The 5 best features of Google’s colorful new $400 smartphone

The Google Pixel 3a starts at $400.

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The Google Pixel 3a starts at $400.
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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Google’s got two new smartphones that offer a tremendous value for their price.

The Pixel 3a, announced at Google I/O on Tuesday, starts at just $400 – a far cry from the $800 to $1,000 price that’s become standard among flagship smartphones.

Moreover, some of the best features from Google’s Pixel 3 are identical in the Pixel 3a. The camera, for instance, is nearly identical to the best-in-class Pixel 3.

But that’s not all! Here are the five best features of the new $400 Google smartphones:


1. That price! $400!

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Google

In case it wasn’t already clear, a major selling point of the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL is the incredibly low price – at just $400, the Pixel 3a comes in at half the price of its predecessor.

And if we’re talking about Pixel vs. Apple’s iPhone, the price is less than half of the $1,000 iPhone XS. It’s nearly half the price of Apple’s less expensive version of the iPhone, the XR, that costs $750 to start.

The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are an incredible value for what you get.


2. The excellent Pixel 3 camera is nearly identical in the Pixel 3a.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The cameras in the Pixel 3a models are nearly identical to those in the Pixel 3 models.

A quick look at how the two compare in terms of specs demonstrates how shockingly similar they are:

Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3 cameras

Spec for spec, they are extremely similar. The one major difference is that there’s only one front-facing camera on the Pixel 3a.

Sorry, selfie fans! This may not be the phone for you.


3. The return of the headphone jack.

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

It’s true: The Pixel 3a models both have a headphone jack.

For some folks, this is potentially bizarre. Why is Google putting a headphone jack back into its new smartphone, years after Apple kicked off the trend by removing it from the iPhone?

Because, for tens of millions of people, having a headphone jack is tremendously meaningful. No need to charge your Bluetooth headphones! No need to buy Bluetooth headphones!


4. The gorgeous OLED screen.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The bezels on the Pixel 3a are slightly larger than those on the Pixel 3, but the Pixel 3a makes up for that with a slightly larger screen overall.

The Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch screen, whereas the Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch screen – not exactly a huge difference, but it doesn’t hurt. The Pixel 3 XL has a slightly larger screen than the Pixel 3a XL at 6.3 inches versus 6.0 inches on the Pixel 3a XL.

Apart from the size of the screen, the Pixel 3a has the same gorgeous OLED display as the more expensive Pixel 3 (just at a slightly lower resolution).


5. A playful design.

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Google

With the exception of Apple’s iPhone 5C and iPhone XR, the vast majority of smartphones these days are focused on looking “premium.” Sharp edges and slick metal accents and glass everywhere.

It’s a good look, no doubt, but it gets a bit homogeneous – which is what’s so nice about the lineup of Pixel 3a models. The off-color button, which is criminally absent from the black model, is a charming little detail. That one of the phones is a kind of periwinkle – technically called “Purple-ish” – is similarly delightful.