back to article Want a good Android smartphone without the $1,000+ price tag? Then buy Google's Pixel 3a

Let's get this over with straight away: if you want a new smartphone but don't want to pay an increasingly stupid price tag, then get the Google Pixel 3a. It's $399 or £399, and it does everything you want and does it really well. There: that's it. You can now go about your day. If you want to know how this is done, or love …

  1. Peter Clarke 1

    Cloud Storage

    No option for an SD card?? Add that to the niggle list

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Cloud Storage

      64GB is more than anyone would ever need

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cloud Storage

        Unless you're being sarcastic, you might have said that "640K ought to be enough for anybody" :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cloud Storage

          Sorry no, I still don't understand that this is a reference to bill gates, could you ruin the joke further please?

          1. 404

            Re: Cloud Storage

            hehe, reminded me of my old Sony camera that uses 3.5" floppy disks & AA batteries... the joke is so old, doesn't qualify for a dad joke...

            Y'all have a great day - I'm gonna go see if I can find that camera lol... Box around here somewhere...

      2. Ubermik

        Re: Cloud Storage

        No its not, I have 64gb in my current phone plus 128gb SD card and have maybe 8gb spare

        The lack of an SD card is just one of the ways they force you to change your phone even if you don't want to, same with non removable batteries that wear out long before the phone itself does

        I would be happy with even 32gb on a phone as long as it had an SD card slot as you have to be retarded to pay for huge amounts of built in memory when an SD card costs a fraction of the price for several times the capacity

        I was on the fence about this, but the SD card was the final straw to the compromises so I opted for the CAT S61 instead for the FLIR camera rather than buy another phone that I will feel is constantly restrictive with no benefits to compensate for them, the lack of an SD card on this narrowed it down to the CAT and a rugged Chinese no name that had dual sim, SD card and came with 2 6000mah batteries and which was still less than the google phone despite having a higher resolution screen, faster processor, more ram, more built in storage, and SD socket, dual sim, was waterproof, drop proof

        Granted its a no name, but for less than £200 I could have bought two of them, and being rugged theres a good chance just one of them would have outlived the google phone anyway

        But the CAT was the best of both worlds, brand name, SD card and rugged but £225 more than the google phone, but I just refuse to buy a phone that is deliberately crippled for no good reason other than to make them get replaced more often and there is NO GOOD REASON to omit an SD card slot on a phone

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge

          Re: Cloud Storage

          The only reason is that Google-specified phones don't have SD card slots. None of them. I guess as the idea is to encourage use of their cloud.

          Personally, 64GB is plenty for me. But as you illustrate, it's not for everyone.

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Cloud Storage

          "I have 64gb in my current phone plus 128gb SD card and have maybe 8gb spare"

          But do you REALLY need to have all the photos you've ever taken stay on the phone? I understand having a large music library (for which, by the way, 64GB is ample), but your full photo library? It's extremely simple to sync it off to your computer, or to on of the cloud services if you want it always available. Same for videos.

          Of course I get it that some people see it as an inconvenience to have to copy media on and off teh phone as needed as opposed to having everything always there, but I think for most people that's not a show stopper.

          Similairly to all the other compromises Google seems to have made with this phone, they have come down on the side of the features that most people prefer, and if you don't want to compromise, get the £800 phone instead of the £300 one

          1. ch0rlt0n

            Re: Cloud Storage

            64GB is not ample for my music collection, which isn't even in lossless format. And I'd say my collection was moderate compared to some. I've just had to upgrade from a 128GB to 256GB micro SD card for mine so no SD Card would be a deal breaker for me.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Cloud Storage

              Just so noted, if you're filling a 64GB SD card with nothing but high-bitrate (say 320kbps MP3) music, you basically have enough music to play without repeating for nearly two weeks (the benchmark is my own music collection, which tips the scales at about 14GB and according to Vanilla Music has a total playtime of over 71 hours (nearly 3 days). WITH high-res artwork for each track.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cloud Storage

      You know it's 2019, and not 1997 right?

      Same for headphone jacks...

      "so it is possible Google screwed up here somewhere when they added the jack in. " not really, all this is integrated in the Snapdragon chipset, all headphones jacks are essentially the modern equivalent of a PC intgrated soundcard. Basically but quickly reaches the limits of it's capability.

      To get outstanding audio quality, you need to be listening to the vastly superior USB-C inline DAC. better still pick up the Pixel 3 wired USB-C earbuds, they are uber-comfortable, as they aren't in-ear, but use a nifty loop, and sound great.

      1. tony2heads

        Re: Cloud Storage

        My preference for listening to audio is a Bluetooth headset with noise cancellation.

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Cloud Storage

          My preference for listening to audio is my personal 12-piece troupe of musicians, dressed in late 18th century German bandsman uniform, who trail after at a discreet distance, always within call.

          1. Andrew Moore

            Re: Cloud Storage

            Classy

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Cloud Storage

        "You know it's 2019, and not 1997 right?"

        So, it being 2019 means that we have to do without useful features?

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Cloud Storage

          Increasingly niche useful features. Most people just don’t miss them, so it has no impact on sales. Therefore the phone makers don’t need to satisfy a few stick in the muds.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Cloud Storage

            "Therefore the phone makers don’t need to satisfy a few stick in the muds."

            I was agreeing with your statements up until this. Why do you have such a dismissive attitude towards people who aren't being well-served by these devices?

            But you're right, removing useful features doesn't appear to have hurt sales. It does mean, though, that I'm not likely to be buying more smartphones. At least not until/unless I find one that serves my needs.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Cloud Storage

              I will be buying new phones - one each time my current one breaks. But I wouldn't pay $399 for a phone, when there are perfectly good slightly older models available online, and refurbished ones in the stores.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: Cloud Storage

                I have an ongoing project to build my own smartphone, but if my current one stops working before that's complete, I'll just start using an old-school feature phone and carrying a pocket computer separately, instead.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Cloud Storage

                  > carrying a pocket computer separately

                  Tandy PC-8?

                  1. JohnFen Silver badge

                    Re: Cloud Storage

                    I had a lot of fun with with the Tandy PC-1! But no, I have a couple of Pi-based pocket computers sitting around. I'll use one of those.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Cloud Storage

                      Big pockets you must have!

                      1. JohnFen Silver badge

                        Re: Cloud Storage

                        Not really, those computers are the size of an average smartphone, and only slightly thicker.

          2. Olivier2553 Silver badge

            Re: Cloud Storage

            Most people just don’t miss them

            Like the 90% population of the world who cannot afford a $400 phone?

            A simple wired headphone costs less than a dollar and gives an acceptable quality, any form of cheap wireless headphone is 15 times more expensive for a shitty quality.

            You should get out from your ivory tower sometime and meet with real people.

      3. Ubermik

        Re: Cloud Storage

        No everyone wants "outstanding quality"

        Thats why practically NOBODY has studio level audio and video equipment at home, because "normal" audio and video equipment is MORE than good enough

        A wired headphone also doesn't go flat at inopportune moments, it doesn't cost way more than many want or need to pay for "good" quality, because "outstanding quality" becomes meaningless when sitting on a bus, walking down a crowded busy street, walking past road works and so on, also pretty worthless when youre only having a phonecall or my main use for headphones which is listening to audio books or connecting it to my car stereo or worksite radio ALSO via a 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack

        Having the OPTION for USB-C audio is fine, but ASSUMING nobody needs nor wants the headphone/line out jack is just dumb narrow minded snobbery as it would cost practically NOTHING to have both so people can use whichever THEY prefer for each use case

        The only two absolute deal breakers for me is the lack of an SD card socket and the lack of a headphone jack. My current phone is USB-C but ALSO has a headphone jack, go figure. Not to mention an SD card, so I happily paid an extra £225 for it over the google phone, although I also didn't have to buy a fully rugged case for the Google phone, so the gap was slightly less than that AND I got to sell my FLIR camera as the CAT has one built in, so I actually ended up effectively paying around £150 less to get the cat WITH headphone socket and WITH SD card socket that I would have ended up paying for the google without either because I would have needed to keep my FLIR camera AND pay for a rugged case whereas the S61 is fully rugged out of the box

      4. bish

        I'm not saying you're wrong but...

        You're almost certainly wrong. The speakers are driven by the same source, and the speakers reportely sound great on both this phone and the Samsung Tab S5e. As this review says:

        "It was good coming out the speakers at the base...but the headphones? It felt like we were at the back of the hall and kept increasing the volume in the hope the sound would get stronger and clearer."

        This sounds to me like one of the channels is out of phase with the other - or, more outlandishly (but fitting better with the description) crosstalk between, or even summing of, the two channels, AND one of them being out of phase, causing phase cancellation that leaves only the sounds that are unique to either channel (if you've ever used one of those dreadful karaoke/vocal removal DSP plugins, you'll recognise the description of sounding like you're 'at the back of the hall'), - which is hopefully just a cock up on an early release review unit. If that's what's going wrong, the cause could be either software or hardware related, and as long as the hardware isn't too desperately badly wired (ie the two channels are reasonably discreet and not wired together) the fix could be either, too.

        Either way, though, if Google are going to bother including a headphone jack, they really ought to make the effort to ensure it works properly, regardless of whether many - or even most - customers will never use it.

    3. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Cloud Storage

      I am thinking of a Commodore 65-compatible, modular smartphone ... modular smartphone ? the 4G chip is independent of the device and unpluggable, when 5G PCIe devices reach the market, you can just swap em and wham, you have a 5G smartphone, not quite sure about the RAM, but internal storage ought to be the same and .... nothing stopping you from installing a linux distro, if you prefer. The hardware is free and open, except maybe for the 4G chip, maybe.

