Google Pixel 3a XL Review

Google forayed into the mid-range segment with Pixel 3a XL (spec-wise at least) in the Indian market. This line of smartphones came into existence since the search engine giant found it challenging to sell their premium Pixel 3 series.

Do you think a smartphone like Pixel 3a XL at Rs. 44,999 with mid-range specifications can penetrate the price-sensitive market like India? If not for the price point here, it’s a ‘YES.’ In case you are planning to buy this device, we’ve come with few reasons ‘Why you should buy’ and ‘Why you should not buy’ this device. Do give it a read.

Why you should buy!

Amazing camera

The Pixel 3a XL comes with a 12.2MP rear camera with an LED flash, 1.4μm pixel size, ƒ/1.8 aperture, 76° FOV, Dual PD auto focus, OIS, EIS, and 4K video recording at up to 30 fps, 720p at up to 240 fps. The front side of the device is taken care of 8MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and 84° FOV.

The USP of Pixel devices is its camera. Making no mistake this time, the Pixel 3a XL carries forward the legacy successfully with pure class. Under daylight conditions, the Pixel 3a XL produces some fantastic shots with excellent dynamic range and precise color saturation.

Night Sight mode manages to brighten up some of the darkest scenes in an almost magical way.

Surprisingly, the front camera also takes Portrait photos, but not as good as the rear. The selfie camera shoots some worthy pictures which can be shared on your social media account without any editing or second thought.

Stock Android

The Google Pixel 3a XL comes with Android 9 Pie out of the box. Just like other Pixel devices, the Pixel 3a XL will be among the first devices to get Android Q as well. In terms of usage, the software and hardware are optimized perfectly for fluid user experience.

Moreover, there is an Active Edge feature that allows users to open Google Assistant and silence alarms, timers, notifications, and incoming calls by squeezing the device. Another noteworthy feature of this device is “Now Playing.”

The ‘Now playing’ recognize the songs playing nearby and shows you the name and artist of the songs on the lock screen. It also gives you the link to buy or listen to that song. You need to turn on the feature. In addition to it, there is a Digital Wellbeing keeps track of your phone usage and helps you bring it down if you wish too.

Overall, the Pixel 3a XL offers the best Android experience.

Excellent display

The Pixel 3a XL features a 6-inch Full HD+ (2160×1080 pixels) OLED screen from Samsung with a pixel density of 402ppi. Unlike the Pixel 3 XL, this doesn’t have a notch and has an 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s worth mentioning that, the Pixel 3a XL display is protected by the Asahi Dragontrail glass and not from Corning. Unlike high-end Pixel devices, it lacks HDR 10 support, which means, the HDR content won’t be supported. Furthermore, it comes with color options — Natural, Boosted, and Adaptive.

Talking about the display, it has rich color output, good contrast, text looks sharp and has good viewing angles. Also, it is bright enough to read under outdoor conditions. Considering as a mid-range device, except for the price point, the Pixel 3a XL has one of the best display in the market.

Long battery life

The Pixel 3a XL comes with a 3700mAh battery with 18W fast charging on board. On real-world usage, we found it quite impressive, especially on casual day-to-day usage. Most of the time, we made it through the day without needing to charge for the second time. Thanks to Adaptive Battery, over time, the phone learns your usage habit and optimizes apps and prioritizes power allocation as needed. However, there are exceptions at times, mainly due to super heavy usage and multitasking including Google Maps, YouTube Music, watching YouTube and of course calls.

In our OneCharge rating, the Pixel 3a XL scored 18 hours and 47 minutes, which is on par with the OnePlus 7 with the same battery capacity. With the bundled 18W USB PD charger, it can charge from 0 to 100% in about one and half hours.

Why you should not!

Big bezels and average build for the price!

If you are looking for an all-screen display, then Pixel 3a XL is not your cup of tea. It has the same design language as the Pixel 3 series with a dual-tone finish and a colored power button on the side. This device measures 8.2 mm in thickness and weighs just around 167 grams.

Unlike the glass back on the Pixel 3 series, this comes with polycarbonate back, which doesn’t feel premium; however, this offers a good grip and doesn’t attract fingerprints. It’s hard to tell the difference from a distance, but upon closer inspection, one could make it out.

On a positive note, it is durable and can withstand falls unlike glass (that shatters) or metal (gets dent or bent). Saying that it picks up scratches very easily.

Moving to the front, Pixel 3a XL comes with a very 2017-ish design with prominent bezels on top and bottom. Moreover, it lacks any waterproofing and wireless charging as well.


At Rs. 44,999, the Pixel 3a XL with mid-range specification looks way too costly. At this price, OnePlus 7 Pro offers way more features (except for amazing camera) including premium build, 90Hz display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC and more.

Other mentions

The Pixel 3a XL is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 10nm Mobile Platform that has Dual 2GHz Kryo 360 (Cortex-A75-based performance cores) + Hexa 1.7GHz Kryo 360 (Cortex-A55-based efficiency cores), accompanied by 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 64GB eMMC of storage under the hood. As you’d expect the performance here is good without any hang, lag or hiccup. The multi-tasking is now easier than ever, thanks to the 4GB RAM. The Adreno 615 GPU  is powerful enough to play some graphics demanding games including PUBG, Asphalt, and others, but not with high graphics. Check out the synthetic benchmark score below.

The fingerprint scanner is on the back. Just like its predecessor the fingerprint is fast here and unlocks in a fraction of a second. It is active all the time and is able to unlock your phone almost instantaneously when it is sleeping.

It supports connectivity options 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11ac 2x2MIMO (2.4/5 GHz), Bluetooth 5 LE, and NFC as well. The call quality is good, so is the loudspeaker and earpiece. Even though this only has a single SIM support, it has eSIM support, which will work with Airtel and Reliance Jio, and Android Q will bring Dual SIM Dual Standby feature.

The Google Pixel 3a XL comes in Just Black and Clearly White colors and is available from Flipkart and offline retailers across India at Rs. 44,999.

Photography by Siraj