Google Pixel 3a is a budget flagship at midrange prices

Google Pixel 3a
Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: TechRadar)

The long-rumored Google Pixel 3a and Google Pixel 3a XL have been announced at Google IO 2019, and officially on sale – for far less than their full-priced, more powerful siblings. 

The Google Pixel 3a costs $399 / AU$649, and the Google Pixel 3a XL's price is set at $479 / AU$799. Both should be on sale on the company's website and, in the US, in Verizon stores, on T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, and of course, on Google Fi.

But there are other tweaks to make the Google Pixel 3a more appealing to a midrange audience, like a 3.5mm headphone jack and "adaptive battery" that extends battery life up to 30 hours, with up to 7 hours on a 15-minute charge using the included 18W battery charger.

Midrange > budget flagship?

While the Google Pixel 3a might have been the worst-kept secret – leaks aside, it made sense for Google to follow Apple and Samsung in releasing a more affordable variant of the flagship line – this phone is a degree down from those.

While the iPhone XR and Samsung Galaxy S10e are simply leaner versions of flagships that still cost well above other midrange phones, the Google Pixel 3a is half the price of its flagship namesake.

While Google Pixel phones haven't sold terribly well, they've climbed in price, pushing the Google Pixel 3 just under iPhone and Samsung top-tier devices. Perhaps the Google Pixel 3a can boost sales by bringing the Pixel name (and camera) to a broader audience.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.