      Where's the joke icon ? No joke:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuNB4ocZDXA

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Cloud Storage

        It's pretty bad that Google has copies of local images which he thought he never uploaded, shared, or sync'd, records of Amazon and eBay purchases, OK Google recordings that start before he said OK Google, and all available via publicly available URLs (long ones that may or may not be predictable)... 150 gigs of Takeout data, and that won't be all of it, there's probably also shadow profiles connected to his account.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Cloud Storage

        Except phone gens are more than just the chips. You also need radio support and the right antennae for the job (as physics demands they be primed for specific frequency ranges).

    4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Cloud Storage

      And in today's Reg news - You can now buy a 1 TB memory card that won't work in this phone.

    5. Rich 10

      Re: Cloud Storage

      If you are going to leave 50+ gigs of your pics and videos on the camera and not transfer them to your computer and back up in other ways, you are either dumb, or totally unaware that things such as backup exist, in which case you are just stupid

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Cloud Storage

        @Rich10

        God forbid anyone has a decent size music collection and regularly goes anywhere you can't get a phone signal to access Spotify or Cloud storage.

        Oh wait,... that's me.

        Being cloud connected is fine if you're solely an urbanite. Me, I get my boots muddy as often as possible.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Cloud Storage

          "Being cloud connected is fine if you're solely an urbanite."

          I'm an urbanite, but I don't find relying on cloud services to be fine at all.

    6. Jim Birch

      Re: Cloud Storage

      64 Gb is ok for the ordinary connected user with wifi usually available and moderate data contract. The phone is a cloud node. Think cache, not storage centre.

      Larger storage is a drag on phone performance, eg, the scan of memory of startup. It also breaks the login on anything and you have everything usage model.

      But sure, if you want to cart 50 movies or a humongous music collection around, this device won't do it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cloud Storage

        I'm still on an archaic OnePlus 3 (the missus got it, then decided she hated Android, so swapped me for my iPhone) with 64GB and no SD card. I occasionally run out of space when I've forgotten to backup ~1000 photos/videos, and filled up the rest with podcasts and Spotify downloads, the latter two because I'm in Slovakia where data is still absurdly expensive. But we're talking once every couple of months, and when it happens it's easy enough to bin the re-downloadables until I get somewhere to back up the pics and start fresh, so 64GB seems like a pretty good sweet spot to me. I'm not sure why anyone would want to watch video on a phone this size, regardless of how good the screen might be, but to each their own I suppose.

        1. nichomach

          Re: Cloud Storage

          That puts me in the "archaic" club as well; still using mine, it's not full yet, only niggle is that the Android 8 update gave me significant issues with Bluetooth, but there we go. Wondering what 9's going to be like on it when it finally pitches up.

        2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Cloud Storage

          While people frequently complain that "why anyone would want to watch video on a phone this size", try considering the relative visual size of the phone display (close) and the average TV (not close). Obviously TV like devices are often somewhat larger now than they used to be but it wasn't many years ago that sitting three or more metres away from a 19" TV was considering pretty immersive.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Cloud Storage

        "The phone is a cloud node."

        That's a big part of why I don't consider this phone worth buying.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Google to host videos ...

    It means you will have to take Google up on its offer to host photos and videos on its cloud service. And you'll want to stream music – but then aren't you already?

    No. My 'phone is a 'phone. I don't do things like that with it, I switch things like Wifi/Internet off most of the time; maybe that is why I get several days out of one batter charge.

    The reviewer hack praised it for not having top end features that you don't need (good) but then shows that he uses a 'phone for things that many of us don't use a 'phone for.

    BTW: did it come with apps that cannot be un-installed ? How much slurping of my data by google cannot be turned off ?

    1. Gonzo_the_Geek

      Re: Google to host videos ...

      If your phone is (only) or (primarily) a phone, then possibly you are not the target market for pretty much any recent smartphone, a basic candybar would probably suffice, right?

      When you say the reviewer hack uses a phone for things that many of us don't use a phone for, I suspect the "us" set is probably smaller than you might imagine. For most users of a smartphone, what this phone offers is pretty much everything they need without the stuff they don't. MicroSD card would be nice, but I've never managed to even half fill my 128GB phone, so at the 64GB point, they're likely spot on too.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Google to host videos ...

      @Alian,

      He told you to stop reading at the end of paragraph 1 , if you wern't a phone nerd.

      I too got this wrong and carried on to the end of page 1.

      i'll be sticking to my iphone5 for a little bit longer ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google to host videos ...

        The Pocophone F1 is cheaper and is probably a better phone than this..... depending on what you want out of a phone :-)

        1. Splurg The Barbarian

          Re: Google to host videos ...

          Could add the A2 6gb 128gb especially if bought from China. Rather have that and it's Android One too.

          The Pocophone is a cracking piece of kit for the money, far better value than this Google device.

    3. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Google to host videos ...

      "How much slurping of my data by google cannot be turned off ?"

      Pretty much all of it. Google data slurping is one of the major reasons this phone is $399/£399 rather than a couple hundred more.

      1. Ilsa Loving

        Re: Google to host videos ...

        You seem to be confusing Google with other companies that follow the practice you described.

        Google doesn't use excuses like a lower pricetag to slurp data. They're going to slurp your data regardless of how expensive your phone is.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google to host videos ...

        That of course is total horseshit. It's a myth made up by idiots that pay £1000 for their phone to try and justify that price. Google privacy policy is virtually identical to apple's. They both use your data for advertising purposes... The funniest thing is that it's written in back and white in apple's policy and everyone is too lazy to read it, and just assume because it's apple it's going to be fine, as apple told them...

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Google to host videos ...

          iAd was discontinued 3 years ago.

        2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Google to host videos ...

          ”Google privacy policy is virtually identical to apple's. They both use your data for advertising purposes... The funniest thing is...“

          The funniest thing is, that you actually think that by repeating that often enough, you might make it true.

          Naive to the point of idiocy.

    4. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Google to host videos ...

      "My 'phone is a 'phone. I don't do things like that with it, I switch things like Wifi/Internet off most of the time; maybe that is why I get several days out of one batter charge."

      Why go for a smartphone at all then? Save a bunch of cash and get a Nokia 105.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Google to host videos ...

        Why go for a smartphone at all then? Save a bunch of cash and get a Nokia 105.

        It's getting harder to do that and not being living in a cave as a hermit who gathers his food in the forest every morning.

        Governments and other services have long since switched from the mindset that the smartphone is a convenience alternative to mainstream channels to viewing it as a excellent excuse to cut those other channels down to nothing and now the phone is the only channel.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Google to host videos ...

        I need a smartphone because my employer's MFA application requires one, and because many people I communicate with prefer SMS, and doing SMS without a qwerty keyboard is horrible.

        But then even if a feature phone won't work for me, I can get a good Android smartphone for a hell of a lot less than $399. With the features I want, such as an SD card slot.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Google to host videos ...

          "I need a smartphone because my employer's MFA application requires one"

          If a piece of equipment is required to do your job, it's your employer's responsibility to supply it, not yours.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Google to host videos ...

            Nope, they just won't hire you if you don't have it. Kinda like certifications: most employees expect you to have already gotten them on your own dime.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Google to host videos ...

              That's bizarre. Different people will have different responses, of course, but I wouldn't be willing to work at a place that had this requirement.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Google to host videos ...

                Even if it's the ONLY place or EVERY place has the same requirement?

                1. JohnFen Silver badge

                  Re: Google to host videos ...

                  It's hard for me to imagine that being the case. If it ever is, I suppose that I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm more likely to just start another business myself rather than put up with such employers, but I understand that's not a path that is appealing to a lot of people.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google to host videos ...

      "How much slurping of my data by google cannot be turned off ?"

      It can all be turned off. You answer NO at the initial setup screen, and you aren't signed into any Google services, and can't use the Google apps, but free to use the phone otherwise (and install F-Droid).

      it's hilarious how informed people are, and just believe any old bullshit that former writers for El-Reg used to spew here.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Google to host videos ...

        Oh can it? I've never heard that before. Nobody's ever told me that. I have this phone over here that I can do that on. Just give me a few minutes... You want to explain why this phone, on which I don't have any google account configured, is still making DNS requests to google domains and shows play services as using a bunch of CPU and network on some occasions? It's also informed me that its performing a play protect scan of my phone. I have no malware, at least so sayeth Google when they checked my list of installed software against Google's servers. Which is some data. If this is happening, I'm guessing other data is coming out, too. Yes, I can go into settings and disable play protect. I can't disable google play services, though.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Re: Google to host videos ...

          Seconded, except that you *can* actually disable Play Services by flashing a ROM that doesn't have them, or in the least root your device (which I believe that you have) and delete /system/(priv-)app/GmsCore.apk or whatever Google calls it today.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Google to host videos ...

            And how do you do that without the phone or various root-aware apps panicking on you?

            1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

              Re: Google to host videos ...

              "panicking" as in being unstable and having a tendency to crashing often?

              Rooting is simply a matter of obtaining, erm, root access. As long as dodgy Chinese rooting apps are avoided, the phone should be as stable as stock.

              And a good custom ROM should be stable (but I agree that not all custom ROMs are factory-quality).

              Still, it's been ages since I've experienced any crashes or instability with custom ROMs on modern, dev-friendly phones.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: Google to host videos ...

                No, just flat-out refusing to run due to things like SafetyNet and the signature checks on modern Android phones, which apps can query and balk if they detect problems. Plus, Samsung phones have the Knox e-fuse and many others refuse to unlock the bootloader. Most of the others that don't trip one of the red lines have features missing or are so niche as to not be supported by the likes of xda.

                1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

                  Re: Google to host videos ...

                  No, just flat-out refusing to run due to things like SafetyNet and the signature checks on modern Android phones

                  Ah, you seem to have missed systemless rooting through Magisk. It has a "SU hide" feature that allows such apps to run, as well as signature check bypassing, bootloader lock status spoofing, and the whole lot. Mostly needs systemless root though.

                  Samsung's KNOX is what keeps me away from them these days, ditto for any Android without bootloader unlock (aka phones by OEMs that don't respect their customer).

                  Most of the others that don't trip one of the red lines have features missing or are so niche as to not be supported by the likes of xda.

