In Depth

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL rumours: specs, prices and release date

Search giant takes on iPhone XR and Galaxy S10e in the budget smartphone space

The rumour mill may be in full swing over Google’s next flagship phone, but the search giant is expected to unveil a cheaper version of its current Pixel 3 handset before the new Pixel 4 arrives.

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL, previously referred to as the Pixel 3 Lite series, are thought to take the form of budget smartphones that will rival the iPhone XR and Samsung Galaxy S10e

While Google has yet to officially comment on the devices, a host of leaked images and reports have all but confirmed that the cheaper handsets are in the works. 

Speculation began after Russian tech blog Rozetked posted images of Google devices, alleged to be the Pixel 3a, at the end of 2018. 

If the images are in fact the budget handsets, the new Pixel 3a line will look almost identical to the current crop of Pixel 3 devices, with two-tone rear panels and single-lens camera systems. 

With the Pixel 3a line due to arrive in the coming months - or even weeks - here’s a round-up of all the latest reports and rumours:

How much will they cost?

With the current Pixel 3 costing £739 and the XL coming in at £869, the 3a models are expected to carry significantly smaller price tags. 

After posting leaked images of the devices last year, Rozetked claimed the cheaper model will cost between $400 to $500 (£300 to £380).

When will they come out?

A release date “remains a mystery” for the time being, The Verge says, especially as the company didn’t announce any new devices at the Mobile World Congress smartphone conference in February.

However, a report from tech news site Android Police last December suggests that the phones may arrive at some point this spring. While summer is fast approaching, Google is known for unveiling its handsets at only a moment’s notice.

How will they differ from the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL?

Don’t expect dramatic changes between the Pixel 3a range and the regular Pixel 3 line-up.

According to T3, the Pixel 3a comes with a 5.6in OLED display, which is slightly larger than the Pixel 3’s 5.5in screen. 

And tech site Tom’s Guide says it expects the budget phone will adopt the same 2,190x1,080 screen resolution, as well as the current handset’s 4GB of RAM and 2,915mAh battery unit. 

“The flagship Pixels only feature one rear camera, so expect the Lite versions to follow suit,” the tech site says. This suggests the Pixel 3a will match the current model’s 12-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front-facing lens. 

The most notable hardware difference between the Pixel 3a and the regular model is the processor. 

Android Police claims the Pixel 3a will be powered by either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 or 710 processor, a mid-range chip that isn’t quite as powerful as the Snapdragon 845 module in the regular Pixel 3. 

Google is expected to cut the Pixel 3a’s storage from 64GB to 32GB, the website says, as well as introduce a 3.5mm headphone port - a much-requested feature that has been axed on most of today’s smartphones. 

Details of the larger Pixel 3a XL are harder to come by. But as the regular 3a and Pixel 3 share the same camera tech, the larger models are also expected to. 

The Pixel 3a XL is rumoured to have a 6in display, which is 0.3in smaller than the current Pixel 3 XL, notes T3. 

With the standard Pixel 3 and the 3a due to sport the same screen tech and resolution, the Pixel 3a XL should therefore match the 3 XL’s 1,440x2,960 resolution and house an OLED panel.

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