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Google Pixel 3a and OnePlus 6T: the affordable flagship of Google against the medium heavyweight

The OnePlus 6T currently rules as the champion of the affordable flagship market, a position he has held for several months – but Google wants to be part of the promotion, and with the Google Pixel 3a it now has a serious challenger.

The Pixel 3a sees Google the best parts of the Google Pixel 3 Phone in a more budget alternative, so it has many features that you can find in the high end phone. But the OnePlus 6T also has some tricks to its name.

Can the Pixel 3a dethrone the OnePlus 6T? We've put the two phones together to find out.

  • View the best OnePlus 6T deals

Google Pixel 3a versus OnePlus 6T: price

If you don't have much to spend on your new phone, the best thing to do is stay with the Google Pixel 3a – at $ 399 / £ 399 (about AU $ 570) it is right in the middle of the low and medium range of price.

For that amount, however, you get a device with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, some of which may be a bit on the low side.

The OnePlus 6T will give you a substantial amount in return, but you will also get more for your money. For 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage you pay $ 549 / £ 499 (around AU $ 875), with a price increase to $ 579 / £ 529 (around AU $ 840) for 8 GB / 128 GB and $ 629 / £ 579 ( approximately AU $ 900) for 8 GB / 256 GB.

That is much more money if you look at the best-equipped OnePlus 6T – but you get the double RAM and four times the storage of the Pixel 3a.

Google Pixel 3a versus OnePlus 6T: design and display

When it comes to screen size, you get much more real estate on the OnePlus 6T – at 6.41 inches, the screen surpasses the 5.6-inch screen of the Pixel 3a.

Bigger is not necessarily better, but in the case of monitors, the OnePlus 6T is bigger and better – the screen is AMOLED, which ensures better and clearer images and is one step higher than the OLED screen of the Pixel 3a.

The resolution is also better on the OnePlus 6T, at 2340 x 1080 against 2220 x 1080 – but due to its smaller screen, the Pixel 3a has better pixels per inch density at 441 compared to the OnePlus 6T & 402's.

The screen on the Google Pixel 3a is uninterrupted, with prominent edges at the top and bottom of the front, while the OnePlus 6T has a smaller ' teardrop ' notch where the front camera is located – for some phone users this might be an important way to distinguish the devices, but you still have more screen space on the last phone.

The Pixel 3a is somewhat elegant device with dimensions of 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2 mm, which makes it a lot smaller than the OnePlus 6T at 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm, but as Telephones are going, neither is a particularly massive handset.

You may find some features in the smaller phone that the OnePlus 6T fails – the Pixel 3a for example has a headphone jack and Active Edge from Google, which you can use to press the phone to open the Google Assistant.

Google Pixel 3a and OnePlus 6T: camera

On the OnePlus 6T you will find a 16MP / 20MP double rear camera, as opposed to a single 12.2 MP snapper on the Pixel 3a – on paper it looks like the OnePlus 6T is joining forces here, but the processing is just the same important as specifications when it comes to smartphone photography.

Both phones have a range of options and modes to optimize the captured photos depending on the setting. For example, the OnePlus 6T has a ' level ' to show if the phone is tilted and the Google Pixel 3a has a series of weather modes.

We have not had the Google Pixel 3a long enough to properly assess its camera, or to compare it with the OnePlus 6T, but the Pixel 3a has a lot of technology in common with the Google Pixel 3, which we considered the best camera phone when it came out, so it will probably give the OnePlus 6T a run for its money. Once we have tested the new device, we will update this article accordingly.

On the front of the phones, the OnePlus 6T has a 16MP selfie camera while the Pixel Snapper is 3a 8 MP – this could suggest that the OnePlus 6T will take better photos, but post-processing is again software is the most important.

We have discovered that both cameras can take ' s selfies with accurate depth perception so that they can apply background blur of ' bokeh ' effects in the background digitally.

Google Pixel 3a and OnePlus 6T: specifications and battery

Both handsets run Android 9 Pie (although the OnePlus 6T runs OxygenOS), so they are similar to use, although since Google makes both the Pixel 3a and Android, you can expect future OS updates to come to the Pixel 3a for the 6T.

As mentioned earlier, you get more RAM with the OnePlus 6T and you also get a better processor in the form of the Snapdragon 845, which was one of the best chipsets when the device came out last year (although it has since passed through the newer Snapdragon 855 ).

For comparison: in the Pixel 3a the Snapdragon 670 runs, a solid mid-range processor, but then one that does not compete with the 845.

OnePlus 6T. Credit image: TechRadar

On paper, this means that the OnePlus 6T will be slightly better in intensive tasks such as gaming and video playback – but it can also go through the battery a bit faster.

Speaking of the battery, the OnePlus 6T has a unit of 3,700 mAh, which is larger than that of 3,000 mAh in the Pixel 3a, although the OnePlus 6T requires this with a larger screen and a more powerful processor, and in practice the lifetime the battery on both devices is about the same.

Neither device has wireless charging, but both support fast charging – 18 W for the Pixel 3a and 20 W for the OnePlus 6T, so although you miss the convenience of wireless charging, you don't have to wait long for your device to turn on up .

Verdict

Credit image: TechRadar

In many ways, the OnePlus 6T is the better device – it has a bigger and better screen, a more advanced chipset and a larger battery; however, you also pay more for these functions and not all telephone users need them all.

For the lower price the Pixel 3a still offers useful functions such as a competitive camera, Active Edge and a headphone connection.

So if you are on the market for one of these smartphones, consider whether the extra you spend on the OnePlus 6T is worth it, or whether the functions of the Pixel 3a are all you need.

  • This is all that was announced on Google IDE 2019
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