                  OnePlus, Google, Essential, and Sony* ... all don't. They have great community support.

                  * Sony is a special case. On the one hand, it goes as far as telling you how to build AOSP yourself (and provides the necessary device trees), but on the other, it wipes DRM keys when unlocking the bootloader, or so I've heard :-(

                  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: Google to host videos ...

                    "Ah, you seem to have missed systemless rooting through Magisk."

                    No, it's become a very hit-or-miss affair. Magisk can stop working spontaneously, and when Android gets updated, there's a fair chance of Magisk tripping up.

                    "OnePlus, Google, Essential, and Sony* ... all don't."

                    And like I said, they tend to have things missing that are on my must-have list, such as batteries designed to be easily switched out, SD Card slots, and so on.

            2. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Google to host videos ...

              I've been running rooted for almost a decade, and have never noticed my phones becoming unstable because of it. As to apps that refuse to run on rooted devices, I simply don't run them -- but there are countermeasures you can install that will make those apps think that your device isn't rooted.

          2. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Google to host videos ...

            The problem with rooting the device and installing a custom OS is that very few phones are supported. I'm happy to do so, and I have one phone here already running lineage OS, but the list of devices for that, while the longest I've seen for such a build, is quite short. The phone I was talking about, an older LG one sitting in a drawer, has no known rooting path described online, and certainly no build already for it. I may have enough knowledge to build the lineage OS build for the device, but that would be a lot of work that wouldn't help much because I do not have access to install it. I don't know enough about low-level manufacturer-specific things to find my own rooting path without spending a lot of time learning about it, and since this phone is an old one I haven't thrown away, it's not really worth the trouble to me. The result being that I can't actually do anything with this device to disable Google's data collection.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Google to host videos ...

              "The problem with rooting the device and installing a custom OS is that very few phones are supported"

              There are lots of supported phones, but you're right that not all are (and newer ones are less likely to be). Each time I've replaced my phone, though, I've selected it based on whether or not I can replace the ROM. If I can't, then I don't consider the phone at all. As a result, I've used a replacement ROM on every smartphone I've ever owned.

    6. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Google to host videos ...

      I'm with you alain.

      I don't play games that need huge amounts of grunt, and I keep the data, bluetooth, location services and the like off most of the time. I do not watch movies (what's the point on a ~5.5" screen!), and I can get plenty of music onto the external flash if using mp3 or similar codec (I don't expect super quality sound, I still have a HiFi for that).

      I do use it as a smart phone when I want it to, and it acts as a dumb phone for incoming calls and texts when I don't.

      I have a cheap Chinese quad-core, dual sim phone with a 32GB flash card, and it does all I want it to at a fraction of the cost of even this phone. And it's got a finger print reader on the back. It's about the same size as the Pixel 3a, but has a huge (3400mAh) battery that I can get about three days of typical use out of.

      The only problem was a few baked in apps that I did not like, but the Play store security check has been removing theses for me recently! It also does not have Android 9, of course.

      I've been a 'smartphone' user since my Treo 650 in the first half of last decade (still sad the way Palm went), and that used to do a week or more on one charge! My how far progress has come.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: Google to host videos ...

        it does all I want it to at a fraction of the cost of even this phone.

        Try to compile the stock kernel for it. Bonus points if it's a MediaTek SoC.

        That's my chief complaint against phones from obscure OEMs ... but then again, even Samsung screws up kernel releases. At least Google releases proper kernel sources , so does OnePlus.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google to host videos ...

      If your "'phone is a 'phone" (and I assume that the weirdly pedantic/anachronistic apostrophe is for the removal of "tele" rather than "smart"), why on earth are you even considering a smartphone, of any sort? If you turn all data off, why do you care about Google potentially "slurping" data?

  3. Badvok

    Headphone Jack Fine

    Just wanted to point out that the headphone jack on my 3a works absolutely fine, excellent sound quality, the reviewer possibly had a dodgy one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds iffy?

      Special thanks go to Mr P R Google and his attempts to stamp out El Reg rumours of poor sound quality.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds iffy?

        Mine works fine too. I do get much better audio out the USB-C port, but that's because USB-C and inline adapters are much better quality. The analogue port on the 3a is no worse than any other snapdragon integrated audio stage.

      2. Steve Aubrey
        Facepalm

        Re: Sounds iffy?

        Mr Badvok a Google PR flak? If so, he's been doing a pretty good job of blending in. Five hundred comments since he joined in 2010. Sneaky, him - posing as a regular bloke but really just waiting for this moment in the sun to upset everything we knew about Google.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Sounds iffy?

          It's also possible that Google keylogged Badvok's El Reg credentials, possibly via Google Chrome, passed them on to PR, and posted this.

          1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

            Re: Sounds iffy?

            Then Google could have made a better choice going to an E;Reg user with silver status :)

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Pint

    Narcissus staring longingly at himself in a puddle

    Bravo!

  5. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Devil

    "the obvious big question is how did Google manage to produce an Android 9.0 phone that looks, feels and acts like one that costs two or three times as much?"

    No. The obvious question is by buying one of these, how much more of your data and the data of others that you happen to have access to are you giving Google the irrevocable right to slurp and sell to whoever they like.

    This is probably designed as a loss-leader in an attempt to get more people onto Google's hardware. Not that such undercutting of competitors is in any way shape or form an anti-competitive practice, oh no...

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      You can always install something like Blokada (3rd party app store required) which effectively runs an in-phone VPN to allow for a hosts file to block the Google domains. The only downside is that in some places it doesn't work (e.g. when I'm on a corporate WiFi some APs block VPN traffic) so you have to switch it off and no doubt some of your data then flows to Google

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Stop

        But what about Joe Average?

        "You can always install something like Blokada (3rd party app store required)..."

        ... which is fine for the likes of you and me, and others on here - the generally IT savvy. But say I need to call Joe Average, who has bought one of these, clicked the OK button and entered details until all the start-up/new-phone stuff has gone away, and is pretty much oblivious to how much of his life he has just signed over to Google.

        Now, I don't know that Joe Average has one of the phones. How much of my call/text/whatever inbound data is now on its way to Google - without my permission?

        It's not like they don't have form for this kind of thing...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: But what about Joe Average?

          Then you better hand up, throw up your hands, and get off the phone, because if you can't trust Google, you pretty much can't trust anyone, as you MUST trust the carriers to get the job done, and many of them have shady behind-the-scenes dealings.

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Exactly my first thought, and the undefined degree of slurping totally wipes out all the other benefits.

    3. Ilsa Loving

      Easy answer

      There's an easy answer for that. All of it. And no, not because the phone is inexpensive. It's cause it's Android. You think Google is going to slurp less data just cause your phone is $2000 vs $400? Nope!

  6. NorthernCoder
    Stop

    more convenient that having it on the front.

    "this $400 phone has a fingerprint reader. And it's on the back which is actually much more convenient that having it on the front."

    Ignoring the typo that/than; How is fingerprint reader on the back much more convenient?

    To me it seems inconvenient when the phone is in a car holder or lying on a table.

    1. MJB7 Silver badge

      Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

      My Samsung S7 had the fingerprint reader on the front. When I lost that and got an S9 I really like the reader on the back. It's exactly where you can put your finger on it when you pick the phone up. I find it much more convenient.

      When the phone is on a table, I pick it up and as part of that scan my finger and log in. I have never put my phone in a car holder - I can see it might be less convenient if you do.

      1. stuartnz

        Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

        Another vote for fingerprint scanners on the back. My V20's is there, and so is my new Pocophone's and it is SO convenient. Especially, I must say, with the Pocophone's 845, which makes everything run like silk, it seems to me

      2. ratfox Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

        I also prefer the fingerprint reader in the back. I admit I find inconvenient to pick up the phone in order to use the reader; but I have no such issue in the car holder because mine leaves the back open and easy to reach. At some point, somebody will put a reader on both sides...

      3. Gonzo_the_Geek

        Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

        Another vote for the fingerprint reader on the back, when work gave me s S9+, this was one of the features that made fingerprint reconition so much more useful than on the A5 2017 I had before.

        1. Martin

          Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

          Well, I use a Sony ZX Experia compact, and the fingerprint sensor is on the side, on the power button. Really elegant - I like it a lot.

          So Sony have decided to follow the crowd and put a sensor on the back instead on their latest phone :(

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

            You totally reversed the name - it's Sony Xperia XZ Compact :-)

      4. censored

        Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

        I've had front and back, and in a car holder.

        Back still works better. Getting the angle of my arm right to hit front bottom (hehe "front bottom") is much more awkward. In the car holder I just curl my finger around. The angle is just easier.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

          The reviewers comment that the iPhone fingerprint reader is slow confuses me because I find it to be instant. In fact too instant as when I want to give it a quick touch to light the screen up, it unlocks the phone unwanted.

          I would prefer more delay so I can press it without the instant unlock.

          1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

            Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

            You can disable touching to unlock from Accessibility Settings.

      5. Montreal Sean

        Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

        I have a work provided S7 Edge and a personal Motorola E5 Play.

        I find the E5 Play's rear mounted fingerprint reader much more convenient to use compared to the S7 Edge's front mounted one.

        The E5 Play's reader is right where my index finger falls when I pick up the phone.

    2. joeW Silver badge

      Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

      Why would you ever have your phone locked to begin with in a car holder?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

        Not being used at that moment, saving battery, preventing accidental interaction when you first put it in?

        I do this all the time and registered my left thumb for exactly this purpose!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: saving battery, preventing accidental interaction when you first put it in

          I find pairing with my car and using BT proximity to unlock/prevent locking is even easier.

          But as you don't need to unlock to answer a call, are other people "using their device whilst driving"?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: saving battery, preventing accidental interaction when you first put it in

            Yes, SatNav!!

