I use a lot of phones and see a lot of phone deals throughout the year. The only one I can unreservedly recommend during the 2019 Black Friday season is the $299 Pixel 3a, or the $379 Pixel 3a XL.
Yes, the $549 OnePlus 7 Pro is compelling, as is the $549 Galaxy S10e, but even discounted, those are too expensive for many people. At $299, the Pixel 3a is an impulse purchase, something you’re likely willing to try on yourself or a loved one without too much hesitation.
Unlike the Pixel 4, which pushes the envelope in many ways and fails in most, the Pixel 3a is a good old-fashioned budget smartphone that just gets the job done. It’s made of hardened plastic that won’t break when you drop it, and its processor doesn’t push the envelope of speed and efficiency.
Yet, when you use it, you forget about all of that. That plastic actually looks nicer than the metal used on other Pixel phones, especially in the Purple-ish color that I’ve grown to love, and that mid-range processor keeps things super fluid and maintains excellent battery life.
Yes, unlike the flagship Pixel phones of the past few years, the battery life on the Pixel 3a series is outstanding — with a 3,000mAh cell I get just over a full day on the Pixel 3a, and a day and a half on the 3700mAh Pixel 3a XL. The same can’t be said about the new Pixel 4, which has disappointed me to no end in terms of its battery life.
The Pixel 3a also shares the same fundamental camera architecture as the Pixel 3 series, which means it shoots intelligently in every lighting condition. It’s got a reliable rear fingerprint sensor that can be used as a notification gesture, too, which is handy.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, it will get updates as quickly as the Pixel 3 and 4 — in fact, the Pixel 3a received the November 2019 update before my Pixel 4, which is saying something.
I’m a big fan of the Pixel 3a series, and think it’s Google’s best phone of 2019 — and that includes the Pixel 4. At its regular $399, it’s a good deal; at $299 for Black Friday, it’s a must-buy.
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