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The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are announced at Google I/O

The new Pixel 3a/3a XL. (Source: Google)
The new Pixel 3a/3a XL. (Source: Google)
Google I/O is now in full swing, and it will be until May 9, 2019. However, at least one major hardware-related announcement is out of the way already. The new mid-range Pixels are here, and they start at US$399.

Google has unveiled its latest phones as part of its I/O 2019 conference. They are called the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, as expected. They have largely lived up to the rumors that have circulated around them, in that they offer a taste of the Mountain View company's hardware, but with some price-conscious compromises.

Accordingly, the 3a phones look much like their big siblings, the 3 and 3 XL. However, their distinctive rear panels are plastic rather than higher-end glass. As a consequence, they also lack wireless charging, although there is an 18-watt charger in the box. On that note, the devices are charged via a USB Type-C port, which is also USB 2.0. This component is joined by a headphone jack on this mid-range Pixel series.

Similarly, the Pixel 3a line has just one rear-facing camera - but it is the well-regarded 12MP dual-pixel shooter found on more expensive Google phones. The Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch screen, and the 3a XL has a 6.0-inch screen, as it turns out. Both phones are powered by the Snapdragon 670 SoC of yesteryear, although they do also have the Titan M chipset for onboard security-focused features.

Both phones feature stereo speakers, a minimum of 3,000mAh in terms of battery capacity, Bluetooth 5.0 and Android 9.0 (Pie). On the other hand, both phones have only one RAM/storage SKU: 4GB/64GB, with no mention of the 128GB storage option suggested by an earlier leak. (Perhaps it will show up later, should the 3a series prove popular?)

The Pixel 3a is priced at US$399, whereas the 3a XL is $479 (as predicted). Both are offered in 3 colors: the Just Black and Clearly White already seen in the Pixel 3s, along with a new Purple-ish shade. They are available to buy via now, or, alternatively, may become available through carriers and other stores soon.


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Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-05- 7 (Update: 2019-05- 8)