            1. 's water music Silver badge

              Re: saving battery, preventing accidental interaction when you first put it in

              SatNav

              I have never experience d a SatNav app that didn't keep the display alive. If you need to start a new journey or modify one that is in progress and do not have a passenger available to do this then sure unlocking with a a fingerprint reader is trivial once you have found somewhere safe to pull over

    3. Kinna

      Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

      It's much better on the back,my finger just rests around the area where rear finger print readers are positioned,much better than old iPhones with it on the front,or the cheap Chinese phones I've seen with the reader on the side at the back is where it's at

    4. lybad

      Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

      Personally I prefer it on the back - my issue is more the "on a $400 phone" bit. My Honor 7 and Honor 9 have excellent fingerprint sensors, and both cost well under $400.

    5. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

      "How is fingerprint reader on the back much more convenient?"

      It's not. It depends entirely on your preference. The person that wrote this article seems to be under the impression that his view is the only one that counts though...

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

        The person who wrote that article was expressing his own personal opinion. In a piece like that, his view really is the only one that counts.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

          ”The person who wrote that article was expressing his own personal opinion.“

          He really, really wasn’t though. He was stating it as fact. Read again.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

            I read it again. In one place, he said

            "this $400 phone has a fingerprint reader. And it's on the back which is actually much more convenient that having it on the front."

            and in another place, he said

            "Like the fingerprint detector on the back this is something that this reviewer started using almost immediately and felt very instinctive."

            Both of those read as opinion to me, in part because of context (product reviews -- like movie reviews -- are opinion pieces by definition) and in part because phrases like "more convenient" are opinion statements, as how convenient something is is an inherently subjective thing.

            1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

              ”which is actually...“

              Statement of fact.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

                I sorta agree, but not in the way you mean. I read that as "which is actually more convenient", stating the fact that the reviewer finds it more convenient. The larger statement is an opinion statement.

    6. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

      Mine is on the front, and it's the way I like it. I rarely pick up the phone to read notifications, I just tap the button. Can't do that with the scanner on the back.

    7. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

      In a car holder, the phone is paired with the bluetooth hands-free (car radio) and the 'smart lock' therefore bypasses the fingerprint requirement.

      1. gotes

        Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

        Hang on.. Smart lock actually works?

    8. Olivier2553 Silver badge

      Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

      Why having a fingerprint reader at all? The phone is supposedly smart, it should know when I am about to need it and unlock automatically.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

        The fingerprint reader is to send your 'identification used as authentication' to Google so they can keep your profile updated with your biometrics....

        A fingerprint reader is just another thing i'd never use.... like the user-facing camera, sure, they're there for convenience - but for who?

        1. -v(o.o)v-

          Re: more convenient that having it on the front.

          Sends fingerprint to Google???

          Are you perhaps also allergic to electricity?

          Are the men in black silent helicopters also lurking you in the shadows?

          You, sir, are clueless.

  7. andy 103 Silver badge
    Happy

    As an iPhone user

    Ok some people will downvote me straight based on the title.

    Here's the thing. I really want to upgrade my phone and probably have said to myself 10 or more times now... I'm going to go out and buy an XR SIM-free. Because we all know that's the "cheapest" way to buy any phone. But I physically can't bring myself to the point of spending 700+ quid on a phone. I can't actually do it. I'm not really sure what my limit is but something tells me it's around the £500 mark.

    So where does that leave me? This looks very tempting. I'm not an Android fan but given that it's sensibly priced and seems to do much of what the XR would do, I am tempted. No stupid connectors for headphones / needing to buy new headphones? Thumbs up from me. I also really like the Galaxy s10e but thought it's getting up to XR money.

    Is anyone else in a similar position? What should I do?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Semtex451
      Facepalm

      Re: As an iPhone user

      A lot of iPhone users are in your position and Apple have lost sales since as a result. The only current option from them is the 8 @£700 as you said.

      If in September Apple do something radically out of character and release a reasonable spec phone at a reasonable price, they will make a killing. It is a safe bet that the XR will not be reduced in price below £700.

      IMHO the culture shock of reverting to android will be less painful with a Pixel, my fear is the historical build quality issues that may still plague them (as with demo unit reviewed) coupled with the the often poor customer service post sales.

      Upshot I really don't know either sorry.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: As an iPhone user

        I would not get a pixel, instead going with a cheaper android device. There are a few good reasons to do that:

        1. A lot of them have comparable specs and can't really be told apart.

        2. Many of these, especially Xiaomi devices, are supported by lineage OS, so you can use that if you prefer it or want to extend the life of the device.

        3. Looking in the low-cost field gives you more options so you can find a phone that has features you are more likely to want (for example, you can have a headphone jack, SD card slot, waterproofing, or a removable battery in various models, though all at once is harder to find).

        4. If it turns out you really hate android, which happens from time to time, you have spent less money on your device and don't feel as bad when you sell it again.

        I have to say that point 1 is the most important. While this article is extremely laudatory of the pixel, calling it low-cost, it really isn't when you compare it with the numerous good phones in the 100-200 price range. It's low-cost only when it is compared with flagships, which are all so high-cost as to be utterly ridiculous. The only thing I've consistently heard about being better in the pixel is the camera, but you will certainly get a serviceable camera in a cheaper phone, so it depends on your requirement for mobile photography.

        1. Patrician

          Re: As an iPhone user

          Going from an iPhone to an Android one that is in the £100 to £200 range would be a frustrating experience; models in that price range use lower spec hardware and will be noticeably slower in comparison to an iPhone.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: As an iPhone user

            I beg to differ. Let's consider the processor in an older iPhone and the one in the Pixel 3a:

            Iphone 7: four cores (two 2.3GHZ high performance plus two more lower-power ones)

            Pixel 3A: 8 cores, two 2.0GHZ cores and six 1.7 GHZ cores

            The iPhone's cores have a pretty good single-threaded performance, better than many snapdragon cores, but not dramatically so depending on what the cores are called on to do. Now, let's look at some phones that cost less than 200 currency units, as defined by GSM Arena. I'm not sure exactly what currency unit they're using, but it's either euros, pounds, or U.S. dollars, as they use all three on various pages. Also take note that GSM Arena uses old prices, usually a price that was seen shortly after launch, so this includes only devices whose release price was under 200 units. Many other candidates are available whose price has been reduced to that level, but don't show up in the quick search I did.

            Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 specs: eight cores: two at 2.2GHZ and six at 1.8GHZ, 4/6GB memory, clearly outstripping the pixel

            Realme X specs: eight cores: two at 2.2GHZ and six at 1.7GHZ, 8GB memory, clearly outstripping the pixel

            Samsung Galaxy A20 specs: eight cores: two at 1.6GHZ and six at 1.35GHZ, 3GB memory: not as good as the pixel, but not all that much worse

            Nokia 4.2 specs: eight cores: two at 2.0GHZ and six at 1.45 GHZ, 3GB memory: A little worse than the pixel

            Oppo A3S specs: eight cores: eight at 1.8GHZ: probably about on par with the pixel

            These aren't all of the models, as I only considered one for each manufacturer. As you can see, several outstrip the pixel, and if I had included multiple candidates from each manufacturer, it would be even more of them. Even those that do not exceed the pixel in power have respectable processor performance, having eight cores and not having weirdly underpowered cores either. If you're doing something very processor-intensive on a phone, these might not be enough, but this is not the budget android device of old. It is perfectly capable of the standard smartphone use case.

    3. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: As an iPhone user

      Get one (7/8/etc.) from Music Magpie or Mazuma Mobile and save a load of cash?

      1. ParasiteParty

        Re: As an iPhone user

        Yes, this. I would never buy a new car unless I was loaded with case. As soon as you drive it away it has lost value. The same is true of high end tech. Get something a few years old, save the planet and save buckets of cash. A 12 month warranty from Music Magpie included.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As an iPhone user

      Let's hope it will drive Apple to release an SE-like phone again.... as it looks that just offering too expensive phones started to piss off a lot of users that don't need to show off with the latest bling, nor live wrapped around their mobes.

      1. Time Waster

        Re: As an iPhone user

        I have a horrible feeling they thought that’s what they were doing with the XR. Just Apple marketing bods’ idea of cheap may not quite align with many of their potential customers.

    5. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: As an iPhone user

      If you like the S10, you might want to look at the new OnePlus phones - which look like Galaxy S phones. Hundreds of quid cheaper, very fast, and very capable camera. Vaguely water-resistant but not certified as such, no wireless charging, no headphone socket though.

      Or look at Galaxy S8 or 9, reasonable cameras, headphone socket, SD card, wireless charging etc. S9 main advantage over S8 is that S9 will be supported for longer and has Project Treble so updates are easier to roll out (and mod).

      LG phones have the best analogue audio out through the 3.5 mm socket.

      I have an S8, and I intend to keep it for some time, so I see waterproofing as insurance against water damage and wireless charging as insurance against a broken or gummed up usb port.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: As an iPhone user

        > easier to mod

        > wireless charging as insurance against a broken or gummed up usb port.

        How can you mod a phone without a USB port?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As an iPhone user

        +1 for OnePlus..., depending on how far back you want to go, you can add wireless charging for £5 with a QI pad, the OnePlus 2 has a removable back which hides it quite well - if you take the coil & electronics out of it's plastic wrapper and has hardware buttons which don't get in the way on the screen, most OnePlus devices have LineageOS available, Sony Xperia models also have broad support.

    6. Busby

      Re: As an iPhone user

      If your looking to pay cash then depending on budget go for Honor 8x (£200) which is brilliant for the price, or the Mi 9 (350-450 depending on storage) which I think is better spec than the pixel 3, it's what I'm using currently and I'm very happy with it.

    7. getHandle

      Re: As an iPhone user

      Moto G series FTW!

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: As an iPhone user

        Yeah I still think the Moto G Series is perfect for the majority of Android Users (I have a G7 Power and its fine for my needs), if its your first Android get a cheap Nokia branded Android phone (My mum got one and has been prompted for updates every month and does what she needs it to do). If you decide you don't like Android, then its not like you spent £600.

