Google Pixel 3a Camera Review

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Google’s Pixel lineup just received two new smartphones, the Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL. We have the Google Pixel 3a running the pure Android 9 Pie and sports a camera that reminds us of the flagship Pixel 3 XL. Here take a look at the Google Pixel 3a camera review below.

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In the camera department, the Pixel 3a uses the same 12.2 MP dual pixel Sony IMX363 sensor with f/1.8 aperture on the rear side. The camera is aided by autofocus with dual pixel phase detection as well as Optical Image Stabilization and Electronic Image Stabilization. The front side carries an 8 MP camera with f/2.0 aperture.

At the heart of the Pixel 3a, you will find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 which is an upper midrange SoC while the Pixel 3 (Pixel 3 XL as well), on the other side, has the flagship Snapdragon 845 SoC. Furthermore, the Pixel 3a packs 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage, and a battery that’s worth 3,000 mAh.

Google Pixel 3a Camera Specifications

  • Main Camera: 12.2 MP f/1.8 Dual Pixel
  • Camera Sensor: Sony IMX363
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): Yes
  • Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS): Yes
  • Rear Flash: Dual LED flash
  • Features: Portrait Mode, Night Sight, Playground, Photobooth, Slow Motion, Time Lapse, Lens, Photosphere, Panorama, Motion Photos, HDR+, Scenes, RAW Photos, HEVC Video, Geo-tagging, Tap to focus
  • Video Recording: Up to 4K video @30fps, slow-motion 720p @240fps
  • Front Camera: 8 MP f/2.0
  • Video Recording: 1080p video @30fps
  • Front Flash: Screen flash

The Google Pixel 3a shares the same camera features the Pixel 3 has, you will find the Portrait, Playground, Night Sight, Photobooth modes which we have already seen on the Pixel 3 XL. The camera also takes Motion photos, Panorama shots, RAW photos, and features native Google Lens.

Check out these camera samples we snapped from the Pixel 3a.

Google Pixel 3a Camera Samples

In terms of the camera quality, we barely see any difference in the photos, the result is quite identical to the Pixel 3 camera, there’s no doubt the Pixel 3a tops out in the segment. The only major difference in the camera is the lack of the Pixel Visual Core imaging chip found on the Pixel 3.

The missing chip shows that the Pixel 3a may not be intelligent enough to apply various optimizations on the photos. However, the camera seems to rely on the CPU as well as GPU for the optimizations. In many scenarios, the Pixel 3a camera performs impressively well, there’s plenty amount of details in the images, the colors appear to be closely defined, thanks to the OLED display.

The playground mode appears to be good and fun to play with. However, images taken in the Playground mode degrades the image quality significantly when we compared to the photo taken in normal camera mode, the result is compressed into a 2.1 MP photo.

One notable thing on the phone is the absence of the dual selfie camera, the second 8 MP camera as seen on the Pixel 3 which is a wide angle camera isn’t available on the Pixel 3a. Unless you are a selfie lover who wants to cover a group of people, the single camera should be enough to selfie needs.

Verdict

Pixel 3a is Google’s affordable offering emphasizing its flagship camera with a trade-off with the premium design and top-notch specs. Even though the design aesthetics, as well as, the performance has been degraded on the phone, the good thing is that Google has preserved the camera and its features to make sure you get Pixel camera experience. If you have seen the Pixel 3 camera already, this will deliver you pretty much the same camera features surprisingly with its cutting-edge photo quality.