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Forget the iPhone SE: The Pixel 3a just dropped to $249

Google Pixel 3a
(Image credit: Future)

Google looks poised to reveal the Pixel 4a (opens in new tab) any moment now, and we’ve seen more evidence of that in the form of a severe Pixel 3a (opens in new tab) price cut. And it's arrived just in time to take on Apple's affordable iPhone SE 2020.

Currently, Best Buy (opens in new tab) is selling the Pixel 3a with $150 sliced off the price, dropping it down from $399.99 to $249.99. For that, you get the 64GB model in Clearly White, Just Black, Not Pink. and Purple-ish colour options. 

Google Pixel 3a (opens in new tab): Was $399 now $249 @ Best Buy
Google's midrange phone is currently available for $150 off at Best Buy, making this affordable flagship an even better value.

There’s a small caveat to the deal, in that you have to activate it on either Verizon, AT&T or Sprint right away. If you want to hold off the activation, then Best Buy will sell you the Pixel 3a for $299, which is still a decent $100 saving. 

With the Pixel 4a on its way, going for the Pixel 3a might seem like a backwards move. But even though it’s set to be superseded, the Pixel 3a is still an impressive phone, with smooth performance and a brilliant camera that holds up to higher-end flagships thanks to Google's AI smarts. 

Google equipped the Pixel 3a with pretty much the same rear camera as the Pixel 3 (opens in new tab), only without a dedicated signal processing chip. But it still put in some hugely impressive phone photography results that are on par with the Pixel 3 as well as some of the best Android phones out there.

It also comes with the powerful Night Sight low-light photography mode, which the  iPhone SE 2020 (opens in new tab) — the Pixel 3a’s newly revealed rival — can’t offer. The Pixel 3a features a 5.6-inch OLED display, which beats the 4.7-inch display on the iPhone SE, at least in size.

The Pixel 3a also benefits from having a pure version of Android 10, with only the rather slick Pixel Launcher UI on top of stock Android. Not only does this make using the phone trivially easy when compared to some of the more convoluted Android skins from other phone makers, it means the mid-range Snapdragon 670 accompanied by 4GB of RAM doesn’t get bogged down in extra UI elements. 

It also retains some nice design touches that other phones have shunned. The rear fingerprint scanner is super-fast and reliable. And there’s still a 3.5mm headphone jack on this Pixel phone, whereas the flagship-grade Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 phone have both dropped the port in favour of wireless and USB-C headphone connectivity. 

The only shortcoming to the Pixel 3a is its chassis is looking a little dated in comparison to more modern phones with bezel-less displays. The Pixel 3a has a reasonably chunky forehead and chin. But this gives the Pixel 3a a rather pleasing utilitarian design; it’s not a slab of glass you’re going to constantly need to worry about dropping or scratching. 

For $249, the Google Pixel 3a is still a thoroughly excellent phone with access to some of the best software and camera features Google has cooked up.

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.