Google's annual developer conference, the Google I/O 2019, saw the launch of a lighter, stripped down version of the software major's flagship smartphone. Named the Google Pixel 3a, the smartphone costs half as much as the Google Pixel 3. This puts it in the same territory (which is also called the "entry-premium" segment) as the OnePlus 6T.
So how do the two smartphones stack up? Let's find out.
Design and display
Google has cut corners in this department to keep the costs low. The Google Pixel 3a is covered by a polycarbonate unibody (a fancy name for plastic). This saves weight and adds a bit of durability, as you have one less thing that can be shattered.
It is unmistakable for anything but a Pixel device, thanks to the two-tone finish and an OLED display at the front with giant bezels and no notch. The corners are curved though, adding a bit of a contemporary look to an otherwise dated design. The buttons are also made out plastic and require a remarkable amount of pressure to be clicked.
The OnePlus 6T employs an all-glass design interrupted by a metal chassis in the middle. This gives it a solid feel in the hand. The OnePlus 6T upped its display game from the OnePlus 6 by employing a waterdrop notch. This also gives it an edge over the Google Pixel 3a's display, strictly in terms of screen-to-body ratio meaning it packs more screen real estate in roughly the same physical dimensions.
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The Pixel 3a is lit by a 5.6-inch OLED display with an FHD+ resolution of 2220 x 1080. This gives it an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. It is protected by Asahi Glass Co.'s Dragontrail glass.
The OnePlus 6T has a much bigger display, spanning 6.41-inches diagonally, with a resolution of 2340x1080. It is covered by Corning's Gorilla Glass 6.
The Google Pixel 3a comes with roughly the same amount of memory and story as the flagship level Pixel 3 with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. The processor, however, is very different. The Pixel 3a runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor, making it one of the most expensive smartphones to run a Snapdragon 6-series processor. Other than that, the Pixel 3a has support for eSIM. This means you can set up your connection on screen the moment you power on your device. Alternatively, you can use a physical SIM card - you’ll find the SIM tray on the upper left side of the phone. Reliance Jio and Airtel support the eSIM functionality in India. It is backed by a 3,000mAh battery.
The OnePlus 6 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. Although it doesn't have support for eSIM, it can accommodate 2 SIM cards. It is backed by a 3,700mAh battery.
Both smartphones have USB Type-C ports for connectivity and charging, although OnePlus comes with a 20W dash charger. The Pixel 3a comes with a rapid charger, but its wattage hasn't been disclosed by the company. While the OnePlus 6T skips the 3.5mm headphone jack, the Pixel 3a comes with one placed at the top of the smartphone.
Google knows its strength lies in the photography department, and so it has taken the single camera approach again instead of going for dual or even triple sensors. The Pixel 3a sports a 12.2MP dual-pixel Sony IMX363 rear facing sensor with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) added up with Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS). It has an f/1.8 aperture, 76-degree field of view and can record videos in 4k at 30fps.
At the front, it has an 8MP sensor and a lens with an 84-degree field of view and f/2.0 aperture.
It comes with all the software goodies that the Google Pixel 3 and 3XL boast of, including night sight, top shot, portrait mode, motion autofocus, playground and even the recently launched photobooth mode.
The OnePlus 6T comes with a dual 16MP+20MP rear-facing camera configuration. The 16MP primary sensor comes fitted with a 25mm lens with an aperture of f/1.7. The secondary 20MP sensor captures depth information. It is capable of recording video in 2160p at 30 and 60fps.
The front of the OnePlus 6T hosts a 16MP selfie camera with a wide angle lens (25mm) and an aperture of f/2.0.
The Google Pixel 3a offers the most vanilla Android Pie experience devoid of any bloatware and extra customisations. It also comes with some Pixel exclusive features such as Google Assistant’s call screen, AR Core, Digital Wellbeing, and Adaptive Battery. It also has the advantage of receiving the latest Android updates as soon as they are rolled out.
The OnePlus 6T runs the company's proprietary OxygenOS based on Android Pie. The experience is very similar to stock Android, but with a major emphasis on speed.
In terms of biometrics, the Pixel 3a has a physical rear-facing fingerprint scanner while the OnePlus 6T comes with an in-display one. Both smartphones come with support for facial unlocking.
The Google Pixel 3a is priced at ₹39,999 and comes in a single 4GB/64GB variant. The OnePlus 6T comes in four different variants ranging from 6GB RAM/128GB internal storage to 10GB RAM/256GB internal storage. Thanks to a recent price cut, it starts at ₹32,999 in its base configuration.