Google’s Pixel 3 smartphones sell for $799 and up when they’re not on sale for $200 off (like they are right now), which isn’t surprising for a modern flagship phone. But that does make them the most expensive Pixel or Nexus phones to date… which makes them a tough sell for some customers.

Rumor has it that Google plans to launch a line of cheaper Pixel phones soon, offering some of the Pixel 3’s best features for a lower price.

Just don’t expect to get a Pixel quality camera in a $200 phone. 9to5Google has posted some more details about the upcoming Google Pixel 3a and while it cuts a few corners, it sounds like an upper mid-range phone, not a budget device.

The Pixel 3a (which we had been calling the Pixel 3 Lite) until recently is expected to feature the same camera hardware and software found in the more expensive Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones. But it has a less powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor which will likely account for some of the price difference.

According to 9to5Google, there are a few corners Google is not cutting. The phone is said to have a 5.6 inch, 2220 x 1080 pixel OLED display rather than an LCD screen. It has pressure-sensitive sides, which means you can squeeze it to trigger Google Assistant or other Active Edge features. And the phone has Google’s Titan M security chip.

Other features are expected to come with an 18 watt USB-C fast charger and the Pixel 3a is said to have a 3,000 mAh battery.

Less is known about the Pixel 3a XL, but it’ll certainly have a larger display and it may also have a different processor and/or higher capacity battery.

All of which is to say, I wouldn’t be surprised if the starting prices for these new phones is in the $400 to $500 range rather than the $200 to $300 range.

That’s not necessarily a bad price for a phone with an excellent camera, 3 years of security updates and at least 2 years of OS updates. But if you’ve got a little more money to spare, you might be better up picking up the full-fledged Pixel 3 when it’s on sale for $599.

Then again, maybe we’re wrong about the pricing. Maybe Google will sell a budget phone with an OLED display. I just wouldn’t bet on it.

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9 replies on “Signs point to Pixel 3a being cheaper, but not cheap”

  1. I’ve been expecting that price, not surprised, still not too bad, especially in the US.

  2. Hopefully it will not be another Nexus 5x bootloop phone. I learned my lesson about buying a phone with a less proven SOC (snapdragon 808). It’s 1-to-2 year old flagship phones for me here on out.

    1. Modern phones haven’t really had bootloop issues in years, even LG has been decent.

  3. I’ve been desperately waiting for a phone with a great camera that isn’t over $1k (and doesn’t have @#% Bixby). If the 3a has the same camera / post-processing and is an otherwise decent phone in that $500 – $700 range I’ll pre-order as soon as I can.

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  5. It just occurred to me — the Pixel 3a is what happens if the original Pixel and Pixel XL get it on and have a baby…

    The SD 670 goes toe to toe with the original Pixel lineup’s SD 821 in terms of performance. The 3a has the Pixel’s screen resolution and the XL’s screen size, and the battery capacity is also between the Pixel’s and the XLs. Same camera, of course.

    You know it makes sense.

    Seriously though, the 3a is essentially a 2016 Pixel/Pixel XL phone in a 2019-style body for under $500, though whether that’s $100 under or $1 under, who knows?

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