      2. holmegm Bronze badge

        Re: As an iPhone user

        Been very happy with my Moto - and E series at that!

        Music, email, maps, memrise (language learning app), the odd stupid little game - runs fine. Works well for calls too ;)

        Regular updates, none of which has done any harm.

        People love to tell me what I'm supposedly missing; I just don't see it. I think perhaps they are mostly just justifying the price premium to themselves.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Re: As an iPhone user

          Facebook. You're missing Facebook.

    8. Kinna

      Re: As an iPhone user

      I was a die hard iPhone user,then my Mrs spent £200 on a honor 10 lite for my birthday,and I love it ,wish I had of made the switch years ago.just give it a try,if u don't like it,sell the phone,and shell out for an iPhone,which are just fashion accessories now,apple ain't the inovators no more

    9. AndyMulhearn

      Re: As an iPhone user

      I went for the XR and have been very pleased with it. Its expensive but IMHO worth the cost. I've more or less done with Android until something switches me back from Apple but the Xr is an extremely capable phon. Battery life is very good, not all iPhones have that, and face recognition works very well, even unlocking when I crawl out of bed, in the semi dark with no glasses and hair (what I have left) in complete disarray.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As an iPhone user

        My Xr was horrible. I now have a Pixel3 (non - A) and it's better in very way imaginable.

        1. AndyMulhearn

          Re: As an iPhone user

          Interesting how the same device can invoke such polarised views...

    10. D@v3

      Re: As an iPhone user @Andy

      Keep in mind that if you are planning on buying SIM free, if you go to Apple, (with your presumably iPhone) you can trade it in towards the price of a new one. I got £150 for a 6s off the price of an Xs. £850 was admittedly still a lot, but slightly easier to swallow. (obviously, if you have been able to keep hold of, say a 4, or 5s for example, you would get considerably less)

      1. Joe Harrison

        Re: As an iPhone user @Andy

        Xiaomi seem to have put a lot of effort into making their "MIUI" user interface as close to the Apple interface as they can. I don't like it myself but for someone moving from Apple to Android it could be a thing. Xiaomi hardware is generally good.

      2. AndyMulhearn

        Re: As an iPhone user @Andy

        I got £100 for an S7 Edge and £165 for a 6S when I traded them in for my Xr and the Xs I got for my wife. I could probably have got more in a private sale but it was easier and simpler to let Apple take them...

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As an iPhone user

      Even the Pixel3a makes the iphone look like a expensive chump-phone. The Pixel3 is even better still (and can be picked up for about £450 if you are quick)

      https://i0.wp.com/9to5google.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2019/05/pixel-3a-vs-iphone-ad-cover2.jpg?resize=1500%2C0&quality=82&strip=all&ssl=1

    12. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As an iPhone user

      You don't say which iPhone you're upgrading from, but if you're not after the latest models, GiffGaff's prices are relatively reasonable and all the phones are unlocked.

      iPhone 7 32GB £359

      iPhone 8 64GB £589

      I picked up a new iPhone SE 32GB for £200 from them last year which I'm still satisfied with.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: As an iPhone user

        There are some lovely phones out there and I’d love to quit Apple so I could use one. Unfortunately all these lovely phones use Android so I’m stuck with Apple until an alternative arrives.

    13. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: As an iPhone user

      Used phone. Wait a year or so, get recon nearly new.

  8. mnb20

    Not waterproof

    I like waterproof phones so I can use them for navigation while out on the mountains in the rain. I am not sure how this makes me a narcissist.

    Yes, I know there are waterproof cases available, but they're rather awkward, and not all are as waterproof as they should be.

    Currently I have a Samsung A5, which was cheap and is waterproof. It's a great phone, but when I want to replace it I don't know what I will get; there don't seem to be any affordable waterproof phones any more. I was hoping the Pixel 3a would be.

    1. MJB7 Silver badge

      Re: Not waterproof

      Or just "put them in your pocket and still have it work after a downpour". I hate big cases, I just have a silicone buffer so it doesn't shatter if I drop it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not waterproof

        "Or just "put them in your pocket and still have it work after a downpour""

        Having lived in the alps (and Wales) for a bit, that's not going to work - serious downpours in those areas will find a way of getting into pockets (whilst wearing good quality water-proof outdoor clothing).

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Not waterproof

          OnePlus are claiming that their phones are waterproof but they haven't applied for certification because it costs money... make of that what you will.

          This is probably why most midrange phones aren't advertised as being waterproof. For a waterproof phone for mid-range money, you could look at older Samsung flagships such as the S8 or S9... the S9 maybe being better choice because it will be supported for longer. You might also look at what Sony are up to lately.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not waterproof

            They showed one in a bucket of water. Nowadays "waterproof" means 1.5 metres for 30 minutes. Forget the 30 minutes, you can easily reach a depth of 1.5 metres if you happen to fall in water, and if you are unfortunate enough to get hit by a big wave on a beach, the water pressure can easily reach that even though you aren't submerged.

            OnePlus could simply have carried out the test and, if it passed, said "We test our phones to the requirements of IP68 but do not certify them". It is a standard, not an approval. They did not.Therefore they don't meet IP68.

        2. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Not waterproof

          That was exactly his point. In a pocket it'll still be at risk of water damage, so water resistance is a very useful feature.

      2. Olivier2553 Silver badge

        Re: Not waterproof

        Put the phone in a condom, thigh a knot and you're good.

        Slim, waterproof, still work without removing the phone from the condom.

        You can even choose the flavour, but avoid the lubricated ones.

    2. Kinna

      Re: Not waterproof

      I've never bought a waterproof phone,as long as u don't take them swimming there all fine,dont worry so much

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not waterproof

      I got the joke (the classical allusion, anyway) about Narcissus, but I agree. Some of us are weirdos who like boats. Unexpected things happen on boats. I have lost one phone to being accidentally pushed off one. I did not lose a phone the second time because it was waterproof. If you are out on a river or a lake, carrying a phone is a wise precaution in case you get stuck somewhere.

      I paid the same for an Xperia XZ2 Compact that a 3a costs; it has a better processor, an sd slot and it's waterproof. I cannot understand, then, why the 3a isn't unless it was to create a marketing distinction between it and the 3.

    4. Is It Me

      Re: Not waterproof

      My current Pixel 2 is only still in use as it is waterproof.

      I was on holiday and forgot it was in my shorts pocket when I went for a swim, a few laps later I spot it on the bottom of the pool.

      This was nearly a year ago and it is still going strong.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All very nice ...

    But my Wileyfox Swift (£150? 4 years ago) still rocks.

    1. MR J

      Re: All very nice ...

      I purchased two Swift 2 X's for the kids.

      One has serious battery drain issues (OS says the camera is causing the drain). The other one was dropped and the button popped out, my daughter (Youth, I forgive her) tried to fix it by sliding something under the cover to try and wiggle the button back in. She's managed to snip the flexible pcb going to the buttons and Wileyfox (Now defunct, but still going by another company) refuses to sell me the part. However, IF I pay around £60 + Delivery + Cost of Repair then they'll fix it for me.....

      Soooo... My view on WileyFox and Santok(STK)…. They can take a flying flock.

      Reason for them not being able to sell me the pcb flex - Because it encourages illegal reselling of parts and voids my warranty. Phone was under warranty (3 months old) but that would have been rejected.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Double standards

    Why is it that people are willing to accept compromise with Google/Android but not Apple/iOS?

    Imagine a review for an iPhone where it said sound quality was bad or photos weren't stored in full res. People would be like "fucking hell, I told you Apple were shit. Only an idiot would buy this.".

    Yet when it's an Android device all is forgiven and everyone is willing to compromise.

    So does it just come down to the price being lower? Or the fact it's not made by Apple? Or both.

    Don't really understand how it's 1 rule for Android and another for iOS devices. If Apple made a phone like this, at this price, everyone would say it was shite.

    1. Stephen Lindsey

      Re: Double standards

      Both points you make are incorrect. Firstly another user has written that his audio is fine and as for the pictures of course you can save in full resolution both on your phone and on gdrive, however full resolution uses up your (free, as in gratis, or paid for ) storage whereas high-res does not count against you at all ever.

    2. Semtex451

      Re: Double standards

      If Apple made a phone like this, at this price, everyone would die from shock

      FTFY

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Double standards

        "If Apple made a phone like this, at this price, everyone would die from shock"

        They almost did. They called it the SE. The only real differences are the SE is made of metal and glass, and doesn't hoover up your data like a drug addled hooker in a cocaine factory.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Double standards

          Never having met a drug addled hooker in a cocaine factory, I'm a little unsure what point you are trying to make.

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: Double standards

            Google, Data, Hoovering. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks.

    3. Rob Crawford

      Re: Double standards

      So you get 5Gig of photo storage from apple and after that you have to pay

      So Google supply 15Gig of storage for free (use this for original quality) and then also hand you you infinite storage (no charge) provided you only upload high quality ones (essentially sub 16 mega pixels (or 1080p video)

      Yeah that's a really awful deal compared with Apple or anybody else.

      As for a duff headphone jack, well obviously that condemns all non Apple products.

      That really was a silly statement you made, does the phrase fanBoi still exist?

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Double standards

        "So Google supply 15Gig of storage for free (use this for original quality) and then also hand you you infinite storage (no charge) provided you only upload high quality ones (essentially sub 16 mega pixels (or 1080p video)

        Yeah that's a really awful deal compared with Apple or anybody else."

        Google will plunder anything you put in that free 15gig, and use anything they can datamine for anything they want. You don't use their product, you ARE the product; so yes; it's a REALLY fucking awful deal.

        fanBoi may or may not still exist, but Google's Bitch definitely does.

        1. Rob Crawford

          Re: Double standards

          Your response says it all doesn't it.

          Ignore the original dumb (and incorrect) statement plus the bit that corrects it and start talking about data hoovering.

