Our Opinion

The Google Pixel 3a is a significantly better phone than the Samsung Galaxy S9 64GB, and is also slightly better value for money. What should you buy? Go for the Google Pixel 3a!

Google Pixel 3a  Samsung Galaxy S9 64GB 
Google Pixel 3a Samsung Galaxy S9
Buy Now Buy Buy
Excellence Score
63.6
55.7
Value for Money Score
65.5
64.2
Price ₹ 30,999 onwards ₹ 26,999 onwards
Launch Date (India) May, 2019 Mar, 2018
Expected Launch Date N/A N/A
Smartphone OS Android 9.0 Pie, Upgradeable to Android 10Expected update to next Android version Android 8.0 Oreo, Upgradeable to Android 10Expected update to next Android version
Touchscreen Yes (Capacitive) Yes (Capacitive)
Screen Size 5.6 inches 5.8 inches
Screen Resolution 1080x2220 pixels (~ 441 pixels per inch) 1440x2960 pixels (~ 568 pixels per inch)
Tall Aspect Ratio / Minimal Bezels Yes Yes
Scratch Resistant Display Yes, Asahi Dragontrail Glass Yes, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Display Type P-OLED AMOLED
Display Features Always-on display Super AMOLED, 3D Touch (home button only), Always-on Display, Infinity Display
Full Physical QWERTY Keypad
Processor 2 GHz 2.8 GHz
Processor Type Octa Core Octa Core
Processor Name Qualcomm Snapdragon 670Ranked #36 in Mobile Processor Benchmarks Exynos 9810Ranked #12 in Mobile Processor Benchmarks
GPU Adreno 615 Mali-G72 MP18
RAM 4 GB 4 GB
3G Yes Yes
4G Yes Yes
VoLTE Yes Yes
WiFi Yes Yes
VoWiFi/WiFi-Calling Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Connecting Port USB-C USB-C
Primary Camera 12.2MP 12.0MP
Camera Auto-Focus Yes Yes
Camera Flash Yes Yes
HD Video Recording Yes (4K) Yes (4K)
Other Camera Features F/1.8 Aperture, 28mm Focal Length (Wide), 1/2.55" Sensor Size, 1.4um Pixel Size, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF, HDR, Panorama F/1.5-2.4 Aperture, 26mm Focal Length, 1/2.5" Sensor Size, 1.4µm Pixel Size, Dual Pixel PDAF, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), Geo-tagging, Simultaneous 4K video and 9MP image recording, Touch focus, Face/Smile Detection, Auto HDR, Panorama, HDR, Dual-Video rec., Slow-motion Video
Secondary Camera 8MP 8.0MP
Secondary Camera Features F/2.0 Aperture, 24mm Focal Length (Wide), 1.12um Pixel Size, HDR F/1.6 Aperture, Autofocus, Full HD+ Video Recording, Dual Video call, Auto HDR
Internal Memory 64 GB 64 GB
Expandable Memory Slot Yes, up to 400 GB
Contacts Storage Unlimited Unlimited
SMS Storage Unlimited Unlimited
Music Player Yes Yes
FM Radio
Dual SIM GSM + GSM GSM+GSM (Hybrid SIM slot)
Thickness 8.2 mmMedium 8.5 mmMedium
Weight 147 gmLight 163 gmMedium
Width 70.1 mmComfortable for one-handed use 68.7 mmComfortable for one-handed use
Audio Output 3.5mm jack 3.5mm jack
Water Resistant Yes, IP68 Rated (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)
Battery Capacity 3000 mAh 3000 mAh
Battery Standby N/A N/A
Battery Standby (3G) N/A N/A
Battery Talktime N/A N/A
Battery Talktime (3G) N/A N/A
Fast Charging Support Yes Yes
Included Fast Charger Yes, 18W Fast Charger Yes
Other Battery Parameters N/A N/A
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other Features NFC; Google Cast; Stereo Speakers; Noise Filtration Scratch Resistant Back (Corning Gorilla Glass 5); Samsung DeX (desktop experience support); Qi Wireless charging; Bixby; NFC; ANT+ support; Stereo Speakers; Noise Filtration; Samsung Pay
2-minute Review [Positives]
  • Has the same iconic design as the Pixel 3 - a lightweight, unibody design - and a matte finish with a glossy shade on the back (it's made out of polycarbonate though instead of glass like the Pixel 3)
  • Compact body
  • The interestingly colored power button is still there to provide a pretty cool touch
  • You can also still launch Google Assistant or silence an incoming call by squeezing the phone's sides (Google calls this Active Edge)
  • Vibrant, bright, color-accurate 5.6in OLED display - it's as good, if not a little better than the senior Pixel 3 phones
  • Of course, one of the key selling points of the Pixel series, is the clean, stock version of Android directly from Google, along with three years of promised updates (which are generally delivered almost as soon as they are launched)
  • Then there are some interesting Pixel-only (at least, as of now) features like Call Screen, which screens spam calls and telemarketers and shows you a live transcription of the conversation so you can decide whether to accept or reject a call
  • There's also Digital Wellbeing which helps curb phone usage by giving you info about how much time you're spending on the phone and it lets you set time limits for apps
