
Sony Xperia 10 Plus (Chrome 73)
4739 ms * ∼43% -41%
Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 (Chrome 70)
3841.8 (min: 1) ms * ∼35% -14%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 (3361 - 3496, n=2)
3429 ms * ∼31% -2%
Google Pixel 3a XL (Chrome 73)
3360.7 ms * ∼31%
Nokia 8.1 (Chrome 71)
3034.9 ms * ∼28% +10%
Xiaomi Mi 9 (Chrome 73.0.3683.75)
1873.2 ms * ∼17% +44%

* ... smaller is better

Google has equipped the 3a XL with comparatively fast storage, at least by eMMC standards. Our review unit is no match for the Mi 9 and its UFS 2.1 storage. However, it is about a third faster than what we expected, and slightly less so than our other comparison devices.

Google Pixel 3a XLXiaomi Mi 9Nokia 8.1Motorola Moto Z3 PlaySony Xperia 10 PlusAverage 64 GB eMMC FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
95%
-29%
-12%
-23%
-33%
-50%
Random Write 4KB
86.96
165.32
90%
7.3
-92%
84.1
-3%
16.77
-81%
24.5 (3.4 - 88.2, n=108)
-72%
19.3 (0.14 - 250, n=701)
-78%
Random Read 4KB
92.12
149.36
62%
69.9
-24%
60.6
-34%
77.67
-16%
54.6 (11.4 - 149, n=108)
-41%
43.9 (1.59 - 175, n=701)
-52%
Sequential Write 256KB
179.09
388.27
117%
203.8
14%
182.5
2%
205.19
15%
172 (40 - 246, n=108)
-4%
90.4 (2.99 - 392, n=701)
-50%
Sequential Read 256KB
315.6
666.06
111%
279.3
-12%
271.7
-14%
280.34
-11%
274 (115 - 704, n=108)
-13%
255 (12.1 - 1468, n=701)
-19%

Games

The Adreno 616, as we discovered in our recent Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e review, is a competent gaming GPU. Our review unit achieved stable and playable framerates even in complex titles such as "PUBG Mobile". "Arena of Valor" and "Shadow Fight 3" ran smoothly too, although there are some occasional dropped frames at high graphics. Overall, the Adreno 616 is powerful enough to handle any modern game.

The touchscreen and associated sensors also worked perfectly during our gaming tests. People with small hands may be better suited with a device that has a higher screen-to-body ratio though, because the display bezels of the 3a XL could be uncomfortably large.

PUBG Mobile
PUBG Mobile
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor
Shadow Fight 3
Shadow Fight 3
PUBG Compare
01020304050Tooltip
; Smooth: Ø39.5 (11-41)
; HD: Ø29.9 (28-31)
Arena of Valor
0102030405060Tooltip
; min: Ø59.6 (50-60)
; high HD: Ø56 (36-60)
Shadow Fight 3
0102030405060Tooltip
; high: Ø59.4 (51-60)
; minimal: Ø59.4 (50-60)

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench - Manhattan 3.1
GFXBench - Manhattan 3.1
GFXBench - ES 2.0
GFXBench - ES 2.0

Our measurements certify that surface temperatures on the 3a XL reach a maximum of 36.4 °C (~98 °F) under load and 31.5 °C (~89 °F) at idle. In short, the device will feel warm to the touch, but it should never feel uncomfortably hot.

We also subjected our review unit to looped GFX Bench battery tests to determine how it manages its performance under sustained load. The tests reveal that the 3a XL does not thermal throttle at all. Our review unit achieved the same framerates in the complex Manhattan benchmark even after 30 run throughs as it initially did. Impressive stuff.

