Google Pixel 3a digital camera assessment

Launched in May 2019, the Pixel 3a is the budget-oriented model of Google’s flagship Pixel three smartphone, accessible with a 5.6-inch show on the usual model, or with a bigger 6.Zero-inch display on the XL mannequin.

The key distinction is the chipset, with the cheaper Pixel 3a units working the extra mid-range Snapdragon 670 processor, in comparison with the top-end Snapdragon 845 chip within the Google Pixel three. There’s additionally a slight distinction in display expertise, with the Pixel 3a that includes an OLED show, in comparison with Pixel three’s newer P-OLED LCD. Moreover, the Pixel 3a isn’t IP68 rated for mud and water resistance like its dearer stablemate.

Google has caught with broadly the identical digital camera module for all of its Pixel three and 3a fashions, nonetheless, which features a single 12.2Mp sensor coupled to a 28mm-equivalent f/1.Eight-aperture lens with optical picture stabilization (OIS). Changes to the chipset and picture processing can impression the general pictures efficiency, although, so let’s see how the Google Pixel 3a fares below the trials of a full DxOMark take a look at.

Key digital camera specs:

Single-camera setup
12.2Mp 1/2.55-inch sensor with 1.4µm pixels
28mm (equal) f/1.Eight lens with OIS
Dual-pixel PDAF autofocus
Dual-LED flash
2160@30fps (4K) video or 1080@30fps (default)

About DxOMark Mobile exams: For scoring and evaluation in our smartphone digital camera opinions, DxOMark engineers seize and consider over 1500 take a look at photographs and greater than 2 hours of video each in managed lab environments and in pure indoor and outside scenes, utilizing the digital camera’s default settings. This article is designed to spotlight crucial outcomes of our testing. For extra details about the DxOMark Mobile take a look at protocol, click on right here. More particulars on how we rating smartphone cameras can be found right here.

Test abstract

100

DxOMark
cell

Google Pixel 3a

Achieving an general DxOMark cell rating of 100 factors, the Google Pixel 3a lands within the second tier of our database of smartphone picture high quality. Although positioned behind lots of the current dual- and triple-camera flagship units we’ve examined, the Google Pixel 3a is just a degree behind such different single-camera units because the dearer Google Pixel three, in addition to Apple’s budget-oriented iPhone XR (each with 101 factors general). The Google Pixel 3a achieves the identical rating of 103 factors for nonetheless photographs because the Pixel three and iPhone XR, nonetheless, and all three units provide broadly comparable picture high quality, though there are some small variations within the strengths and weaknesses amongst them.

The Google Pixel 3a’s barely decrease general rating is attributable to its rating of 95 factors for video, in comparison with 98 for the Google Pixel three and 96 for the iPhone XR.

The Google Pixel 3a achieves correct goal exposures with good spotlight and element preservation.

The Google Pixel 3a is able to good goal publicity in most examined circumstances, with correct measurements in our lab evaluation below lighting circumstances between 10 and 1000 lux. We recorded slight underexposure in low gentle (5 lux), however photographs stay acceptable. In our perceptual evaluation of publicity when capturing pure scenes, the Pixel 3a typically delivered correct goal exposures; additional, its HDR processing ensures that element in all fairness well-preserved within the vivid spotlight areas, as you may see within the sky within the picture beneath.

The Pixel 3a tends to barely underexpose in difficult high-contrast scenes, nonetheless, and though this produces photographs with good distinction, it finally ends up recording much less element within the shadows in comparison with units such because the iPhone XR, which gives a stronger HDR impact. This is much less problematic in well-balanced lighting circumstances, although, and the Pixel 3a typically produces properly uncovered indoor photographs, too.

Google Pixel 3a, high-contrast scene

Google Pixel three, high-contrast scene

Apple iPhone XR, high-contrast scene

The Pixel 3a achieves a great rating for colour, with rendering and white steadiness similar to the Pixel three’s. In pure scenes, the Pixel 3a leans in the direction of a barely cooler/bluer white steadiness in outside pictures, with an orange/pink forged indoors and in low-light, however the distinction is marginal and general the colours look good. Our engineers noticed some over-saturation of crimson colours, however as this isn’t unusual with smartphone photographs, it’s not too regarding.

Google Pixel three, outside colour rendering

The Pixel 3a did handle to realize a barely greater rating for colour over the Pixel three because of higher measurements for colour response in our lab evaluation. As you may see from the charts, the Pixel 3a captures extra impartial white steadiness in comparison with the Pixel three when examined below a variety of lighting circumstances.