  • To help reduce eye strain, you can schedule Night Light to turn your screen to a yellowish, sepia color - there's an option for grayscale too
  • Pretty good performance, with the Snapdragon 670 chipset at the core - while it's of course not as powerful as the flagship Snapdragon 845 on the Pixel 3 phones, you are unlikely to notice much of a difference in daily use (except with high-end games)
  • The biggest plus point of the Pixel 3a series is that it packs the same grade-A camera as the Pixel 3 series, with the same amazing Night mode
  • Photo quality is excellent - images are clear, bright and vibrant - you can still take portraits with that dramatic, depth-of-field effect and adjust the focus and blur of the picture after you take the shot
  • The phone still has Top Shot, which helps you choose the best image out of a series, and Super Res Zoom, which improves detail when you zoom in at faraway objects
  • There's also a new feature to record time-lapse videos - you can condense between 50 seconds or 20 minutes of recorded footage into 10 seconds - and the results are pretty good
  • Overall, the Pixel 3a series, along with the Pixel 3 series continues to be the second best overall camera experience on any smartphone (the first spot is now taken by the Huawei P30 Pro)
  • Has a headphone jack! (unlike the senior Pixel 3 series)
  • Stereo speakers are pretty good
  • Good battery life with a 3000mAh battery, along with some good software optimization - you will comfortably get one day - overall, it's about on par with the Galaxy S10E and OnePlus 6T
  • The Pixel 3a series, apart from the pure 'Pixel' experience, brings the same amazing camera of the senior Pixel 3 series to a lower price bracket, and does that while making relatively minor compromises in terms of processing power - if you are looking for the best shoot-as-you-go cameraphone, at the lowest price point, the Pixel 3a series is the one to get
  • Absolutely luscious design, continuing the design language that was introduced with the Galaxy S8 series (which is not a bad thing at all) - and it has some really sizzling color options in purple and blue, which really helps those supple curves stand out - the body colors look deep, rich and ever-changing thanks to the way the glossy glass catches the light - you will be hard pressed to find anything remotely as elegant, and beautiful in the Android market
  • The S9's tall, narrow proportions fit your hand well - and it's significantly easier to handle than its larger cousin (S9+)
  • The biggest design change is on the back, where the fingerprint reader moves below the camera module - this corrects the worst design mistake of both Galaxy S8 phones and the Note 8
  • Water resistant body
  • The tall, 18:9, minimal bezel, 5.8-inch AMOLED screen is absolutely gorgeous and even brighter than last year's (15 percent brighter, in fact) - and the sexy dual-curved design adds to the charm
  • Samsung software on top of Android adds some useful extras, extending the core functionality of Android - it is one of the better, more refined UIs in the Android world
  • Whiplash-fast performance backed by the super powerful Samsung's Exynos 9810 (similar to the Snapdragon 845 in terms of performance) - performance is top-notch as expected under all use cases
  • Terrific camera - the first to bring a mechanical dual-aperture lens from DSLRs to the much tinier mobile phone, a feature that's designed to let in more light, reduce image noise and generally make your photos a lot better
  • The image quality in well lit situations is top-notch
  • Low light performance often borders on astounding - with the amount of brightness & lack of noise you will find in the shots (thanks to the dual aperture lens) - although its not very consistent (some low light photos are oddly washed out)
  • The super-slow motion video mode is pretty cool too, and when you frame the shot well, can give some incredible result
  • The selfie camera is good too, and has a new Selfie Focus mode, which uses software (and not a second lens) to create a depth effect with the front-facing camera, similar to the Pixel 2, or the iPhone X
  • On the whole the cameras on the Galaxy S9 compare well with the those on the other top camera phones - the Google Pixel 2, and the iPhone X - it's a toss up between these 3 - the Galaxy S9 can produce some truly exceptional shots especially in the dark, but perhaps the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 are just a bit more consistent all round, everything considered