Max. Load
 36.4 °C
98 F
34.2 °C
94 F
31.6 °C
89 F
 
 36.3 °C
97 F
34.6 °C
94 F
31.4 °C
89 F
 
 34.2 °C
94 F
34.4 °C
94 F
31.1 °C
88 F
 
Maximum: 36.4 °C = 98 F
Average: 33.8 °C = 93 F
32.4 °C
90 F
32.3 °C
90 F
35.7 °C
96 F
30.8 °C
87 F
32.4 °C
90 F
36.2 °C
97 F
30 °C
86 F
32.5 °C
91 F
34.8 °C
95 F
Maximum: 36.2 °C = 97 F
Average: 33 °C = 91 F
Power Supply (max.)  27.9 °C = 82 F | Room Temperature 21.3 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 33.8 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 36.4 °C / 98 F, compared to the average of 35.6 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 36.2 °C / 97 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 30.9 °C / 88 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.
Heatmap of the top of the device under load
Heatmap of the top of the device under load
Heatmap of the bottom of the device under load
Heatmap of the bottom of the device under load

Speakers

Speaker characteristics
Speaker characteristics

The 3a XL has stereo speakers, which reached a maximum of 82.2 dB(A) during our tests. The speakers deliver a wide soundscape and are good enough for occasionally listening to music or watching videos.

External speakers and headphones still provide a better listening experience in most cases, though. We had no issues with connecting either via Bluetooth or the headphone jack during our tests. The latter also grips headphone jacks tightly, so they should not fall out if knocked.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2037.134.32527.4333125.524.44024.527.55036.135.46326.1278024.322.610022.129.612519.136.616020.253.220019.452.425016.553.531515.156.740015.3575001461.463014.567.88001467.9100014.571.2125014.570.7160014.371.1200014.668.325001470.3315014.769.1400014.367.2500014.860.2630014.666.4800014.473.91000014.677.31250014.774.1160001566.9SPL26.782.2N0.853.2median 14.6median 67.2Delta1.57.339.432.928.325.418.726.526.725.933.229.422.622.721.822.224.43123.839.218.550.417.149.117.853.815.556.114.162.51467.913.869.114.773.515.47715.276.614.376.514.574.913.971.714.675.914.178.114.374.314.574.614.875.714.87514.864.41558.226.887.10.871.4median 14.8median 71.71.510hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseGoogle Pixel 3a XLXiaomi Mi 9
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Google Pixel 3a XL audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.2 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 20.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.7% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.2% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 17% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 79% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Xiaomi Mi 9 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (87.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.4% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (17.6% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 3% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 92% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 28% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 66% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Power Management

Power Consumption

A look at the charger included with the Pixel 3a XL
A look at the charger included with the Pixel 3a XL

Our tests confirm that the 3a XL is a surprisingly power efficient smartphone. Our review unit consumes a minimum of 0.7 W at idle and up to 4.62 W under load. The device consumes considerably less than what we would have expected from a Snapdragon 670 powered device. Furthermore, it is more efficient than all our comparison devices, although the Mi 9Nokia 8.1 and Xperia 10 Plus occasionally consume slightly less depending on the scenario. The latter, for instance, has a 3% lower minimum consumption at idle than our review unit. Likewise, the Mi 9 has a 23% lower average power consumption at idle. Overall though, the 3a XL has impressively low power consumption.

Correspondingly, the included 18-W fast charger is powerful enough to keep the 3a XL recharging even when if you are pushing it to its limits.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.01 / 0.27 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.7 / 1.63 / 1.67 Watt
Load midlight 2.64 / 4.62 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Google Pixel 3a XL
3700 mAh
Xiaomi Mi 9
3300 mAh
Nokia 8.1
3500 mAh
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
3000 mAh
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
3000 mAh
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
-18%
-10%
-44%
-28%
-55%
-27%
Idle Minimum *
0.7
0.67
4%
0.8
-14%
1.3
-86%
0.68
3%
1.385 (0.7 - 2.07, n=2)
-98%
0.882 (0.2 - 3.4, n=728)
-26%
Idle Average *
1.63
1.26
23%
1.5
8%
2
-23%
2.12
-30%
2.79 (1.63 - 3.94, n=2)
-71%
1.737 (0.6 - 6.2, n=727)
-7%
Idle Maximum *
1.67
1.29
23%
1.8
-8%
2.7
-62%
2.17
-30%
2.82 (1.67 - 3.96, n=2)
-69%
2.02 (0.74 - 6.6, n=728)
-21%
Load Average *
2.64
3.71
-41%
3.2
-21%
3.7
-40%
3.82
-45%
3.36 (2.64 - 4.07, n=2)
-27%
4.07 (0.8 - 10.8, n=722)
-54%
Load Maximum *
4.62
9.3
-101%
5.4
-17%
5.1
-10%
6.44
-39%
5.18 (4.62 - 5.73, n=2)
-12%
5.87 (1.2 - 14.2, n=722)
-27%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The 3a XL has a 3,700 mAh battery, which is between 200 mAh and 700 mAh larger than the batteries in our comparison devices. Surprisingly, our review unit only finished top of our comparison tables in two of our four battery life tests. The Mi 9 and Nokia 8.1 lasted slightly longer than the 3a XL in our looped H.264 video and Wi-Fi battery life tests respectively. Overall, the 3a XL outlasts all our comparison devices, but not by as far as we had expected considering its lower power consumption and larger battery.

