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Forget the Pixel 4: The best deals are on the Pixel 3

You might be surprised at just how affordable Google's former flagships have become.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
4 min read

Remember these guys? Yeah, they're just as great today as they were yesterday -- only now much cheaper.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are official -- and officially expensive. The former starts at $799, the latter at $899. That's no surprise; the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL were priced exactly the same when they made their debut last year. I don't know about you, but I'd have a hard time scrounging up that kind of cash. Thankfully, if you're in the market for a flagship phone, you can get one for significantly less.

I'm referring, of course, to the aforementioned Pixel 3 and 3 XL. They're still fantastic phones, but now that their successors have arrived, they're available at considerably lower prices. Let's take a look at where to find them and what you should expect to pay.

Google's Pixel 3 price cuts

Originally $799, the Pixel 3 now has a starting price of $499. That's if you purchase it from Google proper. That puts it just $100 above the Pixel 3A , which will likely remain at $399 until Google unveils a Pixel 4A. See "What about the Pixel 3A?" below for more.

Prefer the larger Pixel 3 XL? It's now $599. (Use the same link or button above, then click Buy Now and choose the XL.)

Let's flash-forward a year, shall we? In October 2020, Google will likely unveil the Pixel 5, pushing the Pixel 4's starting price down to that same $499. It goes without saying that if you're willing to stay just a year behind the latest and greatest, you can save quite a lot.

And, make no mistake, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL are just as excellent today as they were yesterday. Read CNET's Google Pixel 3 review and Pixel 3 XL review to learn more about both. (Spoiler alert: The former was dubbed "the best Android phone of 2018.")

A close look at the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

See all photos

Third-party Pixel 3 options

Want to score even bigger savings? Check out other stores. Right now at Amazon, for example, the Pixel 3 is on sale for $459.99 -- $40 below what Google charges. And with the holidays approaching, the discounts might get even bigger as stores look to clear out their Pixel 3 inventory.

Meanwhile, keep in mind what's about to happen elsewhere: As people start buying new Pixels, they're going to start selling their old ones -- and that will result in a glut of used models, which in turn will result in lower prices. Therefore, in the weeks to come, start trolling marketplaces like these:

At Decluttr, for example, you can currently find a refurbished unlocked Pixel 3 in "very good" condition for just $339.99, a price that includes a 12-month warranty.

That warranty is a big deal, something you won't find if you search for used Pixel 3 and 3 XL phones on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and personal-auction listings on eBay. You may find even lower prices, but you won't get much in the way of buyer protection (though eBay does offer that for some auctions -- be sure to read the fine print). Most of the aforementioned sites offer at least some kind of protection for the buyer: verified inspections, a return window, an in-house warranty and so on.

Of course, when you buy any used or refurbished phone, the battery won't be brand-new, meaning it won't give you maximum runtime. That may not be a crucial issue if you're going to replace it with a Pixel 4 a year from now, but it's something to consider.

What about the Pixel 3A?

As noted above, Google's entry-level Pixel phone, the Pixel 3A, is still priced at $399, while the larger 3A XL remains at $499. These are still solid devices, but with Pixel 3 and 3 XL pricing now in the same ballpark, I think it makes sense to choose the latter. That may change if and when Google announces a Pixel 4A and 4A XL, which would likely have the same discount effect on its predecessors.

What do you think about all this? Are you willing to forgo the Pixel 4 in favor of a more affordable Pixel 3? Would you prefer to stick with new or are you open to the used or refurbished option? Let's talk in the comments!

Watch this: Pixel 3: 6 months in

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