  • Dual-speaker system is excellent, and makes for loud, rich audio - and results in one of the best speaker experience of any smartphone, ever
  • Call quality is fantastic too, with the AKG tuning really paying off
  • Also has the good old-fashioned headphone jack! (that's missing in a lot of other flagships now)
  • Good (though not exceptional) battery life - will definitely last the work day on a single charge
  • Supports fast charging (although it's not the fastest around)
  • Supports wireless charging
  • DeX Pad support is another cool feature that enhances the Desktop Experience Samsung introduced on last year’s flagship Galaxy phones
  • On the whole, while outside of the display, the S9 isn’t a class leader in any category, but it’s good enough in all of them that the whole package makes for a great flagship phone - it will compete with the Pixel 2/XL and the iPhone X for the title of the best smartphone - which one of these 3 you might choose will depend on what specific things you value
2-minute Review [Negatives]
  • Thick bezels, for a 2019 phone
  • 4GB RAM continues to be a bit limiting for Pixel phones - if you are used to a 6GB/8GB RAM phones, you will find that not as many apps stay open in the background
  • 'Night Sight' processing is a little bit slower now (compared to the Pixel 3) due to the less powerful processor
  • There's also no second wide-angle front-facing camera like the Pixel 3 - so wide "group selfies" are out
  • There will be tough competition though from 2 other great 'budget flagship' phones - the OnePlus 6T (which will give you twice the amount of built-in storage, a faster processor, and a solid camera - even if it's not as good), and the Galaxy S10e (which gives you a more striking design, water resistance, wireless charging, more onboard storage, and almost-as-good camera)
  • Fragile glass front and back means you should buy a case day 1
  • The new face-unlock tool is not particularly secure (it might have been better for Samsung to build out a more refined version before rushing in to compete with the similar feature on the iPhone X)
  • The 3D avatar software is again not that well executed - the AR Emojis track your expressions poorly and need far more customization options
  • There’s also still no compelling use case for Bixby, Samsung's AI agent (though of course you have no compulsion to use it, and can instead keep using the Google Assistant)
  • While the camera is great generally, it can sometime make low-light photos look blurry and lack detail - even though brightness levels is excellent and noise is minimal - so its sometimes a double edged sword
  • The S9 also lacks the second rear lens of the step-up S9 Plus that's dedicated to creating those depth-of-field portrait shots that blur the background to make people and objects pop
  • Battery life is good, but not exceptional - some of the competition is ahead here
  • Everything considered, S8 owners can skip the upgrade - the S9 is excellent all-round, and incrementally better - but it's not a monumental change from the S8
  • Apart from the iPhone X and the Pixel 2/XL, the S9 will also face tough competition now from lower priced flagships like the OnePlus 5T, which are almost as good on most of the important counts
Expert Reviews
  1. Google has delivered superb mid-range phones, with the Pixel 3a series
    phonearena.com in-depth Read Review »
  2. Has the best camera for its price...But if a fast processor or more memory is your priority, get the OnePlus 6T instead
    cnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  3. Puts Google's phenomenal camera in a cheaper phone...the Pixel 3A and 3A XL are great deals
    theverge.com in-depth Read Review »
  4. If camera performance is your top priority, the Pixel 3a devices are great options
    gadgets.ndtv.com in-depth Read Review »
  5. Redefines what you can expect from a midrange smartphone... bringing a top flagship camera to a mid-range price
    forbes.com in-depth Read Review »
  6. There simply isn't a better pair of phones at this price range that'll get you such superb cameras
    mashable.com in-depth Read Review »
  7. You'll be hard pressed to find a phone that includes more for the money
    androidauthority.com in-depth Read Review »
  8. A class-leading camera at half the price
    digitaltrends.com in-depth Read Review »
  9. The cameras are the biggest reason why Pixel 3a is a no-brainer choice for a mid-range smartphone
    ibtimes.co.in in-depth Read Review »
