Does the Pixel 3a XL’s performance come close to the standard Pixel’s?
- Performance highlights one of the biggest disparities between the Pixel 3 series and the Pixel 3a series.
- The Pixel 3a XL’s Qualcomm 670 processor is decidedly middle-of-the-road based on benchmarking.
- Real-world performance would have you believe this is a more powerful phone than it actually is, unless gaming.
When launching new Pixels, Google typically remains rather coy on stage when it comes to the hardware powering its phones. On paper, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL are using last year’s flagship Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 845, but they’re marketed as competitors to the 2019 flagship phone crop and for the most part, they’re still wholly competitive.
In real-world use, the experience, helped by Google’s lightweight Pixel launcher, leaves the Pixel 3a XL feeling as fast and as fluid a full-fat Pixel 3.
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Aside from slightly longer app load times, there’s little to indicate that this phone is running a more middling Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC, paired to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of non-expandable storage (there’s only one RAM/storage SKU for each device within the Pixel 3a series), with one exception.
When gaming, you’ll see a notable downward spike in the phone’s frame rate, with even less demanding titles like Alto’s Odyssey looking a little shakey. Everything I played, including the likes of Crash of Cars, remained wholly playable but it’s the biggest giveaway that this phone is firmly mid-range at heart.
As for benchmarking – the results place it right where I’d expected; falling short of last year’s flagship-class phones but trumping fellow (albeit cheaper) mid-rangers like the Moto G7 Plus.
AnTuTu synthetically tests everything from gaming performance to image editing and web browsing, granting a device an overall score at the end.
Geekbench focuses on CPU performance, splitting its results into two discreet scores: single-core used to be the more influential metric but as time has gone on developers of Android apps and Android itself have both been able to leverage multi-threading, granting the multi-core score more credence.
As for gaming, the scores pulled from 3D Mark’s ‘SlingShot’, and more intensive ‘SlingShot Extreme’, graphical benchmarks only reiterate what I was experiencing during actual gameplay.
The Snapdragon 670’s Adreno 615 GPU can’t compare to the likes of the Honor 10‘s Kirin 970 chipset, with its Mali-G72 MP12 GPU, which suggests you should keep your gaming demands simple if you’re looking to pick up the Pixel 3a XL.