Review Google Pixel 3a Smartphone – Camera, Performance, Gaming, Battery Life and More!


hey everybody you fly in Seidman and we’re taking a look today at a new phone from Google this is the pixel 3a this is a lower-cost Google pixel phone that makes a few compromises but not many and I think it’s actually a pretty good deal and we’re going to be taking a closer look at this including its camera system which is its main selling point here in just a second but I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure if this came in free of charge from Google their team pixels sent it to me all the opinions though you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and take a look at what this mid-range phone is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware this is the 5.6 inch version of the phone that starts at 399 dollars they have a six inch version of the phone that’s 479 that is a lot less expensive than

many of the flagship phones that are out on the market so for example the pixel 3 which is the big brother to this phone costs about $800 and of course you could look at Apple Samsung and LG and others who sell phones that sometimes can go north of $1000 so this is very reasonably priced and what’s been interesting as I’ve been playing around with it is how they picked the flagship features to include in the phone that consumers are most likely to notice and they compromised in areas that they are less likely to be concerned about and we’ll talk about some of those compromises as we work our way through the review now I want to start off with the display it is excellent it’s an OLED display nice and sharp this one is 2220 by 1080 for its resolution that’s 441 pixels per inch so text is nice and sharp the photos look great the black level is very deep on this a really nice contrast on the display I can’t find anything to complain about here it’s a very very nice display for a mid-range phone there is also a 6 inch version that also has an OLED display interestingly though the larger screen is the same resolution as the smaller phone the 6 inch is 2160 by 1080 at 402 points per inch so things will look a little bit sharper on the smaller phone they didn’t bump the resolution up when they boosted the display size on the larger phone and again that’s one of those compromises that they likely had to make in order to hit the price point you’ll also notice

that the bezels on this phone are larger than what you might see on flagship phones which now have the displays taking up pretty much the entire front of the phone so you have a little bit of an area down here and up top but that is really pretty much it on the display compromises it looks great and it was nice to see them pack in a really high quality OLED display here for the price point now the processor they chose for this phone is a Snapdragon 670 from Qualcomm it is definitely not the fastest chip that’s out there but I think for what most consumers are going to do it’s going to be more than adequate and the reason is is that most mobile phones are not running to their full potential because most of the software for those phones are targeting the lower end devices and as a result if you’re browsing the web with this thing it is going to feel just fine in fact if you’ve got a phone that’s 2 or 3 years old this is going to feel a lot faster than what you’re currently using all the apps here are springing up very quickly I can jump around to different videos here on my youtube channel and have them spring to life very fast there’s really nothing here that feels like a compromise from a usability standpoint one area though where you’ll see some slowdown is when you’re doing things with the camera that requires some image processing and we’ll talk about those things when we get into taking photos so there are some things that you’ll notice where the processor really has a hard time keeping up but generally for what most people are going to do 85% of the time on their phone I think you’re going to be just fine with what they have decided to put in here again a compromise that most consumers may not really recognize for RAM it’s got 4 gigabytes which isn’t bad there are phones of course with more RAM these days but it’s more than enough for what I think the target audience will need and it’s got 64 gigabytes of storage unfortunately there is no SD card slot here on the phone so you won’t be able to augment that storage the 64 onboard is all you’re going to get at the time I’m recording this video I don’t believe

there is a version with more storage available but who knows maybe they’ll give you some options later on but right now the storage is fixed at 64 gigs now the build quality on the phone feels quite nice it’s got a metal frame along with a glass display it’s got a very sturdy feel to it but it is lightweight 5.2 ounces or 147 grams on the 5.6 inch version here it is very thin as you can see as well it’s got a little bit of a camera bump though the larger phone is only about 20 grams heavier so it’s not heavy in either configuration and again it really feels nicely put together now one feature this phone has that many of the flagship phones don’t is a headphone jack like a real one here at the top so you can plug in a pair of analog headphones and microphones into the top port there it also has USB type-c here at the bottom which does support audio devices as well so you have a choices to how you want to connect up your headphones and it also supports bluetooth if you want to go that route the speakers on it are also very nice it has stereo sound it comes out of the top and bottom here it’s very crisp and clear the base isn’t great but the quality of the audio is so it’s good for phone calls I think decent for music and podcasts listening then of course you have the audio options for connecting up other devices to it I did try to see if the USBC port would output video it does not so it’s used for charging or for audio and I’m guessing a few other USB devices like game controllers and keyboards and mice would probably work through that port as well but you won’t get any kind of display output out of it