Google Pixel 3a, colour measurement evaluation

Google Pixel three, colour measurement evaluation

Well-controlled noise is a key energy for the Pixel 3a, and Google has managed to barely enhance outcomes over the Pixel three on this regard. The Pixel 3a shows no proof of any problematic chromatic noise; and ranges of luminance noise in flat areas of outside photographs, such because the sky, in addition to indoors and in low-light pictures, are typically very acceptable.

Detail preservation can be good, with excessive ranges of acutance over 70% recorded in static scenes in lighting circumstances between 5 to 1000 lux, so it’s solely in excessive low-light circumstances that a lack of element turns into actually noticeable. It’s not a drastic enchancment over the Pixel three or the iPhone XR, each of that are good units for element preservation, however you may anticipate intricate areas across the middle of the body to be well-defined in most photographs.

Google Pixel 3a, element and noise

Google Pixel three, element and noise

Apple iPhone XR, element and noise

Equipped with only a single digital camera, the Google Pixel 3a can’t fairly compete with dual-camera tele-lens units for close-range zoom pictures, however Google’s superior computational pictures processing does a better-than-average job for zoom pictures. Results are comparable between the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel three, and at shut vary (~2x magnification), each protect extra effective element than the iPhone XR. Some useless pixels are seen in low-light zoom pictures at shut vary, in addition to colour fringing in outside circumstances, however these are actually noticeable solely when displaying photographs at massive scale. Generally talking, the Pixel 3a does a great job with a modest quantity of pinch zoom.

At medium vary (~4x), element is noticeably affected, however you’ll get away with it in vivid gentle circumstances, particularly in the event you’re simply viewing the photographs on the machine’s show. Unlike the iPhone XR, the Pixel 3a doesn’t restrict the zoom vary to 4x magnification, so it’s attainable to seize pictures at long-range zoom distances of roughly 8x magnification. Detail preservation is low on long-range zoom pictures in all lighting circumstances and colour rendering can look unnatural, nevertheless it’s useful to have the additional zoom functionality when wanted.

Google Pixel 3a, close-range zoom

Google Pixel three, close-range zoom

Apple iPhone XR, close-range zoom

In Portrait mode, the Pixel 3a isn’t fairly as sturdy because the Pixel three for bokeh pictures. Although the general impact between the 2 units is analogous when successfully utilized, the Pixel 3a isn’t fairly as constant, with differing ranges of blur depth usually utilized throughout consecutive pictures. With no devoted depth-sensing sensor, Google depends on computational imaging to use a bokeh impact, and though it does an admirable job, it’s not as efficient as the very best multi-camera units. Subject isolation on each units could possibly be improved, with artifacts or blurring across the edges of the topic usually seen. The blur gradient isn’t very well-controlled on the Pixel 3a both, with noticeable steps within the gradient because the background drops away.

Google Pixel 3a, bokeh simulation

Google Pixel three, bokeh simulation

Flash pictures are one other energy for the Pixel 3a, due to minimal flash fall-off in the direction of the corners and well-preserved particulars. Exposures are fairly good typically in each flash-only in addition to mixed-lighting pictures, though very slight variations in publicity sometimes result in barely underexposed pictures. Luminance noise is well-managed each on faces and within the flat areas in the direction of the corners (the place it’s usually extra noticeable). A slight pink colour forged is seen when utilizing flash below further tungsten gentle sources, and the red-eye impact is usually evident, however pores and skin tones maintain up fairly effectively general, and flash portraits are greater than acceptable.

Google Pixel 3a, flash shot at Zero lux

Google Pixel 3a, flash shot at 5 lux

We deduct factors for noticeable artifacts that have an effect on picture high quality, and the primary concern with the Pixel 3a is a lack of sharpness within the outer subject. Although element in the direction of the middle of the picture is fairly good, acutance drops off considerably within the corners—and that is noticeable not simply at massive scale, however even when analyzing photographs on the machine’s show. Other points equivalent to ghosting, colour fringing, and ringing are additionally evident at shut inspection, in addition to some flare in backlit pictures, however these issues are much less widespread or not as detrimental to general picture high quality.

Google Pixel 3a, lack of sharpness within the subject

Google Pixel 3a, colour fringing artifact

Autofocus is one other energy for the Pixel 3a, with its dual-pixel PDAF system guaranteeing quick, correct, and repeatable leads to all lighting circumstances. In our benchmark lab testing the place we defocus the machine between pictures and wait both a brief (500ms) or lengthy (2000ms) delay earlier than requesting focus, the Pixel 3a achieves fast response instances and persistently delivers in-focus photographs in all lighting circumstances. Moreover, on condition that we encountered no focus irregularities throughout our pure take a look at scene pictures classes, you might be assured of first-class autofocus efficiency from the Pixel 3a.