          Every time I hear the song Knights in Shining Karma I think of Apple

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: Double standards

            @Rob Crawford if you’re aiming your response at me I legitimately have no idea what you’re on about.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Double standards

              I understood him perfectly well. It's a bit silly carrying on the argument, but basically he said "15G is bigger than 5G" and you replied "but the 15G is being read by automata." Size and privacy are different attributes.

              1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                Re: Double standards

                ”I understood him perfectly well. It's a bit silly carrying on the argument, but basically he said "15G is bigger than 5G" and you replied "but the 15G is being read by automata." Size and privacy are different attributes.“

                You say you understood, and yet you missed his point; that 15GB vs 5GB by definition makes it a better deal. My point was that it’s not all about the size, and sometimes about what you (or Google) do with it. He then replied with some nonsense which I didn’t follow.

    4. andy 103 Silver badge

      Re: Double standards

      See my post "as an iPhone user".

      Yes, I'd say it comes down to price.

      I'd like an XR which costs, what, £749? This is (just) under £400. If I were to buy an XR am I getting £349 better hardware? No.

      The software cost is negligible. Giving people physical hardware has a cost. But once the software has been produced - and is the same on every model - there's almost no cost attached to getting it on to devices.

      Apple wouldn't offer a phone of this spec at this price, and that's the problem! If they did, I and many other people, would be overjoyed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Double standards

        You're definitely getting better hardware with the XR but I agree not better enough to be worth the cost. Part of the cost is Apple NOT stealing all your data to help sell your eyeballs to everyone. If you value that, it is worth something. If you don't, it has no value and the iPhone is not worth it for you.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Double standards

          @DougS spot on.

    5. Ben1892

      Re: Double standards

      I think there are double standards the other way too;

      Google = Evil data slurp merchants

      Apple = Angelic personal data custodians

      I still think £400 for the 3a phone is still expensive, but if I paid £700 for a phone it would need to be perfect in every way, for £1000 I'd expect to get laid every time I flashed it at the pub.

      Full disclosure on the type of phone-owner I am: I'm still on my 3 year old, £150 Vodafone Smart Ultra 6, so I can accept compromises if it's only cost me an average of £4 per month over the life of the phone

    6. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Double standards

      "Yet when it's an Android device all is forgiven and everyone is willing to compromise."

      What are you talking about? I think this is a terrible phone.

  11. sabroni Silver badge

    Yeah, sounds nice, but can you wipe it....

    ...and put a PROPER linux on there?

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, sounds nice, but can you wipe it....

      And if you can, can it then run Crysi... no, sorry, I just can't bring myself to write it.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Yeah, sounds nice, but can you wipe it....

        Did you have a Crysis of conscience?

    2. gotes

      Re: Yeah, sounds nice, but can you wipe it....

      More importantly, can I put MS-DOS on it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yeah, sounds nice, but can you wipe it....

        If you can work out how, you can get about 200 000 copies of MS-DOS on the ROM, and run around 8000 instances in RAM.

        Supporting 8000 simultaneous users may be the hard part.

        1. gotes

          Re: Yeah, sounds nice, but can you wipe it....

          I think getting it to boot would be hard enough...

  12. Steve Crook

    Phone case???

    > If you stick a case protector on it, as you should with any phone

    Dumb question, but if we're all supposed to be doing this, why don't manufacturers just make the phone with them integrated and save us the trouble...

    After all, what's the expensive shiny back for if the phone spends it's entire life in a protective case...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Phone case???

      - different coloured phone cases (chosen by the user) provides a function, just as different coloured patch cables do. There's no chance of confusing your partner's phone for your own if you're rushing out the the house

      - a bricklayer might want a higher level of phone protection than a dentist might need

      - people want different features from their phone cases, such as card wallets or kick stands

      - a scuffed or otherwise damaged case can be swapped for a new one. This is handy for people who want to resell their phone, since cosmetic damage affects resale value.

      - physics dictates that stress on internal components is reduced by reducing the rate of deceleration in the event of a drop. This means using a material that can deform. What's the advantage of permanently attaching this material to the phone at the factory instead of the user clipping it on?

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Phone case???

      I never use a phone case. I hate them. I have also never regretted not having a phone case.

    3. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Phone case???

      ”Dumb question, but if we're all supposed to be doing this, why don't manufacturers just make the phone with them integrated and save us the trouble...“

      Because then we’d all put cases on the cases, to keep them pristine and untouched for the next owner.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Phone case???

        I think that most people don't care about keeping them pristine for the next owner. Most smartphone users aren't even a little bit worried about resale value.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Phone case???

          "Most smartphone users aren't even a little bit worried about resale value."

          Not if you have Android, no. Most iPhones on the other hand have significant resale value, so people tend to look after them.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Phone case???

            Perhaps so (I have no way of knowing), but I was talking about the smartphone market as a whole.

  13. Tim99 Silver badge
    Trollface

    So

    Because it’s a Google Pixel, you get the pure undiluted, unadulterated, Google slurp experience? Well, that is, until you add 3rd party apps?

    1. james_smith Silver badge

      Re: So

      I always buy the previous model of Googly phone second hand when a new one comes out. To avoid as much of the data slurp I use Firefox as my browser with the Unlock Origin add on. Use Firefox for YouTube, DuckDuckGo for search, and you have a low slurp, ad free experience.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: So

        "I always buy the previous model of Googly phone second hand when a new one comes out"

        Great. Then you've only got 6 months or so of updates before your new shiny becomes mouldy and unsupported.

        1. james_smith Silver badge

          Re: So

          About 18 months to two years of uodatesin my experience, although I've usually upgraded wellbefore then.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: So

        "Use Firefox for YouTube, DuckDuckGo for search, and you have a low slurp, ad free experience."

        That's only helping for your web browsing. Google still slurps everything else.

        1. james_smith Silver badge

          Re: So

          Webrowsing, YouTube and calls. That's all I use my phone for.

    2. VonDutch

      Re: So

      It's great! I hand all of my data over to Google and they give me nice products and services. They know where I am and where I need to be, make sure I arrive on time for meetings, flights, restaurant bookings (which may be suggestions based on my previous dining trends). Produce pretty collages reminding me of things I did on this day X years ago that I may have forgotten. They're pretty good at identifying my dog in my pictures (and manage to exclude pictures of other very similar looking black dogs). They have all my emails and attachments indexed so with their search mastery I can find an obscure email from a decade ago. Good calls on my music tastes, amusing videos I might like to watch on YouTube and they've stopped trying to inject sport stories in to my news feed.

      They know me better than my ex did after 10 years.

      And by handing my money direct to them for these phones it also means it has never had Facebook or Instagram or any other (un)social media installed on it. Not even as a factory loaded thing where you can only uninstall updates (but it somehow still snoops on you).

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: So

        VonDutch gets it. Google will slurp you sideways; denying this just makes you a naive idiot. As long as you're aware of it and welcome it with open arms, you can save a ton of cash by being (part of) the product yourself. No problem there.

        My problem is with the idiots who don't recognise this, and think they're getting a 700 quid phone for 399. You're not.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: So

        " (but it somehow still snoops on you)."

        Serious question: why would that be something that you call out, when you've written at length about how you love being snooped on? What's the difference?

        1. VonDutch

          Re: So

          Google give me products and services, I invite it in to my life.

          Facebook I don't want interaction with but it is bundled on my work phone. You can't get rid of it* and yet: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/22/facebook_data_leak_no_account/

          I have no idea what information they are collecting in a shadow profile for me.

          * (I can if I root/do my own thing but not going to do that with a work supplied device)

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: So

            OK, but to the same degree, you can't get rid of Google either, and it collects data on you whether or not you use Google services. There is no daylight between Facebook and Google on this.

  14. PerlyKing Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Compromises

    It means you will have to take Google up on its offer to host photos and videos on its cloud service. And you'll want to stream music – but then aren't you already?

    No, no and no. But 64GB is enough for a decent amount of music and photos, and surely one will be able to download photos to ones own local storage?

    But, again, do you really need your photos at full resolution?

    Yes I do. If I can't store them at full resolution, what's the point of having that many pixels? Anyway, again I'm hopeful that one will be able to download them locally at full resolution.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Compromises

      " But 64GB is enough for a decent amount of music and photos,"

      Not for me, it's not, particularly if I'm sharing that space with everything else (apps, etc.).

  15. johnnyblaze

    Budget for Apple is £700 - that's as low as they will go. They believe they're better than everyone else, so people will pay whatever they ask. That level of eliteism isn't going to change anytime soon. Apple make too much profit per handset to even consider dropping down to where the rest of the world live.

    As for the 3A, it genuinely sounds like Google's best option for Nexus holdouts or ex-owners, and they've done a lot of working creating a great experience at a sensible price - I haven't actually read a bad or even negative review yet.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      I don't think anyone thinks Apple's prices are in any way justifiable, but that doesn't suddenly make this phone well-priced. Yes, it's better than Apple, Samsung, and Huawei in the flagship realm. But you can get a phone for much less that has similar specifications. This article has described it as similar to a flagship, but it's really not. It has a slower processor, less memory, and less internal storage than all other flagships and many other low or mid-cost phones. That doesn't make it insufficient; I've long contended that it is hard to tell whether an android phone has 4, 6, or 8 GB of memory, but it is important to avoid categorizing it as one of the most advanced, because that misleads potential customers into thinking that the price tag is a bargain, when it is in fact a bit overpriced.

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      ”Budget for Apple is £700 - that's as low as they will go.“

      iPhone SE from Apple, £199. Does everything this phone does- except the snooping obviously.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You mean I have to PAY Google so that they can spy on me?

    ROFL!

    Are you havin a larf?

    Why would anyone who cares about their privacy want to do this?

    I'll stick with my 3rd hand iPhone 7 thanks. 100 quid at the local Pawn Shop.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: You mean I have to PAY Google so that they can spy on me?

      Definitely good plan, as long as you get one without a knackered battery (although as long as they still do the battery swap for that model £79 then you can refresh anyway).