beyond that you’ve got a sim card slot over here on this side the other side has a power button and a volume rocker there is a fingerprint reader here on the back that is very fast so I’ll just lock the phone up here real quick and just tap my finger there and it unlocks very very quickly so it’s pleased with the speed in which things operate they even added a neat feature where you can get the assistant up just by squeezing the phone at the bottom and that will pull up the Google assistant without having to ask for the Google word to get it going there so all together a nicely designed phone and one that rivals I think a lot of flagships in it’s overall design but just know there are a few things you can’t do with this phone one is that you cannot wirelessly charge it like you can with some of the higher-end smartphones so if you have one of those charging pads this can sit on it but nothing will happen it also is not waterproof so if you are prone to dropping your phone in bodies of water or toilets or whatever else might be out there be advised that this one is not rated to give you any kind of water protection which is something you often get on a more expensive device so let’s take a look at the key feature of this phone which is the camera system google says this is the same exact camera that’s on the much more expensive pixel three and that camera system was widely praised when it came out and I’ve been very pleased with what I’ve seen out of it so far I’m gonna show you some images in a minute but I wanted to show you first where the slower processor might become more evident so right now I’m setting up a portrait mode photograph here and you can see that we’re not getting any blurring of the background here as I’m previewing the image I can tell it what I want it to focus on but I won’t really be able to see the output of that image until after I take the picture and then jump into the image itself and you can see

it takes a second to process what it’s doing for some reason is jumping back to the prior photo that I took but nonetheless this is the final output which looks great doesn’t it but you won’t really have an idea as to how the photo will look until after it is taken a phone with a faster processor can do this in real time and give you a much better preview of the image before it is shot so that’s one of the little things that you’ll notice here along the way but the image quality itself looks great you can also go in and edit the photo so if you want to maybe reduce the amount of blur you can do that or increase it and it does seem to process pretty quickly when you are in there working on your images so overall not a bad experience but you won’t get some of the higher-end image processing preview to you in real time so let’s take a look at a few other images that I shot in portrait mode this flower came out really nice a lot of detail on this and it really pulled that flower out from the background pretty nicely this is all a software process there’s only one lens on this camera yet it’s able to through its software figure what is in the foreground and effectively pull it out some things work better than others but you’re going to have a lot of good images like this one come out without a lot of effort or additional work in fact I’ve done nothing to process that image here’s another one very similar again it just found those flowers budding there on the branch and effectively pulled them away from the backdrop that came out really nice what it will do in portrait mode is give you the original image that hasn’t been processed also so if you don’t like the way it came out you’ll still have the original that you can use without the blurring but this time it did a really nice job here I will take a look at my daughter this one had a little bit more difficulty just

because of the hair strands this is always a challenge for these portrait mode systems even when the camera has two lenses so you can see a little bit of roughness there and then down over here you can see it had a hard time discerning her strands of hair from the siding so it’s blurred right up until it hits her hair and then we still see some of the detail on the siding there in the background but overall not bad at all and again something you would see on other phones also even ones that cost more than this one this image had one issue here which is right at the top of her head that detail is from the chair that was behind her so it has sometimes a hard time with these fine lines and pulling them out so I was able to do that up here by her ears but for whatever reason it got confused where the strands of hair were coming out against that chair backdrop there but overall it’s really not bad for a single camera system and Google really is doing quite a bit with image processing now the rear camera is twelve point two megapixels and that’s why it’s got such nice detail in these photos the front camera is eight megapixels and I took a portrait mode shot on the front as well and you can see it did a pretty good job of pulling me away from the backdrop there for a little selfie photo so overall I think you’ll be quite pleased with the portrait mode on here let’s take a look at a few other images I took now the next set of images we’re looking at is from the normal camera mode there is no special portrait processing happening here and you can see you get a lot of detail out of that 12 megapixel sensor really nice and sharp this is just a

