Skip to main content

Google’s $399 Pixel 3A is stronger than its price tag suggests

Google’s $399 Pixel 3A is stronger than its price tag suggests


This plastic phone can take a beating

Share this story

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google had to make a few sacrifices to get the Pixel 3A down to $399, which is half the cost of the Pixel 3. But according to JerryRigEverything’s video, which showcases his rigorous phone tests, durability isn’t something that you should be too worried about.

The Pixel 3A’s Dragontrail glass display held up to the YouTube channel’s signature scratch and bend tests just as well as phones that use Corning’s Gorilla Glass. It earned similar marks to Corning’s glass on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, though your car keys will likely still find a way to create little scratches. Given that it was likely cheaper for Google to use Dragontrail instead of the more popular Gorilla Glass, it’s nice to see that the switch doesn’t appear to impact the quality of the glass.

The Pixel 3A’s all-plastic body means the device is more affordable (and easier) to produce than something like the Pixel 3. But despite the downgrade in build materials, the Pixel 3A holds up well. During JerryRigEverything’s testing, the phone bent to a slightly worrying degree, but it didn’t break. The fingerprint sensor on the phone’s back, also covered in plastic, was able to recognize fingerprints after withstanding several deep scratches. All of the phone’s other features remained functional, too.

It’s easy to assume that the Pixel 3A is a fragile device, especially since all-plastic phones like the Nextbit Robin have failed JerryRigEverything’s tests in the past. But Google’s budget-friendly phone passed these tests, which is an encouraging sign that you don’t need to spend a lot to get a phone that will last.

According to Dieter Bohn’s review of the Pixel 3A, the more noticeable sacrifices come in the form of a slow processor and lack of water resistance. Still, the phone is a great deal considering that it has the Pixel 3’s excellent camera and, unusual for a Google phone, a 3.5mm headphone jack. Oh, and it’s surprisingly durable, too.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Not just you

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.