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: You mean I have to PAY Google so that they can spy on me?

        I'd much rather be able to do it myself. The battery tends to be the first thing to wear out on my phone, so it's #1 on my must-have list. SD card slot is also critical since the internal storage is encrypted so gets bricked if the phone does (had that almost happen to me; fortunately, it had enough life left for me to offload before it went entirely), whereas low-priority stuff remains unencrypted on the SD and can pass from phone to phone as needed (which I have many times) so long as it remains unencrypted.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: You mean I have to PAY Google so that they can spy on me?

          iPhone battery replacement up to and including 6S is an easy 5 minute job. iPhone 7 and later a bit trickier because of waterproofing.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: You mean I have to PAY Google so that they can spy on me?

            And doing it on a Note 4 takes mere seconds because (gasp!) the back cover is designed to come off. Plus, since it's designed to come off, you don't need any special tools and there's much less risk of something breaking (like happened to an old Samsung tablet I tried to open because of a bulging battery).

    2. nkuk

      Re: You mean I have to PAY Google so that they can spy on me?

      Hey Siri, how naive do you have to be to believe that Apple can provide similar user data dependent services without access to, storage and processing of, user data.

      Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc, they're all the same.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: You mean I have to PAY Google so that they can spy on me?

        ”Hey Siri, how naive do you have to be to believe that Apple can provide similar user data dependent services without access to, storage and processing of, user data.“

        They can’t. There’s a reason Siri’s so shit; it’s largely because it doesn’t have access to the huge data mine that the others do.

      2. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: they're all the same

        Apple don't primarily monetise through selling data to advertisers. Google do. Google's primary motivation is to get data from you to sell it on. Apple want you to buy their overpriced hardware and are trying to boost their sales by touting their privacy standards.

        Those two companies are not the same. I'm not saying either is moral, but Apple's business plan is not as dependant on privacy violation as Google's.

        It's all about the bottom line.

  17. Kinna

    I don't like the huge bezels at the top and bottom,that's a waste of so much space on the screen.ive seen online that reviews are saying digital wellbeing is choking there pixel 3a,so I'll wait and see how that pans out,I have Android pie anyway and will get the Android q update,so I'm in no rush.i love they have added a headfone jack tho,I think the pixel you had must of been faulty,

  18. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Overpriced compared to the Pocophone F1

    The Pocophone F1 with 128GB and a Snapdragon 845 costs about £300 vs the Pixel 3a with 64GB and a Snapdragon 670 for £399

    F1 advantages

    The F1 has a 4000mAh battery - the 3a has a 3000mAh or 3700mAh battery

    The F1 can take a microSD card if dual SIM operation is not needed (up to 256GB)

    The F1 has 6GB RAM and 128GB storage vs 4GB RAM and 64GB storage

    (A cheaper version of the F1 is available with 64GB storage instead of 128GB at around £250)

    The F1 can act as a FM radio

    3a advantages

    Google name

    OLED screen vs IPS screen on F1

    NFC for pay by phone

    In my opinion the advantages of the 3a do not make up for the advantages of the F1 and do not come close to justifying a price that is £100 higher than the price of the F1

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nothing

    to like, plenty to dislike. Shrug.

  20. TonyJ Silver badge

    Samsung Note 8

    Factory refurb. £300.

    Does everything I need and want but I'm not the most intensive user of mobiles.

  21. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "[The] big question is how did Google manage to produce an Android 9.0 phone that looks, feels and acts like one that costs two or three times as much?"

    The Pixel 3a may well be a good phone, but it's made of plastic, isn't waterproof, has limited storage, a slower processor and half (or even one third) of the RAM of a flagship phone. It most certainly does not look, feel and act like a phone which costs three times as much.

  22. Martin
    Unhappy

    Am I the only person in the world left who wants a SMALL SCREEN?

    I use a Sony ZX Experia compact. 4.5" screen. I can use it one-handed.

    Sony's new "compact" phone has a 5.3" screen, and it's about as small as you can get these days.

    Come on Google. Do a Pixel 3a compact, with a smaller (and not quite so high quality) screen, at, say £349. Watch it FLY off the shelves.

    Sigh.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only person in the world left who wants a SMALL SCREEN?

      You might wish to examine the length and especially width of the new Compact phones versus the older ones. Due to smaller bezels and a different aspect ratio, they're not much wider despite the diagonal screen measurement being much bigger.

      1. Martin

        Re: Am I the only person in the world left who wants a SMALL SCREEN?

        Due to smaller bezels and a different aspect ratio, they're not much wider despite the diagonal screen measurement being much bigger.

        The ZX compact is right on the edge of being able to use with one (quite small) hand. Anything "not much wider" is still going to be too big.

        (And what's with the two downvotes? Is it SO unreasonable not to want to carry around something that, only a few years ago, would have been considered to be ridiculously huge?)

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only person in the world left who wants a SMALL SCREEN?

      iPhone SE £199.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Am I the only person in the world left who wants a SMALL SCREEN?

        I want a phone, not a penis substitute.

    3. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only person in the world left who wants a SMALL SCREEN?

      You're not the only one. Kieran even tells us to put the phone in a case! Sorry Kieran, not all of us carry a handbag.

  23. Lee D Silver badge

    "Want a good Android smartphone without the $1,000+ price tag?"

    No, I want a phone that doesn't cost even £399 (half that is about right), has a removable battery, an accessible SD card slot (what's all this stick-it-under-the-battery nonsense? It's *REMOVABLE* storage), a headphone socket, a standard USB charging socket (USB-C is fine), ONE DAMN CAMERA LENS unless the others are literally free, a flashlight, maybe an IR blaster, a battery that lasts a decent time, a non-curved screen, a physical home button (all that in-the-screen nonsense just makes things expensive), something with a bit of ruggedness and bounce (I'm already paying hundreds, I shouldn't need to wrap it in a third-party case!), that fits in my pocket even if it's a bit chunkier than these slivers (and that means a non-ridiculously-large screen too), that runs bog-standard Android, has an entry on CyanogenMod/LineageOS, no force-bundled apps, and which is from a name I vaguely recognise.

    The same as I've wanted for the last 10 years, plus. Closest I get is the Galaxy S5 Mini, but all their successors are naff. Mix up an S5 Mini with an XCover and I'll buy tomorrow. Literally. I'll buy it just to have it, just because it's such a rarity in the market, even if I don't use it immediately.

    One day the market will learn, but by then what I'll actually have in my pocket will technically be a tablet, not a phone, with a 5G connection. TBH, in this day and age, that's basically what phones are, and we have no need for the actual phone bit so long as WhatsApp/Skype/VoIP etc. work on the network. I can just as easily put a SIM in a tablet as I can a phone nowadays, and just as easily get a "real" phone number on a SIP account than I can sign up to a mobile contract.

    To be honest, by the time it gets there, I can see things like the RPi being small enough that I just buy a "5G" module for one and stick it in a pre-fab case and I'm done.

  24. BGatez Bronze badge

    Near 500 beans still buys a decent laptop, an indication to what suckers we are thinking this is a bargain for a phone.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Smalller laptops cost more beans than big laptops.

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      ”an indication to what suckers we are thinking this is a bargain for a phone“

      These aren’t really ‘phones’ though, are they. Not in the traditional sense.

      If you want a ‘phone’ phone, get a candybar Nokia for £20.

  25. gbru2606

    New Pixel 2XL with 128GB, visual core and Corning 5 glass is still cheaper...for now

    In the UK Argos are flogging off the last of the Pixel 2 & 2XL's new. Some of them are even listed as £30-£50 cheaper than their refurb exact matches. Still like my 6P though. Production is so streamlined now, that high-end cameras and SOC's are mass market. There'll always be people who want the latest and most expensive - and then there's people who don't like being mugged. It's still £400 for only an excellent phone/camera/GPS/SatNav/HiFi/Internet/wallet/Library/gaming system...meh.

  26. JohnFen Silver badge

    Not even close

    Speaking for me, personally, this phone doesn't even come close to being something that I'd want. No SD card slot and completely inadequate storage, no user-replaceable battery, and -- although I cheer that the headphone jack exists, it sound like they used a terrible DAC to drive it. None of the features they're crowing about are things that I find compelling.

    This is a nonstarter.

  27. A. Coatsworth
    Megaphone

    Not sure I like the tone of the review

    But, again, do you really need your photos at full resolution? Or do you just hate the idea of not having the absolute best thing even when you won't notice if you have it or not?

    No. What I hate is paying $300 or $1000 or whatever amount of my hard-earned cash for a piece of hardware and not being able to dispose of if as I see fit.

    If I decide to save the RAW files to my pc or thumbnails to a cloud, that should be my problem, not Google's.

  28. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    Nice spec sheet

    It pretty much matches the Honor 9 lite!

    32GB storage check, Honor also has an SD port or you can use it for an additional SIM.

    Fingerprint reader on the rear, check.

    FHD+ display, check.

    Just about all day battery, check.

    Headphone socket, check.

    $400 umm nope try £120.

    Runs android and has Google crap on, unfortunately check that as well.

    Meh canny have everything.

  29. Scott 53

    Sigh

    $399 = £399

    some things never change

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Sigh

      Including people comparing prices with VAT added to prices without sales tax added.

  30. Ilsa Loving

    Finally!

    It's so nice that *somebody* finally realized that maybe people don't need crazy top of the line phones with pointless geewizbang features. I'll take good battery life over some idiotic animated poop emoji, without a second thought. Headphone jack? Yay! Not the best processor? Yay more battery life for me! It's not like I'm going to be playing games with top-tier graphics on my phone anyway.

    The only thing missing from making this the perfect phone is an easily swappable battery. (Which is one of the reasons I don't pay fancy games)

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Finally!

      There is already a vast choice of non top of the line phones available so I think that plenty of people have known for some time.

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Finally!

      Finally?!?!?

      Landfill Android has been around since the beginning of time.