handheld photo and you’ll notice too that we do have a little bit of background blurring too and that’s because the lens is fixed at a 1.8 aperture so it’s not a terribly shallow depth of field but it will give you some nice bokeh even when you don’t have that digital processing enabled and what’s nice about the lenses natural aperture here is that you don’t have any weirdness because this is no processing this is just optical and you’re getting what’s actually coming through the lens and if you are looking to have a little bit of blur on your background you can do it very cleanly just in the regular camera mode here’s another shot I took very similar it is to give you some more detail as to how things look here so really nice and sharp there so good stuff and you can see again we got a little bit of background blur there just from the aperture on the lens here’s another one where we’ve got a lot of twigs and trees and stuff in the picture and again it all looks nice and sharp out of that lens and this was just a quick shot I took while I was walking the dog a little bit earlier spring is finally returning to where I live here’s a shot of my dog and the reason why I wanted to pull this up is that occasionally will over saturate colors and I think in this photo because it was so great and the deck she’s standing on were kind of a monotone that it just over accentuated the color here and one of the things that’s happening with smartphones these days is that these are as much software cameras as they are Hardware cameras the processor is working on these photos after they’re taken to try to deliver the best image possible and sometimes you’ll have something like this happen where one color

might be a little bit too saturated and that’s where you might want to dial back the color a little bit just to make the eyes look a little bit more realistic her eyes are blue but not that blue but nonetheless you can see just the level of detail you get out of the sensor on that camera it’s really nice for a mid-range smartphone and I was very impressed with that I also took a low-light photo this was in a darker room of my house and this gives you an idea as to what you’ll get indoors when you don’t have the best lighting conditions and it did a pretty nice job with this too not too much noise here good color out of that image and overall I was pleased with how well it shot just in its normal camera mode but there’s another mode that’s kind of cool where you can shoot in almost pitch darkness and still get usable in let’s check that out so they call this mode nitesite and you have to switch the camera into this mode in order to take these pictures now what it does is it takes multiple images and then composites them together to get what you see here so you have to hold your wrist very steady while it is taking those pictures and you also want to instruct those who are being photographed to hold still until it is done with the image sampling it then does a little bit of processing and then delivers you the final outcome here now this is what the pixel took this is what my iPhone took in the same spot at the same time so you can see it really does a wonderful job here of not only pulling out detail but also color that you normally wouldn’t see you will get some noise here in the darker areas but it’s usable as an image something that I think would work fine on Facebook or Instagram or something like that and its really the difference between getting an image that is usable and one that is not I typically do these kinds of photos with my SLR at a very slow shutter speed and a high ISO but it’s kind of nice to have a phone in my pocket

that can do similar things here’s another shot that might give you a better idea as to what it might look like when you have some light around you I had a streetlight over here and one behind me that illuminated things quite well you can get a good amount of detail here you can read the words on the trashcan there for example so it did come out pretty nice now I did try to do some astrophotography with this to take pictures of the stars it picked up a good amount of them but as you can see there’s also a lot of noise here that came into play too so I don’t think this is a long exposure alternative for doing Astro photography you’ll probably want to stick with your SLR camera for that but it is able to do some decent stuff in the dark and this is something that I certainly want to play around a bit more with because you’re not going to pull out that level of detail on most smartphones now the camera on the pixel 3a can also do video video is not its strong point but it’s certainly usable video that looks good but the frame rates are a bit limited out of both cameras so the max you can do on the rear camera is 4k at 30 frames per second I would have liked to have seen 60 there the front camera can only do 30 frames per second at 10 however there are higher frame rates you can get at lower resolutions so for example you can do slo-mo video at 120 frames per second at 1080p out of the rear camera or 240 out of the rear camera at 720p video quality though isn’t bad it’s certainly usable as you can see here I was pleased that it gave me a decent result just nothing spectacular but I was very pleased with the quality of the stabilization out of that rear camera it has an optical stabilizer and then of course Google’s software and as you can see here it almost

looks like we’re on some kind of tripod as we’re walking around there are a few things where you’ll see a big step kind of get noticed on the video there but generally it was keeping it rock-solid even while I was walking with an exaggerated heavy step just to see how it did I was very impressed with that so let’s take a look now at some gaming and we’ve got goat simulator here running on the phone and I was very pleased with how smooth everything has been rendering on this device I don’t get a frames per second counter on here but it looks and feels like 60 to me as I’m playing through here very smooth no lag no stuttering the phone is able to execute this 3d game quite well and I think one of the things that you’ll find when you do download android games is that most of these games are targeted at low-end phones not mid-range ones so this will do just fine with a bulk of the android game library and you shouldn’t find much that doesn’t run on here I also took a look at the dolphin emulator which emulates the Nintendo GameCube that is often very challenging for devices like this to successfully emulate but actually it does work pretty well on here let’s have a look so here we have burnout 2 running on the dolphin GameCube emulator and if you look in the upper right hand corner you’ll get an idea of our frames per second which are hovering at or close to 60 the entire time we’re playing through here it’s very good actually and I think they’ve done some work to improve the dolphin emulator on Android which helps but I was very surprised to see that this ran as well as it did now not all of the GameCube games will perform this well but many will and I found that a lot of games did run at playable frame rates I tested out waverace a little while earlier it was largely a tour around 30 frames per second as we

