Google Pixel 3a XL Review: Full-Featured, Affordable Pure Android

Pixel 3a XL Battery Life And Review Summary

Since the introduction of Android 7 Nougat, and even more so with Android 8 Oreo and 9 Pie, our battery life testing has become a bit of a challenge. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, Google's mobile operating system is getting more aggressive at killing tasks that are consuming significant power and haven't had any user interaction. As a result, our usual PCMark Android battery test now fails on many phones, so we have fewer results to share, though still enough for a solid relative gauge. Fortunately, the Google Pixel 3a XL managed to complete the test with little fuss.

Futuremark's PCMark for Android Work 2.0 Battery test takes workloads from the benchmark itself (image and video editing, email and web browsing) and scripts them in a loop that runs until battery levels drop below 20 percent. This test is more real-world in terms of its setup, because we calibrate display brightness on all devices to 200 Lux and the test then locks that display brightness in for the duration. In these tests, Bluetooth connectivity and Location services are disabled, though Wi-Fi and mobile data is left enabled.

Google Pixel 3a XL Battery Life Test

The Google Pixel 3a XL chalks up a second place finish with copious up-time, thanks to its 3700 mAh battery and power-efficient Snapdragon 670 processing platform. When it comes to battery life, you'll certainly not be let down by Google's new mid-range, lower-cost Pixel phone. In fact, if you're a heavy daily screen time user, but don't want the weight or size of some of the 4000 - 5000 mAh battery-backed devices on the market today, the Pixel 3a XL may be an excellent happy medium. You've got bloat-free Android, a stout but not hefty 3700 mAh battery and a power-sipping Snapdragon platform on board here, which makes for a very efficient mobile combo.

Review Summary, Pros And Cons Of LG's G8 ThinQIn fact, that's kind of the story of the new Google Pixel 3a XL. In general, its a far more compelling product than perhaps you might surmise from the sum of its parts. With the exception of Google's fantastic Pixel camera performance, there's no one area where the Pixel 3a XL really stands-out. However, as Google likes to point out, this phone simply gets the job done, and does so with efficiency, a clean, minimalist design aesthetic, and solid build quality throughout. 

Google Pixel 3a XL with case
In terms of features and functionality, there are a couple of shortcomings that may miss a few check boxes for some, like wireless charging and the lack of an IP rating for water resistance. However, these are obvious omissions on Google's part to save cost for the consumer, and at $479 for a 6-inch device with a big battery and OLED display, we really can't complain too much about having to forego these features. And yes, the Google team was clearly sporting its collective market research thinking caps with the Pixel 3a XL, as the thoughtful inclusion of a simple headphone jack will add a lot of value for some who just can't bear to go wireless with their earbuds, for myriad reasons. 

So again, she may not light up the benchmarks, but for all it does so well, its fabulous camera and its aggressive price point, you really can't go wrong with the Google Pixel 3a XL and likely the standard Pixel 3a as well, if you're looking for a smaller device. Google incorporated much of what mainstream consumers are looking for in a device with the Pixel 3a series, and at a price point that the masses can justify. No doubt, these new Pixels will sell like hotcakes with their excellent battery life, and in a saturated market of devices well north of $600 or $700, most times with a similar feature set. With the Pixel 3a XL and Pixel 3a, Google just nailed the mid-range smartphone. 

  • Great price point
  • Clean, unadulterated Android 9
  • Fantastic camera performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Headphone jack
  • Solid OLED display
  • Performance is underwhelming
  • No wireless charging
  • No IP water resistance rating

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