In that sense, the 3a XL has underwhelming battery life, but it still lasted for an impressive 11:49 hours in our practical Wi-F test and 16:00 hours in our looped H.264 test. In short, the 3a XL will easily last you a full day’s use between charges. You may even get two days use if you use it infrequently.

The included 18-W fast charger supports USB PD 2.0, for reference. This allows it to recharge our test device fully from 0% in around 90 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
30h 22min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
11h 49min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
16h 00min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 49min
Google Pixel 3a XL
3700 mAh
Xiaomi Mi 9
3300 mAh
Nokia 8.1
3500 mAh
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
3000 mAh
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
3000 mAh
Battery Runtime
-15%
-8%
-28%
-27%
Reader / Idle
1822
1650
-9%
1682
-8%
1245
-32%
1400
-23%
H.264
960
1008
5%
857
-11%
648
-32%
701
-27%
WiFi v1.3
709
546
-23%
738
4%
595
-16%
635
-10%
Load
289
194
-33%
246
-15%
199
-31%
154
-47%

Pros

+ well-built
+ good cameras
+ pure Android Pie
+ no throttling even under prolonged load
+ good speakers
+ comparatively good battery life

Cons

- large display bezels
- Active Edge is not customisable
- no microSD card reader
- battery life does not meet expectations

Verdict

The Google Pixel 3a XL smartphone review. Test device courtesy of Google Germany.
The Google Pixel 3a XL smartphone review. Test device courtesy of Google Germany.

The Pixel 3a XL shows that Google has not forgotten how to produce an excellent midrange smartphone. The look and feel of the 3a XL is in no way inferior to its more expensive siblings, while its lesser hardware still delivers smooth performance and can easily handle demanding applications. While we have seen the rise of triple and quad rear-facing cameras in midrange smartphones, Google manages to put its rivals to shame with its single 12.2 MP sensor.

The Google Pixel 3a XL is a new midrange contender that excels in many areas. There are some minor shortcomings, but these do not prevent the device from being fantastic value for money.

Unfortunately, the 3a XL also inherits some of the criticisms that we have had of other Pixel smartphones. The lack of proper dual-SIM functionality is an oversight, as is Google’s insistence on not including a microSD card reader. The thick display bezels and plastic case design will divide opinion too, although they have their advantages. Namely, no notch. The decision to go with a Snapdragon 670 SoC compared to something more powerful has drawn criticism in other reviews too. However, the Snapdragon 670 does not present any practical limitations and will run almost any app or game that you could throw at it.

Overall, the Pixel 3a XL is an exceptional midrange smartphone that has a better camera and battery life than its competitors. The device is well designed too, and most of its weak points are a matter of taste.

Google Pixel 3a XL - 05/27/2019 v6
Mike Wobker

Chassis
84%
Keyboard
65 / 75 → 87%
Pointing Device
94%
Connectivity
46 / 60 → 76%
Weight
91%
Battery
96%
Display
90%
Games Performance
56 / 63 → 89%
Application Performance
66 / 70 → 94%
Temperature
91%
Noise
100%
Audio
71 / 91 → 78%
Camera
85%
Average
80%
89%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Google Pixel 3a XL Smartphone Review
Mike Wobker, 2019-05-28 (Update: 2019-05-29)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor
I got my first smartphone aged 11, my first PC aged 12 and I have been tinkering with electronics ever since. I like to keep abreast of the latest news and technology, which inevitably leads me to switch my laptop and phone every few months. When I'm not writing for Notebookcheck, you will find me seeking out new coffee shops, bars and trying to find some hidden gems in record stores.