  10. Very little else displays as intelligent and well-rounded an approach, as the Pixel 3a
    expertreviews.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  11. A great phone...but a hard sell, at its Indian price point
    livemint.com in-depth Read Review »
  12. The 3a could convince shutterbugs for its camera and nerds for its vanilla OS but the processor for the price might not excite regular folks
    stuff.tv in-depth Read Review »
  13. Deeply compelling
    slashgear.com in-depth Read Review »
  14. Quite simply the best Android phone you can buy at this price
    in.pcmag.com in-depth Read Review »
  15. Great bang for your buck
    gizmodo.com in-depth Read Review »
  16. Offers the very best of the original Pixel 3 smartphones at a considerably low price
    indiatoday.in in-depth Read Review »
  17. If you're looking for a smartphone that comes with regular, timely software updates from Google, and the best camera in the industry, then look no far than the Pixel 3a
    timesnownews.com in-depth Read Review »
  18. Google has two winners with the Pixel 3a XL and Pixel 3a
    cnbc.com in-depth Read Review »
  19. notebookcheck.net in-depth Read Review »
  20. mirror.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  21. business-standard.com in-depth Read Review »
  22. pocket-lint.com in-depth Read Review »
  23. in.mashable.com in-depth Read Review »
  24. techradar.com hands-on Read Review »
  25. beebom.com hands-on Read Review »
  26. trustedreviews.com hands-on Read Review »
  27. tomsguide.com hands-on Read Review »
  28. androidcentral.com hands-on Read Review »
  29. pocketnow.com hands-on Read Review »
  30. t3.com hands-on Read Review »
  31. arstechnica.com hands-on Read Review »
  32. techadvisor.co.uk hands-on Read Review »
  33. pcworld.com hands-on Read Review »
  34. themrphone.com hands-on Read Review »
  35. 9to5google.com hands-on Read Review »
  1. You can hardly find anything remotely as elegant, as advanced, and as polished, all in a single product, on the Android market
    phonearena.com in-depth Read Review »
  2. Thanks to blazing performance, solid cameras and long battery life, the Galaxy S9/S9+ continue to uphold the S series’ reputation for excellence
    engadget.com in-depth Read Review »
  3. If you're looking to upgrade your phone, especially if you're already a devoted Samsung customer, this one has everything you'd want.
    wired.com in-depth Read Review »
  4. Both Galaxy S9 and S9+ are solid, dependable workhorses with excellent displays, premium craftsmanship, and improved cameras
    gadgets.ndtv.com in-depth Read Review »
  5. Impressive, to say the least
    bgr.com in-depth Read Review »
  6. Samsung gets it exactly right
    mashable.com in-depth Read Review »
  7. The S9 and S9+ are probably the best Android phones for most users, and I’d have no problem recommending them to almost anyone
    androidauthority.com in-depth Read Review »
  8. gsmarena.com in-depth Read Review »
  9. cnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  10. theverge.com in-depth Read Review »
  11. techradar.com in-depth Read Review »
  12. independent.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  13. telegraph.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  14. bgr.in in-depth Read Review »
  15. alphr.com in-depth Read Review »
  16. expertreviews.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  17. tomsguide.com in-depth Read Review »
  18. androidcentral.com in-depth Read Review »
  19. zdnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  20. slashgear.com in-depth Read Review »
  21. cnbc.com in-depth Read Review »
  22. indiatoday.in in-depth Read Review »
  23. thenextweb.com in-depth Read Review »
  24. pcworld.com in-depth Read Review »
  25. androidpolice.com in-depth Read Review »
  26. techadvisor.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  27. gizmodo.com in-depth Read Review »
  28. digitaltrends.com hands-on Read Review »
  29. trustedreviews.com hands-on Read Review »
  30. news18.com hands-on Read Review »
  31. stuff.tv hands-on Read Review »
  32. t3.com hands-on Read Review »
  33. wired.co.uk hands-on Read Review »
  34. mirror.co.uk hands-on Read Review »
User Reviews
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Individual Review 2
  • Individual Review 2
Individual Review

Google Pixel 3a Review: A for Ace!

Marques Brownlee

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Google Pixel 3a Review: A for Ace!

Marques Brownlee

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