  31. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Skip

    Smartphones have become so complicated that most manufacturers have killed off all diversity in models. Everyone has their one flagship and one or two "affordable" models. Odds are most people hate both of them because of some missing feature.

    I can't imagine using a phone today without global LTE bands, headphone jack, and a microSD card that lets me boost the memory to 400+ GB. Those features aren't important to everyone, but are to some.

  32. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    OK, if you're still reading, the obvious big question is how did Google manage to produce an Android 9.0 phone that looks, feels and acts like one that costs two or three times as much?

    Because costs of production have practically nothing to do with smartphone prices. The $1,000+ models cost around a third of that in parts and a little more to have Foxconn stick it all together. The remaining $500+ is just what the Apple and Samsung fanboiz are willing to pay for new shiny.

  33. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    "...the headphone jack..."

    "...the headphone jack, which cost cents..."

    Blaming weak audio on the headphone connector itself is extremely silly. Clear case of Proximity Bias; i.e. blaming the component that just happens to be the nearest, or the most visible. E.g. "Can you fix my brake pedal? Cause my brakes aren't working very well."

    Far more likely that the weak audio is a result of a poor audio amplifier. Invisible from outside, but it's in there.

    1. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: "...the headphone jack..."

      I mentioned, "Proximity Bias; i.e. blaming the component that just happens to be the nearest, or the most visible."

      Once (or perhaps Many...) upon a time, Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT wouldn't start. He and James May were shown literally disassembling the car's Start push button. This is another clear case of Proximity Bias, i.e. they're thinking (sic), "The car doesn't start when I push the Start button, 'therefore' (sic) the Start button itself must be at fault."

      Blaming the headphone connector for weak audio is precisely the same (il)logical error.

      Proximity Bias doesn't happen all that often, but when it does it's rather amusing, because it's so extremely silly.

      It's almost TMI about what's inside people's heads. Scary.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Absent option: privacy

    Just a reminder of who you are buying it from, though.

  35. DrXym Silver badge

    Every phone should have an earjack

    That alone would be reason for me to pick this phone over another. The really stupid part to me is rarely is space at such a premium that they they couldn't find somewhere to put a small jack. The only reason that any phone maker excludes it is to stiff consumers and incentivise them to drop a fortune on some bluetooth earphones.

    1. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: Every phone should have an earjack

      DrXyn wisely noted, "The only reason that any phone maker excludes it is to stiff consumers and incentivise them to drop a fortune on some bluetooth earphones."

      As proven by YouTuber Scotty of Strange Parts who reintengrated a headphone socket into an iPhone 7. If he can do it essentially at home, then Apple could have done it.

      But Apple wanted to extract billions of dollars for AirPods. Which they've done.

      Now even my wife wants an Android phone, as she's also lost interest in Apple products.

  36. E_Nigma

    So Close, yet Apparently so Far

    No SD card and only 64GB of internal storage are major downsides. If the jack on that particular unit is broken, it might still be worth considering, if I could get it at some kind of discount price.

  37. FSS

    so its am iphone 7 with an oled screen, without ios.

    why anyone would pay Google 400$ for this thing?

    interesting to see that if this was apple, all the shortcomings ("things you dont need" would become a major flaw and the tone of the article would be totally different.

    Article no, I meant advertising.

  38. cambsukguy

    If they were leaving out expensive things but leaving in useful things then taking out the fingerprint sensor but leaving in the Wireless Charging would have my vote.

    It's interesting to note that my current 4-year-old-design phone has a 563pp screen, wireless charging, iris recognition, SD card slot and removable battery - and can be got for 80 quid second-hand. Sure the camera is only 20MP and (I assume) the camera on the front works. Sure, the case is plastic, seems fine - never used an extra case myself, plastic shells seems like a sensible shock-absorber system to me.

    I like wireless charging and don't wanna lose it, at least until batteries last a week.

    So, won't be changing phones just yet then.

  39. Cuddles Silver badge

    No it isn't.

    "Yes, that's right, this $400 phone has a fingerprint reader. And it's on the back which is actually much more convenient that having it on the front."

    I really don't understand why reviewers keep insisting on this, when not only does everyone I know disagree, all the efforts by manufacturers to get fingerprint sensors on the front show they all disagree as well. Having the sensor on the front means you can actually use it when using your phone normally, in the same way you would the touchscreen. Cases don't get in the way, it still works when lying on a table, mounted on a holder in the car, and so on. The only reason anyone ever considered putting it on the back was to free up space for more screen. It's truly bizarre how reviewers, and only reviewers, immediately declared that this was the best thing ever, while everyone else desperately tried to figure out how to put it back on the front again.

    As for a £400 phone having a fingerprint reader, why exactly is that stated as if it's something to impressed or surprised by? Is it even possible to get a phone without one these days? My >2 year old, <£200 phone has one, and it works as quickly and consistently as I could possibly want. Stand-alone fingerprint sensors have been a solved problem for while now, the only thing left is to get the under-screen ones working just as well.

    Incidentally, that £200 phone of mine remains the reason I simply don't see any reason for the Pixel 3a to exist. When you can get phones like the Moto G-series or recent Nokias for less than half the price of the Pixel, what exactly is the point of the latter?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: No it isn't.

      "Having the sensor on the front means you can actually use it when using your phone normally, in the same way you would the touchscreen."

      Many users DON'T want the sensor on the touchscreen, for fear of accidental activation.

      "Cases don't get in the way"

      Cases simply make a hole for it like they do for the camera and the Apple logo.

      "it still works when lying on a table"

      Unless it's face-down, like some people do to keep the screen from getting dirty. If it's face-up, odds are it's already unlocked.

      "mounted on a holder in the car"

      Most car holders have open backs, and plenty of users have already said it's actually dead easy for them to curl their finger around to the back to do it. Plus, if it's in a car holder, it's probably unlocked and with a keep-alive app (maps and media players) or being unlocked with a Bluetooth Smart Lock geared to the car audio.

  40. Haku

    "it does everything you want" - I disagree.

    Can it survive:

    - being submerged in 2 meters of water?

    - run over with a car?

    - cracking open walnuts and banging nails into wood...with the screen?

    - frozen in a block of ice and use another one to smash that ice and retrieve the completely undamaged one?

    - dropped into boiling water?

    - repeatedly dropped onto concrete from 1.2m?

    Does it have:

    - a micro SD slot capable of using a 256GB card?

    - 10300mAh battery?

    Mine can/has - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58FvqdYUakA

    Sure I'll likely never use/need all that it offers, and it's a bit hefty at 330grams, but it was a peace of mind purchase because of life's "what if?" factor and I'm satisfied with it so far.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "it does everything you want" - I disagree.

      Still won't cut it. The battery can't be user-replaced easily, and the OS is still locked down.

      1. Haku

        Re: "it does everything you want" - I disagree.

        I purposely chose a phone with a huge battery because by the time its capacity has diminished to the point where it needs replacing, phone tech will have advanced a lot and I may opt to buy a new, better phone for about the same good price.

        You're right about the battery not being able to be replaced easily, but they actually provided the correct torx screwdriver to completely dismantle the phone (you need it to access card slots), plus how many phone manufacturers put out a video on their official YouTube channel on how to take their product apart? Ulefone did - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGX59M4uPFI

        Yeah its Android 8.1 OS is still locked down, I did try jailbreaking it when I first received it but didn't want to try the route of flashing a new OS in case I bricked it. But one upside is that they didn't preload it with a shit ton of apps you don't want/need and are difficult to uninstall, it was practically a blank slate in the app respect.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's good but...

    I paid £100 for a Xiaomi Mi Play a few weeks back, 5.84" screen, 4GB/64GB eight core and it takes 2 SIM cards and a micro-sd. I can see the Pixel 3a is a better phone, but to me the difference is maybe a quarter better, not 4 times better.

  42. crashhandle

    Whats up Jack

    Nice to see Jack has returned to the party.

  43. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Pint

    Is it any better...

    ...than my £150 Motorola? Does everything I want (and a load of things I'm not fussed about, eg selfie camera). The only thing missing is manual mode on the camera which doesn't have the f-stop, exposure & ISO sliders, which is a shame but I guess might be because they took it out of Android since my previous phone was manufactured. (??)

    Icon purely because $mgmt decreed we should move desks over the weekend, not realising the only way facilities could get that done would involve us packing up at 2pm today, allowing me to "catch up on some document reviews" -- indeed I intend to provide so much feedback on the docs I'll have difficulty walking home *)

  44. Dacarlo
    Meh

    Exchange rate?

    "...It's $399 or £399"

    Is it just me who hates it when these companies equate $ to £ and screw over British consumers? I know the £ has devalued somewhat but its still pretty far off actual parity.

    I also happen to think its too much for a fricken PHONE, but wouldn't begrudge someone their opportunity to fondle their slab.

    1. Down not across

      Re: Exchange rate?

      Is it just me who hates it when these companies equate $ to £ and screw over British consumers? I know the £ has devalued somewhat but its still pretty far off actual parity.

      Yes, you and others who don't take into account sales tax.

      US prices are without sales tax, whereas our prices include VAT (which varies between EU countries and in UK is 20%). So if we take 1USD to be 0.79 GBP (as of this morning) and add 20% we have 399 * 0.79 * 1.2 = 378.25. Not a world of difference really.

    2. VaderUK

      Re: Exchange rate?

      Yep, like many other USA companies Google know their (UK) suckers who help maximise their monetization (yes with a zee)...

  45. Delbert

    Narcissist Unfriendly? does anybody care

    Since the phone is aimed at people who just want an effective working communication device its likely the folk who want a fashion statement to place prominently on the table at Starbucks are not going to rush to buy one. Likewise the lack of a selfie camera has to be applauded as it will further alienate those same people who hail from the shallow end of the phone user demographic . Now if we can just get away from making phones stupidly thin that have a negligable battery life but don't make a bulge in a Gucci (knockoff) bag there is that sector completely gone !

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