Google Pixel 3a, autofocus efficiency in low gentle (20 lux)

The Google Pixel 3a isn’t as sturdy for video efficiency as its dearer stablemate, and though autofocus is barely improved and colour is broadly the identical, it doesn’t rating fairly as effectively for publicity, texture, noise, artifacts, or stabilization. That stated, the Pixel 3a is mostly a succesful machine for video publicity, with correct goal exposures and barely higher preservation of spotlight particulars in bright-light circumstances in comparison with the Pixel three.

The fundamental downside for video when in comparison with the Pixel three is noticeable underexposure in low gentle, which has an impression on the Pixel 3a’s general rating. You can see from the 2 stills taken from movies captured within the lab below 1 lux lighting circumstances that the Pixel three is able to usable video in near-dark lighting circumstances, however the comparable Pixel 3a video is way too underexposed to be viable.

Google Pixel 3a, video publicity at 1 lux

Google Pixel three, video publicity at 1 lux

Color is a key energy for the Pixel 3a’s video efficiency, and other than a barely pink white steadiness forged seen in outside photographs, colours are typically vivid and vivid, and particularly so indoors and in low gentle.

Google Pixel 3a, video colour rendering evaluation by lighting situation

Video noise is well-managed in all lighting circumstances, too, and though it doesn’t fairly match the Pixel three’s rating for noise, it’s not far off. In very low gentle, temporal noise is broadly the identical between the 2 Google units, and a modest enchancment over the iPhone XR. As gentle ranges improve, nonetheless, the Pixel 3a shows fractionally extra temporal noise in comparison with the Pixel three (besides in very vivid gentle circumstances of 1000 lux), which explains its barely decrease general noise rating.

Google Pixel 3a, temporal noise evaluation by lighting situation versus opponents

The distinction between the Google units is a bit more important for video texture, with a larger lack of effective element evident within the Pixel 3a’s films in comparison with the Pixel three’s, which you’ll be able to see within the grass within the video stills beneath.

Google Pixel 3a, video texture

Google Pixel three, video texture

Overall, the Pixel 3a implements a reasonably efficient stabilization system for video, so it avoids any important wobbles and judders in static handheld movies in addition to in movies captured with strolling actions. Our engineers did discover some distracting body shifts when capturing panning movies, nonetheless, with noticeable leaping and a ghosting impact current because the digital camera pans. This could possibly be defined by the machine’s much less chipset, which isn’t capable of crunch by the video knowledge fairly as successfully because the chipset within the Pixel three.

Conclusion

With a slew of enticing mid-range units now accessible within the aggressive smartphone market, there’s strain on the large gamers to offer extra reasonably priced choices. As such, Google, Apple, and Samsung all now have extra budget-oriented variations of their flagship units accessible to assist hold prospects loyal. In the case of the Google Pixel 3a, essentially the most important distinction is its cheaper chipset, so it’s not as because the flagship Pixel three.

The pictures proposition stays broadly the identical, nonetheless, and the Pixel 3a’s single-camera answer boasts the identical fundamental specs because the dearer mannequin. Accordingly, picture high quality for nonetheless photographs is fairly comparable for the 2 units, with some variations in white steadiness and bokeh rendering the primary notable exceptions.

Neither mannequin can fairly compete with the very best dual- and triple-camera units we’ve examined, however some glorious computational processing ensures that the Pixel 3a stays a really succesful machine for pictures. The Pixel 3a’s less-powerful chipset has extra of an impression in video high quality, nonetheless—and once more, whereas it stays a really succesful performer for video, some underexposure in low gentle, lack of element, and body shifts when panning imply that it’s not fairly up there with the very best.

Photo professionals

Good spotlight element in most lighting circumstances
Accurate goal exposures
Generally good colour rendering
Fast, correct and repeatable autofocus
Good element and protection utilizing flash

Video professionals

Low noise, even in low gentle
Fast, correct and repeatable autofocus
Bright and vivid colour, particularly indoors and in low gentle
Effective stabilization

Photo cons

Loss of sharpness within the subject
Underexposure of darker areas outside
Blue colour forged outside
Unnatural topic isolation and inconsistent blur impact in bokeh pictures

Video cons

Slight pink colour forged outside
Noticeable underexposure in low gentle
Low element in all circumstances
Strong body shift noticeable in panning movies