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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

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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.

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