If the leaks and rumours are to be believed (which they are), Google are on the verge of launching 2 new Pixels, the 3a and 3a XL. Based on everything we've seen so far, these are cut down Pixel 3 homages with lower prices, lower spec processors and the same excellent camera we've come to expect from the latest Pixels. I'm all for democratising awesome photography, but I'm not convinced Google have it figured out here.
Based on what we've managed to glean from the various leaks to date, the phones will come in at $479 for the XL model and $499 for the regular, both in 64GB flavours, with a 128GB storage upgrade available at additional cost. So let's look at those prices. Right now in the US the full fat 3 XL is $699 and the 3 is $599. Let's extrapolate that to UK pricing. Right now, a 3 XL in the UK is £719 and the 3 is £589.
Based on that we can reasonably expect the UK prices for the 3A devices to be £469 and £389 (assuming they are available here).
Those are not cheap phones by any stretch of the imagination. OK, so maybe this is the new 'high to mid tier', but I don't think this makes a lot of sense. There's also the little issue of street price. A 3 XL from John Lewis, an extremely reputable retailer, is £619, a full £100 saving over the Google Store. If you're willing to go grey import via eGlobalCentral or similar or even buy a Grade A / Refurb unit you can save even more. Is the full fat 3 XL going to be worth the £150 max delta over the 3A XL? Probably.
So let's look at what do you miss out on at the lower price. The phones will likely be plastic, have smaller batteries and yes, they'll still have the 4GB RAM that seems to cause the 'proper Pixels' to be so terrible at memory management. They will of course get 3 years of OS updates and pure Android, but is that really enough?
The other issue I have with the Pixels is that they just feel decidedly old-hat compared to flagships and even mid-rangers from other companies. Those bezels. The uber-notch of the 3 XL. Where's the innovation? Arguably the cameras are only so good because of Google's computation photography chops. In a nutshell, I think they should be doing better.
Pics courtesy of evleaks