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Pixel 3A vs. Pixel 3 specs: Cameras, processor, battery and more compared

Looking to save some dough on an older Google Pixel phone? Here's how to decide between the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3A.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
2 min read

The Pixel 3A and 3A XL weren't necessarily updates to the existing  Pixel 3 . Rather the two  phones  were an expansion  Google  made to appeal to a wider audience with more affordable handsets (just like the new Pixel 4A and recently discontinued Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL). When compared to the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, the 3A and 3A XL cost hundreds less at launch, though the price gap has since narrowed -- right now you can actually find the Pixel 3 for less than the 3A.

The Pixel 3 still has one of the  best cameras  when it comes to photos, and what's wonderful is the Pixel 3A and 3A XL get the same camera. Sacrifices were made to get the new phones to hit a low price, but not many. The bodies aren't as sleek. There's no water resistance or wireless charging, though there is a headphone jack. 

The Pixel 3A has a slightly larger display inside a slightly larger body than the Pixel 3 -- we're talking millimeters. The 3A has a 5.6-inch OLED display while the larger 3A XL has a 6-inch OLED display. Good news is there isn't a notch!

The newer Pixel phones don't get the Pixel 3's Snapdragon 845 processor. Instead they have a Snapdragon 670 processor, which we found less powerful in our benchmark tests.

Read moreiPhone SE vs. Pixel 4A: Which budget phone has the best camera?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Google Pixel 3

We called it the best Android phone of 2018

The Pixel 3 really blew us away with its exceptional cameras in 2018. While we were less thrilled about the lack of a headphone jack, the camera more than makes up for it (not to mention the AI-powered call screening). Even after using the phone for six months, we remained impressed.

While we had qualms about the Pixel 3A's internal storage and lack of wireless charging, getting the same camera setup as the Pixel 3 is reason enough to consider Google's pared down version. Plus, it comes with a headphone jack.

Read our Google Pixel 3A review.

Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL look familiar, but are more affordable

See all photos

Read more at ZDNetPixel 3A's specs have near perfect timing given 4G to 5G transition

Google Pixel 3 vs. 3A vs. 3A XL

Google Pixel 3Google Pixel 3AGoogle Pixel 3A XL
Display size, resolution 5.5-inch OLED; 2,280x1,080 pixels5.6-inch OLED; 2,220x1,080 pixels6.0-inch OLED; 2,160x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 443 ppi441 ppi402 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 in.6.0 x 2.8 x 0.3 in.6.3 x 3.0 x 0.3 in.
Dimensions (Millimeters) 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm160.1 x 76.1 x 8.2mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.2 oz.; 148g5.19 oz.; 147g5.89 oz.; 167g
Mobile software Android 9 PieAndroid 9 PieAndroid 9 Pie
Camera 12.2-megapixel12.2-megapixel12.2-megapixel
Front-facing camera Dual 8-megapixel8-megapixel8-megapixel
Video capture 4K4K4K
Processor 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8452GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 6702GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
Storage 64GB, 128GB64GB64GB
Expandable storage NoneNoneNone
Battery 2,915 mAh3,000 mAh3,700 mAh
Fingerprint sensor BackBackBack
Headphone jack NoYesYes
Special features IPX8, wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the boxAR in Google Maps, Timelapse video shootingAR in Google Maps, Timelapse video shooting
Price off-contract (USD) $799 (64GB); $899 (128GB)$399 $479
Price (GBP) £739 (64GB); £839 (128GB)£399£469
Price (AUD) AU$1,199 (64GB); AU$1,349 (128GB)AU$649AU$799
Watch this: Google goes 'budget' with Pixel 3A and 3A XL