were playing through and as you can see here burnout 2 is running quite nicely to a couple graphical glitches here or there but nothing deal breaking here so I think dolphins come a long way but this hardware is not bad for a mid-range smartphone now we also ran the 3dmark sling shot benchmark test to see where this phone lines up on paper and there you can see we got a score of two thousand five hundred and twenty eight which lines up with the iPhone 6s and the one plus three which were flagship phones from three or four years ago you can see the Galaxy s8 from about two years ago performs a lot better so this gives you an idea as to exactly where this processor is in the pecking order of modern mobile devices but it really isn’t hindered all that much because again the software that’s being targeted at these phones are targeting processors slower than this one and I think you’re going to have a very good experience overall if you don’t want to spend eight or twelve hundred dollars on a smartphone I also experimented a little bit with some of the augmented reality features that are coming into these phones and this is the playground feature that is built into the camera app you can drop in these little 3d characters and have them do stuff like swing baseball bats and whatever so overall it seems to be working pretty well for a mid-range phone here I also tried out the Google Maps AR feature out in the field that worked pretty well too so I think if you’re looking at this and deciding is it enough for what I need to do I think most of what you’re going to try to run on this phone will execute just fine even though its processor is not the fastest thing out there so now let’s talk about battery life which is always a tough thing to do with smartphones because we all use our phones in different ways so let me tell you what I did with this phone over the last 24 hours to give you an idea as to what you can expect so I plugged the phone in and had it fully charged at about 2:00 p.

m.

Yesterday I took it off the charger I installed apps I went out and took a lot of photos I brought it around town with me I’ve had it connected up to Google’s PHY service so I’m getting a real cellular connection to it so that should simulate what you might get with your phone under normal use and at the end of the day after all that activity I about 45% left on the battery when I went to bed around 11:00 p.m. I didn’t charge it at all last night and then when I got up in the morning it was pretty much around that same battery level it didn’t consume all that much overnight and then I took it out and started doing some of the AR mapping features and a few of the other things that were really taxing the processor and the data performance a bit and that’s when I started to see the battery drop off a lot faster so by about noon I was down to about 15 or 20 percent now does support USB fast charging I think it goes up to about 18 watts so it’ll recharge very quickly and I think I’ll get out of this about the same battery life I get out of my iPhone X throughout the day so I think it will last a full day for most people but if you use your phone a lot and it’s always out and you’re always doing something on it that’s going to impact the battery life more than an occasional user who picks it up every couple hours to look at it now they’ve implemented a couple of features on here to try to extend the battery life one of those is that it will automatically manage background applications if it sees things running in the background that you’re not accessing all that frequently it’ll actually pause the app from running and only check on it every so often so you might see some delayed notifications for apps that it put into that little box there but it will tell you in the settings what exactly it is doing to try to extend your battery life but I didn’t see anything that

concerned me about the battery life on this it fell about what I would expect out of a mid-range to high-end phone and I think it will get most people through the workday so I have to say there’s not much I can complain about on this phone in fact it exceeded my expectations I look at a lot of low-cost devices a lot of mid-range devices and I found that when there’s an expensive flagship in the product line companies really don’t want to make the mid-range phones all that good because they don’t want to deter people from the more profitable products here Google did something few companies do which is make a great phone and I think a pretty reasonable price and put a camera in here that is on the flagship it’s the same one and as we saw it really does a nice job of capturing images

and it’s four hundred bucks which again is not bad for an unlocked phone so I think if you are in the market for a smartphone and you don’t want to spend 1,200 bucks if you don’t have to give this one a try because this is really one of the nicest mid-range phones I have looked at in some time and I hope other companies take note of what Google is doing with this because I think this phone will sell very well and I hope we start seeing more good stuff in the mid-range because there’s really been too much of a focus on these super expensive phones and we haven’t seen a lot of good things for consumers at an affordable price point this one is really good in fact I would say it is a great phone for a reasonable price so definitely check it out if you are in the market for a phone I am quite pleased with it and if there’s anything else I didn’t cover in this video let me know down in the comments below we’ll try to do a follow-up in the next couple of days until next time this is Lyon Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold level supporters the four guys with quarters podcast Tom Albrecht in Cali an Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe visit

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